Romanus Ugwu and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has claimed that cash-crunch and intractable crises rocking the People Democratic Party (PDP) were responsible for the spate of defections of its progressive leaders.
APC, in a statement by Yekini Nabena, in Abuja, yesterday, said the opposition party was inadvertently pushing Nigeria into a one party state.
“For a party unable to run its secretariat, pay staff salaries and its leadership grappling with a crisis of confidence, it will be unfair to expect its progressive-minded members to remain in the PDP, which has failed woefully as the supposed main opposition party.
“It is disheartening that the PDP is pushing Nigeria into a largely one-party state. As a party that believes in democracy and progressive politics, the APC does not subscribe to this. We, therefore, challenge other opposition political parties to take the place of the PDP because even as the governing party, we recognise the importance of rigorous and intelligent interrogation of our policies and programmes by the opposition which the PDP has woefully failed to do.”
APC recently received Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi and Senator representing Adamawa North Senatorial District, Elisha Abbo. This is in addition to former PDP national chairman, Senator Barnabas Gemade, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, Dr. Alex Otti among others.
“As a party, the APC welcomes new and returning entrants who have come to work with the President Muhammadu Buhari APC-led administration to improve the lives of Nigerians and overall better our dear country.”
‘Only betrayers join APC’
But in a swift reaction, the PDP in a statement by Kola Ologbondiyan, said claims by the ruling party that opposition members were trooping to its fold was meant to deceive Nigerians.
It said the “prophecy” of former minister of Information, Tony Momoh that leaders of the APC should be stoned if the party failed has already come to pass as Nigerians were already stoning them with the words of their mouths.
“Our party is already aware of clandestine meetings being held by APC leaders following their realisation that the APC, as a political party, has failed as a platform for governance and managing of the broad diversity of our nation.
“The APC leaders, who are already troubled by the post-President Buhari’s disastrous tenure in office are planning to adopt a new name in order to beguile Nigerians once again.
The PDP further asserts that the hopeless efforts by APC leadership to beguile Nigerians again with their showboating and false claims that opposition members are trooping into their party will not save the APC from crashing.
“Indeed, only unpatriotic, expired and lily-livered individuals can seek to join a party like the APC that is synonymous with failure, nepotism, treasury looting, mindless stealing, corruption, falsehood, lies, capacity crisis, confusion, crass incompetence and which finds pleasure in foisting hardship and poverty on Nigerians.
“Which patriotic Nigerians would want to join the APC that has wrecked our economy, reneged on all its campaign promises, looted over N15 trillion oil money, frittered over N2 trillion tax income, crashed the value of our naira, increased taxes, hiked the price of fuel and electricity, squandered our foreign reserves, shutdown over 50 million businesses, imposed a frightening 23 percent unemployment rate, accumulated N31 trillon in debt and mortgaged our sovereignty to foreign interests through reckless borrowings?” the PDP queried.
The opposition party added that the APC has become irredeemably balkanized, overweighed with the burden of failure and can no longer be a platform for any credible Nigerian who has the intention to serve the people.
“It is pitiable that while the APC leadership is grandstanding with lone defectors, majority of Nigerians are rallying with our party, having discovered that the APC is leading our nation to nowhere. After all, not a few APC governors as well as ministers in President Buhari’s cabinet and members of the National Assembly are already fed up and have expressed their readiness to join the rescue train, PDP.”
APC inherited bad governance, empty treasury -Lawan
Regardless, Senate President, Ahmed Lawan chided the PDP-led government for leaving empty treasury and bad governance for the APC in 2015.
Speaking when he presented Senator Abbo to the APC national leadership at the party’s secretariat for formal introduction, Lawan said he was delighted to have eight ex-PDP leaders defecting to th APC.
“We believe that we haven’t seen anything yet. We will see many more coming from the opposition party….This is what we expect from leaders. When you see a government trying very hard with so little to ensure development in our country, in our communities and societies, the best thing to do is to be part of the effort and that is patriotism. It is what we expect from leaders…The people should always be at the centre and focus of what we do.”
Shock Nigerians with massive human, capital devt -CUPP
Meanwhile, the coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has lampooned the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee, Governor Mai Mala Buni, over comment that the ruling party would shock Nigerians with massive defections.
CUPP National Secretary, High Chief Peter Ameh, who replied the ruling party boss, lamented that defection has become the usual way unprincipled and none ideologically driven politicians exhibit their lack of love for Nigeria.
“The constant and recurrent masquerade dance by our elected officials has become something of shame to many young Nigerians because it is no longer news that this unprecedented act of defection is done with self-centred and selfish interest. 99.9 per cent of defectors do it to protect their political interest with utter disdain for the interest of the masses who they were elected to serve,” he argued.
The former president of the Inter Party Advisory Council of Nigeria (IPAC), added: “We should stop electing political masqueraders whose only objective is that of self-aggrandisement. The electorate should shine their eyes come 2023 general elections by taking opportunity of the multi-party democratic system practised in Nigeria to retire these group of ‘do-nothing’ for nation politicians. They should stop focusing on the two main political jokers as the only choice for elective leadership in Nigeria. Look at how defection has weakened our National Assembly from carrying out an effective oversight functions or acting as a powerful government Arm. Can our elected lawmakers hold government accountable, just very few have done it since 1999.
“Look at how the politics of defection has reduced governance in the state to a mere circus show of shame. My humble advice to the APC is that instead of focusing too much on how to retain power in 2023 through defection on anyhow politician, it should rather concentrate its strength on delivering to the people infrastructures that will improve their means of livelihood and by doing this, it will easily get the people on its side without too much struggle and unnecessary political meetings that will not have direct effect on the lives of ordinary people of our country. APC should focus more on politics of service to the people and not Politics of defection,” he said.