PDP must address image problem before thinking of returning to power — APC

From left: Deputy Chairman (North), All Progressives Congress (APC), Sen. Lawal Shuaibu; APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun; and the National Secretary of the party, Alhaji Mai Mala Buni, during a meeting between the APC Governors and the party’s National Working Committee, in Abuja on Wednesday (24/5/17). 02781/24/5/2007/Hogan-Bassey/BJO/NAN

The All Progressive Congress has dismissed the statement by the Peoples Democratic Party that the opposition party was poised to returning to power in 2019 following last week’s resolution of its leadership crisis.

In a statement on Sunday by its spokesperson, Bolaji Abdullahi, the APC said the main opposition party should not think of power until it has rebranded to address its image problem arising from the association of most of its leaders with corruption.

The ruling party, which was reacting to a story in the Vanguard Newspaper of Saturday titled, “2019: PDP Unveils Plans to Sack APC”, said it was delighted by the PDP’s talk of holding the APC-led federal government accountable.

It reiterated its accusation that the PDP had engaged in a “brand of opposition politics (that) had been characterised mainly by allegation mongering and open incitements of separatist agitations across the country.”

Below is the APC Statement:

We refer to a story in the Vanguard Newspaper of Saturday, July 15 titled, “2019: PDP Unveils Plans to Sack APC”.

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court judgement that favoured the Makarfi faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Makarfi himself announced rather exuberantly that his victory at the court meant that PDP was ready to return to power. We had dismissed Makarfi’s statement as part of the excitement that follows a favourable court ruling. However, since that Wednesday verdict, we noticed that several of his supporters and party members have expressed similar sentiment. We therefore feel the need to respond appropriately.

In recent past, the PDP brand of opposition politics had been characterized mainly by allegation mongering and open incitements of separatist agitations across the country. It appears however that the outcome of Wednesday ruling is beginning to set them on a different course. We are therefore delighted that the PDP is beginning to talk about holding the APC accountable for the promises in our manifesto.

We want Nigerians, not just the PDP, to hold us accountable for every promise contained in our manifesto. We only urge them to be fair. A manifesto is not a four-year programme. If PDP had fully implemented its manifesto in the 16 years that it was in power, Nigerians would not have been attracted to the APC promise of change in 2015, because there would have been little left to promise.

The Vanguard Newspaper report quoted a former minister of PDP, “who did not want his name in print for fear of a backlash from the current administration as he is presently facing prosecution by the anti-graft agency.” That is exactly the problem with the PDP as it is currently constituted. There are only a few people left in that party whose faces do not represent the face of corruption. These few good men and women left in the PDP would do well to listen to ex-stalwarts of the party like the former Akwa Ibom governor, Obong Victor Attah who has advised that the party needs an urgent change of name because the PDP brand is already damaged beyond repair. But Nigerians know that even with a change of name, it is not the cowl that makes the monk. Therefore, like Attah asked, “Now that they have resolved their crisis, what is left of the PDP?” Senator Makarfi and his supporters should take a break from their victory dance to attend to this question.

The Vanguard report also quoted the un-namable minister as comparing the PDP and the APC to a tale of two wives, saying that Nigerians have tried the two and had seen who was better. We find this metaphor quite interesting. We need to point out however that APC is the new wife that is busy working at the kitchen that has been looted empty by the former wife who had made away with the entire foodstuff and even the kitchen utensils. Nigerians know this. If the food is a little late in coming, they understand the circumstance. But if that other thieving wife now begins to argue that she was a better cook and should be brought back into the kitchen because the new wife is a slow cook, then that should pass for hypocrisy. No matter the temporary hardship that we may be experiencing, Nigerians know better than to bring PDP back to power so soon for fear that this time, they might disappear with the kitchen itself.

We also note with regret, PDP’s penchant to mock President Muhammadu Buhari with his health situation. We admit that the health of a president is every citizen’s business. However, it is un-African, if not ungodly, to continue to taunt a man and even challenge him to a fight at his moment of weakness. We have seen in the last few days, some members of the PDP who have boasted to defeat President Buhari in 2019. We urge Nigerians to Google the names of these individuals and see what comes up. It is however understandable, even if not acceptable, that when the lion is enfeebled, even a rabbit would grow the temerity to tweak its tail.

We urge Nigerians to remain resolute in support of the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari. We are confident that whatever difficulty we are going through at the moment is only a passing phase.


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