Last week’s allegation by the federal government that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, were planning to overthrow the President Muhammadu Buhari administration through a military coup is quite weighty thereby requiring thorough interrogation and investigation.
The allegation, which is tantamount to a treasonable felony attracting capital punishment if found to be true, must not be trivialised or treated with kid gloves as it is not only a threat to the nation’s evolving democracy but also its sovereignty.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who addressed State House Correspondents shortly after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Buhari in Abuja Wednesday, decried the development, insisting that the PDP and their proxies have already begun hatching the plot.
Mohammed, who declined questions from newsmen to offer clarification on the allegations, said: “The PDP and Atiku are doing everything possible to sabotage the Buhari administration and generally overheat the polity. They want to make Nigeria seemingly ungovernable, especially through their public utterances and their poorly-thought-out press statements before and after the 2019 general elections.”
While accusing the PDP and Atiku of desperation, he further alleged that already, a faceless group has emerged calling for overthrow of the government, describing it an egregious act of treason.
In his address titled: PDP’s Brand of Opposition Politics Poses Great Threat to Nigeria’s Democracy, he said the federal government strongly decried the increasingly unpatriotic and desperate opposition politics being played by the PDP, warning that such opposition could be toxic for the nation’s democracy, if unchecked.
“Never in the history of politics in Nigeria has an opposition party exhibited the kind of desperate tactics being deployed by the PDP and its flag-bearer, especially since President Buhari defeated Atiku in the 2019 presidential elections.
“For those who may accuse the government of crying wolf, the pre-election statement credited to the former vice-president, that unless Nigerians vote out the APC administration, herdsmen’s killings will continue and ultimately spark an irreversible ethno-religious crises, looks more like a Freudian slip than anything else,” he stated. “And either by coincidence or orchestration, a faceless group emerges from nowhere calling for an overthrow of a democratically-elected government, a totally egregious act of treason.
“It beggars belief that a candidate who prides himself as a democrat can so allow desperation to becloud his sense of propriety to such an extent that he will be associating with anti-democratic forces or making inflammatory statements.
“For acclaimed democrats, there are acceptable channels of seeking redress after an election defeat. Even President Buhari himself went to court three times to challenge election results. What is not acceptable is to either resort to self-help after an election defeat, or to embark on a journey of subterfuge and sabotage while also mounting a legal challenge or pretending to do so.
“Worst still, painting the judiciary bad for whatever reason is anti-democratic and unconscionable,” Mr Mohammed said.
The minister, therefore, urged the party to stop beating the drums of war and concentrate on the legal challenge by its candidate against the election of President Buhari, “if indeed they have any faith in the country’s judiciary, and desist from unnecessarily overheating the polity.”
Besides, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has condemned activities of some individuals allegedly circulating documents and calling for the overthrow of the Buhari administration. It said the sponsors of the document under the aegis of the Nigerian Continuity and Progress (NCP), never meant well for the country.
The oil workers, who described the act as attempted treason against the Nigerian State and the laws of the land, urged an urgent overhaul of the country’s security architecture to nip the dangerous phenomenon in the bud.
In a statement issued yesterday by its National President, Williams Akporeha, NUPENG said its leadership would not hesitate to mobilise its members and resources across the country to ensure that the nation’s democracy was protected against being truncated by some desperate individuals who do not wish Nigeria well. It expressed confidence that Nigeria’s democracy has come to stay and could no longer be threatened or usurped by military coup under whatever guise.
It is unfortunate that the PDP has found it increasingly difficult to adjust to its new role as an opposition party, having lost Nigeria’s central power to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015. The party’s perception of an opposition tends to lean towards aggression, sabotage and outright condemnation of all government’s policies, programmes and actions, irrespective of their propriety and relevance to the country and its people.
This module of opposition, in our view, smacks of lack of patriotism and exposes the party’s unbridled lust for power, which could be counter-productive, reprehensible and condemnable. It is, probably, this negative posture that cost the PDP the 2019 presidential election, which it lost to the APC.
We, therefore, advise the PDP, along with its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to exercise restraint during and after the proceedings in its petition, disputing President Buhari’s re-election at the tribunal. National cohesion, peace and tranquility supersede any parochial or partisan interest.