Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors yesterday berated Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, for accusing them of not helping to find solutions to the problems bedevilling the nation.
The party also said it was appalled by the unwarranted attack and name-calling by the presidency against its governors, stressing that the governors elected on its platform do not peddle falsehood like the presidency.
The PDP governors and the party were reacting to Wednesday’s statement by Shehu, in which he said the decisions made at the Monday meeting of the governors, including the call on the federal government to reconsider the suspension of Twitter’s operations in Nigeria showed that the party could not be trusted with national leadership in the future.
He also accused the governors of leading efforts to frustrate moves by the federal government to reinstate the local government system as the third tier of government.
But in a statement by the Director-General of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Hon. Cyril Maduabum, the governors said the statement from the presidency betrayed the abysmal ignorance and the lack of appreciation of the issues raised in the PDP governors’ communiqué after a meeting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom.
The PDP governors added that it is unbelievable that such a low-quality response could come from Nigeria’s seat of power.
They described as a pity the presidency’s comments on the non-remittance of funds by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to the Federation Account.
“The duty and responsibility of NNPC to pay revenues into the Federation Account is not a matter of discretion by NNPC. It is an imposition of law,” they said.
The governors cited Section 162 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as altered to support their position.
They said: “It was a demonstration of impunity and gross abuse of the law for NNPC to continue to disregard the unmistakable mandatory constitutional provisions of the law.
“It is even more shocking for the presidency as to embody the desecration of our constitution in such a flippant, brazen and unserious manner as portrayed by the presidential spokesman.”
The governors stated that the president could not change the constitution at his pleasure.
“Perhaps, these matters are too complex for Garba Shehu to comprehend,” the governors stated.
The governors noted that Shehu celebrates the fact that naira is now over N500 to a dollar in the parallel market.
They said: “If his statement represents the thinking of the APC federal government, then we are in more trouble than we think. The implication of the fall of the naira for the cost of goods and services, including the price of food and basic needs of Nigerians are becoming unbearable for the average Nigerian.
“Perhaps the most insensitive is on the issue of Twitter suspension. How can a presidential spokesman be so stone-deaf? He is unable to see the grave assault of freedom of speech embodied therein. He doesn’t see the need to motivate our youths. He trivialises serious matters of state. It is very unfortunate.
“He repeats his assault on the sensibility of Nigerians in the way he addresses the herder – farmers’ conflict. Calling the legitimate request for ramping up ranching as a denial of the right of Nigerians to live and work anywhere in Nigeria is perhaps the most illogical of the entire response.”
The PDP supported its governors, saying that it was appalled by the unwarranted attack and name calling by the presidency against them.
The party described as not presidential and pedestrian, a statement by Buhari’s aide, in which he described the PDP governors as peddlers of fake news, just because they pointed to his failures and proffered solutions to the challenges facing the nation.
A statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said: “For the avoidance of doubts, the PDP insists that our governors are responsible and responsive leaders, who have always shown concerns towards the plight of Nigerians.
It is on the record that they attend to the wishes of Nigerians in their respective states and do not by any whim, recourse to the peddling of fake news and lies like the Buhari’s presidency and his All Progressives Congress (APC).”
The PDP said Nigerians would not forget how the president and his party came to power by means of fake news, lies, falsehood, fake promises, deceit, beguilements and negative innuendos, a scope they had widened and deepened in the last six years.
It added that it was on record that never in the history of Nigeria had Nigerians had a presidency that so thrives on lies like to the extent that Nigerians have even given one of its ministers the appellation of a “liar.”
PDP said Buhari openly resorted to false claims when he told Nigerians that his administration has pulled 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years only for the World Bank to do a fact-check and discovered that, to the contrary, 7.8 million Nigerians have rather been dragged below the poverty line in the last 12 months.