PDP: BEATING ACN IN ITS OWN GAME
For long, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been at the butt of criticisms by the rival Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), but the former is beginning to turn the heat on the former. NDUBUISI ORJI writes.
Since its formation in 2003, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) which started as the Action Congress has been a nightmare to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The ACN has consistently put the ruling party on the spot. Everything the PDP does or fails to do is greeted with very virulent criticism.
Almost on a daily basis, the opposition party's formidable publicity cum propaganda machinery led by its national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed makes stinging remarks about the policies and actions of the federal government and the ruling party in general.
It is either Mohammed is taking the federal government to the cleaners, or the party's national leader, Senator Bola Tinubu is tackling the former president and former chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and leaders of the party in the South west or the Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole is dragging the national leader of the ruling party, Chief Tony Anenih and the entire PDP on the ground. All along, apart from feeble defences, the PDP does nothing but soak in the pressure to the delight of their opponent.
But the tide is changing. After many years, the ruling party is beginning to find its voice. In recent times, the PDP has launched an offensive against its traducer, particularly in the South west, and Edo State where the ACN is in power.
Sources within the PDP said the new thinking within the party is to ensure it always draws the first blood. But in a situation where the ACN attacks first, then it must return fire for fire. In line with this new thinking, the ruling party has turned the heat on its rival.
Recently, the PDP accused the South west governors of spending 2 billion naira on the 60th birthday of Tinubu. The party said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should investigate the governors for spending public funds on the birthday of its national leader.
A statement by the zonal publicity secretary of the PDP in South West , Kayode Babade stated that 'it amounts to high level of irresponsibility for elected governors to be running up and down for a whole week in celebration of a birthday of a single individual'.
The party said 'time has come for the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to look into the funding of Tinubu's week-long birthday, including the allegation of contribution of millions of naira by governments in ACN-controlled states.'
Incidentally, the birthday held the same period, when the ACN was calling for the impeachment of President Goodluck Jonathan over a church building gift to the President's community, Otuoke by Gitito, an Italian construction company.
The PDP added that 'rather than calling for the impeachment of the president, the hypocrites in the ACN should be honest at least for once by calling for the removal and trial of the governors, who used public funds for the birthday of the party leader, Bola Tinubu.'
In Lagos State, the PDP governorship candidate for the 2011 general election, Dr Ade Dosunmu recently demanded the resignation of the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr Adeyemi Ikuforiji over allegation of money laundering. The Lagos House speaker is currently standing trial for money laundering.
The former PDP gubernatorial candidate said the speaker must resign, because he bears a moral burden. According to him, it has become inappropriate for Mr. Ikuforiji to remain as Speaker of a legislative Assembly based on the principle of rule of law.
'It amounts to immorality and flagrant rape of democratic norm for Mr. Ikuforiji to continue to pretend to be offering credible and legitimate leadership to the people of Lagos State as Speaker of the House of Assembly. With a corruption case bordering on abuse of office of the Speaker, Mr. Ikuforiji has a big burden that has cast serious aspersion on his honour, reputation and privilege, and therefore his continued stay in that office constitute serious stain on the integrity of the legislative Assembly and government of Lagos State in general.'
Also, the Lagos PDP slammed the Lagos state government over unending doctors strike in the state. The party in a press statement signed by its publicity secretary, Mr Toafik Gani demanded for the sack of the state commissioner for Health, Mr Jide Idris over the reoccurring doctors strike. The party threatened to mobilize the people of the state for a protest to demand the resignation of the governor, if the issues that leds to the doctors strikes are not decisively handled.
Giving credence to the criticism of the PDP against the ACN controlled Lagos State government, the party's national vice chairman South west and former governor of Ekiti State, Mr Segun Oni dismissed the ACN led government in Lagos state as 'government of ten percent', who according to him, feast on the resources of the masses through tax collection of over 100 percent but gives services that is less than 10 percent.
'This is a government of less than 10 percent. Lagosians are suffering. We were not ready before, but now we are ready to save residents from these hardships,' he said. A forth night ago, the South West PDP fired another shot at the ACN. This time, the party accused the Osun state governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola of plotting to secede from the country. The zonal Publicity Secretary of the party in the South West, Mr Kayode Babade in a press statement alleged that the governor had already sent some youths to Cuba to undergo revolutionary training preparatory to secession. Consequently, the party wants the security agencies to interrogate the Osun state governor, and his commissioner for Information Mr. Sunday Akere, on the list of 53 youths allegedly sent to Cuba last year, and those that would be going this year. According to a statement by the South West PDP 'as part of the ACN's secessionist agenda, Governor Aregbesola was coordinating plans by the ACN to give some student activists paramilitary and revolutionary trainings in Cuba.'
'Our question is; if as posited by Aregbesola's Commissioner for Information, the student activists are going to Cuba to observe the May Day, what is the relationship between students and May Day? Why Cuba for May Day? What lessons are there to learn from Cuba apart from outdated, crude rascality? Or does Governor Aregbesola think we are not aware of the role that he played as student union leader in Ibadan Polytechnic, when he led a band of 'terrorists' that destroyed and looted the business premises of the Rector's wife during an unrest'. Since then, the ACN and the Osun state government has been very busy trying to absolve itself from the allegation.
Earlier in the week, the PDP in Edo state accused Oshiomhole of using state funds to build a 10billion naira mansion in his village, Iyamoh in Etsako West local government area. The chairman of the party in the state , Chief Dan Orbih during a preview of video slides of an aerial view of a residential building purportedly belonging to Oshiomhole, told journalists in Benin City 'I know most of you have paid visit to Governor Oshiomhole's home in Iyamho. I am sure you have seen his private residence before he assumed office, and I am shocked at the pictures displayed.
'Why this is shocking to many is because of the fake posture of the governor. We are also aware that after coming to office, his stature changed, even his private residence has change. 'You will agree with me that the slogan the governor adopted when he came to the office was 'Let the People Lead,' but we have since discovered that it is a one man show government.' Oshiomhole who is seeking re-election in the July 14, 2012 governorship poll in the state, has been a torn in the flesh of the state PDP, since he assumed office as governor three years ago. He has equally been unsparing of the party's governorship candidate in the July poll, General Charles Airhiabvere.
Expectedly, the state government has been busy defending the allegation apparently to the delight of the PDP. The special adviser to the governor on Media, Mr Tony Iyare who dismissed the allegation said it was an attempt to dent the image of Oshiomhole. For the governor who has subjected the state PDP to psychological trauma several times, the PDP allegation is a blow below the belt especially as it spreading is in the internet.
The new strategy of the ruling party seem to be working for them, but the ACN known for its strong propaganda machinery is certainly not going to let the PDP beat it in its own game.