The public spat between the ruling APC and the opposition PDP has at last shifted to basic issues that affect the generality of the people rather the elitist squabbles over election tribunals, leadership of the National Assembly.
The recent disclosure by ex-National Security Adviser of the duplicity of Western powers in the country’s fight against Boko Haram and the secret visit by immediate past President Jonathan to President Muhammadu Buhari has given some fresh spark to the PDP/ APC near public face-off between the PDP and APC. Sambo Dasuki’s readiness to speak though to set the records straight was also part of a concerted efforts of some ostensibly targeted officials of the past regime to coordinate efforts to tackle the current regime, to according to a source completely rubbish the Jonathan administration with the aim to enforce alleged attempt to persecute them.
Though real aim of President Jonathan visit came with no clarification or disclosure, it was also not unconnected with the desire of the past administration to begin to claim some respect for its achievement in the midst of sustained efforts by the current regime to ‘paint everything done by it black as if government is no longer a continuum”, said a source.
First to fire the salvo was, as usual, the PDP with the governing APC sparing no loss in time to respond. This period, they argued on the direction of the party in power and its economic policies. While the PDP claimed that many of the projects and policies being executed by the governing party, the APC declared that it would not be distracted by the antics of the former ruling party.
The PDP, in a statement by its national spokesman Olisa Metuh, urged the APC to stop appropriating the achievements of past administration as theirs. In quick reaction, the APC’s spokesman, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the record of the PDP as the party in power for 16 years was so terrible that nobody in their right minds would want to copy what he described as the former administration’s discredited policies. The PDP stated: “For instance, how do we explain APC’s spirited effort to make the public believe that the equipping of the country’s military for the fights against insurgency; the turn-around of the nation’s oil refineries; and the polio-free certification of Nigeria were products of their government, even when it is common knowledge that they have not been able to find their bearing for governance since their election into office.”
“This is the first time since independence that our nation has stayed without a complete composition of government for three months. Unfortunately, the negative effect of this anomaly, which has taken a huge toll on the country’s economy and the welfare of Nigerians, will be with us in the coming years. “If the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki had not been bold enough to release those incontrovertible facts that the Goodluck Jonathan-led PDP administration actually fortified the country’s military before leaving office in May, the APC would have succeeded in its propaganda against that administration and led Nigerians to believe that the equipping was a product of President Buhari’s recent diplomatic shuttles.
“It is an clear fact that before the May 29 handover to the APC, the Nigerian armed forces, using these equipment sourced under the watch of the PDP government, had already pushed the insurgents to the verge of surrender in the Sambisa forest, only for them to now resurge under the APC-led government due to apparent lack of direction and confusion that have characterized this administration. “Likewise, informed Nigerians note with dismay how the APC administration has been celebrating the certification of Nigeria as polio-free in the last one year by the World Health Organization (WHO) without giving credit to the PDPled government under whose watch the feat was achieved.
“This government has positioned itself to claim credit for the turn around and resuscitation of some of the nation’s oil refineries without reference to the past administration that initiated and executed the Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) of the facilities years back, which dividends the nation now enjoys and which we expect will result in steady supply of petroleum products in our nation.
“While the PDP well understands the nervousness of the APC and its government in the challenge of fulfilling their bogus promises upon which they rode to power, such does not in any way rationalize the resort to deceit and flagrant appropriation of another’s achievements, a thing no serious, credible and honest government will do”, it said.
The PDP added that instead of trying to poach achievements to earn an undeserved praise, the APC and its government should brace up, articulate a precise economic policy, assemble an economic team and urgently commence the delivery of their promises for which they were voted. The party said it finds it unacceptable, nevertheless the reasons being adduced, for a government, in a democratic setting, to run for almost three months without a cabinet and any policy direction whatsoever.
“We express this concern against the backdrop of information that unpatriotic persons close to government are already hounding civil servants for inflated concessions, allocations, jobs and other favours being unduly granted, making the system fertile for heavy financial sleazes in the absence of appropriate statutory supervising officers.
“This is in addition to the avoidable economic downturn now manifesting in the abandonment of ongoing infrastructural projects, crippling of foreign and domestic investments and continued slide in the money and capital markets.
“Finally, we want to reiterate our earlier call on Nigerians to continue to pray for President Muhammadu Buhari, who for obvious reasons is surrounded by people whose divergent personal interests have become a huge burden on our dear nation, the integrity of this government, the health of our economy and sustenance of our democracy”, it declared.
But Mohammed, in a statement entitled: “Buhari Administration will not be deterred by orchestrated distractions,” declared that the “distractions being orchestrated by certain elements in the polity would not deter the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari from its avowed determination to rescue Nigeria from the clutches of those who are holding the country by the jugular.”
The party said that the people, “including fringe elements, who have frenetically engaged in fault finding with the Buhari Administration,” were those who either had skeletons in their cupboards or were acting at their behest, “for a fee.”
He continued: “These paranoid and skittish people daily run to the media to disparage the Buhari Administration. Grasping at their straws, they condemn and criticize everything from appointments to the war against corruption and the battle against insecurity, even though the party to which they belong had 16 years to make things right for Nigeria but chose to suck the country dry, enthrone insecurity and pauperize the citizenry. ”
Their design is simple: Make enough incoherent noise in the media with the hope that the Administration will be distracted. Unfortunately for them, they have failed in their evil machination, because this President can neither be deterred nor be distracted. While their dogs continue to bark, the caravan of the Buhari Administration proceeds on its steadfast journey.”
The APC said while a virile opposition is indispensable in any democracy that is worth its salt, no opposition can succeed by dwelling on the mundane or engaging in bare-faced lies, adding that only good research, strict adherence to the truth and a focus on real issues rather than frivolities can make the opposition relevant.
It wondered how the APC-led Federal Government can be blamed for the blatant refusal of the last Administration to adequately equip the military to confront the Boko Haram insurgency, when even an appointee of the Administration told the whole world that he was the head of a military that lacked the relevant equipment and motivation to fight an insurgency.
-Paul Yovo and Frances Moses reports on the behind scene manouvres in the unfolding spat between the ruling APC and the opposition PDP