The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that alleged plans by President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to frame former Vice President Atiku Abubakar will fail.
The APC, had, in a statement on Tuesday, accused Atiku of committing felony through his various statements on topical national and international issues.
In a statement Wednesday by the spokesman for the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, the main opposition party said comments so far made by Atiku were patriotic and within his constitutional right and freedom of speech.
According to the party, by virtue of being the presidential candidate of the PDP in the February 23 elections, Atiku and his party command the followership and solidarity of overwhelming majority of Nigerians.
“As a responsible political party, we boldly state that none of the statements made by our presidential candidate falls within the realm of felony in anyway whatsoever.
“However, intelligence available to the PDP largely posits that the threats against Atiku Abubakar emanated from certain persons around the Buhari Presidency who are jittery that President Muhammadu Buhari’s defence is collapsing at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, for which they have become desperate to use underhand methods to stop Atiku Abubakar.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note that the renewed allegations against Atiku Abubakar came after a witness told the court, as has been publicly reported, that the Army never required any enlisted officer to submit his WAEC certificate, in total contradiction to claims that Mr. President’s certificates were in the custody of the Army.
“Our party counsels the APC to rather get ready for justice instead of seeking ways to frame Atiku Abubakar on flimsy and unconstitutional grounds.
“Moreover, the APC is reminded that while the PDP was in power, it never gagged the APC and its leaders, including President Buhari, from exercising their freedom of speech and freedom after speech, in line with our laws”, the PDP said.
The party recalled that Buhari issued over 160 statements while he was in the opposition, including inflammatory remarks like the one that called on his supporters to take their fate in their own hands.
Continuing, the PDP said, “It is instructive to note that none of the PDP administrations threatened General Buhari over such comments.
“Furthermore, it is quite disturbing that the APC is attacking Atiku Abubakar for commending British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, for appointing 39 years old Nigerian, Kemi Badenoch, as a minister in his cabinet.
“Contrary to President Buhari’s projection to the world that Nigerian youths are lazy and should not be given active role in governance in our country, other nations are finding accommodation for our youths. Atiku Abubakar cannot but commend such world leaders, no matter whose ox is gored.
“It is also instructive to note that the APC has further shown its disdain for the Nigerian youth as being demonstrated by President Buhari, whose cabinet has no place for our youths.
“Instead of attacking Atiku Abubakar for standing for our energetic and focused young men and women, the expectation of Nigerians is that APC will accept its failures and advise President Buhari against total disregard for young Nigerians.
“Furthermore, the PDP notes the reference by APC to President Buhari as a ‘sitting’ President. Our party, however, states that what Nigeria needs at a time like this is a working President, not a President that sits down while our country becomes the world headquarters of poverty; not a President that relaxes in an arm-chair while insecurity festers and our economy continues to nosedive to the extent that Ghana has overtaken our nation as the number one recipient of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in West Africa.
“This is why the PDP stands with Nigerians in their determination to retrieve Atiku Abubakar’s stolen mandate at the tribunal and no amount of threats by the APC can detract from this resolve”.