By EUCLID Myke, Abuja
The leadership of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has reacted to a statement credited to a former military head of state and presidential candidate of All Progressive Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, on the insinuation contained in his declaration that the Federal Government has failed in tackling the problem of insurgency and that he will end the scourge if he is elected President.
In a statement released by the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, he accused the former head of state of using tragic and dark moments in the nation’s history to score some cheap political points.
According to him, “It is unfortunate that General Buhari, being a former head of state, has continued to play politics with a very serious security challenge which has claimed the lives of many Nigerians by always trying to use the pains of the people to score cheap political points at a time all patriotic Nigerians are joining hands with government to look for solution.
“Rather than show patriotism by collaborating with the Federal Government, the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential aspirant prefers that the nation has no solution until the time he is able to step in as president with his “magic wand” to end the insurgency”.
The party spokesman insisted that by this very act, Gen. Buhari has shown insensitivity to the plight of the nation and has no genuine love and concern for the country but selfishness.
“Assuming without conceding that he has the solution to the problem, should Buhari as a prominent citizen not have put the country first before any selfish political agenda and personal aggrandizement?”
‘PDP maintains that Government has shown incontrovertible commitment to ending the insurgency by deploying troops and equipping the military who have continued to put their lives on the line in defence of our nation and her people, but this genuine efforts of President Jonathan has always been sabotaged by opposition leaders including General Buhari and they have continued to make statements that encourage insurgency which are capable of demoralizing and dividing our security agencies.”
He further said: “In the last four years, the Federal Government has deployed huge budgetary allocations towards the fight against terror. Our military, which has suffered years of neglect, is being re-equipped, care is being provided for victims and the displaced while advocacy, consultations as well as national and international collaborations, have been strengthened to find lasting solution to the challenge.
“In particular, our President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, has shown strength, commitment and character in taking decisions and steps that are salutary to ending the scourge despite the attempts to distract him by unpatriotic elements whose agenda is to destabilize and balkanize the nation as a means to achieve political control. His candor, humility and strict adherence to rules in the overall effort have been a source of strength for Nigerians and the principal factor for the sustained unity and stability of the nation.
“It is against this background that the PDP sees General Buhari’s declaration and the seeming self-indictment contained in the declaration as cheap politics, especially considering his antecedents and the disposition of his party, the APC, in promoting division among Nigerians and stocking the embers of violence and insurgency through series of sustained incendiary statements.”
Recalling how the General has tried to polarize the country, Metuh said, “It is on record that in April 2002, preparatory to the 2003 presidential elections, General Buhari urged that Muslims should vote only for Muslims. His statement, which targeted at the very heart of our unity as a nation also sought to promote our nation’s religious fault line as a basis for electing a President.
“A stunned nation watched General Buhari flag off his campaign in 2011 in Kaduna with the pen logo of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) held like a spear in his hands and during which he told his supporters to use it (pen) to pluck out the eyes of anybody that tampers with their votes.
“As if unmoved by the consequences of his utterances in 2011, General Buhari on May 14, 2012, invoked imagery of bloodshed ahead of 2015 elections while addressing members of his defunct CPC who visited him in Kaduna when he said ‘If what happened in 2011 (alleged rigging) should happen again in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon would be soaked in blood’.”
He insists that for General Buhari and the APC, election is rigged only if the APC loses but free and fair when they win.
While criticizing Government for not doing enough to crush insurgency, the same Buhari had in June 2, 2013 protested military crackdown on the insurgents. In an interview with LIBERTY FM, he lamented that Boko Haram members were being killed and their houses demolished unlike the “special treatment” given to the Niger Delta militants by the Federal Government.
“Seven days after, the National Publicity Secretary of APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in the same capacity for the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), issued a statement condemning the proscription of the Boko Haram sect as a “violation of the constitution.” The ACN opposed as offensive, Section 5 (1) of the order, which prescribes a term of imprisonment of not less than 20 years ‘for any person who knowingly, in any manner, directly or indirectly, solicits or renders support for the commission of an act of terrorism or to a terrorist group.”
According Metuh, the leadership of APC tends to celebrate attacks by insurgents aimed at brutalizing the citizens. This insinuation was collaborated by a founding chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande, who a few weeks back in a newspaper interview said that the “APC had a solution to Boko Haram but would keep it until they got to power”.
“It is indeed sad that General Buhari, who was once a military governor of the Northeast, which encompassed Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, has failed to use his connections there to assist and bring peace to the nation, which he desires to rule once more.”
Metuh maintains that a prominent Nigerian in the mold of General Buhari should not be playing politics with the destiny of a nation and the security of Nigerians.
“The PDP wishes to state without any equivocation that General Buhari has failed to articulate any vision to unite and prosper Nigeria since he came into politics. He has failed to show any commitment to the Nigerian project and the advancement of its cause as a nation state; instead, a sinister and divisive mission robed with an outdated fabled anti-corruption agenda is all that is being presented.
“Finally, we call on all Nigerians irrespective of their political leanings to unite behind our military in the war against terror. No time in the history of our country has there been a greater need than now for all Nigerians from all the corners of our great nation to act and display patriotism in actions and deeds. The time to show support and love for our soldiers and victims of the insurgents is now. Whenever you see a Nigerian soldier smile at him, tell him well-done and wish him well.
“A united Nigeria remains our only hope for individual and collective growth and greatness. We should not allow comments and statements based on the selfish interests of certain Nigerians to becloud our love for one another.
“Our President loves a united Nigeria; the leadership of our Party remains committed to strengthening our unity. We plead with the opposition to be more patriotic in their words and deeds. TOGETHER WE CAN ERADICATE INSURGENCY IN OUR BELOVED LAND.