Nigeria’s opposition party, the Action Congress wants the ruling Peoples Democratic Party to stop embarrasing Nigerians. Speaking through its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed,the AC said that while ruling parties in other parts of the world were the bastion of ideas that accelerate growth and development in their countries, the PDP had been enveloped in crisis and mundane issues.
It noted that in the last one week alone, the PDP had confirmed that it was, indeed, an assemblage of strange bedfellows and an instrument for the plundering of the nation‘s riches.
The AC mentioned the fighting by the PDP members in the House of Representatives on Tuesday and the exchange of words by the Senate and the House over the alleged “doctoring” of a version of the constitutional reform bill sent to the state Houses of Assembly as examples of the embarrassment caused Nigerians by the ruling party.
But the ruling party responded by advising the AC to address its identity problem first.
The AC said, “As if the resort to fisticuffs in the hallowed chambers of the National Assembly by supposedly honourable members were not enough, the leaders of the two chambers took over by dancing naked in the public square, as they traded accusations over who sent a doctored version of the constitutional reform bill to the state Houses of Assembly. Anyway, we are not surprised. The PDP has a history of doctored bills, dating back to the inglorious tenure of (Chief Olusegun) Obasanjo in office.
“To cap a string of shameful shows, the PDP has now turned against its own leader, President Goodluck Jonathan, … for daring to say the party, which by the way is a rigging machine, was afraid of the new boss of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega.
“If anyone was in doubt that things have indeed fallen apart under the tattered PDP umbrella, such people should by now have shaken off such doubt.‘‘
The AC warned, however, that the show of shame exhibited in the ‘House of Representatives-turned-House of Horror‘ should not prevent the anti-graft agencies from getting to the root of the crisis in the House and unravelling what happened to the N9bn capital vote.
It said, “The free-for-all by the lawmakers in the House, constituted 80 per cent by the PDP, is not about bringing food to the table for hungry Nigerians or quenching their thirst through the provision of potable water, it is about those among them who have front seats on the gravy train.
‘‘This is why the anti-corruption agencies must get to the root of the allegations over the capital vote.‘‘
A faction in the House known as the Progressive-Minded Legislators had in separate petitions asked the Economic and Finanacial Crimes Commission as well as the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other-Related Offences Commission to probe how N9bn capital vote for the House was allegedly mismanaged by the Speaker, Mr. Dimeji Bankole.
Before the petitions, the group had given Bankole a one week ultimatum to resign or be disgraced out of office. But the matter developed into an exchange of blows on Tuesday when the House suspended 11 members of the PML for allegedly bringing the House into disrepute.
On the constitutional reform bill, the AC hailed the Lagos State House of Assembly for alerting Nigerians to the fact that a wrong bill was sent to the Houses of Assembly.
The party said, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, and the Lagos House of Assembly has brought this to the fore, more than any other House. In fact, while the Lagos House of Assembly was busy scrutinising the bill, in the interest of Nigerians, some other Houses were quickly adopting whatever was sent to them, warts and all.
“We commend these true representatives of the people in the Lagos House of Assembly, and we urge all Nigerians to be vigilant in the days ahead, as the nation moves closer to next year‘s general elections.‘‘
Reacting to the AC statement, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Prof. Rufai Alkali, said the AC had formed the habit of attacking the PDP anytime it wanted to attract attention.
Alkali said, “We are not surprised with what the AC has said because anytime the party wants to hug the headline, its leadership will attack the PDP. That is their usual manner.
“Anyway, we are not going to dignify the party by responding. All what we know is that the party is searching for a new name. We are waiting for them to see if the new name will make a difference.”