The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday told President Muhammadu Buhari that bestowing a posthumous national award on the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election and democratic icon, Chief MKO Abiola, does not make him (Buhari) a democrat.
In a statement issued in Abuja by Kola Ologbondiyan, its National Publicity Secretary, the PDP however said it supportd in full, any honour done by the nation to the memory of Chief Abiola and all that he stood for, but rejected the inclination by President Buhari to use the occasion to posture as a democrat and desperately seeking to garner votes ahead of 2019 Presidential election.
According to the main opposition party, “this is because the Buhari Presidency has unapologetically violated and still violating, with gross impunity, all democratic tenets for which Chief Abiola suffered, died and is being honoured.”
It added: “Nigerians still hold that President Buhari has not considered it necessary to apologize for staging the military coup that destroyed democratic governance on December 31, 1983, suspended our 1979 Constitution, foisted siege mentality on Nigerians and set the stage for a long despotic military rule for which Chief Abiola, his dear wife, Kudirat and other democratic martyrs ended up paying the supreme sacrifice to restore.
“Rather than apologising for his roles in those dark ages, President Buhari recently boasted of violation of human rights during his regime as military head of state including locking up citizens in prison without trial; the same injustice which Chief Abiola later suffered under General Sani Abacha.
“This is a leader under whose current watch our democracy has been subjected to the worst kind of abuses as even documented by international bodies, including the United States Department of State, Amnesty International (AI) and Transparency International (TI).
“Chief Abiola, in his life time, stood for personal liberty of citizens, particularly, the right to aspire for any position; respect for constitutional order and principle of separation of powers, national cohesion as well as a free press, all of which were upheld by the PDP.
“It is however a notorious fact that all these freedoms are being trampled and strangulated under this Buhari Presidency, even as the national cohesion, which was the watershed of the June 12 election, is being daily assailed under the watch of President Buhari.”
While the PDP congratulated the family of late Chief Abiola and other martyrs of democracy, it said it remembered the roles of the late Senator Abraham Adesanya, Bagauda Khalto, Dan Suleiman, Raph Obiorah, Alex Ibru, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, Pa Ajayi Laniwun and a host of others, as well as the Management and Staff of the Concord, Guardian, Vanguard, Punch and other media houses, who suffered undue hardships for our nation to attain this democracy.
PDP therefore urged the Buhari Presidency to save the nation the international opprobrium of attempting to use the event for political capital and to posture President Buhari as a democrat, whereas his Presidency has an unparalleled disdain for democracy and democrats.
The party also lampooned the Buhari Presidency for appropriating the achievements of the National Assembly and listing them as those of President Buhari.
It said the recent attempt by the Buhari Presidency to ascribe credit to Mr. President for the recent amendments to the constitution, particularly the granting of financial autonomy to state assemblies and judiciaries, was despicable.
The party noted that neither the Presidency nor the President himself, made any input in support of these amendments.
It added: “Equally appalling is that the Presidency is still listing the passage of the ‘Not Too Young to Run’ law as an achievement of the President even when he had no input whatsoever in the initiative.
“It is instructive to note that none of the amendments stem from any executive bill and that the Buhari Presidency has never initiated any programme to enhance the course of governance in our country in the last three years.
“Furthermore, Nigerians already know that the Buhari administration has not implemented a single project or programme in any part of the country in the last three years of governance, but always resorting to lies, blame passing, beguilments, deception and contrivance.
“Instead of seeking ways to mitigate the situation, Mr President’s handlers are subjecting him to more public ridicule of commissioning projects executed by other leaders such as his embarrassing commissioning of a regular bus stop constructed by Lagos state and a water borehole in Jigawa while posturing for photo-ops to hoodwink Nigerians.
“In fact, this clear attempt by the Presidency to claim credit for the achievement of the National Assembly has further confirms PDP’s earlier alert to Nigerians of plans by the Presidency to dish out fictitious achievements and false performance indices to deceive Nigerians ahead of 2019 general election.”
The PDP however, commended the National Assembly and state houses of assembly for their resilience in enhancing our democratic practice as consolidated by successive PDP administrations, despite the unrelenting assault on the institution of the legislature by the Buhari administration.
The party charged the Buhari Presidency and “dysfunctional” All Progressives Congress (APC) to end their proclivity for deception as such gimmicks cannot save them in 2019.