The All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday engaged in a verbal war over an allegation by the ruling party that the opposition parties were plotting to truncate the inauguration of the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, and his vice, Kashim Shettima on May 29.
While the APC told the opposition parties to bury the thought of truncating the inauguration, the PDP stated that it would not be intimidated by the ruling party’s allegation.
The main opposition party also told the ruling party that it “can’t snatch the presidency and run away like that.”
Meanwhile, the presidential candidate of the PDP in the February 25 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, on Saturday insisted that he would continue to challenge the outcome of the election, which he described as illegitimate, stressing also that the election process was flawed.
In a statement issued Saturday, the Spokesperson of the APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), Mr. Festus Keyamo, said the party had watched with great concern the condemnable activities of some persons and groups who were desirous of truncating the country’s democracy.
He alleged that these persons have remained embittered that Tinubu was declared winner of the 2023 presidential election.
eyamo added that these “misguided individuals” have called for either the cancellation of the results or that the President-elect should not be inaugurated on May 29, 2023.
“We wish to reiterate and emphasise that these positions are not in tandem with our constitutional provisions or our electoral laws. We would have taken these as mere wishful thinking; however, because of their implications for national security and public order, we have therefore considered it necessary, if not expedient, to call them to order,” Keyamo explained.
The spokesperson noted that the APC campaign was aware of the intentions of those engaged in these treasonable and subversive acts.
He added: “They are fixated on an Interim Government. They have done it in this country before and it threw the country into an avoidable crisis for many years and they want to do it again.
“They are bent on delegitimising the new government. Some have made treasonable insinuations and openly called for a military takeover. It is for these reasons that they are desperate to incite the people against the incoming government,” Keyamo added.
Keyamo argued that those contesting the results of the presidential election wanted to be in the courts and on the streets at the same time.
He said: “However if they intend to truncate the inauguration of the President-elect and vice president-elect, they should immediately bury the thought.
“It is gratifying to note that the President has set in motion steps for the actualisation of the swearing-in ceremony. In this regard, the Presidential Transition Council has remained focused and committed to its Terms of Reference in respect of organising a hitch-free handover.”
Keyamo noted that on many occasions, Tinubu has pledged fairness as the basis for his present and future engagements.
According to the spokesman of the PCC of the APC, Tinubu has unequivocally stated that he would not accord favour to those that supported him, nor would he mistreat those who did not vote for him.
The spokesperson said when he was the Governor of Lagos for eight years, he never undermined any person or tribe and also championed people-oriented policies.
The APC spokesperson warned that those who are stoking the embers of hate, division, and falsehoods as well as peddling misleading narratives through some compromised media outlets should detract from such.
PDP Vows Not to Be Intimidated, Says APC Can’t Gag Nigerians
In a swift response, the PDP said that it cannot be intimidated by the APC over its claims that the opposition political parties were plotting against Tinubu’s inauguration as the next president.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba told the ruling APC that, “you cannot snatch the presidency and run away like that.”
“This is a democratic nation and Nigeria is a democracy. You cannot gag people. You cannot intimidate the people when you snatch their presidency.
“You cannot stop the people from expressing themselves. The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees freedom of speech. So, you cannot intimidate the people.
“The threat from the APC is dead on arrival. It has no right to cow and intimidates people from expressing themselves. Government should be accountable at all times. You cannot snatch it and run away. No, we cannot be intimidated. Nigerians cannot be cowed. We, as a people, have the right to express ourselves,” Ologunagba explained.
Atiku Denies Withdrawing Petition, Insists Outcome of Presidential Election Illegitimate
In a related development, Atiku has denied reports that he had withdrawn from the ongoing presidential petition.
Atiku yesterday insisted that he would continue to challenge the outcome of the election, which he described as illegitimate, stressing also that the election process was flawed.
Reacting to a fake report that he has withdrawn from the presidential petition, the former vice president in a statement he signed said: “I have been notified of a fake press release attributed to me and purportedly giving legitimacy to the widely rigged presidential election of February 25.
“The so-called press release did not emanate from me or my office, and it should be treated with repudiation, untrue, and deliberately contrived by those who illegally appropriated the mandate of the Nigerian people”, he stated.
Atiku added that “for the avoidance of any doubt, I wish to state categorically that my lawyers still have my unflinching mandate to challenge the outcome of the February 25 presidential election.
“I join other lovers of democracy in Nigeria and friends of our great country in the outright rejection of the pre-determined outcome of the February 25 election,” Atiku added.
“The decision to challenge the sham election of February 25, the worst election in our democratic history, is not predicated on my personal interest but for the interest of Nigeria and its people. It is aimed at deepening democracy and ensuring that we do not confer legitimacy to an outcome of illegitimacy,” he said.
Review Ogun, Nasarawa, Kaduna Guber Results, PDP Tells INEC
Meanwhile, PDP has also urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to use the dictates of Section 65 of the Electoral Act to review the declarations of the governorship election results in Ogun, Nasarawa, and Kaduna states.
Ologunagba, who made the call at the press conference, argued that the margin of lead does not align with the dictates of the Electoral Act.
“In Ogun State, we observed with concern that the result as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is completely at variance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022 and Guidelines issued by INEC for the conduct of the election.
“Specifically, from the summary of collated results at the governorship election, it is evident that our candidate was in the clear lead before compromised officials of INEC connived with the defeated APC to cancel PDP’s thousands of winning votes and brazenly declare the candidate of the APC, Mr. Adedapo Abiodun as the winner, in violation of the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022.
‘It is instructive for INEC to note that with the cancelled votes, the margin of lead between Mr. Dapo Abiodun of the APC and the PDP governorship candidate, Hon. Oladipupo Adebutu is not more than the total number of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) collected in Polling Units where elections were not held or cancelled by INEC, citing disruption of polls.
“Whereas the number of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) collected in places where elections were not held or cancelled is 33,750, the margin of lead between the two candidates as announced by INEC Returning Officer is 13,915 thereby invalidating the declaration and return made by INEC.
“In such circumstances, Section 24 (3) (4) of the Electoral Act, 2022 expressly mandates INEC to appoint a new date for the conduct of the polls in the Polling Units where the election was not held or cancelled before any Return can be made.
PDP also congratulated the Osun State governor, Ademola Adeleke for his victory at the Court of Appeal.
PDP described the judgment as a victory for the people of Osun State and Nigerians in general.
The party also commended the judiciary as the last hope of the common man
Keyamo is a Jobless Minister, Says Atiku’s Aide
In another development, Atiku’s Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, has described Keyamo, as an indolent, scatterbrained, and jobless minister.
Shaibu said this in a statement while reacting to Keyamo’s statement wherein he accused the opposition of planning to truncate democracy.
Atiku’s aide said Keyamo should be sanctioned for dereliction of duty having abandoned his primary job as a minister to be the spokesman for Tinubu’s campaign organisation even after the polls had ended.
He said: “Festus Keyamo’s primary duty is to serve as Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. But this is a man that has put his personal interest ahead of the country. He took up a job as Spokesman for Tinubu’s campaign while lecturers were on strike for eight months.
“Rather than negotiate with lecturers and get innocent students back to class, he asked the parents of students to go negotiate with ASUU instead. After the strike, he remained the Spokesman for Tinubu’s campaign and abandoned his duties completely.
“Today, the Nigeria Labour Congress is threatening to embark on a nationwide strike over the naira scarcity. By virtue of his job as labour minister, his primary duty is to avert industrial action. But rather than try to intervene in a strike that could bring the country to its knees, this scatterbrained and indolent minister is busy with politics and issuing frivolous statements over an imaginary plot.”
Shaibu argued that Keyamo is currently lobbying for another top position, hence his bootlicking.
Atiku’s aide, however, said Keyamo and others like him would be disappointed after their fraudulent electoral victory is overturned.
He added: “Keyamo’s job as campaign spokesman is officially over since the campaign has ended. But he is currently lobbying intensely for another appointment. With Senator Ovie Omo-Agege’s failed governorship bid in Delta State, many from the APC in Delta have in their delusion shifted focus to the central government that will soon be delegitimised by the judiciary.
“Keyamo, who is a paperweight politician, is afraid of being sidelined and is now sucking up to Tinubu. His latest vituperation is not borne out of patriotism but is part of his desperation to get an appointment from a government holding a stolen mandate that will soon be retrieved.
Shaibu said it was unfortunate that Keyamo, who rose to fame as a human rights activist, had completely destroyed everything he worked for on the altar of politics.
Atiku’s aide said Keyamo’s time in public service was evidence that some people are only good at talking but when they are in the ring, they turn out to be failures.
Chuks Okocha and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja