The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of threatening former Vice President Atiku Abubakar because the defence of the ruling party and President Buhari at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal was allegedly collapsing.
The opposition party in a statement took exception to the governing party’s reaction to a statement made by Atiku calling for the implementation of electoral reforms.
In the statement signed by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP scolded the APC for warning Atiku against making comments on the state of the nation and also seeing his “patriotic” reactions to pressing national issues as to a felony.
The PDP emphatically stated that the comments of its presidential candidate in the February 2019 election on national issues have been patriotic and within his constitutional right of freedom of speech, not only as a citizen of this Federal Republic, but also a former Vice President, as well as a leader and Presidential candidate of the PDP, “the party that commands the followership and solidarity of overwhelming majority of Nigerians.“
The statement added:“As a responsible political party, we boldly state that none of the statements made by our presidential candidate falls within the realm of a felony in any way whatsoever.
However, intelligence available to the PDP largely posits that the threats against Atiku Abubakar emanated from certain persons around the Buhari Presidency who are jittery that President Buhari’s defence is collapsing at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, for which they have become desperate to use underhand methods to stop Atiku Abubakar.”
The PDP invited Nigerians to note that the renewed allegations against Atiku Abubakar came after a witness told the court, as has been publicly reported, that the Army never required any enlisted officer to submit his WAEC certificate, in total contradiction to claims that Mr. President’s certificates were in the custody of the Army.
It added: “Our party counsels the APC to rather get ready for justice instead of seeking ways to frame Atiku Abubakar on flimsy and unconstitutional grounds. Moreover, the APC is reminded that while the PDP was in power, it never gagged the APC and its leaders, including President Buhari, from exercising their freedom of speech and freedom after the speech, in line with our laws.
“We note that General Muhammadu Buhari issued over 160 statements while he was in the opposition, including inflammatory remarks like the one that called on his supporters to take their fate in their own hands. It is instructive to note that none of the PDP administrations threatened General Buhari over such comments.