The gale of defections from Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) is a testament to the achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) says the movements can also be attributed to the integrity, maturity and selflessness the President has brought to bear on governance and party politics.
The group said in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, that the fact that three opposition Governors cited President Buhari’s character and his performance in office, as part of the reasons for their action shows that the administration has been fair to everyone, regardless of party affiliation.
“Like many discerning Nigerians, we were not surprised that Governors Dave Umahi and Ben Ayade cited the President’s fairness and integrity, as well as performance in office, in their first interaction with the media after dumping their former political party to join APC.
“This is because we have a President who within his first few weeks in office in 2015 ensured that all States that were unable to pay workers’ salaries got a bailout. We make bold to say that only a fair-minded President would approve a combined intervention package of $2.1bn to bail out bankrupt States without regional or party consideration.
“It is also on record that the Federal Government, under President Buhari’s watch, also distributed a further N1.1trn comprising N689.5bn in bailouts and N310bn in loans backed by the Excess Crude Accounts which at least 35 States benefited from.
“So, is it surprising that not even one Governor from the opposition rank could accuse the President of the type of unfair treatment that was the signature of the PDP years when handling States governed by opposition parties?
“We invite Nigerians to compare this to the PDP-era disbursement of N2bn from the Ecological Fund in 2013 to 17 states,15 of which were States controlled by the then ruling party, while the other two, Ondo and Anambra were governed by parties with strong links to the government at the centre. It was not until 2017 that the remaining 19 states had their own share of the fund, courtesy of the Buhari administration.
“This is coming at a time of dwindling oil revenue when in fact Nigeria earned $17bn from crude oil sales in 2016, which is the lowest in six years, compared to the oil windfall of the PDP years when the country had its highest earnings of $68bn from oil and gas alone”.
BMO also dismissed PDP’s position on the defection of Governor Bello Matawalle and all elected State and Federal lawmakers from Zamfara State as inconsequential and a reflection of its failure as an opposition party.
“Rather than the opposition party to embark on some introspection on the defection of the third Governor from the party in less than six months, PDP prefers to toe the path of its usual grandstanding spiced with empty rhetorics.
“This is a party that opened its doors wide to receive the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki in the run-up to the governorship election in the State last year, yet it threatens that the Zamfara Governor and all the lawmakers risk losing their positions for defecting to APC.
“We also find it amusing that PDP could claim that the Buhari administration and the ruling party want to cover up what it tagged poor performance by luring its Governors, especially as the same party had once alleged that the defecting Governors were lured with the offer of Presidential ticket for the 2023 election.
“We dare say that this clearly shows the level of thinking among PDP leadership, and explains why it failed as a ruling party and now as an opposition party because we wonder how top politicians with years of experience in politics could run into a party that is performing poorly, from what we are made to believe is a pristine gathering.
“What PDP does not want to admit is that the performance of the Buhari administration is the biggest threat yet to its existence, and its leaders are therefore flustered at the mass exodus from the sinking ship that the party has become.
“We need to remind the opposition party, its supporters and allies, that it was about this same time, in the twilight of the Jonathan administration that they lost five Governors and several other top members to the APC, but this time the same party is losing its governors to the ruling party.
“And just like that exodus signposted PDP’s loss at the centre, the latest one is a harbinger of what the opposition party should expect in 2023, especially as APC is evolving into a truly ideological political powerhouse built on integrity”.
The group reassured Nigerians of President Buhari’s commitment to building on the achievements that propelled the top opposition figures to defect to the ruling party.