Barely five days after President Muhammadu Buhari was booed by some lawmakers during the presentation of the 2019 budget before the joint session of the National Assembly, the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) Presidential Campaign Organisation (PPCO) has alleged a plot by the presidency to arrest the lawmakers.
Addressing newsmen on Sunday in Abuja, one of the spokespersons of PPCO, Buba Galadima, said they had it on good authority that the presidency was taking the names of those who supposedly booed the president in order to send either the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or the police after them.
Galadima said: “We learnt under an impeccable authority that some of his close aides are meeting and taking names of those who supposedly booed the president. Whether to frame them, either with the EFCC or ask the police to invite them, I don’t know.
“They can’t arrest any parliamentarian for booing the president on what he thinks is correct. That the president misrepresented what has happened in his or her constituency. They should be careful with what they are trying to do, because what they are planning to do, whether the president knows or he doesn’t know, will affect the 2019 general elections.
“Therefore, it is not out of place for members of the National Assembly and for all of you to know that there is a parliamentary immunity.
“That if members are within that hallow chamber, they can say anything and it will not offend any law. In fact, they cannot even be tried in the court of law for what they say in the National Assembly chambers.
“He has no authority whatsoever, or his agents – whether EFCC, ICPC, police, and DSS – to accost any parliamentarian for having booed the president for what he read out on the floor of the National Assembly.”
Reacting to the acclaimed achievements of President Buhari, in his budget presentation, Galadima, who is still the Chairman of Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC), said 90 percent of what the president rolled out as his achievements were false.
“What the president read out as achievement was absolute trash, absolute falsehood – they were absolute misrepresentation of facts. By now, we must have seen that 90% of what he called achievements were really not true.
“It is unfortunate that the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a person that cannot check his facts. He has no way of finding out what is the truth.
“Whatever is given to him by his subordinates, the president takes it hook, line, and sinker and rolls them out to the public. This calls his integrity to question,” he said.
Also reacting to the reports that Farmers Association of Nigeria and Fertiliser Association have contributed money to the campaign purse of President Buhari, Galadima called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to disqualify the president.
He added that the figure of farmers released was not true, that the farmers were not up to three million.
Recall that it was reported that farmers donated N1.2 billion, while the fertiliser association donated N1.7 billion.
Galadima said: “We also read in the national dailies that the Farmers’ Association of Nigeria had contributed 100 hundred thousand naira each to the re-election of Mr. President.
“This is unlawful, cannot be justified in any court of law. If it is true, this is against the Electoral Act, because in the Electoral Act, whoever does business with government cannot contribute to the election of that government. It is against the law.
“Those who made that contribution and those who received the contribution should be called to book and be arraigned before the appropriate court of law.
“I am a farmer, one of the largest farmers in Nigeria. Around me are also farmers with large investment. We have never sat down as members of Farmers Association of Nigeria and taken a decision that we are supporting President Muhammadu Buhari candidature for a second term in office.
“Therefore, I want to assume that whatever they said about this is a lie. But if is not a lie, then it is against the Electoral Act. This now calls for the disqualification of President Muhammadu Buhari as a candidate for the 2019 presidential election.”
In the meantime, another spokesperson of the PDP Campaign Organisation, Prince Kassim Afegbua, in a statement, said the All Progressives Congress (APC) was hawking the 2019 presidency.
He said, “In its desperation to hang on to power despite its abysmal failure so far, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the presidency have resorted to trading with the lure of 2023 presidency, promising both the South-East and South-West respectively of the 2023 presidency in exchange for votes.
“Giving out two promises has exposed the insincerity and dubious intention of the Buhari-led Federal Government with the people of the South-East and South-West geopolitical zones with empty promises of bequeathing power to the two zones at the same time in 2023. This is why Nigerians cannot take the APC and the Buhari presidency serious any longer, as we prepare for the 2019 election.”
Afegbua said on behalf of President Buhari in Owerri, last week, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, told the APC campaign that the president would hand over the reins of power to a South-Easterner, while calling on the people to support Mr. President.
“Meanwhile, the vice president also told leaders of the South-West to support the re-election of President Buhari so as to get the presidency in 2023.
“Two principal officers of the same government cannot be fooling Nigerians with vainglorious promises all in the name of re-election.
“Such discordant tunes by the first and second citizens of our dear country have exposed lack of synergy, and display of double standard and double-speak by chieftains of a government that have continued to display wanton desperation to hold on to power at all cost in the face of monumental failure.
“How can the president be promising South-Easterners the presidency when his vice president is also promising the South-Westerners same position in 2023, all in the name of 2019 re-election? This is a clear show of deceit, desperation, crass insincerity and hypocrisy of the highest order.”
Meanwhile, PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation (PPCO) has advised Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Sunday to wake up from his pipe dream of becoming the president of Nigeria in 2023.
The campaign organisation, which said President Muhammadu Buhari would be voted out of office in February 2019, added that it was laughable that Prof. Osinbajo was swimming in wishful thinking, even when it had become obvious that he and President Buhari would no longer have any political relevance after May 29, 2019.
The PPCO, in a statement by its Director, Media & Publicity, Kola Ologbondiyan, pointed out that it was obvious that they were not coming back, given their dismal performance in an administration that was reputed as the worst, the most corrupt, and the most abhorred in the history of Nigeria.
“Is it not ludicrous that Prof. Osinbajo thinks he can sweet-talk and cajole the people of the South-West to shed their already established support for PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, when they are the worst hit by his poor showing in the incompetent Buhari administration, particularly, as the head of the failed economic team that plunged our economy into recession?
“Our ambitious vice president in his political hallucination has failed to realise that the South-West is politically sophisticated and cannot fall for his gimmicks and self-serving venture.
“What should rather occupy Prof. Osinbajo’s mind, now that it is clear that he is leaving office in May 2019 is how to answer for the mindless looting of our patrimony, particularly the alleged looting of huge part of the N33 billion meant for food and welfare of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the North-East, while he was acting president in 2017.
“Prof. Osinbajo should be getting ready with answers to the alleged diversion of huge funds in kickbacks on the ‘tradermoni’ scheme, as well as the alleged looting of emergency funds in the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to finance the wasteful lifestyle of APC leaders and his benefactors.
“Furthermore, our dear vice president, as a preacher and professor of law, should be ready to explain why he has not been outspoken against the killings and bloodletting in the country, the unending repression, human rights violations, disobedience to court orders, crass nepotism, killing of our soldiers and humongous corruption in the government he features prominently,” the campaign organisation said.
The PPCO described as unfortunate and completely appalling that Osinbajo had no concern about the plight and sufferings of Nigerians under President Buhari and that he wanted them to continue to suffer for another four years, just for him to achieve his unattainable personal ambition of being a president.
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said on Sunday that there was urgent need for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make its Situation Room available to both local and foreign observers so they could monitor the inflow of results nationwide.
Speaking with journalists in Lagos, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, said the call became necessary owing to the developments that played out during the last governorship election which was won by the All Progressives Congress (APC) after the election went into a rerun.
According to him, having monitored the election from their Situation Room and realising that the PDP was having the upper hand, INEC manipulated the results and declared the election inconclusive.
“We want independent observers to be present in INEC situation room so they can monitor the inflows of results.
“From information available to the PDP, what happened in Osun State was monitored from their situation room.
“When they discovered that APC was losing, they manipulated the process and declared the election inconclusive.
“There is no way they could have done that in the presence of local and foreign observers.
“So, what we are saying is that we should make the situation room open to everybody or wherever the transmission is going to occur, let it be open to observers and let them participate in the process so that it can be seen that the process is not being manipulated in favour of the ruling party.”
The party also said it was rejecting the extension of the tenure of the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, saying President Muhammadu Buhari was plotting to use him to rig the 2019 elections in APC’s favour.
Citing what happened during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s tenure, the party said there were pressures on Jonathan to extend the tenure of the then IGP, Mohammed Dikko Abubakar, but he rejected it and appointed Suleiman Abba in his place.
“We are rejecting the tenure extension of the current IGP because we believe that he will be used by the APC to rig the 2019 elections.
“We believe that what is honourable is for him to finish his tenure and leave. We are also calling on him to ensure that he insulates the Nigerian police from partisanship and leave a legacy that Nigerians will remember him for,” the party said.
However, when contacted, Rotimi Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, declined to comment on the issue, saying he would need approval to do so.
“No comment for now,” he said.