The Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) and the Presidency, on Thursday engaged in war of words over President Muhammadu Buhari’s comment on his successor.
It would be recalled that the Overseer, Citadel Global Community Church, formerly known as Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, had in a nationwide live broadcast in his church on Sunday urged Buhari not to leave the choice of his successor in 2023 to chance.
He had said it was important for the president to influence who would emerge his successor in 2023 so that his legacies would not be rubbished.
Responding, the Presidency, through Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, on a live interview on Channels Television on Monday, said the question of Buhari’s successor in 2023 was best answered by Nigerians, who would freely make the decision through the ballot.
He added that Buhari would not “impose” his successor on the country, but would rather allow a democratic process to be followed by electing the next President.
Adesina had said: “The President will not pick a successor; we know him, he is not somebody like that. Will he be interested in the process? Yes, he will.”
But the PDP Peoples said the Presidency’s continuous reference to a presidential successor, less than a year into President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term in office is a direct acceptance of failure and lack of capacity of the Buhari administration to manage the affairs of a nation as complex as Nigeria.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party noted that the president’s apprehensions that his party, the All Progressives Congress(APC), will fizzle out before 2023 is a weighty forewarning to Nigerians not to put any hope whatsoever in the party.
Ologbondiyan asked the Buhari Presidency to immediately apologise to Nigerians over its comment to “hand Nigeria over”, insisting that such is a direct affront to Nigerians and a huge insult on their sensibility and sense of sovereignty to freely choose their leader.
He urged Nigerians to note that such continued allusion to a successor by the Buhari Presidency shows that the President and the APC have no agenda for the nation for the next three years, adding that it further underscores the hopelessness of the administration and the sorry situation country is faced with under President Buhari and the APC.
The PDP lamented what it called the underlined and pathetic drift in President Buhari’s New Year speech as well as his failure to articulate a clear-cut agenda in critical sectors.
“It also exposes the reason behind APC’s resort to blackmail, fabrication and attack on well-meaning Nigerians instead of enunciating a direction for its incompetent administration.
“Our party, standing with millions of Nigerians, counsels the Buhari Presidency to bury its confessed interests in the 2023 Presidency and desist from making unsolicited allusions and references to a successor, as failed leaders can only bequeath failure on a people,” Ologbondiyan said.
The party charged the Buhari Presidency to immediately withdraw the “offensive and provocative remark to “hand Nigeria over”, in its response to Rev. Tunde Bakare’s comment on the 2023 Presidency.
“Our party cautions the Buhari Presidency to note that Nigeria is a sovereign nation governed by rules and that nobody, no matter how highly placed, has the power to hand her over to anybody.
“In insisting that President Buhari has interest in his successor, the Buhari Presidency is in direct aggression against the will of the people to freely elect a president as guaranteed by the constitution.
“The 1999 constitution (as amended) does not confer the right to install the President of Nigeria on any individual, but on the people of Nigeria through a free, fair and credible election conducted without interference from anybody.
“The PDP therefore counsels President Buhari to end his interest in the 2023 Presidency and use the remaining years of his tenure to get competent hands to assists him to manage the affairs of the nation, while he concentrates on his retirement plans, as Nigerians expect no solutions from him and his party,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Presidency has told the PDP to ask itself about its terminal decline and future in national politics rather than assuming the role of spokesmen for the president.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the PDP represents the single biggest obstacle to good governance and change that the country needs and the people are yearning for
He said: “Both self-respect and sound political judgement demand that the party takes an introspective look at itself after two successive defeats in national elections, asking what went wrong and how to fix its battered image.
“They need to go back to the people, in towns and villages, to know what the people want and what the country needs. Instead of doing that, they are taking roles for themselves that are not mandated by law, morality or political gamesmanship.
“What business do they have issuing a statement on the love or the lack of it between the President and his party? This is not why they lost elections. The party needs a reboot that aligns with current national mood and aspirations, to focus on their grim future after two successive defeats. It is the issue they need to focus on if they are to be taken as a serious opposition party again.”
Shehu said a tough task awaits anyone leading a party with nothing to offer to Nigerians but corruption, misgovernance and division.
“As for the APC, the geographical expansion of the party is nothing short of a testimony to the rosy future that lies ahead. The party has come to stay, and the President and the country will ensure that this is achieved,” he added