Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has called on the party to mobilise Nigerians to resist what he described as threat to the nation’s democracy, unity and development. Atiku spoke yesterday at the 87th emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party in Abuja.
The meeting, which was the first this year, was boycotted by 12 of PDP governors. Apart from Governors Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Adamu Fintiri (Adamawa) and Bello Mattawalla (Zamfara), all the other governors were absent. Also former President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, were absent at the meeting. Former Imo State Governor, Emeka Ihedioha, whose election was annulled by the Supreme Court on Tuesday, was, however, in attendance. PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, explained that the meeting was an emergency one, and that was the reason of the governors were absent.
“The meeting was called at a very short notice, to discuss national issues, so we don’t expect everybody to be here. We are impressed with the level of attendance,” Ologbondiyan said. Atiku in his remark at the meeting, said the party and Nigerians should not take what was happening in the country, for granted. “We should not take what has been happening in our democratic process – from the role of INEC, security agencies and the judiciary for, granted.
“If we take all these roles for granted, that will be the end of our hard earned struggle, including our founding members who are today not alive. What can we say we have done to their struggles as they lay in their graves? “Therefore, as long as we are alive, it is our responsibility to reincarnate the struggle they led that brought about the democracy of today that the APC governing party is threatening,” Atiku advised. The former vice-president noted that the PDP fought and brought democracy, which the All Progressives Congress (APC) wanted to truncate.
He said: “Our party governed very well from 1999 up to 2015. As true democrats, we conceded power to the opposition in the hope that it will further entrench democracy development and unity. But alas, Nigerians have been proved wrong by the governing APC.” He proposed that a strong committee be set up to review the performance of PDP in the last general elections and make recommendations to the party. Such recommendations, he added, would help PDP in the needed reforms, and address the challenges experienced during the election.
PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, regretted that all the efforts of the party to deepen and grow democracy in Nigeria for 16 years, were being squandered in APC’s 56 months reign. Secondus told party leaders that the National Working Committee (NWC) had demanded that the seven Supreme Court Justices that participated in the Imo State governorship judgement should recuse themselves from the remaining cases involving the PDP. “We know that the APC and President Buhari have taken our civility for weakness and inability to act.
“The Presidency has even abandoned governance amidst myriads of challenges in the land and prefers to be joining issues with us as main opposition party, a deliberate policy to divert attention from its inept leadership. “We have made it abundantly clear that since they have chosen to make injustice law using the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court, they should be ready to embrace the consequences of their actions,” he said. In a communiqué at end of the meeting, PDP noted “with pains, the gross abuse of the rule of law, the muzzling of the civil society and advocates of free speech as well as ordinary Nigerians.” It added that the Supreme Court by its judgement had eroded the faith and confidence, “which Nigerians have in participatory election thereby showcasing that there will be no need for election in the future.
“The PDP stands with the people of Imo State and Emeka Ihedioha, in all steps being taken to reverse this injustice and reclaim the governorship mandate stolen through the Supreme Court. “The PDP assures Nigerians that, our party, through all available constitutional and legitimate means, including civil disobedience, will insist that this government must respect the rule of law and desist from influencing the judiciary, INEC and security agencies.”