Olalekan Adetayo, John Alechenu, Godwin Isenyo, Raphael Ede, Dennis Naku and James Abraham
5 May 2021
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The Peoples Democratic Party, the Arewa Consultative Forum, the Pan- Niger Delta Forum and the Yoruba sociopolitical group, Afenifere, on Tuesday took a swipe at the Presidency over an allegation that some leaders were plotting to overthrow the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
The groups, in separate interviews with The PUNCH, cautioned the Presidency against misinterpreting well-intended criticism amid worsening insecurity in the country.
The Presidency earlier on Tuesday claimed it had evidence to show that some elements were recruiting ethnic groups and politicians with the motive of convening conferences where a vote of no confidence would be passed in the President.
It said the purpose of the move was to further throw the country into turmoil.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement titled ‘Our response to DSS alert, by Presidency.’
Adesina was giving further insights into a recent claim by the Department of State Services that some people were planning to undermine the government and the nation’s sovereignty.
The presidential spokesman, however, said the present regime would keep the country together, even if some unruly feathers would be ruffled in the process.
He claimed that some disgruntled religious and past political leaders were behind the plans.
The statement read, “The Department of State Services on Sunday alerted on sinister moves by misguided elements to wreak havoc on the government, sovereignty and corporate existence of the country.
“Championed by some disgruntled religious and past political leaders, the intention is to eventually throw the country into a tailspin, which would compel a forceful and undemocratic change of leadership.
“Further unimpeachable evidence shows that these disruptive elements are now recruiting the leadership of some ethnic groups and politicians round the country, with the intention of convening some sort of conference, where a vote of no confidence would be passed in the President, thus throwing the land into further turmoil.
“The caterwauling, in recent times, by these elements, is to prepare the grounds adequately for their ignoble intentions, which are designed to cause further grief for the country.
“The agent provocateurs hope to achieve through artifice and sleight of hands, what they failed to do through the ballot box in the 2019 elections.”
Reacting to the allegation, the pan-Northern sociopolitical organisation, the ACF, lashed out on the Presidency for calling all perceived critics of the regime of the President disgruntled elements.
The National Publicity Secretary of the Forum, Emmanuel Yawe, noted that the Presidency’s penchant for always viewing critics of Buhari with “dark motives” was wrong.
The ACF chieftain said, “The Presidency must be broad-minded enough to accommodate all shades of opinions.
“The criticism is done in good faith and if acted upon will help improve the situation in the country. It is wrong to see all critics as disgruntled, religious and past political leaders with dark motives. Some of them mean well for the government and the country.”
Presidency is chasing shadows – PANDEF
On its part, the Pan Niger Delta Forum said the Presidency was chasing shadows rather than looking for ways to tackle the myriad of problems facing the country.
The National Publicity Secretary of PANDEF, Ken Robinson, who stated this, said, “It is rather shocking that the Presidency would under the prevailing situation of disastrous insecurity tag religious leaders and past political leaders as ‘disgruntled.’ That is the least expected.
“PANDEF cautions that the Presidency should stop chasing shadows. Citizens are anxious and troubled, many are becoming hopeless, with even the security agencies seemingly helpless and vulnerable.”
You’re overheating the polity, PDP, Yakasai tell Buhari
Also, the PDP and the convener of the Northern Elders Council, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, accused the President of overheating the polity.
In a statement titled, ‘You’re Haunted By Your Own Shadows, PDP tells Buhari Presidency, APC…Asks Buhari to look inwards,” signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP described the allegation as a desperate attempt by the Buhari regime to blackmail Nigerians in the face of its failures.
The PDP said, “Rather than live up to the responsibilities of office by taking charge and securing our nation, the Presidency is busy engaging in frivolous allegations against Nigerians.
“It is however imperative to state that the Buhari Presidency and the All Progressives Congress are being haunted by their own shadows as Nigerians know the persons as well as the political party with the history and penchant to scuttle democratically elected governments.
“Perhaps, the Presidency has forgotten that in 1983, Brigadier Muhammadu Buhari, as he was then known, led a military coup to truncate a democratically elected government thereby causing our nation a huge drawback on democratic governance.
“Also, in 2015, the APC, which was hurriedly formulated, made itself available as a vehicle of brigandage to disrupt our political process by beguiling Nigerians and taking power through violence, propaganda and falsehood.
Speaking in a similar vein, Yakasai said, “It is not enough to embark on scaremongering by issuing statements on such a serious issue. We have yet to recover from the violent overthrow of the Tafawa Balewa -led first Republic by young military officers. I do not support any change of government other than that which comes through the ballot box.”
The spokesman of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, in an interview with The PUNCH, distanced the group from the plot.
He, however, noted that the President himself knew that all was not well in the country.
“Ohanaeze is not interested in anything coup. Ohanaeze is interested that the President should listen to us and address the nation. President should reorder his steps. He should root his governance in justice because everything has become injustice especially to the Igbo.”
Presidency’s statement, an expression of guilt, says Middle Belt
On its part, the Middle Belt Forum reminded the President that Nigeria was operating a democratic government.
The National Publicity Secretary of the MBF, Dr Isuwa Dogo, who stated this in an interview with one of our correspondents in Jos, described the Presidency’s statement as an insult to the sensibilities of Nigerians.
He stated, “We view the statement as an expression of guilt by the Presidency for the deteriorating situation of things in the country including insecurity and its inability to stop it.”
The leader of the pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, in an interview with The PUNCH, said his group and others in the south were only after the peaceful restructuring of Nigeria.
He asked, “Who is interested in passing a vote of no confidence in Buhari? Who has confidence in Buhari before let alone pass any vote of no confidence in him.”