The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has said that the unfolding events in the polity, particularly the alleged deliberate infractions and crass abuse of power by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) Federal Government, showed that the nation was sliding into fascism and official terrorism.
This came in reaction to the order by the Code of Conduct Tribunal for the arrest of Senate President Bukola Saraki over alleged false declaration of assets.
According to a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, the PDP expressed worry over the “relentless onslaught against democratic institutions, especially the growing tension trailing the quest to annex the National Assembly; for which the Presidency had since vowed not to recognize the current Senate leadership, in total disdain to the independence of the legislature and the principle of separation of powers”.
The Code of Conduct Tribunal which commenced the trial of Senate President on Friday for alleged false declaration of assets had ordered the Inspector General of Police to arrest and produce Saraki before it on Monday for failing to appear before the tribunal.
However, the Police yesterday said it was yet to receive the warrant of arrest issued by the Code of Conduct Bureau.
“All I can tell you now is that the Police has yet to get the Warrant of Arrest, and it’s obvious that since this is weekend, there is nothing we can do until court begins sitting next week,” Force Spokesperson, Olabisi Kolawole, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, told Thisday on phone.
PDP in its statement maintained that President Buhari’s government had exhibited trappings of despotism, including “ruling without a constitutional component of a cabinet, persistent abuse of power, undermining of democratic institutions, invasion of state government and personal houses, injecting confusion into the judiciary and hounding of individuals perceived to be against its interests”.
The party therefore called on the international community and the civil society to note that “our nation is facing a defining moment for the survival of democracy”, adding that “Nigeria has come to a point where citizens, irrespective of political affiliations, can no longer freely express their views. We have fast descended from an environment of personal freedom and rule of law to an environment of muffled voices and suppression.”
“Whereas the PDP totally supports the fight against corruption, while reposing confidence in the judiciary to protect and preserve its sanctity, we note with grave concern, the politically induced controversies within the judiciary, as a result of the part being played by agents of the executive, especially the question of due process with respect to the roles statutorily vested on the person of an Attorney-General, who is yet to be appointed, regarding proceedings in the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
“We note this dangerous trend because the Presidency and the APC have not hidden their aversion to the election of Senators Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu as Senate President and Deputy Senate President respectively, even as the fact of various moves to oust them from office, including the recent unsubstantiated allegations of forgery and harassment by the federal controlled security agencies are in the public domain.”
“Also, similar machineries have been activated for possible forceful takeover of PDP states, a plot which played out in the recent act of terrorism against democracy, in the invasion of Akwa-Ibom state government house by the Department of State Services (DSS), under the direct instructions from the Presidency.
“We also recall July reprehensible invasion and sealing of Rivers local councils by the Police, who also barred members of caretaker committees that were duly appointed by the state government to take charge of the councils.
“The erosion of personal freedom of citizen also came to public glare in the invasion of the home of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki, against constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights and the rule of law.
“Furthermore, Nigerians are witness to the undue interferences of the Department of State Services in the activities of election tribunals in PDP controlled states of Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Delta, Abia, Taraba and others where electoral officers are being harassed, intimidated and detained, ostensibly to influence judgments against the PDP.
“We recall the show of intolerance in the venom and disparagement with which the APC-led administration in August, attacked our highly revered national leaders in the National Peace Committee, which has as members, former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, respected clerics; Archbishop John Onaiyekan and Bishop Matthew Hassan Kuka, retired justices of superior records, as well as other highly respected patriotic Nigerians, for daring to counsel Buhari’s government on some observed undemocratic tendencies and processes.
“It is therefore a mockery of reasoning for President Buhari to use choice words to condemn the coup in Burkina Faso whilst his government engages in brazen contravention of our own constitution, a development that is clearly derailing Nigeria from the path of order, democracy and constitutionalism.
“It is hence only appropriate that the President is called upon to focus on restoring proper democracy in Nigeria and end this drift towards dictatorship under the “new Sheriff’, an ominous undemocratic nomenclature introduced into our political space by the Presidency.”
In a swift reaction, the APC said: “the long-winding sophistry about the rule of law, democracy and personal freedoms is aimed at couching the PDP’s abhorrence and disdain for the fight against corruption in democratic cliches, especially now that the battle is gradually hitting the PDP where it hurts.”
The ruling party described the PDP statement as “a thinly-veiled frontal assault on the relentless efforts of the Buhari Administration’s to clean the Augean Stable of the last PDP Federal Government,” APC in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said PDP’s statement was nothing but an unabashed support for impunity and corruption, adding that the party “has now confirmed itself as the official ‘poster boy’ for corruption in Nigeria.”
“For the PDP’s National Publicity Secretary himself, the persistent onslaught against the Buhari Administration is neither altruistic nor informed by any belief in higher values, ”because the allegations of corruption hanging on his own neck, from within his own party, is a clear indication that he is mortally afraid that the wind will soon blow hard enough to expose the fowl’s rump.
“Neither the PDP as a party nor its spokesman have the moral authority to condemn anyone, least of all a President that is working hard to rescue Nigeria from the abyss to which it has been plunged by the former ruling party.
“For the PDP to brush aside the latest revelation that a government it sired could not account for $700 million from the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), or the fact that the party could not account for billions of Naira in its own campaign funds, and then launch a frontal attack against a reformist government, is the height of shamelessness,” the APC said.