The All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday, launched a barrage of verbal attacks on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its leadership following the opposition party’s demand for urgent electoral reforms in Nigeria.
Apparently mocking the PDP, National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, described as a “pointless outburst” the accusation that the ruling party was conniving with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to record the string of victories in the recent elections.
“The same PDP has maintained a graveyard silence over the election robberies in Zamfara and Rivers states. The APC was punished for allegedly not conducting proper primaries in Zamfara State, while PDP got rewarded in Sokoto and Kano for not conducting any primaries at all.
“In Osun, Ekiti and Bayelsa states, why will the APC ever contemplate “conniving” with INEC in elections where voters had rejected the PDP and their candidates long before the election day?
“In the case of Kogi State, we challenge the PDP to name one of its politicians who had the status and goodwill to give PDP the imagined votes they are now claiming, post-election.
“The Kogi electorate ignored the PDP’s propaganda and clannish campaigns to re-elect the APC candidate, Governor Yahaya Bello. The Kogi West Senatorial rerun gave the electorate an opportunity to reclaim their earlier stolen mandate. They were decisive in kicking out a joke and replacing him with APC Senator-elect, Smart Adeyemi,” he said.
National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus had, on Monday, decried the widespread violence and intimidation witnessed in recent elections in the country.
Secondus demanded comprehensive electoral reforms that would include electronic voting and electronic transmission of results to improve transparency and the credibility of the electoral process.
But the APC has dismissed these demands and insisted that they were borne out of sheer disillusionment of the opposition in view of the string of election victories recorded by the APC in the 2019 general election.
The ruling party did not only win the presidential election with President Muhammadu Buhari on the ballot, it secured majority of the governorship and National Assembly seats. In addition, the APC recently won the first round of off-season governorship polls in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
According to the APC, the most important reform the leadership of PDP needed was to mend their ways, shun all underhand political methods and adjust to the reality of an emerging political environment where manipulation, intimidation, and brigandage were becoming unhelpful to any political party.
He also challenged the PDP to chart a new political direction with clear and purposeful ideology that can benefit the country.
“Until they achieve this, no amount of electoral reform can cure PDP of its malady. Nigerians would continue to reject them until they do away with their odious ways.
“We reiterate our position that there remains much to be done in ensuring the sanctity of our electioneering process, particularly partisan approach to elections. The PDP must begin to address itself to the new reality that under the President Buhari administration votes are beginning to count.
“We will continue to check and frustrate PDP’s inglorious practices of massive thumb printing, ballot box snatching, vote buying, thuggery, using state institutions, particularly INEC, the judiciary and security agencies to manipulate the electioneering process,” the APC said.
Issa-Onilu said the demand for electoral reforms and the subtle threat by the PDP to boycott future elections was an indication that it had failed as an opposition political party.
“This is exactly our fear. Is this not a confirmation of APC’s earlier position that Nigeria was fast becoming a one-party state as a result of the rudderless and soulless PDP, Nigeria’s supposed main opposition party?
“No doubt, our country deserves a strong and vibrant opposition to play its conventional role in the polity and to deepen democracy. The PDP has shown crass and shocking incapacity to perform that role. As a party that believes in democracy and progressive politics, we are worried by this obvious vacuum.
“No rigorous and intelligent interrogation of the current administration’s policies and programmes by the PDP. Just idle chatter, propagation of fake news, post-election delusions and other unpatriotic conducts. This is dangerous for our democracy,” he said.
The spokesman of the APC beckoned on other registered political parties to step up and perform the crucial opposition role because, according to him, “the PDP has failed so woefully to play.”