PROSCRIBE CPC NOW - OKUPE
Former presidential spokesman and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, Dr Doyin Okupe, has called for the immediate de-registration of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the exclusion of its candidates from next month's general elections.
Reacting to the vandalisation of the campaign headquarters of the PDP in Gombe, allegedly by CPC supporters, Okupe, in a statement, said that the party's campaign agenda are essentially 'violence, bloodshed and divisive religious bigotry.' Hence, it should be banned from the elections in April.
But in a swift reaction, Mr Yinka Odumakin, spokesman of the CPC presidential candidate, Gen Muhammad Buhari (retd), described Okupe's charge as 'odious propaganda.' Maintaining that it emanated from a party 'beset with inferior scholarship', he said that blackmailing Gen Buhari or calling for the proscription of the CPC would not stop the trashing of the PDP at the polls.
According to Okupe, free and fair election is unachievable where violence and extreme intolerance prevails and, therefore, urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to 'rise to its responsibility and act fast and decisively. The CPC as a political party should be de-registered and its leadership, including the presidential standard bearer banned from participating in the electoral process.'
Okupe's statement reads:
'The nefarious actions and criminal activities of the supporters of the CPC in recent times, especially as witnessed by the wanton destruction of the secretariat of the Goodluck/Sambo campaign office in Gombe on Thursday March 10, portends great danger for our democracy and, if unchecked, will definitely undermine the much promised 'free and fair elections' in the coming general elections.
'Wanton destruction, irresponsible conduct, open and intolerable hostility especially against the person of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has become the hallmark of the activities and behavioral pattern of the CPC, especially in certain areas of the North. It is extremely sad and regrettable that the presidential candidate of the CPC, Gen Muhammadu Buhari, from whom much is expected, in view of his pedigree and being a former Head of State, openly canvasses and incites his supporters to prepare for, embrace and engage in violence.
'It is alarming if not perplexing that General Buhari has called for 'lynching' of fellow Nigerians and has also publicly predicted the possibility of the Ivory Coast scenario in Nigeria even before an election actually takes place in the country. The acts of vandalism visited on the Goodluck/Sambo campaign secretariat in Gombe on Thursday, March 10 is the climax of condemnable acts of political intolerance by the opposition, part of which included the mindless and evil bombing of the PDP campaign in Suleija, Niger State, and the politically instigated stoning of the presidential convoy in some northern states.
'These various acts of political criminality should no longer be taken with impunity in our society. Nigeria and Nigerians must decide once and for all if we must move along with the rest of the civilized world or be confined to a backward state where savagery and jungle laws rule. In consideration of this, therefore, the INEC, if it truly desires a free and fair election, which is unachievable where violence and extreme intolerance prevail, must rise up to its responsibility and act fast and decisively. The CPC, as a political party, should be de-registered and its leadership including the presidential flag bearer, whose campaign agenda is essentially violence bloodshed and divisive religious bigotry, should be banned from participating in the electoral process in April 2011.
'It is better and safer that a party that has developed pervasive cancer of violence be promptly excised from the body polity before it spreads and consumes the entire polity.'
However, Odumakin said that Okupe's vituperations clearly shows that the Jonathan camp is now in quandary as a result of growing support for the CPC across the country. He added that the destruction of the campaign secretariat in Gombe was actually perpetrated by PDP thugs.
Odumakin said: 'The attention of Buhari/Bakare Campaign Organisation has been drawn to an odious propaganda being spewed by the Peoples Democratic Party and the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation on the vandalization of its campaign headquarters in Gombe. We have also gathered from our intelligence sources that the Jonathan camp has been going around prominent Nigerians to mobilize them to launch attack against the presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, over the alleged attack.
'We must alert Nigerians that the massive and unprecedented support the Buhari/Bakare campaign is getting all over Nigeria has put the Jonathan camp in a quandary as it can only muster scanty spectators at its rallies in most venues in spite of the unconscionable bleeding of our treasury. This has brought in frustration and extreme desperation to blame Buhari for all their woes.
'In the aftermath of the unfortunate bomb attack in Suleja during which some Nigerians lost their lives, the congenital incompetence running our national life showed up as one Mike Omeri from the Jonathan Campaign Organisation issued a statement that Gen. Buhari should be held responsible for the incident. The statement was later hurriedly withdrawn from the media after a couple of journalists have sought our reaction to the content of the puerile and outrageously silly propaganda.
'This followed the pattern of un-presidential response of President Jonathan to the October 1 bombings in Abuja where the chief security officer of Nigeria turned to 'Jomo Gbomo' absolving MEND even before security agencies could comb the scene. Till date, the president who plays politics with security challenges has not told the nation who did it as he is only competent in blaming his opponent at each period. There is no better evidence of this cheap politicking than the fact that Raymond Dokpesi, who he arrested for the incident then is now back in his campaign. He was at the time working for one of his opponents, Gen Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida'.
Offering perspectives into Gen Buhari's visit to Gombe, Odumakin said: Gen. Buhari and his campaign team arrived Gombe on Wednesday to a thunderous reception at the airport. It took almost 30 minutes for him to disembark from the aircraft and a 20 minutes journey to the Emir of Gombe's palace took two hours as the entire city was shut down. It was amazing to see PDP supporters in front of their office also chanting 'Sai Buhari.'
'It was, therefore, surprising to hear from Governor Danjuma Goje when we paid him a courtesy visit that the Jonathan campaign office was vandalized by alleged CPC supporters. Though the governor complained behind closed door, Gen Buhari brought up the issue at the open session saying: 'The governor has made this allegation against my supporters and I must say that we are not violent people but if the allegation has anything to do with any of those who received us, I tender apology for such and I want you to give my apology to the president.'
'Governor Goje responded that he knew General Buhari so well, 'and you will never ask anybody to do such a thing.' Our findings later indicated that the damage caused to the Jonathan campaign office was done by suspected PDP thugs after our convoy left to create an excuse for their expected poor showing when their principal comes the following day.
'Truly, to their utter embarrassment, the stadium that was overfilled a day earlier by Buhari was near empty when Jonathan came, to the point that the NTA could not focus the scanty crowd but devoted quality time to twisted pipes that we learnt were bought at Tsohuwar Kasuwa (Gombe old market) and displayed as evidence of damage.
'It must be emphasized that we have traversed many cities, drawing millions of people who were not given a kobo and without any incident. The only song on their lips is 'change.'
'As we know too well that the PDP is beset with inferior scholarship, we must spell it out for them: The people of Nigeria are not cheering you because they know that in spite of the enormous earning of the last 12 years, your greed has increased poverty from 45% when you came to 76% today. They see your mansions in the midst of their own mud houses. Their consensus candidate to stop your misrule all over Nigeria is Buhari.
'Now that they have started showing the shape of what to come in April, rest assured that blackmailing Buhari or calling for the proscription of CPC will not postpone your day of reckoning.