The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian delegation at one of the key listed meetings at the 70th United Nations General Assembly in New York.
According to the PDP, their absence at the meeting, where the issue of humanitarian crisis arising from the insurgency in Lake Chad countries including Nigeria was the main agenda, showed the ineptitude of the handlers of the President on national and international issues.
Addressing a press conference at the PDP national secretariat, Abuja on Monday, September 28, Olisa Metuh, the party’s national publicity secretary faulted the presidency for giving excuses instead of apologizing to Nigerians.
He said: “Instead of admitting failure and apologizing to Nigerians, the Presidency sought to hoodwink the public by claiming that the meeting was not one of the official events for which the President and his delegation are in New York, only for the official brochure of the meeting tagged, “High Level Event on the Lake Chad Basin”, to show that “high level representation from the government of Nigeria” was scheduled to make contributions at the meeting.
“It is disheartening to note that the same meeting the President Buhari-led delegation shunned actually yielded a fall out of $6.8 million announced by the United States as funding for regional aid efforts.
“If not for possible insensitivity to the plight of those affected by insurgency, what other reason has this government for its absence from such a crucial meeting aimed to find ways of bringing relief to its displaced citizens?”
According to Metuh, President Buhari’s delay in naming his cabinet showed that he never had the intention of appointing ministers but rather preferred to run a monocracy.
He stated that the president evidently does not value or respect those he would nominate as ministers.
The PDP secretary queried: “Otherwise, how can anyone repackage the mindset of the President when he, in an interview with France 24 Television in France, stated categorically that his preference is to rule without a cabinet and denigrated ministers as ‘noise makers,’ and of no importance or value in the running of an administration?
“Given this worrisome outlook, it is obvious that the Presidency would not attach any value or importance to the ministers under the ‘new sheriff.’ Could this also be part of the reason for the relentless onslaught against the National Assembly, which must be weakened and prevented from playing its constitutional role of checks and balances in the system?”
Metuh said the APC-led government was moving Nigeria from democracy to autocracy and they were exhibiting signs of “executive arrogance, flagrant abuse of power, constitutional violations, assault on democratic institutions, compromising of judicial processes, invasion of state government and personal houses, harassment of citizens and the deliberate suffocation of the middle class.”
On the issue of insurgency, the PDP spokesman expressed concern that present administration was showing a clear sign of unseriousness in tackling this menace.
“It is depressing to note that apart from the efforts by the Goodluck Jonathan-led PDP administration in training, military hardware and fortifying the country’s military before leaving office in May, no tangible investment has been made by the present administration in that direction due to its apparent lack of focus.
“The fallout is the resurgence of terrorists who were, before the May 29th handover date, already pushed to the verge of surrender in the Sambisa forest,” he said.
The PDP also decried the treatment of its members regarding the application of undue technicalities to deny them justice in elections tribunals and relevant courts.
The party called on the Chief Justice of Nigeria to give ear to the various complaints by the PDP, saying, “Our complaints derives from the fact that the APC is already boasting of being in control of the judiciary as a tool to take over states won by the PDP in the general elections especially, Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Taraba, Delta as well as Imo and Plateau states.”
The PDP urged the Buhari-led APC administration to take national interest more seriously and curtail its show of impunity, abuse of power and the tampering of the independence of the judiciary.
“Finally, while we restate our commitment towards issues based opposition at all times, we call on Nigerians to be on the alert and join us in resisting hawks around the Presidency from derailing our democracy through their divisive, parochial and anti-democratic actions and interests,” Metuh added.
Report had surfaced at the weekend that the Nigerian delegation to the 70th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly missed an important meeting where help for displaced persons were to be discussed.
Reacting to the report, Garba Shehu, the senior special assistant on media and publicity to the president, in a statement had explained why the Nigerian delegation was absent at the meeting.
According to him, the meeting which the Nigerian delegation missed was not one of the official meetings President Buhari and his delegations were due to attend at the United Nations.