National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshimhole has lashed out at the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the latter’s threat to boycott the 2019, describing it as a non- issue.
The party said the opposition was being haunted by its past misdeeds where it treated electoral contest as a do-or-die.
The PDP, had last week, threatened to boycott the 2019 polls if the Independent National Electoral Commission and security agencies refuse to be neutral during the exercise.
“We are still contemplating on whether we will participate in the 2019 elections or not. We are yet to take a decision on this,” the party’s national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus issued the threat when a combined delegation of the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) paid him a visit at the party’s national secretariat.
But speaking on Saturday night at the party headquarters in Abuja while receiving report of the Osun state APC governorship primary election, Oshiomhole described the PDP threat as akin to that of “a rabbit jumping out of a hole in the afternoon because a hunter has come to put fire to smoke it out.
“We know that it has already seen its end. So, I think that they are haunted by own forces and because they have taken election matters as if it is a do-or-die (affair) and they perfected the language of ‘rig them out and let them go to court.’ Now, their rigging machine has been destroyed, how can they survive without it?”
Oshiomhole, who insisted that the APC will not be intimidated by the PDP threat, said the ruling party is committed to the sustenance of democracy and the sanity of one man, one vote.
He also boasted that if the APC could defeat the PDP while it still held power in 2015, it can repeat the feat now that PDP is out of office and divided.
“We are not like them; we have worked hard to defeat the PDP. If we were able to defeat the PDP while they were in power, when they do not have factions, when all the founding fathers and founding mothers were in the house, we defeated them and the Nigerian people rejected them on account of 16 years of absolute misrule at the peak of our prosperity as a nation. If with all those huge revenues that accrued to them people still complain of bad rule, whether from the North or South, they have nothing new to offer Nigerians.
“The glue that held them together which was cheap money from the federal treasury has been cut off. What they now have, they will be chewing all day, all night and that it is almost three and half years they were out of power, now they are worried how they can sustain power.
“Let me tell them, nobody can threaten democracy, Nigerians have accepted it, they bought into it, they have shown their believe in it by the sheer number of people that voted the last time and the campaigns you have seen. This has shown that beyond political parties, Nigerians are committed to the sustenance of democracy.
“This democracy is not at the mercy of any particular political party. We will not be intimidated and we are committed to one man, one vote, we will sustain it. That is the way to go,” he said.
While commenting on the outcome of Osun governorship primary election, Oshiomhole said he was very excited at the success recorded by the party in the use of direct voting method.
He, however, said any of the aspirants who is not satisfied with the outcome, has the opportunity to present such complaint before a three- man appeal panel on beginning sitting on Monday.
According to the APC chairman, over 200,000 party members participated in the exercise, adding that there is every likelihood that these party men will act as canvassers and campaign for the party’s candidate for him to emerge victorious.
“We will try as much as to build this flexibility and where we think it is necessary, we will not hesitate to apply the direct primary. Our message to PDP is that because we do not have a ringing machine, the only thing we have is to use persuasion to convince our people to vote for us,” he said.
Yari speaks on exercise
In his short remark, chairman of the primary election committee and Governor of Zamfara state, Abdulaziz Yari, said the winner of the governorship primary, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola polled 127,017 to pick the ticket.
Yari almost shocked everyone in the hall when he confessed that he didn’t quite understand direct primary method until he got more clarifications about it.
The governor, however, recommended the adoption of the direct primaries to other states and political parties based on the success recorded in Osun state.
Apart from being cost-effective, Yari said the method is very beneficial to the party in the sense that it serves the dual purpose of also mobilising party faithful for election.
Yari explained that the reason his committee had to rush back to Abuja to submit its report at the weekend was to enable the party beat the deadline of submitting the candidate’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday.
‘We won’t succumb to APC’s ‘carrots’
Meanwhile, the National Publicity Secretary of the Reformed All Progressives Congress (r APC), Kassim Afegbua, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari and his party to stop wasting their time by dangling ‘carrots’ at the group’s leaders in a bid to woo them back into their fold, saying that the move is coming too late.
In a statement titled: “Dangling juicy carrots won’t help,” issued yesterday in Abuja, Afegbua insisted that the moves being made by both President Buhari and Comrade Oshiomhole is coming too late.
He also advised those being approached with juicy offers, such as the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, against taking the words of the President and the leadership of the APC serious.
Afegbua, who served as commissioner under Oshiomhole administration in Edo state, expressed shock that his erstwhile boss could approach the leadership of the r-APC, not long after he had dismissed them as political lightweights.
The statement read in part: “We members of the r-APC find it very amusing that those who boasted that they won’t lose sleep over our altruistic action, have been hopping from door to door pleading with our members not to leave by dangling juicy carrots and promising them heaven and earth.
“Such level of double standard is the reason why the r-APC was birthed in the first place because the leadership is not one that keeps promises and it’s the reason why no one should take the APC serious.
“It is interesting to suddenly see Mr. President holding meetings with the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and, reportedly promising mouth-watering offers. This is the same leader who was ridiculed, scandalized, demonized, criminalized and called all sorts of names by agents of the Presidency just to give the Senate President a bad name in order to hang him.
“As soon as the Supreme Court gave a resounding verdict on the trumped-up and frivolous charges against the Senate President, Mr. President suddenly felt a need to praise the judiciary for standing on its own. Hmm, power as they truly say, must be a crazy aphrodisiac.”
Baraje backs rAPC
Speaking in the same vein, former Chairman of the newPDP, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, also said the overtures being made to Saraki to prevent him and his supporters form dumping the ruling party were too late.
Baraje, who spoke to journalists in Ilorin, Kwara state, expressed surprise and shock at the desperation of the APC to woo the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and other aggrieved members of the party.
He said the ‘juicy positions’ being promised Saraki and others were coming rather late, describing the present time as “eve of the 2019 general elections.”
Reacting to media reports on plan by Presidency to offer the Senate President and others ‘juicy positions’ to stop them from defecting to other political parties, Baraje said, though he was not aware of such offer, but wondered why such offer would be coming after three years in office of the APC-led government.
“As far as I know, there is no juicy position that can replace the kind of embarrassment, debasement and horrifying experiences many of us have suffered and gone through in the hands of some few mischievous members of the APC. It’s quite unfortunate,” he added.
Baraje disclosed that as far as he and his supporters and followers were concerned, they have taken a decision and they are about to reach the final stage of such decision.
According to him, “if the Senate President feels it is fit for him to stay back, all is well and good. But the Senate President as a leader also has his supporters and followers and if they have decided to leave the party, I don’t know what he (Saraki) will still is doing behind.
“The followers of the Senate President, particularly from Kwara state and across the country, have already resolved to leave the APC with or without Saraki. So, it is now left for the Senate President to take a decision more so that he is an experienced and a seasoned politician.”
But amidst all this, the opposition believes the duo of Oshiomhole and Buhari are jittery over the mega coalition between the PDP and 38 other political interests.
The party, in a statement yesterday by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, noted that, “Oshiomhole’s resort to insults betrays the confusion of a depressed politician seeking to cover his personal vacuity and inner fears of the inevitable defeat awaiting President Muhammadu Buhari and his dysfunctional APC in 2019.”
“The PDP holds nothing but pity for Oshiomhole, who is now licking his own vomit by going around cap in hand and begging the same compatriots whom he earlier called names like ‘inconsequential’, ‘hungry birds’ and ‘tired feet’, not to leave his sinking party.
“Unfortunately for Oshiomhole and his presidential sponsor, events of the weeks ahead will clear all doubts that APC is dead and that Oshiomhole is just an undertaker, whose job is to cremate the derelict contraption by oppressors, who are falsely hailing themselves as messiahs.
“What Oshiomhole and President Buhari, in their fantasy trip, fail to understand is that those they seek to draw into the cave are already aware of the story of the sick lion and that all animals that went visiting never returned. They know that the tiger does not offer his back for a ride without a price.
“While we understand Oshiomhole’s frustration over his inability to stop the coalition, the fact remains that he and President Buhari are fighting a lost battle in trying to destroy it,” the party further added.
Continuing, Ologbondiyan also explained that, “Nigerians have already reached a consensus to coalesce and vote-out President Buhari come 2019 and replace him with a more competent, pan-Nigerian President. No amount of intimidation, threats, violence or even enticement of any kind can change this iron-cast resolve.”