The Peoples Democratic Party, Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, and the Igbo group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, on Friday faulted some of the claims made by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), in his nationwide Democracy Day broadcast to the nation.
The spokesmen of the PDP and the two groups, faulted Buhari’s claim on the insecurity being witnessed in parts of the country.
Buhari had in the broadcast attributed the renewed killings witnessed in Katsina and Borno states this week to the restrictions imposed to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
Some protesters in the President’s state, Katsina, had on Tuesday burnt down a campaign billboard of the All Progressives Congress with pictures of Buhari and the state governor, Aminu Masari.
They were protesting the level of insecurity in Yantumaki town and neighbouring communities.
On Tuesday, insurgents attacked Fanduma Koloram in Gubio Local Government Area of Borno State and killed 81 persons.
But Buhari assured Nigerians that security agents would apprehend the perpetrators.
However, the PDP dismissed the Democracy Day address by the President, describing it as “a huge and unpardonable slap on the face of our nation’s democratic process.”
The party said Buhari’s silence on the values of democracy as well as the myriads of violations under his watch, had vindicated its stance as well as that of the majority of Nigerians that the Buhari administration lacks regard for democracy.
This was contained in a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbodiyan.
It read in part, “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 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. “
The party noted that the President’s failure to express any commitments to electoral reform in his 38-minute pre-recorded address showed that his administration had no plans to guarantee credible elections in our country.
The opposition party also said Nigerians had been shocked 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 regime “had secured the nation.”
Also, the spokesman for Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, said with the various claims made by Buhari in his speech, one would be tempted to believe that the President was not talking about Nigeria.
He said it was wrong for the President to claim that COVID-19 restrictions caused the recent killings when it was in public domain that the governor of his state signed a peace agreement with bandits long before the pandemic.
Odumakin said, “Saying that COVID-19 restrictions caused bandits’ attacks was an attempt to change the narrative. We all know that the governor of Katsina State signed an MoU with bandits before COVID-19.
“The President should have used his speech to talk about starting political reforms that will make Nigeria more productive.
“He is still talking about opening bids for marginal oil fields when oil may soon become a commodity they will be giving out free.
“Clearly, his speech was a long one on the road we should not travel but short on the road we should travel.”
Ohanaeze’s spokesman, Uche Achi-Okpaga, also said contrary to Buhari’s claim on his regime’s achievements in the area of security, the government has not done well in that regard.
He said, “The primary responsibility of government is to ensure the security of the people. Other things are secondary.
“This government has been claiming for years that Boko Haram has been degraded, whereas the sect is still ravaging communities and killing people.”
Buhari, in attributing killings to COVID-19 restrictions, said, “I regret recent sporadic incidents with tragic loss of lives in Katsina and Borno states as a result of criminals taking advantage of COVID-19 restrictions. Security agencies will pursue the perpetrators and bring them to swift justice.
“I must implore state and local governments to revamp their intelligence assets so that the security agencies can nip in the bud any planned attacks in remote rural areas. I send my heartfelt condolences to all the relatives (of victims) and communities affected.”
Despite the seemingly increase in violent attacks across the country, however, Buhari claimed that the nation’s security agents had succeeded in downgrading the security challenges considerably.
“Ending insurgency, banditry and other forms of criminality across the nation is being accorded appropriate priorities and the men and women of the Armed Forces of Nigeria have considerably downgraded such threats across all geo-political zones.
“All the local governments that were taken over by the Boko Haram insurgents in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa have long been recovered and are now occupied by indigenes of these areas who were hitherto forced to seek a living in areas far from their ancestral homes.”
The President, while eulogising women for their roles in nation building, declared that he was upset by the recent cases of rape in the country.
He expressed the confidence that security agencies would apprehend all those responsible for the acts.
COVID-19: It’s a difficult time for all
The President said the COVID-19 pandemic had made it a very difficult time for everyone, especially those who had lost loved ones to the virus and those whose sources of livelihood had been constrained by the stringent measures the government introduced at every level of government to contain the virus and save lives.
He described the dedication of the nation’s health and other essential workers towards containing the virus as a testament to the nation’s courage and resilience.
Buhari said his regime’s anti-corruption war had continued to yield more results.
He said, “Anti-corruption agencies have secured more than 1,400 convictions and they have also recovered funds in excess of N800bn.
“These monies are being ploughed into development and infrastructure projects,” he explained.