It is shocking that rather than explain itself over the multiple crises it has engendered or has failed to respond to, or offer panaceas to these challenging troubles, desperate Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidates and spokesmen have stuck to the tactics of demonising the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the presidential election, Muhammadu Buhari, using all sorts of red herrings, abuses, foul temper to whip up hatred against the person of the APC candidate. We hereby alert the general public that that desperation will intensify as the PDP senses the increasing possibility of losing the elections by a wide margin and once again, urge the PDP to Honour the violence-free pact it recently signed by halting the violence in its statements.
One of the red herrings being projected by the PDP and its many hatchet writers in the media is the allegation of corruption and favouritism in the defunct Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) run by Gen Buhari under the Sani Abacha regime and a little after. The critics suggest the existence of dossiers and investigative reports supposedly indicting the APC candidate of unwholesome activities when he presided over the affairs of the agency. But a few days ago, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was supposed to have commissioned the investigation, disclosed that he was in possession of the report and nothing untoward was established against the APC candidate.
To the astonishment of all right thinking persons, the PDP has chosen not to believe in the authority of President Obasanjo who ordered the investigation and has final say on it but prefers to allege that the man who has the fact is dead! Can there be a worse tragicomedy than this? Who really is fooling who?
Similarly, PDP’s agents, and sometimes unfortunately too, President Goodluck Jonathan himself, continue to falsely accuse Gen Buhari of either inspiring the violent Boko Haram sect or conniving at their nefarious activities. Not only are the accusations not proven; not only is the fact that Muhammadu BUHARI’S convoy was attacked by the same sect deliberately ignored the PDP continues to emphasise them, as part of a plot to label the APC candidate as a violent man who has no streak of democracy in him.
It is true Gen Buhari ruled as a military head of state. But it must also be acknowledged that General Obasanjo also once ruled as a military head of state. Yet, that did not prevent the PDP from nominating and presenting him as its presidential candidate in 1999 and 2003 general elections.
Gen Buhari was himself a victim of Boko Haram attack, and has also lost some relatives to the sect’s violent activities. He has denounced the sect, and has signified his preparedness to take on the militants on a much firmer and intelligent basis than President Jonathan has done in four years. In addition, though his views accorded with military dictates when he was head of state, he has submitted himself without reservation to democratic dictates in the past decade as he ran and still runs for elected office. It does not bear repetition to say that no elected president could rule like a military leader, when the constitution is very clear on how democracy must be run and with what institutions that must be done. No elected president can suspend any of the institutions of democracy. we hereby assert with all authority and knowledge that we can muster, that a disciplined leader like Gen Buhari would never engage in the disingenuous and reckless abuse of state security institutions such as invasion of database offices of rival parties as President Jonathan has done.
It is clear that President Jonathan’s aides, ministers and hatchet writers base nearly all their accusations against Gen Buhari on his period as military head of state. They have nothing on him since then, except fishing for other commentators’ views on the retired general, views that were either politically inspired or else taken out of context. The PDP refuses to acknowledge that the times have changed, and that the dynamics of Nigerian politics and the grave challenges of the moment have made the APC candidate’s style, views and discipline precisely the pressing need of the moment.
One or two PDP ministers even suggested that because Gen Buhari cancelled the Lagos Metroline project in 1984, it proved he did not like the Yoruba. This is another desperate ploy to put a wedge between the Yoruba and the APC candidate, an ethnic ploy that has become the stock-in-trade of the PDP and President Jonathan.
The President must be sorely embarrassed to learn the true story as relayed by the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo a few days ago. The fact, according to the revered monarch, is that Buhari did not terminate the Metroline contract but demanded a comprehensive study of the contract and project to ensure that the Interest of the country was protected.
Today’s political and socio-economic needs are not the same as those of 30 years ago, which the PDP ministers and hatchet writers are mischievously emphasising. The nation was already suffering acute balance of trade crisis and the Shagari administration had introduced austerity measures. A new goverment determined to revive the economy needed to address the quality of government contracts.
The PDP spokesmen have also refused to focus on President Jonathan’s own appalling record on integrating the Yoruba into his government, an integration that he only half-heartedly and desultorily began when elections were around the corner.
It is surprising that the same critics and hatchet writers who claimed Gen Buhari targeted Yoruba politicians for extended incarceration after the coup of 1983 ignore the incarceration of Hausa/Fulani politicians. They also contradictorily accused him of attempting to crate a leading Hausa/Fulani and former National Party of Nigeria (NPN) politician from London to face charges in Nigeria, a fact derisively referred to by President Jonathan, when all along they had argued that he left politicians like him alone.
The fact is that President Jonathan’s mismanagement of inter-ethnic relations, a critical issue in a federal system like ours is the source of the tension that pervades the nation. We wish to draw the attention of Nigerians to the list of President Jonathan’s 109-member Presidential Campaign Council published yesterday and ask if any Yoruba person of substance is on the list. It says a lot about the anti-Yoruba sentiments of President Jonathan.
The fact is that the PDP has consistently avoided the main issues of this campaign. Apparently, it has no answers to them. The party prefers to focus on personal attacks, dreg up unsubstantiated records of the general during his military rule, make wild imputations of his motives, and label him atrociously in order to hang him. Nigerians, happily, have recognised that the country has little time left to tackle the grave economic collapse facing it, and the even more critical security challenges threatening the entire country. The country is rallying to the side of the APC, to the side of Gen Buhari, and to the side of posterity. This is an idea whose time has come, which no one can stop, not even with all the abuses possible and all the tendentiousness the PDP can muster.
DIRECTOR, STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS
BUHARI CAMPAIGN ORGANISATION