The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, linked the trial of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), to the 2019 general elections, saying President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC) are scared Dasuki may be nursing a presidential ambition.
The party said it was unfortunate that Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade has now become a war between the APC and the PDP.
Meanwhile, the APC leadership replied,saying it was not losing sleep about who the PDP plans to pick from the North as its presidential flag bearer in the 2019 elections.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, in a statement, said it was appalling that the APC and its leaders, “who gleefully and unjustifiably poured invectives on former President Goodluck Jonathan in the guise of playing the role of an opposition party, would now not want to condone criticisms”.
PDP explained that the trial of Dasuki was a sign that the ruling party felt threatened by his wide political and security network which he may use should he decide to contest for the presidency in 2019 on the PDP platform.
Buhari, according to the opposition party, appeared to have already pronounced Dasuki and Nnamdi Kanu of Radio Biafra guilty in his last week media chat even before court pronouncements.
It sympathised with the President and the APC over “their inability to accept, with equanimity, constructive criticisms of their administration”.
“Besides, it is sad and embarrassing that President Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade has now been reduced to a war between the APC and the PDP as declared by the Office of his spokespersons. Since they have confirmed that this is what the anti-corruption crusade is all about, the APC is obviously seeking to destroy the PDP so that it can push through Buhari’s second tenure in 2019 without opposition from the PDP,” the PDP stated.
“This has also confirmed our concern that this is the reason the Federal Government is persecuting, and not prosecuting, Col. Sambo Dasuki. The APC and its leaders fear that Dasuki, given his vast political and security network, may be harbouring a presidential ambition, more so that the PDP has zoned its presidential ticket to the north.
“The PDP is conversant with the sinister plan by the APC-led Federal Government to completely decimate our party by raking up all manner of allegations of corruption against the Goodluck Jonathan administration and leaders of the PDP with a view to taking them to court on orchestrated charges.
PDP also said that it is aware that President Buhari has directed security agencies to be more vicious in dealing with our members and has continued to subtly coerce the Judiciary to convict those being charged to court.
“But what gives us joy is that President Buhari is not God and we will not worship him. Unlike the APC that denigrated the office and person of former President Jonathan by wrongly depicting him as ‘clueless and incompetent’, the PDP remains the most decent, mature and constructive opposition party in our democracy and we have evidenced great respect for the person and exalted office of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“During the Goodluck Jonathan presidency, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, while in the saddle as interim Deputy National Secretary of the APC, in a post on his twitter page, described President Jonathan as ‘lazy, docile, incompetent, clueless, hopeless and useless leader.’ Other APC leaders made raining abuses on Jonathan a past time.
“The PDP is a very responsible opposition party; our leaders are mature; and we have demonstrated so in our critique of the President’s responses during the maiden Presidential Media Chat. We have reviewed President Buhari’s performance and concluded that it was uninspiring”
Replying to the PDP allegations, last night, the APC said it was not losing sleep over who the PDP picks from the North as its presidential candidate in the 2019 elections.
The party’s National Chairman, Chief John Oyegun, spoke in a statement, through the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Edegbe Odemwingie, in Abuja.
Oyegun said his party ” will not join issues with the childish and laughable conspiracy theories being bandied by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in relation to the 2019 presidential election.”
It went on,”Whoever the PDP picks as it’s candidate for the 2019 presidential election is not the business of the APC. Relevant laws in the country clearly spells out requirements for persons seeking election into all political office.
“The preoccupation of the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari is to deliver on all the promises made to Nigerians by the party during the 2015 election. Looking back at the last seven months, there are clear indicators showing that the APC and the President Buhari administration is on the right track to delivering on its Change Agenda.
“The PDP speaks of a presidential directive to security agencies and judiciary to “coerce” and “convict” PDP leaders and officials of the immediate-past administration with corruption charges. Clearly such abuse of presidential directives was a concept invented and effectively deployed by the PDP during its defunct 16-year rule. The APC is a law-abiding party and cannot adopt such diabolical concept. The APC believes strongly in the rule of law, as against the kind of impunity Nigeria witnessed under the PDP for 16 years.
“We assure Nigerians that the PDP conspiracy theories will not distract the President Buhari administration, law enforcement and anti-graft agencies from the successful on-going war against corruption being waged on looters of our common wealth. The ongoing war against corruption is not selective. Anybody guilty of corrupt practices will face the law.
“Clearly, the PDP has chosen to blame everyone but itself for the sorry state it finds itself. The PDP should have known that it will pay for its years of impunity, recklessness and shocking mis-management of the country’s commonwealth. PDP members who are genuinely inspired by the APC-led administration are welcome to the APC fold. It is their right to abandon a sinking ship and join one that is smooth-sailing”