By Tunde Opalana
The Presidency and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Tuesday, locked horns over the Presidency’s statement that the opposition party should forget about returning to power in 2023, as the masses will trust President Muhammadu Buhari for guidance during the next general election.
Speaking shortly after observing the Eid-El-kabir prayers in Daura, Katsina State, the Senior Special Assistant to President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said Nigerians know too well and would not allow another party take over in 2023.
Shehu said: “Wherever we have gone, we see people lining the streets, saying ‘sai Buhari, sai Buhari’.
That tells you that the president is entrenched politically. He is such a strong factor in the politics of this country and nobody can wish him away using tweets.
“I think it is in the interest of the opposition particularly, to admit that the president matters a lot to the people of this country.
He matters to the party and the unshakeable support he enjoys in Daura and this country cannot be wished away, whether you are using digital media or propaganda.
“We see PDP nursing the false hope of taking over power in 2023. The masses will never abandon President Buhari’s leadership. I’m sure in 2023, they’re waiting for him to show the way.
“What he has been building in terms of infrastructure and the economy, and the wellbeing of young people of this country, nobody will put that at risk by inviting another party to come and take power in 2023.
“What is amazing is that across the world, the popularity of leaders has been shattered by COVID, but the opposite is the case here. President Buhari is increasing in his popularity.”
However, the PDP said the assertion by the Buhari Presidency that Nigerians will be waiting for President Buhari “to show the way in 2023” has further heightened public apprehensions of self-succession plot by the cabal in the Presidency.
According to the party, Nigerians were jolted when President Buhari’s spokesman, Shehu Garba, publicly announced in Daura, Mr. President’s hometown, that President Buhari “constitutes a political obstacle” which those who seek to succeed him, come 2023 “cannot dismantle”.
Party spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Tuesday, said such statement by the Presidency is not only provocative, but also smacks of plots to derail “our constitutional democratic order.”
He said: “Perhaps the comment by the Buhari Presidency explains why there have been heavy onslaught against our institutions of democracy as well as the Electoral Act.
“Our party and indeed the majority of Nigerians across board and even across party lines caution President Buhari’s handlers to note that such plots cannot stand as it will be firmly resisted by the people.
“Shehu Garba should be bold enough to announce that President Buhari will be on the ballot for another term in 2023 and watch how Nigerians will respond.
“The 1999 Constitution (as amended) is clear on the tenure of office of the President and such cannot be extended under any guise or conditions whatsoever.
“It is imperative for Shehu Garba to note that Nigerians have been subjected to the worst forms of hardship under the Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration and will never allow anything that will keep this administration in office a day beyond May 29, 2023.”