Tuesday, January 8, 2019 11:54 pm
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed says PDP’s reactions to appointment of Mrs Amina Zakari as head of INEC Collation Centre Committee is “a sheer hysteria and excuse for the party’s impending defeat’’.
The minister who stated this at a media briefing in Abuja on Tuesday stressed that the PDP’s reaction resulted from “a pathological fear of impending political doom’’.
Mohammed also said that the opposition party’s reactions to alleged tenure elongation of the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, by President Muhammadu Buhari is a “grabbing at any floating object, even straw, by a drowning man’’.
“The truth is that the PDP knows it will lose the forthcoming election. It is therefore looking everywhere for excuses to explain its impending defeat,’’ he said.
Mohammed said INEC had explained that Zakari is not the returning officer for the presidential election but the Chairman of Commission, Prof. Mamood Yakubu.
“Her role is limited to overseeing the physical structure, that is the International Conference Centre, which is the collation centre for the presidential election.
“The cries of the opposition amount to red herring.
“Only yesterday (Monday), the family of Zakari was forced to issue a statement, saying she is not a blood relation of the President, as the PDP and others have claimed.
He added: “In targeting Zakari, the PDP has forgotten that she was appointed in their time. If she was found worthy then, what has changed now?
“Very soon the PDP will call a news conference to blame its own presidential candidate for the party’s failed campaign.
“That’s what you get from an opposition that lacks focus or direction, an opposition that says it wants issue-based campaign but throws mud at everyone
On the I-G’s tenure, the minister noted that it is the prerogative of the President to extend or not extend the tenure of the Inspector General of Police or any service chief.
He said the prerogative cannot be taken from the President on the altar of paranoia by some people.
“Obasanjo, in his time, extended the tenure of Mr Sunday Ehindero as I-G. Was there no opposition party then?
“Also, in his time, President Umaru Musa Yar’Ardua extended the tenure of Mr Mike Okiro as I-G, heavens didn’t fall,’’ he said.
He said the government is not perturbed by the planned nationwide protests on the matter.
The minister said the kicking by the opposition against the launch of Operation Python Dance by the Nigerian Army was uncalled for.
H explained that the Operation Python Dance launch is part of efforts to ensure security for the 2019 election.
“The opposition should understand it cannot eat its cake and have it. They have been alleging a nationwide state of insecurity ahead of the polls.
“If the security agencies decide to take a pre-emptive measure to ensure security before the elections, why should that raise any eyebrow?
“The truth is that the PDP, in its time, used the security agencies to rig elections after elections. It is therefore not a surprise that they are afraid that the APC might do the same.
“We do not rig elections and we do not use security agencies to rig elections. We are APC, not PDP,’’ he said.
The minister stressed the President’s resolve to enthrone democracy through a conduct of free, fair and credible poll.