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    Govt, PDP row over ‘threat to democracy’


    The Federal Government yesterday expressed concern over the actions of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the February 23, 2019 presidential poll, Atiku Abubakar.

    Information, Culture & Tourism Minister Lai Mohammed who spoke for the government, also accused the opposition of doing everything possible to sabotage the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

    According to the minister, the opposition party has been overheating the polity before and after losing the presidential election to the All Progressives Party (APC), alleging that the party and its leaders seemed bent on making and the country ungovernable, especially through their utterances.

    Mohammed warned that “the way the opposition is carrying on poses great threat to the country’s democracy”, adding that such measures amount to desperation and self-help.

    Briefing State House reporters at the end the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, the former vice president urged the PDP and its leaders to retrace their steps before overreaching themselves.

    He said: “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.”

    The minister wondered why “a candidate who prides himself as a democrat could so allow desperation to becloud his sense of propriety to such an 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.

    “We want to urge the main opposition party to stop beating the drums of war and 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.”

    FORMER vice president and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the February 23 2019 presidential election Atiku Abubakar yesterday took exceptions to remarks of Information, Culture & Tourism Minister, Lai Mohammed.

    The minister told reporters that the PDP and its candidate have been beating war drums since they lost the presidential election to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

    But in a statement by his media aide, Paul Ibe, the former vice president said his attention was drawn to accusations by the Federal Government, that he has made treasonable statements.

    He said: “It is not surprising that such a despicable lie is emanating from Mr. Lai Mohammed, President Buhari’s aptly named Minister of Information.”

    The statement accused Mohammed of being clever by half by saying that ‘a candidate who prides himself as a democrat can so allow desperation to becloud his sense of propriety to such an extent that he will be associating with anti-democratic forces or making inflammatory statements’.

    It said: “Atiku Abubakar is a man of peace and a thoroughbred democrat. It is preposterous that those who threatened to ‘soak the dog and the baboon in blood’ are now audacious enough to point the finger at lifelong democrats…”






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