The presidency has reacted to a letter written by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the United Nations (UN) complaining that President Muhammadu Buhari is planning to truncate the nation’s democracy.
The presidency said the letter written by the National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, accusing Mr Buhari of several allegations, confirms the opposition party “as a bad loser, desperate for another chance after they were kicked out for failing the nation and its people.”
The presidency’s reaction was contained in a statement Monday evening signed by Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity.
The statement said in the letter “which is no less preposterous and comical, the opposition accused the Nigerian government of ‘destroying Nigeria’s democracy.’”
In Mr. Secondus’s letter, earlier published by PREMIUM TIMES, he told the world body that Mr Buhari has a predetermined plan to use federal agencies like the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the army, and the police to ‘truncate’ Nigeria’s democracy.
In the letter dated April 30, the opposition leader accused Mr Buhari of violating the Nigerian constitution and persecuting members of the opposition, as well as attacking journalists and “well-meaning” Nigerians who hold different opinions from Mr Buhari’s party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The British, German, French, Chinese, the U.S, and the Russian embassies in Nigeria, as well as the European Union secretariat in Abuja, were copied in the letter.
The presidency said PDP’s lecture on democracy and the rule of law is a desperate attempt to pervert history and the course of justice.
It said the sermon is both trite and hollow, coming from a party with “intolerance for dissent as its hallmark.”
Mr. Shehu said PDP is a party that humiliated opposition parties and stunted their growth.
“This was the atmosphere that nurtured the birth of the All Progressives Congress (APC),”he said.
He also said the war against corruption, for which many more politicians may soon be docked, cannot be misrepresented as an attack on human rights. He advised Mr. Secondus not to try to mislead the UN.
“Nigerian politicians at all levels have been used to dispensing with state funds in whatever manner they please, and to have someone, an administration, finally saying, “No. It doesn’t matter how big or important you think you are; the law must come against you…” That is not something they are used to at all. For the PDP, as has now emerged, national security was the major source of their funding,” he said.
Mr Shehu said the PDP chairman and all other politicians against whom the country’s anti-corruption agencies have on-going investigations, should be assured that it is only a matter of time before the law catches up with them.
“Nigerians suffered because of the poison sowed by the PDP,” he said.
The presidential spokespersons said if the Nigerian public were privy to some of the facts and figures on corruption that Mr Buhari and the anti-corruption agencies are, “they would understand the passion that drives the determination to nail these callous men and stop them in their corrupt tracks.”
Regarding the accusation that President Buhari is behind the spate of herdsmen and farmer clashes in the Middle Belt of Nigeria, Mr Shehu said “all we will say is that it as an embarrassing charge that the PDP would make, conveying an allegation from the beer parlours of Nigeria to an international body like the UN.”
“The PDP certainly has no shred of evidence to make such an allegation. These are comments driven by tribalism and that age-old trick of balkanisation in a bid to score political points. This should not surprise anyone given the politics of anger, violence and polarisation that are the stock-in-trade of the PDP.”
Mr. Shehu also rolled out measures he said Mr Buhari has taken in order to end killings across the country.
Such measures, he said, include mobilising state resources against the attackers, approving the setting up of new police and army formations in the affected areas, and the recruitment of thousands into the police and the military.
He said a more reasonable opposition would have acknowledged these steps taken by the government.
“What can President Buhari possibly gain from the killings? There is no intelligent angle from which you analyse the matter and see any possible gain for this government in the wanton destruction of life and property going on.
“For the “new” PDP leadership on the other hand, incapable of thinking big about the nation, they see and treat the unfortunate spate of killing of innocent Nigerians as political gift, about which they seem very happy to cite as the basis for a return to power. They feel bad at every turn the country improves, which is beyond comprehension. They should bury their heads in shame,” Mr Shehu said.