THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), on Saturday, engaged in war of words over the ongoing trial of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd).

While the PDP insisted that Dasuki’s current problems were directly linked to the 2019 presidential election, the APC described the charge as childish and laughable.

The PDP, in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, said the president was pursuing an agenda to decimate the opposition so that it would be unable to compete for power in 2019.

The PDP alleged that the current “persecution” of Dasuki was meant to stop him from a possible shot at the presidency in the next general election, adding that Buhari and leaders of his APC are averse to constructive criticisms despite riding to power through severe criticisms of former President Goodluck Jonathan and his government.

But the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, on Saturday, reacted to the PDP, noting that the ongoing trial of Dasuki had nothing to do with 2019 presidential election, describing PDP’s claim as childish and laughable conspiracy theories.

According to Odigie-Oyegun, “whoever the PDP picks as its candidate for the 2019 presidential election is not the business of the APC; relevant laws in the country clearly spells out requirements for persons seeking election into all political office.”

According to the PDP, “it is sad and embarrassing that President Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade has now been reduced to a war between the APC and the PDP as declared by the office of his spokespersons. Since they have confirmed that this is what the anti-corruption crusade is all about, the APC is obviously seeking to destroy the PDP so that it can push through Buhari’s second tenure in 2019 without opposition from the PDP.

Metuh maintained that the declaration has confirmed its concern this [2019 election] is the reason the Federal Government is persecuting, and not prosecuting, Col. Sambo Dasuki. The APC and its leaders fear that Dasuki, given his vast political and security network, may be harbouring a presidential ambition, more so that the PDP has zoned its presidential ticket to the North.”

But a statement issued on behalf of Odigie-Oyegun by his Assistant Director of Publicity, Mr Edegbe Odemwingie, quoted the APC national chairman as saying that “the preoccupation of the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari is to deliver on all the promises made to Nigerians by the party during the 2015 election. Looking back at the last seven months, there are clear indicators showing that the APC and President Buhari’s administration are on the right track to deliver on its Change Agenda.”

The PDP had noted that it was aware of the sinister plan by the APC-led Federal Government to destroy the party by levelling all manners of allegations of corruption against the Goodluck Jonathan administration and leaders of the PDP with a view to taking them to court on orchestrated charges.

However, the APC denied such a plan, noting that the APC is a law-abiding party that believes in the rule of law unlike the PDP, which was known for impunity, noting that there was no plot to coerce the judiciary to convict PDP leaders and officials of the immediate past administration.

“The PDP speaks of a presidential directive to security agencies and judiciary to “coerce” and “convict” PDP leaders and officials of the immediate-past administration with corruption charges. Clearly, such abuse of presidential directives was a concept invented and effectively deployed by the PDP during its defunct 16-year rule. The APC is a law-abiding party and cannot adopt such diabolical concept. The APC believes strongly in the rule of law, as against the kind of impunity Nigeria witnessed under the PDP for 16 years.

“We assure Nigerians that the PDP conspiracy theories will not distract the President Buhari administration, law enforcement and anti-graft agencies from the successful on-going war against corruption being waged on looters of our common wealth. The ongoing war against corruption is not selective. Anybody guilty of corrupt practices will face the law.

“Clearly, the PDP has chosen to blame everyone but itself for the sorry state it finds itself. The PDP should have known that it will pay for its years of impunity, recklessness and shocking mismanagement of the country’s commonwealth. PDP members who are genuinely inspired by the APC-led administration are welcome to the APC fold. It is their right to abandon a sinking ship and join one that is smooth-sailing”, the statement concluded,” Odigie-Oyegun stated.

But speaking further, Metuh accused the APC and its leaders of not wanting to condone criticisms, saying “the APC who gleefully and unjustifiably poured invectives on former President Jonathan in the guise of playing the role of an opposition party, would now not want to condone criticisms,” just as it expressed sympathy with them over what it said was their inability to accept, with equanimity, constructive criticisms of their administration, just as it owed that it would not abandon its role as opposition and worship the president.

The opposition party said: “Unlike the APC that denigrated the office and person of former President Jonathan by wrongly depicting him as ‘clueless and incompetent’, the PDP remains the most decent, mature and constructive opposition party in our democracy and we have evidenced great respect for the person and exalted office of President Buhari.

“During the Goodluck Jonathan presidency, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, while in the saddle as interim Deputy National Secretary of the APC, in a post on his twitter page, described President Jonathan as ‘lazy, docile, incompetent, clueless, hopeless and useless leader.’ Other APC leaders made raining abuses on Jonathan a pastime.”

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