The Federal Government has kicked against the letter of Peoples Democracy Party (PDP) accusing President Muhammadu Buhari of using the electoral and security agencies to "truncate" the country’s democracy.
In the letter, signed by the National Chairman of PDP and addressed to the Secretary General of United Nations, Antonio Guterres, PDP also held the President responsible for the killings by herdsmen.
“We decry this raging intimidation of our party officials, members and supporters and call on the United Nations and the international community to stand up and condemn this drift towards stone-age despotism," PDP said in its petition. "Nigeria is a democratic state and we reject any attempt by anybody to suppress the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the people, particularly, regarding the choice of how they should be governed."
Responding to some of the allegations, the Federal Government accused PDP of being a sour loser, and of desperation to return to power after “failing the nation and its people”.
In a statement signed by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to President on Media and Publicity, the Federal Government said PDP lacks the antecedent to lecture the ruling party on democracy and rule of law, adding that PDP “humiliated” and “stunted” the growth of APC when the latter was in the opposition.
The statement reads: “PDP’s lecture on democracy and the rule of law coming from a party with a tradition of undemocratic rule is a desperate attempt to pervert history and the course of justice. The sermon, is both trite and hollow, coming from a party with intolerance for dissent as its hallmark. A party that humiliated opposition parties and stunted their growth. This was the atmosphere that nurtured the birth of the All Progressives Congress (APC.)
“The war against corruption, for which many more politicians may soon be docked, cannot be misrepresented as an attack on human rights and Mr. Secondus should not try to mislead the UN. Nigerian politicians at all levels have been used to dispensing with state funds in whatever manner they please, and to have someone, an administration, finally saying, 'No. It doesn’t matter how big or important you think you are; the law must come against you...' That is not something they are used to at all. For the PDP, as has now emerged, national security was the major source of their funding.
“The PDP Chairman and all other politicians against whom the country’s anti-corruption agencies have on-going investigations, should be assured that it is only a matter of time before the law catches up with them, and makes them pay for the grief their mismanagement of the past has caused, and is still causing Nigerians. Nigerians suffered because of the poison sowed by the PDP.
“If the public were privy to some of the facts and figures on corruption that President Buhari and the anti-corruption agencies are, they would understand the passion that drives the determination to nail these callous men and stop them in their corrupt tracks.”
Mr. Shehu also decried the accusation that President Buhari is behind the spate of herdsmen and farmer clashes in the Middle Belt of Nigeria, saying it is an argument from “beer parlours of Nigeria” and unworthy of “an international body like the UN”.
“The PDP certainly has no shred of evidence to make such an allegation. These are comments driven by tribalism and that age-old trick of balkanisation in a bid to score political points. This should not surprise anyone given the politics of anger, violence and polarisation that are the stock-in-trade of the PDP," Shehu said.
“The various lengths to which President Buhari has gone to end the spate of killings, such as mobilising state resources against the attackers, approving the setting up of new police and army formations in the affected areas, and the recruitment of thousands into the police and other arms of the military, are a few of the several steps taken which a more reasonable opposition will acknowledge.
“What can President Buhari possibly gain from the killings? There is no intelligent angle from which you analyse the matter and see any possible gain for this government in the wanton destruction of life and property going on. For the “new” PDP leadership on the other hand, incapable of thinking big about the nation, they see and treat the unfortunate spate of killing of innocent Nigerians as political gift, about which they seem very happy to cite as the basis for a return to power. They feel bad at every turn the country improves, which is beyond comprehension. They should bury their heads in shame."