Opposition confused, desperate power mongers, says PDPby Olusola Fabiyi and Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress on Wednesday continued its war of words with the Presidency and the Peoples Democratic Party over the suitability of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan for the presidential election.
While the APC believes that fielding Jonathan as a candidate would be suicidal for any party, the Presidency and the PDP argued that he remains the best to contest and win a presidential poll in the country at present.
The latest war of attrition was spurred by Tuesday’s invitation to the President by the APC Interim National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, to join the newly formed political party if he was fed up with the crises in the PDP.
Akande had said, “We (the APC) don’t even close our door to the PDP. If Jonathan is tired of the crises in the PDP, he is welcome in the APC.”
The Presidency however reacted immediately to the invitation, saying it was an acknowledgment by the APC of Jonathan’s sterling leadership qualities.
But in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents, the Interim National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said it was bad that the Presidency did not read the statement credited to Akande before reacting.
According to him, the invitation was not a compliment.
Mohammed said, “When we say the man (Jonathan) should come and join us, we mean that he should come and see how to run a crisis- free party.
“But unfortunately, his handlers like himself, are unable to read between the lines.
“Fielding President Jonathan will be disastrous and it would amount to political suicide. The PDP itself also knows that it would be a double jeopardy if it fields the President in 2015.
“This is because, having lost the moral ground to face the electorate in 2015, the performance of the President since the past years is even appalling.”
But the Presidency on Wednesday reiterated its position that the APC’s invitation of Jonathan was an indication of his national acceptance.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, told one of correspondents that the Presidency viewed the invitation as a compliment.
Abati insisted that the invitation had shown clearly that the leaders of the APC were also aware of the fact that Jonathan was the best man for the job at present.
He, however, ruled out the possibility of Jonathan joining the APC because “he is happy where he is.”
The presidential spokesman said some people formed the new party only to realise that they had no credible candidate for the position of the President.
Abati said, “I think it (the APC’s invitation) is a compliment. What Chief Akande has said in essence is that President Jonathan is the best man for the job.
“They formed a party only to realise they don’t have a candidate. We thank him for his acknowledgment of the President’s leadership qualities, but he (the President) is happy where he is.
“We thank Chief Akande for his expression of confidence in President Jonathan’s credibility but the President is happy where he is, as a member and leader of the PDP to which he remains loyal, and under the umbrella of which he is leading a transformation agenda for the betterment of the lives of Nigerians.”
Also, the PDP hit back at the opposition for asking the President to join it, saying by so doing, it had admitted that it had no presidential material in its fold.
The PDP said the leadership crisis rocking the opposition party just a few days after its registration was an indication that it “is a party of desperate power mongers whose only aim is to satisfy their egocentric interests.”
A statement by the PDP Acting National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Tony Okeke, said the APC had confirmed to Nigerians that it did not believe in the leadership abilities of its prominent leaders, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
It said the call had shown the opposition as a clueless party in dire need of leadership and ideology .
The statement read in part, “By calling on President Jonathan to join it, the APC has shown that it has no confidence in the leadership abilities of its prominent leaders such as Buhari and Tinubu.
“The party has looked inward and has realised the bitter truth that none of those in its fold has the required credentials, charisma and competence to be President, hence, they have been seeking to poach from the PDP.
“The APC has clearly vindicated the PDP by openly showing that it is a confused and clueless party, lacking in ideology and in dire need of leadership. It is only a gathering of confused persons that will at one moment falsely condemn somebody as inept and incompetent and the next moment beg the same person to come and join them.
“Also of particular interest is the statement credited to Buhari who was reported to have said that the APC will push out the PDP in 2015.
“Buhari as a respected military leader should be reminded that in a democracy, the power to vote out a party lies only with the people. He has on many occasions been rejected by the people at the polls and he and his new party will still witness another round of such verdict in 2015.”