President Muhammadu Buhari and not former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida is the most eligible to join the ‘club of retirees’, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said yesterday.
The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, had recently said of the two former presidents: “I don’t address those shadows. We should let our former presidents join retirees’ club and take pensions. They can participate in our politics if they are interested. It is a free world. But this freedom is not served à la carte. They should allow us to move our country forward.”
But the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, noted: “Even Asiwaju Tinubu knows that President Buhari, for obvious reasons, is the most qualified of all our elder statesmen to join the retirees’ club and save the nation the agony of more years of misrule characterised by untold economic hardship, heavy bloodletting and general indignation.”
In the statement, Ologbondiyan said: “Every discerning Nigerian has discovered the fact that Asiwaju Tinubu is subtly passing a critical message to President Buhari and his supporters that he should not contest the 2019 election and that Nigerians have already moved on even without them.”
He said: “The supporters of President Buhari should, therefore, accept the reality by reading the handwriting on the wall and heed wise counsel from well-meaning Nigerians. In any case, the APC is already on a death row, having led the worst government in the history of our nation and will end up as the first party in government at the centre that will be rejected by Nigerians at a second attempt.”
The PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, also took swipes at the ruling party during a rally in Yenagoa to mark the sixth year in office of Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson.
The APC government, according to him, is “broken” and plagued by “confusion”. He described Buhari as “missing” and the administration as being headed by “cabals”.
Secondus ridiculed the APC’s symbolic broom. “There is a lot of evil in our land. We will vote them out. Our country has witnessed the era of the broom from 2015. But this broom has brought us evil. This broom has brought us vengeance. This broom has brought us hunger, poverty and killings in our land. From today, we will throw these brooms into the ocean, into the river. Never again shall our people witness poverty and killings.”
He, however, expressed “fear” the Independent National Electoral Commission would play a “fair game,” asking: “Will they not rig elections? Our fear is that they are getting ready because they are parastatals of APC to rig elections.”
But he quickly added: “In 2019, nobody can rig elections. Our votes will count. It is time to take out this evil; this evil party called APC. They have visited vengeance on this nation from the north, south, west and east. The country will experience happiness and joy.”
Tinubu, meanwhile, has stressed the need to re-ignite the goodwill the APC once enjoyed among Nigerians.
At a meeting with the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun-led National Working Committee (NWC) in Abuja, he called for a repositioning of the party ahead of the 2019 poll.
He promised to discharge Buhari’s mandate to reconcile aggrieved members of the party, saying the president is leaving no stones unturned to live up to the expectations of Nigerians.
He said: “We have worked hard after the last convention of the party. Congresses were held in various wards to elect representatives at the state, local government and national levels.
“We worked hard to earn our victory. We have never governed before, but we won the confidence of Nigerians to govern. We have a desire to really serve the country and to change and reform it. It is not easy to have those changes implemented like instant coffee. We have to face challenges.
“I sympathise with us and wish we equally look at ourselves since we won the elections. The expectation was very high and the goodwill extremely high, but where are we today?”
Odigie-Oyegun wished Tinubu success in the reconciliatory task, emphasising the need to get everybody on board so that the party achieves a “run away victory” in 2019.