The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said wednesday that the several personal attacks by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and other officials of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led presidency against the character of its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, are signs of defeat.
The party spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement said with the successful conduct of its presidential primary and the “popular emergence” of Atiku, Buhari presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) had become “intimidated; gone into panic mode and ignobly resorted to trading on rumour and spurious allegations, having failed in their evil machination to scuttle our presidential primary ab initio.
“The PDP is aware of how the unnerved and intimidated Buhari presidency has unleashed its officials, spin doctors and hack writers with billions of naira, siphoned from our national treasury, to fabricate lies, spurious allegations and smear campaign against our presidential candidate.”
He added that “while it is understandable that President Buhari is discomfited and afraid to face a popular candidate in any elections due to his incompetence, for which Nigerians earnestly seek his replacement, engaging in smear campaign as a means of survival is completely reprehensible and cowardly.
“President Buhari and the APC, in their desperation, should not attempt to confuse personal economic prosperity that comes from hard work, as in the case of Atiku, with corrupt enrichment. “That Buhari failed in leading a successful personal economic life does not mean that others cannot succeed without being corrupt.”
PDP further stated that unlike President Buhari, who had failed in managing both private and public enterprises, who also confessed his failure to successfully manage his own farm and has made no personal contribution to the national development, Atiku is internationally known as a “hard working, resourceful, versatile and successful private entrepreneur, a vast employer of labour and an ingenious citizen,” who had made immeasurable contribution to our national development both in public and private lives.
The PDP added: “It is therefore a heinous perversion for Lai Mohammed, who has earned himself a notoriety for lying to the extent that Nigerians now replaced his first name, ‘Lai’ with ‘lie’, to attempt to suggest that the choice of Atiku is a return to era of corruption, whereas President Buhari is internationally reputed to be presiding over the most corrupt administration in the history of our country.
“Mohammed fails to note that Nigerians are aware that while our candidate, Atiku, has never been indicted for corruption or faced any corruption charge, President Buhari is now overburdened by indictments and allegations of humongous corruption for which he has failed to provide explanations.”
The party added that since Mohammed is talking about era of corruption, he should speak up on the alleged leaked memo detailing the stealing of N9 trillion ($25billion dollars) through underhand oil contract at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Ministry of Petroleum under President Buhari’s direct supervision.
PDP therefore asked “Mohammed to speak up on the alleged siphoning of N1.4 trillion through sleazy oil subsidy regimes and those benefitting from the alleged N58 hidden tax per liter, which Nigerians had continued to bear since the fuel price increase from N87 to presumably unsubsidised cost of N145.
The PDP further stated: “Lai Mohammed should speak up on why the Buhari presidency is suppressing investigation into alleged use of 18 unregistered companies to lift and divert N1.1 trillion worth of crude oil in 2017 and the president’s alleged link with the beneficiaries of this fraud.
“Can Mohammed tell Nigerians how the Buhari era allegedly presided over the stealing of over N18 billion from the funds approved for rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and rebuilding of six Northeast states ravaged by insurgency?
“Can Mohammed tell Nigerians how over N25 billion meant for health needs of Nigerians was stolen by the presidency cabal from the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and how the same cabal siphoned the $322 million repatriated by Switzerland under the guise of sharing the funds to the poor?”
Ologbondiyan said it is only in an administration like the Buhari presidency that thrives in lies and deception that a character like Mohammed, with his lying proclivities, can be a minister.
He wondered why the same person, who nearly caused a national crisis when he, on May 7, 2015, accused former President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP of frustrating the activities of then Transition Committee only for the head of the APC team, Alhaji Ahmed Joda, to declare that the team had all the cooperation from the PDP.
According to him, “This is the same Mohammed, who, in 2014, alleged that the PDP denied a plane carrying a state governor from landing in Ado Ekiti to attend the APC governorship election rally in the state only for the state government to debunk the lie stating that the governor did not travel to Ekiti State but was attending official functions in the state.
“This is the same minister that has not been able to explain the circumstances surrounding his attempt to obtain over N13 million from the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) under the mask of a ‘loan’, against budgetary approvals and principles of the Treasury Single Account (TSA).”
He argued that in as much as the PDP remains committed to issue-based campaign ahead of 2019 elections, it will not by any means tolerate further lies and fabrications from the Buhari presidency, particularly from agents who had no ethical substance to make allegations against any Nigerian.