THE Federal Government on Wednesday accused the main opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential flag bearer in the February 23 election, Atiku Abubakar, of planning to sabotage the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
But the main opposition party has immediately fired back, asking the government to face its “self-inflicted woes.”
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made the accusation while addressing State House correspondents in Abuja.
Reading from a prepared text titled, “PDP’s Brand of Opposition Politics Poses Great Threat to Nigeria’s Democracy,” the minister alleged that the PDP and its candidate were keen to make the country ungovernable.
He also accused them of attacking the judiciary in a desperate move, saying that if they did not desist from their actions, they may soon overreach themselves.
The minister who declined to take questions after reading his text stated:
“The Federal Government has strongly decried the increasingly unpatriotic and desperate opposition politics being played by the PDP and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, warning that such dead-end opposition could be toxic for the nation’s democracy if left unchecked.
“Never in the history of politics in Nigeria has an opposition party and its presidential candidate exhibited the kind of desperate tactics being deployed by the duo of the PDP and its flag-bearer, especially since President Muhammadu Buhari overwhelmingly defeated Atiku to win the 2019 presidential election.
“Either by themselves or via their proxies, the PDP and its presidential candidate are doing everything possible to sabotage the Buhari Administration, generally overheat the polity and make Nigeria seemingly ungovernable, especially through their public utterances and their poorly-thought-out press releases before and after the 2019 general elections.
“Unless they quickly retrace their steps, they may, sooner than later, overreach themselves.
“For those who may be quick to accuse the government of crying wolf, the pre-election statement credited to the former Vice President, that unless Nigerians vote out the APC Administration, killings by herdsmen will continue and ultimately spark a series of ethnoreligious crises that will be irreversible, is looking more like a Freudian slip than anything else.
“Also, in recent times, the PDP has taken its desperation to a new low by attacking the judiciary, an action many see as indicating a reversal of the party’s hitherto self-assured stance that it has a solid case against the election of the President.
“And either by coincidence or orchestration, a faceless group emerges from nowhere calling for an overthrow of a democratically-elected government, a totally egregious act of treason.
“It beggars belief that a candidate who prides himself as a Democrat can so allow desperation to becloud his sense of propriety to such an extent that he will be associating with anti-democratic forces or making inflammatory statements.
“For acclaimed democrats, there are acceptable channels of seeking redress after an election defeat. Even President Buhari himself went to court three times to challenge election results.
“What is not acceptable is to either resort to self-help after an election defeat or to embark on a journey of subterfuge and sabotage while also mounting a legal challenge or pretending to do so.
“Worst still, painting the judiciary bad for whatever reason is anti-democratic and unconscionable.
“We want to urge the main opposition party to stop beating the drums of war, concentrate on the legal challenge by its candidate against the election of President Buhari if indeed they have any faith in the country’s judiciary, and desist from unnecessarily overheating the polity.”
In its response, the PDP in a statement issued by Kola Ologbondiyan, it spokesman, observed that the minister once again veered off issues of governance and dwelt on hauling insults, misplaced accusations and threats against Atiku.
The statement added: “The minister’s tone, to say the least, betrays the frustration of a failed administration seeking excuses and scapegoats, instead of accepting its failures and self-inflicted woes.
“It is incontrovertible that the PDP, as a highly responsible political party, committed to the unity and stability of our dear nation, nurtured our democracy for 16 years and has continued to express its full respect for every arm of government including the judiciary
“It is equally indisputable that the All Progressives Congress (APC), within a period of four years, has wrecked our democratic structures, relegated and harassed judicial officers, disregarded our laws and judicial pronouncements, divided our people and practically brought our nation to its knees only for them to now turn to look for scapegoats where there are none.
“It is instructive to state that, in the course of serving our dear nation for sixteen years, the PDP was never known for intimidating and harassing judicial officers at any level.
“It is therefore unfortunate that the Minister of Information and Culture could suddenly recourse to making irresponsible allegations against the PDP and our Presidential candidate instead of accepting their failures.
“As a party we consider it awkward for the APC and its government, under whose only four years tenure, our judiciary has been thoroughly embarrassed, to make frivolous allegations against our party and Presidential candidate.
“It is manifestly clear that the PDP and our Presidential candidate are in court to seek justice and the issues of bias raised by our party are in public domain and in the general interest of the majority of Nigerians who gave their Presidential mandate to Atiku Abubakar.
“The fact remains that the APC and its failed government owe it as a responsibility to be accountable to Nigerians; the PDP has a constitutional role to play in this accountability process and our party will not shy away from it.”
The PDP, therefore, charged the Federal Government to stop inventing excuses and making frivolous allegations of treason for its mass failures.
“The expectation of Nigerians is for the Buhari Presidency to live up to the demands of their offices instead of blaming our party for their self-inflicted woes,” it added.