Nigeria’s main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described President Muhammadu Buhari’s Democracy Day address as a huge and unpardonable slap on the face of Nigeria’s democratic process.
The PDP made this declaration in an elaborate response to the President’s June 12 broadcast to mark the 27th Anniversary of the infamous annulment of the June 12 Presidential Election, purportedly won by Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP).
The party’s National Publicity Secretary Kola Ologbondiyan said: “Our party stresses that President Buhari’s silence on the values of democracy as well as the myriads of violations under his watch has further vindicated its stance and that of majority of Nigerians that the Buhari administration has no regard for democracy and is not prepared to uphold its tenets in our country.
“The PDP notes that on the day Mr. President himself set aside to celebrate democracy, he had no democratic scorecard to present; thereby directly confirming that he had taken no step to uphold democratic practice in the last five years.
“Our party invites Nigerians to note that Mr. President’s speech had no space for Chief MKO Abiola. This only goes to show that the Buhari Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have no regard for Chief Abiola and the essence of June 12, but only used their nomenclature to gain selfish political capital.
“It is scandalous that on a day like this, President Buhari had no assurances on electoral reforms and credible election; which is the hallmark of democracy.
“President Buhari’s failure to express any commitments to electoral reform in his 38-minute pre-recorded address shows that his administration has no plans to guarantee credible elections in our country.
“Also, Mr. President had no words of assurance towards respect for our constitution, particularly the principles of separation of powers, federal character, equality, equity, fairness, transparency and respect for the sensibilities of our federal structure.
“Furthermore, President Buhari had no words of commitment on how to tackle the constitutional and human rights violations under his watch, including reported intimidation and brutalization of citizens, disobedience to court orders, arbitrary arrests, illegal detentions, extra-judicial killings as well as hounding of opposition and dissenting voices.
“Rather, Mr. President and his handlers sought to divert attention from their failures and violations associated with this administration by taking the nation on a merry-go-round of recycled false performance claims that are not backed by any empirical or verifiable data.
“By this speech, President Buhari failed to appreciate that the progress of any nation is hinged on credible elections, equity, justice and adherence to rule of law.
“Moreover, Nigerians have been at shock that while bandits were busy killing our compatriots in Katsina, Kaduna, Zamfara, Borno, Kogi and various parts of our nation, even on the eve of his broadcast, President Buhari was claiming that his government had secured the nation.
“It is even more distressing that Mr. President opted to use the COVID-19 pandemic to make excuses for the attack by the bandits even as he had no soothing words or decisive assurances for the victims beyond a cold passing comment lacking in expected human empathy.”
The PDP however urged Nigerians not to resign to despondency or allow the failures and violations of the APC administration to erode their faith in Nigeria’s democracy but remain united in their commitment to the stability of the country.