The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) got yesterday a reply to its threat to boycott next year’s elections.
You are being hunted by your past, All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole told the main opposition party.
The PDP fired back, saying APC was jittery over coalition between PDP and 38 others.
Senate President Bukola Saraki and House Speaker Yakubu Dogara and others are believed to be on their way to the PDP, but the APC is urging them to stay.
Also yesterday, Reformed APC chief Kawu Baraje said the group had decided to leave APC.
Oshiomhole said the PDP was being haunted by its past treatment of electoral contests as a do-or-die affair, adding that the APC will not be intimidated by any threat of the PDP or any other party as it was committed to the sustenance of democracy and the sanctity of one man, one vote.
The APC Chairman, who spoke when he received the report of the Osun State governorship primary from the chairman of the primary election panel and Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, stressed that if the APC could defeat the PDP while it still held power in 2015, it can repeat the feat now that PDP is out of office and divided.
The former Labour leader described the move by the PDP as akin to that of “a rabbit jumping out of a hole in the afternoon because a hunter has come to put fire to smoke it out”.
He said: “Our message to PDP is clear. Your Excellency, you come from the opposition party in the past, I also come from an opposition party and we knew that we didn’t have a rigging machine. The only thing we had was instrument of persuasion, mobilisation, explaining to people, convincing people and aligning with them and understanding that democracy was with the people at the grassroots.
“But those who have lived on rigging machines, the one we call ward 16, they are based in Abuja and their only access is where electronics and papers exist. Those ones at old age they can’t possibly learn new tricks and they can’t master the dialogue of electioneering, which is why they got stuck in Ekiti and l am sure they would be flat in Osun.”
Reacting to the threat by the PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, who said his party may quit the election over the manipulation of the electoral process, Oshiomhole said: “Let me also use this opportunity to comment on what l read about the PDP chairman. I heard threatening that they may boycott 2019 general elections. When a rabbit in the afternoon jumps out of its hole, not because the hunter has come to smoke it out and it is running, you will know that it has already seen its end.
“The truth is that we are not desperate; we have worked hard to defeat PDP while they were in power, when they had no faction, when all the founding fathers and founding mothers were in the same house.
“Nigerian people rejected them on account of 16 years of absolute missrule at the peak of our property as a nation. When oil sold for a $140 per barrel and we came in when oil price had dropped. If with all those huge revenue that accrued to them people complained of bad roads whether from the South to East from the North to the West, they have nothing new to offer to the Nigerian people.
“I think they are hunted by their own ghost and this is because they had perpetrated a do-or-die politics and they are on records that election matters are do-or-die affairs. One of their old men was recorded as saying that they perfected the language of rigging them out, ‘let them go to court’.
“Now rigging machines have been dismantled and their problem is how they can survive without it. The glue that held them together, which was cheap money from treasury, again that has been cut off and what they already have, like a typical village sheep, they may chewing it all day all night. Now after three and half years, it almost seems that they have finished all; they have taken and now they are worried.”
Also yesterday, APC National Publicity Secretary Bolaji Abdullahi said in a statement: “After three years in the wilderness, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is understandably excited with possibility of hiding its irredeemably bad image under the heap of a new coalition.
“Like the vulture, PDP sees every altercation as a potential opportunity for a feast. If PDP is not alleging wild conspiracies, they are threatening to boycott elections or announcing fake defections. What is clear with all these is that no matter how long a leopard lives, it cannot change its spots.
“What President Muhammadu Buhari and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the National Chairman of our Party are doing, persuading every aggrieved member not to leave the party, is what responsible and sensible party leaders would do. Party politics is a game of number. And that game is addition.
“If the PDP had the same presence of mind in 2015, perhaps the calamity that befell them would have been averted. We challenge the PDP to face Nigerians on their own merit in 2019 and stop shopping around for supporters.”
Speaking on the Osun primary, Oshiomhole said: “l am very excited that you did a fantastic job, because we decided to try a new method. We needed men and women of integrity, who cannot be compromised, who have the courage and can stand their ground on what they believe in.
“You can’t influence them, you can’t buy them, you can’t bend; you will either agree to stand by the truth or you fall out and l am glad that you have brought those qualities to bear and the result is that we have a panel which people could not question their integrity. So, l want to thank you for accepting this assignment.
We accept this report in line with the provisions of our constitution and we have set up in line with our rules an appeal panel because however clean a report appears to be members of our party who may be aggrieved either for the right reasons or for the wrong reasons, they have the right of appeal that our party constitution provides for. So, should there be, any of the aspirants who participated and who has reasons to question the outcome of the election they have the right to file an appeal and they will be heard tomorrow (Sunday). Tomorrow, because that is the last day up to 12 midnight by Monday, we are obliged by INEC rules to submit the name of our candidate and the appeal panel will be chaired by Distinguished Senator Obend Domingo, Dr. Aminu Hameed as secretary and Prof. Hamas Bakori as member. This three-member panel are against gentlemen of proven integrity whom we believe can listen to any appeal arising from exercise and scrutinize the procedures and the reports that have been given, hear people out and recommend to us their finding and after which we will submit the name as appropriate to INEC as provided for under our rules.
“Let me say that l am happy that from your observation, you believe that over 200, 000 APC members participated in selecting the candidate. What that simply means is that even without any additional efforts, we can be rest assured that those 200, 000 card carrying APC members that participated in full freedom chose the candidate, they would naturally proceed to campaign for them around their neighborhood.
“l understand that this number could have even be higher, but for the fact that those who have joined us recently, have not been formally registered and their names not included in our data bank.
“Now we are going to open up to ensure that all those thousands of people who have joined the party across the country enter our register. When we do that, you will find that if those number come out to nominate, they would proceed to ensure that the person wins. I think it is a very positive report…”
Saraki said last night that the speculations about juicy offers being made to him and his associates as part of the on-going discussions with the Presidency and leadership of the APC are untrue.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki said reports about promise of money or oil block and nomination tickets are simply reducing a major national issue involving many key actors to that of personal benefits and preferences.
“I believe at this point, it is important for me to make some clarifications, end speculations and make my position clear. It is important for Nigerians to know that the discussions that I and many others of like minds are having with the Presidency and the leadership of All Progressives Congress (APC) is not about me and what I want. It involves the future of our country and her democracy. It is about making things better for our people.
“Though there are many speculations being peddled in the media, let it be known these discussions are not about me. Whatever has happened to me in the past has passed. Now that God in his infinite mercy has vindicated me, I have moved on, believing that we have all learnt our lessons.
“As I said in my statement following the Supreme Court Judgement on July 6, I cannot hold any grudge against any individual. I have forgiven all those who played any role in my persecution and likewise, I have asked for forgiveness from all those that I wronged in the past. Our focus should now be about Nigeria. The major issue on the table for discussion is how to strengthen our democracy, rebuild our economy, stop the spate of insecurity, improve the conditions of living of our people and generally chart a course for the development of this great country.
“We will be insulting Nigerians if, as the 2019 elections draw nearer, our deliberations is about personal benefits or how to pay compensation for wrongs done to an individual,” Saraki said.