By Ismaila Chafe
The Federal Government has condemned the increasingly `unpatriotic and desperate’ opposition politics being played by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who made the condemnation when he addressed State House correspondents in Abuja on Wednesday, warned that such opposition could be toxic for the nation’s democracy, if left unchecked.
“Never in the history of politics in Nigeria has an opposition party and its presidential candidate exhibited the kind of desperate tactics being deployed by the duo of the PDP and its flag-bearer, especially since President Muhammadu Buhari overwhelmingly defeated Atiku to win the 2019 presidential election.
“Either by themselves or via their proxies, the PDP and its presidential candidate are doing everything possible to sabotage the Buhari Administration, generally overheat the polity and make Nigeria seemingly ungovernable, especially through their public utterances and their poorly-thought-out press releases before and after the 2019 general elections.
“Unless they quickly retrace their steps, they may, sooner than later, overreach themselves.
“For those who may be quick to accuse the government of crying wolf, the pre-election statement credited to the former Vice President, that unless Nigerians vote out the APC Administration, killings by herdsmen will continue and ultimately spark a series of ethno-religious crises that will be irreversible, is looking more like a Freudian slip than anything else.
The minister also noted that in recent times, the PDP had taken its desperation to a new level by attacking the judiciary, “an action many see as indicating a reversal of the party’s hitherto self-assured stance that it has a solid case against the election of the President.
“And either by coincidence or orchestration, a faceless group emerges from nowhere calling for an overthrow of a democratically-elected government, a totally egregious act of treason.
“It beggars belief that a candidate who prides himself as a democrat can so allow desperation to becloud his sense of propriety to such an extent that he will be associating with anti-democratic forces or making inflammatory statements.
According to the minister, for acclaimed democrats, there are acceptable channels of seeking redress after an election defeat.
He noted that even President Buhari himself went to court three times to challenge election results.
“What is not acceptable is to either resort to self-help after an election defeat, or to embark on a journey of subterfuge and sabotage while also mounting a legal challenge or pretending to do so.
“Worst still, painting the judiciary bad for whatever reason is anti-democratic and unconscionable.’’
The minister, therefore, urged the main opposition party to stop beating the drums of war but to concentrate on the “legal challenge by its candidate against the election of President Buhari if indeed they have any faith in the country’s judiciary’’.
He also called on the opposition to desist from unnecessarily overheating the polity.