John Alechenu and Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja
The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party has sent a petition to both the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, and German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, accusing President Muhammadu Buhari of disrespecting the judiciary.
It also accused the President and the Federal Government of engaging in what it described as impunity and other anti-democratic vices.
The National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, signed the party’s letters which were made available to journalists in Abuja on Tuesday.
In the letters, Secondus accused the Federal Government of using the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to intimidate the members of the opposition.
He also drew the attention of the two world leaders to President Buhari’s alleged brazen attack on the principle of rule of law.
The petition partly read, “Sadly, the unfettered freedom and respect for human dignity entrenched by our party has been eroded in the last three years of the current administration.
“An important institution like the EFCC, which was established by the PDP government under President Olusegun Obasanjo and graciously still supported by international friends of Nigeria, including the taxpayers of the European Union, to professionally deal with the scourge of corruption, has now lost its essence and original intentions of the founders to become the Buhari administration’s tool for persecution of opposition members and perceived political opponents.
“The EFCC, under this administration, has metamorphosed into a draconian agency, showing scant regard for the rule of law and respect for human rights.
“The commission has turned the process of investigation into a media event to embarrass and tarnish the image of key opposition figures and sub-national governments of the federation perceived to be averse to the whims and electoral interest of the ruling party.”
On the alleged steps taken by the Buhari administration against the judiciary and rule of law, the opposition party declared that “the recent outburst by President Buhari that he will jail more looters, created national outrage and concern about the role of the judiciary and respect of our institutions.”
He said, “Also, his recent declaration, at an event of the Nigerian Bar Association, that the rule of law will take second stage on issues involving alleged threat to national security, raises fresh concern about this administration’s attitude and respect for constitutional rule.
“These revealing statements from the President provide context for the treasonable attack, by armed operatives of the secret police, on the National Assembly, blocking members of the opposition from gaining access to their offices.
“It also explains the licence behind the continued unlawful detention of Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), a former National Security Adviser, against multiple court orders mandating his release as well as the documented cases of human right abuses, including arbitrary and extrajudicial executions, unlawful arrests and detentions, torture, impunity, restriction of free speech and press freedom as catalogued in the reports by the United States Department of States and other international agencies.”
He appealed to the two world leaders to prevail on President Buhari to move away from the path of what he called impunity and totalitarianism.
He said, “At this critical moment in Nigeria’s political development we cannot afford to revert to the impunity of governance that characterised our military past.
“We, therefore, enjoin you, Madam Prime Minister, to use your immense clout to impress on President Buhari and his administration to immediately retreat from the path of authoritarianism and embrace the ideals associated with a democracy.
“President Buhari’s antecedents and current flirtation with dictatorship should not be allowed to reverse the gains of liberal democracy to which the PDP and the UK are committed.
“Your intervention, at this time, will help Nigeria and indeed Africa to avert a looming crisis that will divide Nigeria along its emerging fault lines.”
Secondus also called on both leaders not to allow the President derail Nigeria’s democracy with his actions and utterances.
PDP is taking its pettiness to a ridiculous level – APC
But the All Progressives Congress has dismissed claims that the President Buhari-led APC administration is oppressive and promoting impunity.
The party said the letter by the PDP to the German Chancellor, making these allegations was unfortunate and unbecoming of an opposition party.
The Acting National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Yekini Nabena, said this in response to PDP’s claims.
He said, “It is unfortunate that the opposition party has taken its pettiness to an embarrassing level. They now say and write lies which they disguise as being in opposition.
“The whole world knows that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration has performed better than the PDP when it was in power. This administration respects the rights of Nigerians and would not do anything to the contrary.”
USIP report: PDP urges world leaders to caution Buhari, APC
However, the PDP charged Nigerians and the international community to hold President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress responsible, should there be violence ahead of the 2019 general elections or in the aftermath, as alerted by the United States Institute of Peace.
The party also urged world leaders and international bodies to immediately caution the Presidency and the APC, so that their alleged electoral desperation would not result in a large-scale political and humanitarian crisis in our country.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday that the independent report by USIP, which allegedly detailed the plots by the ruling party to “use intimidation tactics” in the electoral process, has vindicated the PDP stand that the APC has been stoking the embers of violence, having realised that Nigerians have rejected it and that it will lose in any credible, free and fair election.”
Ologbondiyan said, “The use of violence and intimidation by the APC in recent elections, including the Ekiti governorship election as well as recent bye-elections in Kogi, Bauchi and Katsina states, further validates USIP’s report on the violent proclivities of the APC.
“Besides, USIP’s direct caution to the Independent National Electoral Commission over its manifest credibility doubts to deliver credible election also places a huge moral burden on the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, given its exposed clandestine meetings between officials of the commission and some APC leaders on ways to rig the elections.
“While the PDP expresses worry over the desperation of the APC as reflected in the USIP report, our party calls on all Nigerians and friends of our nation to rally in unity against the machinations of the APC, a party that has shown itself to be against the unity and stability of our country.
“Moreover, Nigerians are already decisive on a peaceful and united country, where compatriots live harmoniously and will do all to resist the divisive machinations of the APC, particularly ahead of the 2019 general elections.”
Furthermore, he said both President Buhari and the APC should know that no amount of intimidation and harassment could break the will of Nigerians in their iron-cast resolve to allegedly rally on the platform of the PDP to free the nation “from the oppressive grips of the incompetent and anti-democratic Buhari-led APC administration.”
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