Former Nigerian military ruler and current presidential aspirant with the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), General Muhammadu Buhari has said that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has ruled Nigeria’s democracy as a catalogue of betrayal and bungled opportunities for the past 12 years.
Buhari also described Nigeria’s judiciary as one that did not act independently in protecting the 2003 election of Olusegun Obasanjo and the 2007 election of Umaru Yar’Adua. According to the former army ruler, the judiciary is compromised and had therefore lost his vote of confidence, adding “…our experiences at the polls are supported by credible reports from several independent, local and international observers and showed clearly that those elections were not transparent, credible, free or fair. Nor did they reflect the true will of the people.”
Buhari, speaking in Abuja while making a formal declaration to run for president on the platform of the CPC, said: “This time, we are not going to court.”
Buhari said, “Democracy cannot survive if its operators refuse to play by the rules and those in authority continually conspire to subvert the system. Unfortunately, this country witnessed in 2003 and 2007, elections that were characterised by massive fraud, unprecedented in electoral exercises in this country.”
Buhari also described the Niger Delta crisis as a full scale and sophisticated insurgency, proffering solutions to the grievances of the people of region.
He said, “The situation has escalated from random vandalisation of pipelines, often dismissed as the work of hoodlums, to full scale sophisticated insurgency. They are well armed, have their website and established coherent communication network to both local and international media.”
If elected as president, Buhari promised to engage the region’s people and said, “We intend to make genuine effort to tackle the problems of Niger Delta from the roots. The roots of the problems are corruption and the failure of the Nigerian elite to understand the grievances and deep-seated feeling of the people of Niger Delta.”
The CPC presidential aspirant who made the declaration in the midst of party members and leaders of several opposition parties spoke on several issues including the attempts to forge an alliance with other parties and the consensus candidate being promoted by some PDP members.
He said he was still awaiting the recommendation of his party’s committee headed by former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Bello Masari currently in negotiation talk with the ACN.
Buhari said opposition parties had arrived at the conclusion that they must come together to overthrow the ruling PDP from power. Members of other political parties that were at the declaration include former Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu of PPA, former governor of Kaduna State, Balarabe Musa of Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), and Charles Nwodo of Progressive Action Congress (PAC) and Prince Tony Momoh.
Kalu said he has aligned forces with Buhari because only the general had the capacity to ensure the change Nigerians deserved. He further said, “Nobody is going to court again. We will take to the streets until they give us our mandate.”
“I believe in change as I align myself this afternoon with Gen. Buhari as an agent of change,” he said.
National chairman of the Conference of Nigerian Political Party (CNPP), Alhaji Balarabe Musa said “we find various things that we agree with in CPC. We find many things that we have to concretise. Therefore we look forward to a participative and democratic alliance for the progress of Nigeria.”