PDP reports Buhari to international community over alleged rights abuses
Accuses President of nepotism, selective anti-corruption war
LEADERS and stakeholders in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rose from a conference in Abuja yesterday drawing the attention of the international community to what it called “the growing impunity, abuse of power, constitution infractions, violation of human rights, selective war against corruption” of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
The party also accused the President of nepotism and serious acts of authoritarianism which it noted was ruining the country’s democracy.
In a 12-point communique signed by the national secretary, Adewale Oladipo, the party , among others, condemned “in strongest terms the growing authoritarianism of the APC-led Federal Government which has been characterised by gross violation of human rights, constitutional infractions, invasion of a governor’s lodge and private homes, deliberate interference and instigation of crisis in the legislature, arm-twisting of the judiciary, undermining of democratic institutions like Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), nepotism in appointments, abuse of power and clamp down on opposition elements.
“We call on the international community to note the growing impunity, abuse of power, constitution infractions, violation of human rights, selective war against corruption, clamp down on the opposition, divisiveness and overall high-handedness; tendencies that pose great threat to our democracy and unity as a nation.”
The conference which was held in the absence of former President Goodluck Jonathan also encouraged the party to continue to deliver sound and qualitative opposition to the APC government to achieve good governance.
It also “resolved to implement the recommendations of the PDP-Post Election Review Committee Report, especially those relating to zoning, internal democracy, e-registration and the restructuring of the party at all levels with a view to giving the party back to the rightful owners – the people.
The PDP also “denounced the prevailing selective application in the fight against corruption targeted at opposition elements and perceived opponents of the regime, while APC members with corruption charges are being rewarded with ministerial positions and other juicy appointments as well as APC tickets in the forthcoming governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.”
The party also said it “vehemently rejected the current manipulation of the judiciary and security forces by the APC-led Federal Government in its desperate bid to subvert the sovereign will of the people and forcefully take over states genuinely won by the PDP in the last general elections and ultimately impose a one-party state in Nigeria.”
Other aspects of the communiqué showed that the party “charged the new INEC leadership to assert the independence of the electoral body, resist all external influences and ensure free, fair and credible electoral process in Kogi and Bayelsa states and other future elections, as the PDP will not accept any results that do not reflect the true wishes and aspirations of the people, particularly in Kogi and Bayelsa states.”
Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who was the chairman of the conference called on PDP faithful to hold the APC-led Federal Government accountable on its campaign promises, recalling that “even during military rule, the PDP founding fathers under the aegis of the G34,“looked tyranny in the face and demanded a return to democratic rule.
“Looking at the way our country is being run by the APC-led Federal Government today, it is safe to say that we are back in the trenches for democracy because credible and responsible opposition is an essential, indeed indispensable component of thriving democracy and good governance.
“The ruling party must always be put at the mercy of the truth, for the job of the opposition is to confront errors with the truth; to stand up for what is right; to offer constructive criticisms of the follies and errors of the ruling party; and to proffer better ideas for moving the nation forward.”
Regretting that the APC was yet to keep any of its campaign promises, Ekweremadu added: “As could be seen from the events of the past few months, it is evident that while a party may ride to power on the wings of propaganda, it takes more than propaganda to govern well and retain goodwill.
The APC won by promising much more than they could deliver. They promised to scale up the exchange rate of our currency to a naira to one US Dollar. Have they kept this promise? They promised to bring back the Chibok Girls in less than three months. Have they brought back the Chibok Girls? They promised to pay N5,000 to unemployed youths. Have they paid a kobo to any youth? They promised free meals to our children in the schools. Have they given any? They recently promised to end the Boko Haram insurgency in December 2015. We earnestly hope and pray that this particular promise is kept in the overall interest of our nation.
PDP governors’ forum led by its chairman and Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko, asked Buhari to reduce the level of partisanship in government, noting that such would adversely affect the capacity to achieve good governance.
The governors decried what they called the refusal of the Federal Government to release to Kogi State, it’s own share of the bail out funds.
In a speech at the conference, PDP acting National Chairman, Uche Secondus, commended the Senate for exposing the alleged corruption in the management of the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
He said: “Just yesterday, the Senate commenced the investigation of an allegation involving the payment of commission to a company allegedly owned by a Northern APC governor and a South-Western APC leader for collecting monies meant for the Single Treasury Account in violation of the BIOFA Act. This is an unprecedented rip-off of our common wealth.
We urge a thorough investigation of this allegation and the transparent prosecution of anybody indicted in this fraudulent deal no matter how highly placed.”
Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, Leo Ogor, on his part, accused Buhari of breaching the constitution by delaying the submission of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) to the National Assembly as required by law.
In his submission at the conference, chairman of PDP Board of Trustees, Haliru Bello, decried what he called persistent excuses by the Federal Government on matters it had promised to resolve.
He said:”At the beginning we learnt that our government left an empty treasury but revenues continued to be generated in the last six months, Federation Account Allocation Committee continued to hold and money shared between Federal, State and Local governments. Have we seen any change?
‘‘The APC was aware of the state of treasury when they made the promise that the naira will rise and be equivalent to the dollar. What is happening now? The naira has continued to depreciate beyond what they inherited. Tragically, instead of saving the naira, we can say they are killing the naira.
They promised free education and free meals for school children, among other hollow promises. Where are the schools? Where are the meals? All the excuses we hear are about budget not being prepared, who is manning the treasury now? Who has majority at the National Assembly? Is six months not long enough for any adjustment required in the budget to be made? Have they not heard of something called a supplementary budget?
‘‘In six months, we expected Buhari to start showing evidence that he will abide by his campaign promises. We expected to see more done to improve our security. We also expected more on the economy and employment generation, policies are being whimsically churned out that have forced companies to either close down or reduce their work force.”