Nigerian govt attacks Atiku, PDP; claims both trying to sabotage Buhari administration

Lai Mohammed is unable to provide any document on a coup plot
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed [Photo: Daily Trust]

Nigeria’s information minister, Lai Mohammed, on Wednesday attacked the main opposition party, PDP, and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

Mr Mohammed claimed that the ‘dead-end opposition’ being played by Mr Abubakar and the PDP “could be toxic for the nation’s democracy, if left unchecked.”

Mr Mohammed’s claim is contained in the text of a press conference he reportedly delivered. The text was sent to PREMIUM TIMES by Mr Mohammed’s office.

“Never in the history of politics in Nigeria has an opposition party and its presidential candidate exhibited the kind of desperate tactics being deployed by the duo of the PDP and its flag-bearer, especially since President Muhammadu Buhari overwhelmingly defeated Atiku to win the 2019 presidential election,” Mr Mohammed said.

The minister claimed that the PDP and Mr Abubakar were trying to sabotage the federal government.

“Either by themselves or via their proxies, the PDP and its presidential candidate are doing everything possible to sabotage the Buhari Administration, generally overheat the polity and make Nigeria
seemingly ungovernable, especially through their public utterances and their poorly-thought-out press releases before and after the 2019
general elections.

“Unless they quickly retrace their steps, they may, sooner than later, overreach themselves,” he said.

Mr Abubakar came second in the February presidential election. He is currently challenging Mr Buhari’s victory at the election tribunal.

On Wednesday, his lawyers asked the President of the Court of Appeal, Zainab Bulkachuwa, to step down as a member of the tribunal because of her relationship with an APC stalwart.

Mrs Bulkachuwa’s husband won a senatorial election in Bauchi on the APC platform.

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Mr Mohammed in his text appeared to allude to this move by Mr Abubakar and the PDP as undermining the judiciary.

“Also, in recent times, the PDP has taken its desperation to a new low by attacking the judiciary, an action many see as indicating a reversal of the party’s hitherto self-assured stance that it has a solid case against the election of the President,” he said.

The PDP and Mr Abuabakar were yet to reply to Mr Mohammed as at the time of this report.

Read the full text of Mr Mohammed’s claims below.

PDP’s Brand of Opposition Politics Poses Great Threat to Nigeria’s Democracy.

Being the text of a press conference addressed by the Hon Minister ofI nformation and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, at the State House, Abuja, on Wednesday, May 15th 2019

The Federal Government has strongly decried the increasingly unpatriotic and desperate opposition politics being played by the PDP and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, warning that
such dead-end opposition could be toxic for the nation’s democracy, if left unchecked.

Never in the history of politics in Nigeria has an opposition party and its presidential candidate exhibited the kind of desperate tactics being deployed by the duo of the PDP and its flag-bearer, especially since President Muhammadu Buhari overwhelmingly defeated Atiku to win the 2019 presidential election.

Either by themselves or via their proxies, the PDP and its presidential candidate are doing everything possible to sabotage the Buhari Administration, generally overheat the polity and make Nigeria
seemingly ungovernable, especially through their public utterances and their poorly-thought-out press releases before and after the 2019 general elections. Unless they quickly retrace their steps, they may, sooner than later, overreach themselves.

For those who may be quick to accuse the government of crying wolf, the pre-election statement credited to the former Vice President, that unless Nigerians vote out the APC Administration, killings by herdsmen will continue and ultimately spark a series of ethno-religious crises that will be irreversible, is looking more like a Freudian slip than anything else.

Also, in recent times, the PDP has taken its desperation to a new low by attacking the judiciary, an action many see as indicating a reversal of the party’s hitherto self-assured stance that it has a
solid case against the election of the President. And either by coincidence or orchestration, a faceless group emerges from nowhere calling for an overthrow of a democratically-elected government, a totally egregious act of treason.

It beggars belief that a candidate who prides himself as a democrat can so allow desperation to becloud his sense of propriety to such a extent that he will be associating with anti-democratic forces or making inflammatory statements. For acclaimed democrats, there are acceptable channels of seeking redress after an election defeat. Even President Buhari himself went to court three times to challenge
election results.

What is not acceptable is to either resort to self help after an election defeat, or to embark on a journey of subterfuge and sabotage while also mounting a legal challenge or pretending to do so. Worst
still, painting the judiciary bad for whatever reason is anti-democratic and unconscionable,” Alhaji Mohammed said.

We want to urge the main opposition party to stop beating the drums of war concentrate on the legal challenge by its candidate against the election of President Buhari if indeed they have any faith in the country’s judiciary, and desist from unnecessarily overheating the polity.

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