No matter how hard the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scrubs, it’s alleged past wrongs would not be erased from the minds of Nigerians, according to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The ruling party stated this in a reaction to last week’s demand by the PDP that both chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Mahmood Yakubu and Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris resign their positions.
The leadership of the PDP, at its National Executive Committee Meeting (NEC) on Thursday, had expressed doubt the two could guarantee the conduct of credible elections next year.
But the APC yesterday insisted there was no basis for the ultimatum. According to spokesman Lanre Issa-Onilu, the outburst was merely another reminder of how the PDP-led administration serially abused state institutions in the pursuit of selfish political and economic interests.
The APC urged relevant state agencies to monitor the PDP, saying its recent utterances were suspect. It also reiterated its resolve to defend participatory democracy.
“We must prevent a reoccurrence of the PDP’s typical undemocratic practices during elections. Never again will a selfish few distort the wishes of the electorate. PDP is now being haunted by its sordid past and the ruinous party is now scampering from its own shadow. It is sad that the PDP hounds have continued to take Nigerians for granted, thinking by embarking on scaremongering, the voters could forget their wanton crimes,” said the APC in a statement.
It added: “Nigerians are not gullible. It is now apparent that the PDP in a bid to hide their inadequacies and undesirability as elections approach have chosen to populate the public space with unfounded allegations.”
Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu meanwhile maintained that the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) continues to err by restraining aggrieved members from going to court. His position followed reactions from some quarters in the party questioning President Muhammadu Buhari’s support for legal redress.
Akeredolu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said: “What our NWC members are canvassing against the president’s position is anarchy; an invitation to infringe on the constitutional rights of our members in a democracy by using the provision of the party’s constitution in issue as a sword.
“This will certainly not stand the test of time. To the best of my knowledge there is certainly no provision in our party constitution that prohibits our members from approaching the court if they feel aggrieved on any matter. If any such provision exists it will be unconstitutional.” He also advised the NWC to seek “proper legal advice” on the matter before embarking on moves that could “further muddle the waters.”
This was as one of the party’s governorship aspirants in Rivers State, Dumo Lulu-Briggs, tendered his resignation, dissatisfied over the conduct of the state’s primary.
His defection raises concern that a mass exodus could be imminent. He explained that he took the decision because a feudal lord allegedly hijacked the party.
“The facts are known. We took steps to protect the party from sliding into a personal estate. If a strong man owns the PDP in Rivers State and our leader in the APC by default becomes a feudal lord, then our state is doomed. I have nothing personal to lose or gain, but we have all something to lose if in a democracy we allow the aberration of overlords, hence my decision,” he said.
In Enugu, members upset by the outcome of the state’s primary alleged the national leadership shortchanged them after they had paid huge sums of money for the expression of interest and nomination forms. They told the reconciliation team led by Kano State Governor Umar Ganduje that a refund was key to a successful peace overture.
Ganduje urged the aggrieved members to let go of their grudges, unite and support the party’s candidate Ayogu Eze and Buhari. He also expressed optimism the southeast would clinch the presidency in 2023.
In Imo State, ripples from the primary had the party regretting an impending defection. State governor, Rochas Okorocha, had unsuccessfully tried to prop up his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, who is now reported though unofficially to have moved to another party.
In a statement, the state’s publicity secretary, Onwuasonya Jones, said: “The APC in Imo State is saddened by rumors that a number of our party leaders and members are on the verge of defecting from our great party. While we continue with our last-ditch efforts to see what we can rescue out of what is looking already like a very bad situation, we concede that losing these leaders and their followers to any other party will be a huge disaster to the APC in the state and will seriously endanger our chances of retaining the governorship of the state, which before now had seemed an assured outcome.”
In a related development, the Association of Registered APC Support Groups (APCSG) has vowed to ensure the re-election of Buhari.
The Leader of the group, Mr. Nonso Ezedinma, dismissed claims that about 60 support groups have left the party to join the PDP. According to him, the purported defection of some groups “was a sham, a charade and a cosmetic arrangement only made for the camera.”