The Presidency has advised Nigerians to be cautious of the “less-than-honest” apology offered by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party’s national chairman, Uche Secondus.
Secondus had apologised on behalf of the PDP for all wrongs committed by the party while it ruled Nigeria for 16 years.
The position of the Presidency on Friday reaffirmed an earlier reaction by the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, who said the PDP should complement its apology by returning all the funds looted from public treasury under its watch.
The statement, signed by President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu, said the point made by the Minister of Information, “is apt and on cue, that there are heavy moral duties that go with apologies if the culprits want to be taken seriously”.
The Presidency said PDP is desperate to recapture power because it no longer has unhindered access to national resources for private use and its apology should be seen in this context.
The government also said PDP had not even acknowledged the fact that it plundered the national economy.
“Even desperate thieves apologize because they are caught and not because they are incapable of repeating the crime if they had another opportunity,” the statement said.
“We believe that the PDP should not only apologize for the imposition of candidates, and the culture of impunity, but must also come clean and acknowledge that they participated in large scale corruption and massive diversions of public funds to private pockets while poverty was ravaging the ordinary Nigerians,” the Presidency said.
The government also challenged individual PDP leaders to publicly and voluntarily tell Nigerians how much they “stole” and then agree to cough up their illegal acquisitions of wealth if they want their apology to be taken seriously.
It said apology born out of desperation to recapture power without a desire to admit how much they stole and the reluctance to return the loot is morally hollow.
“This goes beyond rebranding. Nigerians are not interested in brands. They want their money back,” it said.
“For such apology to gain acceptance, the offenders must first of all show remorse; then return that which was unlawfully taken or restore the damage caused the nation; and commit to never doing the wrong they did again.
“The PDP has done none of these for them to be taken seriously by anyone,” the statement said.
The government also condemned PDP’s response to Mr. Mohammed’s statement.
It said instead of addressing the issues raised by the Minister, the PDP veered off to accuse the Buhari administration of borrowing money, “but failed, in that regard to admit that they borrowed to steal while Buhari administration is borrowing to set up long-delayed infrastructure”.
“They accused the President of unevenness, of inflaming ethnic and religious tensions, when it is on record that they gave this country its divisive president who chose the hallowed premises of places of worship to read important national statements.
“President Buhari never fails in his duty as the Chief Security Officer of the nation. He acts fast whenever and wherever there are incidents by ordering law-enforcement agencies to do their job and fact-finding mission to give him actionable reports,” the statement said.
It said PDP’s uncaring attitude to these matters, including the kidnapping of 270 girls from Chibok was the hallmark of the long years of misrule.
Another issue of moral and political significance, the statement said, is about the recent disclosure by U.S. investigators that the PDP government engaged in massive data theft that included the hacking of Candidate Muhammadu Buhari’s personal data before the last general elections.
It said PDP’s continued silence on this “reprehensible heist” only goes to confirm their remorselessness even as more and more facts are emerging that the same unfair method was the modus operandi that they used to capture political power in previous elections.