by Lekan Olanrewaju
The words of General Muhammadu Buhari seem to have hit quite a few nerves. Yesterday, he received a retort to his statement about President Jonathan “leading the biggest Boko Haram” from Special Adviser on Media and Publicity Reuben Abati who promptly advised him to visit the zoo. Now, the People’s Democratic Party has expressed its feelings about the words of the last major electoral opponent, sympathising with him over what the party views as his frustration over losing elections repeatedly.
In a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, the party points out Buhari’s predictions of bloodshed, and condemns what they view as his “relish of funeral train”. See full text below.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) finds it very disturbing that General Muhammadu Buhari, former Head of State and presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) is once again inciting people to take the law into their hands; inciting Nigerians to slaughter fellow Nigerians as he did sequel to the 2011 general elections.
Gentlemen, we need to remind ourselves that on April 21, 2012, Buhari was reported in the media as predicting a bloody revolution in 2015. The reports in the national dailies today quoting the same retired General as repeating that blood will flow in 2015 is another build-up to Buhari’s relish of funeral train.
While PDP cherishes freedom of speech, assembly and association as the custodian of Nigeria’s democracy, we at that same time know that such freedom goes with immense responsibilities. We condemn in no uncertain terms this shameful call for the spill of blood of innocent Nigerians to acquire political power.
We appreciate Buhari’s frustration and antagonism towards the PDP. He has lost three times at the polls. But is Buhari really a democrat? Why is the blood of innocent Nigerians the only thing sufficient to quench his thirst for power?
What Nigeria needs right now is ‘evolution’ in the true spirit of democracy. The utterances of General Buhari, a former military Head of State is truly, undemocratic, unpatriotic and un-statesmanly.
It is on record that Nigeria is yet to recover from the huge losses it suffered due to such reckless and provocative remarks by Buhari before the 2011 general elections which led to a spate of bloody post-election violence across six states of the federation.
The 22-man panel of enquiry led by Sheikh Ahmed Lemu confirmed that Buhari’s provocative remarks played a significant role in the bloody violence that led to the death of at least 200 people, gruesomely injuring thousands and the displacement of more than 40,000 people.
The panel categorically stated that Buhari’s pre-election utterances were misconstrued by his supporters to engage in the condemnable mayhem that greeted the aftermath of the presidential elections. Buhari never apologized to the nation or to the families of the victims. Today, Buhari is again engaged in another the build up of massive bloodletting and destruction.
Nigerians should be worried over Buhari’s quest for power by all means as he begins chanting his old war song once again. We have no doubt that Buhari is suffering from combat withdrawal syndrome. We therefore urge the federal government to allow him to lead the ECOWAS military contingent to Mali or Guinea-Bissau to enable him an opportunity to exorcise the bloodletting demons apparently haunting him.
As a basis for his inciting the public to take the law into their hands, Buhari has consistently said PDP government is not interested in transparency and social justice. To him, justice is only done when his party wins. Where it doesn’t, the PDP’s machinations will be blamed. He has repeatedly cited the Igabi local government, in Kaduna state, as an example of where free and fair election was conducted, simply because CPC won.
On the issue of corruption, we challenge Buhari to prove to Nigerians that only PDP members are corrupt. Before he does that, we want to remind him that the various sector probes going on at the National Assembly, most of which were initiated by PDP legislators, is enough testimony that PDP government will not tolerate inefficiencies and waste in government operations. Maybe it is high time Buhari confessed to Nigeria the truth about the missing 28 suitcases.
As a country ruled by military governments for more than half of its 50 years as a nation, political reforms need to be evolutionary not revolutionary. Part of this evolution is the PDP government’s renewed fight for accountability and transparency in governance as the foundation of comprehensive political reforms. This commitment is not in response to pressure from international development partners, western nations or opposition parties. It is a new mindset of the PDP leadership who seek to provide maximum value to Nigerian taxpayers on all matters of state. It is a mindset that recognizes the paramount importance of the affairs of the state to be more important than political party affiliations, ethnic jingoism and religious differences.
Political reform is a journey, not a destination. Even the richest and most technologically advanced countries in the world continue to evolve and make progress in political reforms. Nigeria, the second-largest economy in the African continent is, indeed, making a decisive stride towards political, economic and legal reforms if only the likes of Buhari will allow us be.
Unfortunately, bad losers like Buhari are determined to truncate the journey in this right direction by advocating violence and civil unrest. The April 16, 2011 presidential election, which Buhari is still agonizing over, was, according to official results from the INEC, won by the PDP’s candidate, President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, with 57 percent of the vote. All International and domestic observers hailed the presidential election as credible. The Africa Union, the ECOWAS, the European Union, the European Parliament, the U.S. National Democratic Institute, the U.S. International Republican Institute and the Commonwealth Secretariat observer teams acknowledged the election as transparent and credible. For once the world agreed that Nigeria had taken a credible step towards political stability.
Buhari should stop seeing PDP as the evil genius behind his failure. He was the architect of his own misfortune, as he and his party, CPC, headed to the 2011 election unprepared, with very weak party structures in more than three-quarter of Nigerian states at a time his campaign organization was in disarray over who controls the party.
PDP is always mystified whenever Buhari talks about political transparency, because it is an open secret that when it comes to politicking, negotiations and compromises, Buhari lacks any capacity to engage. He always behaves like a dictator and is accustomed to dishing out orders. That was why many members saw his joining the ANPP, in the first place, as the genesis of its in-house crises. It was indeed a curse rather than a blessing to the party; because before he joined the party it was able to win nine gubernatorial seats. But while he was there, it lost six states.
It is unfortunate that at this time of grave security challenge while Nigerians are burying their dead and counting their losses, Gen. Buhari, who wants to rule them, is further inflaming the orgy of violence. What a blood thirsty leader in Buhari!
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) calls on well-meaning Nigerians, especially the Northern elders to call Buhari to order and ask him to spare the nation his thirst for blood.
Chief Olisa Metuh
National Publicity Secretary,
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)