By Chukwuemeka Chimerue
■Says ruling and opposition parties are same
The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has expressed concerns over the state of the country and concluded that by the next general election in 2023, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) would have completely wrecked Nigeria.
The group, which challenged governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to show evidence that the APC was using extra legal means to poach its members, however, dismissed both the ruling and opposition parties as one and the same.
Spokesman of NEF, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, who maintained that both the APC and the PDP had been destroying Nigeria since 1999, when she returned to civil rule, spoke Monday night during a programme on Channels Television.
His words: “What are they going to do with 2023, because between now and 2023, in one and a half years, APC would have completely wrecked this country. You are going to take over a country that is effectively destroyed by a party that has been substantially produced by PDP?”
Baba-Ahmed, who was reacting to the comments by PDP governors that the Presidential Villa had become APC headquarters for coercing their members to join the ruling party, noted that while the APC would have completely wrecked the country by 2023, the PDP has not shown the blueprint for resolving the challenges bedeviling the country.
He, therefore, maintained that the concern of the PDP and the APC was the 2023 presidential election, and not about developing the country.
“There have been defections from both sides. Like I said earlier on, we are dealing with one and the same thing. We have governors from the other party, who just change dress and come back to sit and say I’m PDP. The next day, a governor will also defect and say I’m APC. These are the same people.
“In the last 16 years, since 1999, it is these two parties that have destroyed this country and they are playing the same game, all over again.
“What did the PDP say it is going to do about bringing these different parts of the country together? Where is the economic blueprint to do with unemployment; to do with the building of the Nigerian economy? All they are interested in is 2023,” he added.
On the allegation that their members were being coerced into the APC, Baba-Ahmed asked the PDP to present evidence to Nigerians that the State House was using “extra-legal and political muscle to peer away its governors to the APC.
“If governors have evidence that the State House, the Villa, is using extra-legal and political muscle to peer away governors from their parties, I wish they will share some of this information with us,” he said.
The PDP governors forum had repeatedly accused the presidency and the APC of intimidating its governors.
In their communique after a meeting in Bauchi, Bauchi State, they said, “The meeting condemned, once again, the use of underhand tactics to arm twist some PDP Governors and other stakeholders to join the APC, a political party that has wrecked Nigeria’s economy, turned Nigeria into a killing field and has nothing to offer Nigerians but misery and bad governance.
“The Governors condemned Mr. President and APC for turning the Presidential Villa, that belongs to all Nigerians, into the new APC headquarters, where coerced PDP members are being paraded at intervals”.(THISDAY)