Nigeria’s ruling party, The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has hit back at the opposition All Progressives Congress, after the APC said recent allegations by a government-appointed Boko Haram negotiator, show that senior PDP members and allies of President Goodluck Jonathan are masterminds of the sect.
At a press conference Tuesday, the APC demanded the immediate trial of a former governor of Borno State, Modu Sheriff, a PDP member; and a former army chief, Azubuike Ihejirika.
Both former officials were named by an Australian negotiator, Stephen Davis, as Boko Haram sponsors.
The chairman of opposition party, Odigie Oyegun, said revelations by Mr. Davis show the federal government had wrongly accused the APC of being behind Boko Haram.
“They have called us all sorts of derogatory names, but failed to provide any shred of evidence to support their claim,” Mr. Oyegun said.
The APC chairman described Mr. Sheriff as a man known to all Nigerians as the founder of Boko Haram, but who has continued to escape justice and is now Mr. Jonathan’s ally.
“He is a known ally of the president and he is not known to be under any immunity. Yet he was never arrested or even questioned,” he said.
“The die is cast. The truth is finally out! Boko Haram sponsors have been exposed. They are within the ruling PDP. They are friends of President Jonathan.
“He cannot pretend not to know who they are and what they have done and are still doing. His myriad of intelligence agencies, including the SSS and the DMI, cannot pretend they do not have any information on these men,” Mr Oyegun said.
Mr. Oyegun said while it is true that Mr. Sheriff was until recently a member of his party, the APC had always suspected that he was a mole, planted to hijack or at best weaken the new Party for the PDP.
“We know for sure that Ali Modu Sheriff was planted in the APC to help decimate our party. We confronted him openly during the merger negotiation but he denied vigorously.
“His surrogate for the post of the Chairman of the APC, Chief Tom Ikimi together with whom they planned to hijack the Party for the Presidency was firmly rejected.
“Realizing they have failed, they fled our party and returned to where they came from, and were duly embraced by their controllers,” Mr. Oyegun said.
He added: “All through his time with our Party, every time they accused us of sponsoring Boko Haram, on the basis of his presence, we challenged them if they had evidence to arrest any of our members who is suspected to be a sponsor, they never did.
“They dared not, because Sheriff was their agent. Even if he had remained in the APC after we democratically encouraged him to go, they would still not have arrested him,” he said.
In its response Wednesday, the PDP said the APC merely sought to use the allegations by Mr. Davis to launder its image. The party said revelations by the Australian have merely confirmed that the APC was behind Boko Haram.
“If not to achieve the self-serving purpose of exonerating the APC, why would Oyegun’s statement choose to be silent on the revelation by Davis that some people opposed to President Goodluck Jonathan used their connections to Boko Haram to frustrate his efforts?,” a statement by party spokesperson, Olisa Metuh, said.
“We also wonder why the APC has chosen to ignore some of the revealing aspects of Dr. Davis’ interview concerning Boko Haram’s funding and sponsorship. Is it because they are not favourable to them?”
Read the full statement released by the PDP Wednesday
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has noted yet another failed image laundering stunt by the APC wherein its National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun cheapened his office and person by attempting to use an unempirical statement by Australian Dr. Stephen Davis, to absolve his party of blames for promoting insurgency in the country.
Whilst we recognize the right of citizens to hold and canvass opinion in a democratic setting such as guaranteed under the PDP-led administration, we hold, and strongly too that such rights must be properly and respectably exercised.
It is therefore shocking and worrisome that the APC National Chairman, in a frenzied effort to extricate his party, could issue a statement completely lacking in validity, character and intellectual content befitting of a National Chairman of a political party.
Oyegun’s statement rather than exonerate the APC has reinforced and underscored its true identity as a party of desperate politicians supportive of violence and disunity through their utterances and body language, a fact that is already well known to all Nigerians.
In trying to stand the truth on its head, Oyegun has succeeded in further exposing the desperation of the APC to launder its image through renewed propaganda and blackmail, a project which has already failed.
If not to achieve the self-serving purpose of exonerating the APC, why would Oyegun’s statement choose to be silent on the revelation by Davis that some people opposed to President Goodluck Jonathan used their connections to Boko Haram to frustrate his efforts?
We also wonder why the APC has chosen to ignore some of the revealing aspects of Dr. Davis’ interview concerning Boko Haram’s funding and sponsorship. Is it because they are not favourable to them?
While not holding brief for anybody, it is clear to every discerning mind that Oyegun’s statement, with all intent and purpose is yet another decoy to frustrate genuine effort at finding solution to the security challenges we face as a nation to the advantage of the APC whose penchant to use the promoting of violence as tool to achieve political
control is well known to all.
Nigerians may recall the frenzy with which the APC fought against moves by the British Parliament to investigate its involvement with terrorist elements as well as to divert attention from their meetings outside the shores of our country in their bid to promote insurgency in Nigeria.
For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to restate that we stand by our statements that the APC as a party with a Janjaweed ideology has been promoting insurgency and acts of terrorism through the actions and utterances of its leaders. Indeed, no amount of blackmail or propaganda can erase this truth.
Nigerians have since noted the pattern and timing of violent attacks against our people which betray a trend tailored against the PDP and the Federal Government and provide impetus for the APC to find a voice and thrive. They know that it has become a recurring decimal that whenever the PDP or the Federal Government records or is about to record a major milestone, insurgents launch attacks on the people.
Oyegun must understand that Nigerians know the APC for what it truly is and can no longer be hoodwinked by propaganda, blackmail and tactical misrepresentation. He should therefore stop debasing his office by struggling for media space with his National Publicity Secretary.
It is indeed disheartening that the APC National Chairman has continued to disparage his office and age by making series of unguarded and inflammatory utterances and issuing statements laced with fabrications and wild allegations while leading his party like a frustrated rebel group desperate for political control; and whose understanding of
opposition is crass unruliness and a culture of irresponsibility.
Chief Oyegun has only succeeded in disappointing many Nigerians who thought his coming to office will result in a more responsible and constructive opposition. Instead, the reprehensible image of the APC as a party that has nothing good to offer has worsened under his watch.
In the last two months, he has made more incendiary statements aimed to incite the people and balkanize the nation than any other opposition chairman has done. The threat to form a parallel government and other inflammatory statements at APC events readily come to mind.
Our advice to the opposition is that they should learn to properly comport themselves, eschew bitterness, desperation and divisive tendencies and think of how to make meaningful contributions to tackle the challenges facing the nation.
On his own part, Chief Oyegun, as a former state governor should retrace his steps and strive to be nationalistic and statesmanlike and comport himself as an opposition leader. For now, he is a little more than a glorified media assistant. A word is enough for the wise.
National Publicity Secretary