General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) and President Goodluck Jonathan
Worried about the growing tension and disquiet in the polity, former Nigerian Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), has asked President Goodluck Jonathan to put a check on the onslaught against the opposition in the interest of Nigeria's survival and her democracy.

Buhari, who is one of the national leaders of the main opposition political party in the country, the All Progressives Congress (APC), warned that subverting the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in desperation to impeach a state governor or deploying the institutions of state against political opponents could only breed anarchy and lead the nation to perdition.

He said the recent protest in Nasarawa is a sign of things to come if the federal authorities continue to target opposition state governors for impeachment.
But the presidency, last night told the former Head of State to blame himself for all his woes, stressing that the allegations made against the president are both wild and untrue.
In a statement released by the Special Adviser to the president on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, said the president had never supported or preached any act associated with violence.
In a statement issued monday, Buhari said the recent induced impeachment or threats of impeachment of governors of opposition states, just to decapitate the opposition, does not augur well for the survival of a fragile nation like Nigeria or the survival of its tenderfoot democracy.

“Whether or not President Goodluck Jonathan is behind the gale of impeachment or the utilization of desperate tactics to suffocate the opposition and turn Nigeria into a one-party state, what cannot be denied is that they are happening under his watch, and he cannot pretend not to know, since that will be akin to hiding behind one finger,” he said.

The former Head of State said developments in the polity had become an unwelcome distraction for the nation's on-going survival battle against the terror group Boko Haram, which has put Nigeria on the tenterhooks, with innocent citizens being daily mowed down at random while over 200 school girls are still kept for the fourth month in precarious captivity.

He advised President Jonathan to tarry a while, take a deep breath and ponder the impact of recent events in the polity under his watch, on the survival of the nation and the sustenance of its democracy.

Buhari, who said he had shared his concerns on the issues with the president, regretted that the private sessions held with the president on the issues have not yielded positive results, suggesting that it is for such reason that the open statement is being issued.

“In my capacity as an elder statesman, rather than a politician, I have spoken to President Jonathan in private over these issues, but indications are that the strategy has not yielded positive fruits. I cannot, just because I am an opposition politician, fail to do what is expected of me as an elder statesman to help rescue our nation in times of great trouble and palpable uncertainty.

“History will not be kind to me if I sit back while things turn bad, just so that no one will accuse me of partisanship. Yes, I am a politician. Yes, I am in the opposition. Yes, there is the tendency for my statement to be misconstrued as that of a politician rather than a statesman. But I owe it as a matter of duty and honour, and in the interest of our nation, to speak out on the dangerous trajectory that our nation is heading.

“I can say, in all sincerity, that I have seen it all, as an ordinary citizen, a military officer, a head of state, a man who has occupied many other sensitive posts and a politician. I have been a close participant and witness to Nigeria's political history.

“Our country has gone through several rough patches, but never before have I seen a Nigerian President declare war on his own country as we are seeing now. Never before have I seen a Nigerian President deploy federal institutions in the service of partisanship as we are witnessing now. Never before have I seen a Nigerian President utilize the common wealth to subvert the system and punish the opposition, all in the name of politics. Our nation has suffered serious consequences in the past for egregious acts that are not even close to what we are seeing now. It is time to pull the brakes,” Buhari warned.

“The dangerous clouds are beginning to gather and the vultures are circling, and these have manifested in Nasarawa where the ordinary people have defied guns and tanks to protest the plan to impeach Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura in a repeat of the bitter medicine forced down the throat of Governor Murtala Nyako. The people's protest in Nasarawa is a sign of what is to come if the federal authorities continue to target opposition state governors for impeachment.  In the long run, the impeachment weapon will be blunted. Positions will become more hardened on both sides and Nigeria and Nigerians will become the victims of arrested governance and possible anarchy,” he said.

Buhari said President Jonathan should also remember that no democracy can thrive or survive without a virile opposition, hence it will amount to a man cutting his nose to spite his face for anyone to embark on a journey to decapitate the opposition, as the current central government is doing.

He said a man of power must realise that he cannot always do things just because he could do them.

“I, along with many other patriotic Nigerians, fought for the unity and survival of this country. Hundreds of patriotic souls perished in the battle to keep Nigeria one. The blood of many of our compatriots helped to water the birth of the democracy we are all enjoying today.

“Let no one, whether the leader or the led, the high or the low, a member of the ruling or the opposition do anything to torpedo the system. Let no one, whether on the altar of personal ambition or pretension to higher patriotic tendencies, do anything that can detonate the keg of gunpowder on which the nation is sitting. It is time for all concerned to spare a thought for the ordinary citizens who have yet to see their hopes, dreams and aspirations come to reality, within the general context of nationhood,'' he said.

Presidency: Buhari’s Allegations are Wild
But in a swift reaction to Buhari's statement titled: “Pull Nigeria Back from the Brink", President Jonathan, speaking through his Spokesman, Reuben Abati, expressed regrets that the former president has decided to move from statesmanlike position he recently adopted on national security to unbridled political partisanship. Describing the allegations by Buhari against the president as wild and totally unsustainable, Abati noted that General Buhari’s main grouse which clearly motivated his ill-considered statement appears to be what he called “the gale of impeachments or the utilisation of desperate tactics to suffocate the opposition and turn Nigeria into a one-party state”.
Abati said: “It is most unfortunate that instead of working to put their house in order and resolve the leadership crises and internal contradictions that have plunged their party into a downward spiral, General Buhari and his opposition allies have resorted to blaming a blameless President for their woes,” adding: “for the record, the President remains fully committed to upholding the letters, principles and spirit of the Nigerian Constitution as he has sworn, and defending the rule of law and integrity of the democratic process with all his might.”
Abati added: "General Buhari talks about anarchy. He needs to be reminded that President Jonathan from his humble beginnings as a Deputy Governor in Bayelsa State to date, has never in his acts, or utterances, recommended or promoted violence as a tool of political negotiation.”
He noted that the constitution does not give the president any power to intervene in such proceedings and President Jonathan has never arrogated such powers to himself or sought to exert any nefarious and unconstitutional influence on state assemblies in Adamawa, Nasarawa or anywhere else in order to secure undue political advantage for his party as General Buhari unjustifiably alleges.
Abati further advised Buhari to tarry a while, ponder over his own antecedents and do a reality check as to whether he has the moral right to be so carelessly sanctimonious.
“It may well be time to pull the brakes, as General Buhari says in his statement, but it is he and others who have resorted to idle scapegoating and blaming President Jonathan for their self-inflicted political troubles who need to stop their inexcusable partisanship and show greater regard for the truth, democracy, constitutionalism, the rule of law, peace, security and the well-being of the nation,” the statement added.
Also reacting to the Adamawa impeachment and the Nasarawa crisis a pro- Jonathan Group, the Citizens Cultural Renaissance Initiative, has dismissed Gen. Buhari as displaying ignorance or showing disdain or both for constitutional governance.
In a statement signed by its President, Lawrence Davies, and Secretary, Beke Konya, the group said Buhari seems to suggest that issues that are undoubtedly within the exclusive constitutional jurisdiction of states and their Houses of Assembly should be usurped by the president or that the president should be held (vicariously) responsible for actions by such Assemblies because ' they happen under his watch’.  
“We call on Nigerians and the international community to hold Buhari and his ilk responsible for whatever further escalation of violence that happens in the days ahead as he has in his statement threatened ‘anarchy’ dangerous clouds that are gathering and ‘vultures circling’. We have heard similar threats before and have witnessed what followed,” the group said.

APC One-Chance Bus, Says PDP 
Meanwhile, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the opposition APC as a one-chance bus. The spokesman of the party, Olisa Metuh, said this while calling on the former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar to call his media managers to order over inflammatory statements being issued by them and asking him to bear in mind that he was once a former founding member of the PDP.
Metuh said: “Our final advice to the media handlers of our esteemed former Vice President, His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is that they should remember that we were once together and shared great vision.
“In spite of any personal interest, the PDP as a platform remains better than the APC. Indeed the APC is not an alternative. It has no vision and it is completely lacking in ideology. It is unfortunate that our former members have chosen to board the wrong vehicle, indeed, ‘a one-chance bus’.
Accordingly, he said: “The PDP does not wish to join issues with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, one of the founding fathers of our great party and a two-time former vice-psresident. However, we want to caution his media managers to desist from associating him with propaganda, political mudslinging and character assassination that the APC has become notorious for.
“We also wish to put on record that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has deliberately chosen not to take on the person of any of its former members who are now in the opposition for the simple reason that we were members of the same large family, differences in persuasions of today notwithstanding.
“However, it is shocking that the leaders and members of the APC have gone on rabid attack on the Presidency and the leadership of the PDP.
“In spite, we wish to state for the avoidance of doubt that we stand by our position that the APC is a party of selfish, religious and ethnic bigots pursuing a Janjaweed ideology.
“The APC and its leaders are embittered that the PDP machinery has been able to effectively expose and profile them as they truly are. They are in pains that Nigerians now know that the APC has no agenda rather than a platform for selfish individuals pursuing personal and parochial agenda using blackmail, propaganda and promotion of violence as means to achieve political control,” the statement said.
“Our quarrel with the APC is their use of religion and ethnicity to canvass for votes and membership, a practice which is clearly inimical to the progress and development of our democracy,” PDP stated.



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