By Akanimo Sampson, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a front line opposition party in Nigeria, has risen in a stout confrontation to the reelection seeking President Muhammadu Buhari and his ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) over an alleged move to subvert next year’s elections.
The party has already send a clear message that they will not let the ruling party get away with any unwholesome plan in the coming elections. The obviously fuming PDP has also cautioned the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu not to succumb to pressure to manipulate the electoral process for President Buhari as such could cause serious crisis capable of disarticulating our nation.
They have equally challenged President Buhari to speak out on the declaration by Finance Minister, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, that the policies of his administration were hurting the nation and destroying investor- confidence in our economy.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said in Abuja, that the party’ fresh caution to INEC Chairman was predicated on an alleged secret meeting he held with President Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, at the Presidential villa last Friday.
‘’Prof. Yakubu should note that the polity is already tensed over INEC’s listing of President Buhari for election despite his failure to present the constitutionally required academic credentials like other candidates. This development casts a dark shadow on the credibility of INEC to conduct a transparent election.
‘’INEC is invited to further note that Nigerians are aware that by President Buhari’s declaration, in an affidavit, that his said certificates are with the military, his nomination documentation is therefore constitutionally incomplete, making him ineligibile to contest the 2019 Presidential elections’’, PDP said.
The party has accordingly charged President Buhari not to allow his personal ambition to push the nation into chaos, warning the President’s handlers, who are allegedly desperate to force him on an unwilling nation, are fast pushing the nation to the brinks and should be checked before it is too late.
According to the PDP, ‘’by failing to write to the military authorities to release his claimed certificates, Mr. President leaves Nigerians with no option than to hold that he does not have the credentials and the 1999 Constitution (as amended) did not provide that affidavits can be used as a substitute for any candidate’s credentials.
‘’Moreover, Mr. President’s affidavit also shows that he did not submit any certificate in 2015, making his candidacy for that election improper and defective under our laws. Prof. Yakubu must have noted the heavy public criticisms that have been trailing his provocative declaration that Nigerians should go to court over the certificate saga. His statement betrays an electoral umpire who is under threats and heavy pressure to abdicate his statutory duty of enforcing constitutional requirements for elections’’.
The PDP holds that allowing such siege mentality on our democratic institutions to fester will surely spell doom for ‘’our nation. Nigeria is our country and we don’t have any other nation we can call our own.
‘’Now that Nigerians have rejected President Buhari’s affidavit and insisted on his certificates, the APC is left with no option than to accept its self-inflicted misfortune. We are not unaware of the anxiety and apprehension in the APC but such is the price of being stuck with bad merchandise.
‘’On our part, the PDP is ready for election. Our candidate, Atiku Abubakar, with his proven competencies, has met all the requirements for the election and is now enjoying the support of the overwhelming majority of Nigerians across all sections of our country.
‘’Nigerians are tired of a deceptive, dishonest and grossly incompetent Buhari administration, which has brought so much anguish and pain to our nation’’.
In the mean time, the party said the declaration by the minister is a vindication of its stand that the Buhari administration was responsible for the nation’s economic woes and expressed dismay that President Buhari has kept mum on the issue since the minister made her declaration last week.
Though the minister particularly alluded to the administration of the colossal fines imposed on MTN Nigeria and four banks, available data showed that the APC-led government has been subjecting businesses to very harsh and punitive policies, leading to the dearth of both domestic and foreign direct investments and its attendant economic hardship on the citizenry.
PDP said it had always alerted the country of the negative impact of the harsh economic policies, high-handedness and vindictiveness of the Buhari administration on investors. This is in addition to heavy and multiple taxations, import and foreign currency restrictions, clampdown on free trade, corruption and avoidable flops, which have continued to scare investors away from our country.
Continuing, the party said, ‘’today, investors in key sectors are pulling out their interests, foreign revenue is dwindling by the day and our economy has continued to dip under President Buhari, with no hope in sight.
‘’Only last month, the same Minister of Finance alerted that the nation was facing revenue challenges; a development that stems directly from the harsh policies of the Buhari administration, coupled with its incompetence and lack of creative ability to engage in the global market and run a productive economy’’.
PDP is inviting Nigerians to hold President Buhari responsible for the economic disaster and the hardship that our nation has faced in the last three and half years.
‘’Our party restates that if President Buhari had heed wise counsel to accept his incompetence and hands off economic issues, end corruption in his Presidency and allow better hands to manage the economy, our nation would not be in the quagmire we are in today’’, PDP said.
The party is however, urging Nigerians not to despair as it has succeeded in throwing up a very credible, visionary and result-oriented Presidential candidate in Atiku Abubakar, in line with the determination to open a new era of economic prosperity and national cohesion under the PDP, come May 29, 2019.