- Alhaji Lai Mohammed says defeats awaits the PDP in the 2019 presidential elections
- According to the minister of information and culture, protests by the opposition party against the appointment of Amina Zakari at INEC is an excuse for its impending defeat
- The minister also spoke on the PDP’s opposition to alleged tenure elongation of the Inspector-General of Police Ibrahim Idris
The minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed says the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s reactions to appointment of Amina Zakari as head of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) collation centre committee is “a sheer hysteria and excuse for the party’s impending defeat.’’
The minister who stated this at an interactive session with select journalists on Tuesday, January 8, in Abuja, stressed that the PDP’s reaction resulted from “a pathological fear of impending political doom.’’
Mohammed also said that the opposition party’s reactions to alleged tenure elongation of the Inspector-General of Police Ibrahim Idris by President Muhammadu Buhari is a “grabbing at any floating object, even straw, by a drowning man."
“The truth is that the PDP knows it will lose the forthcoming election. It is therefore looking everywhere for excuses to explain its impending defeat," he said.
Mohammed said INEC had explained that Zakari is not the returning officer for the presidential election but the chairman of the commission, Professor Mamood Yakubu.
“Her role is limited to overseeing the physical structure, that is the International Conference Centre, which is the collation centre for the presidential election.
“The cries of the opposition amount to red herring. Only yesterday (Monday), the family of Zakari was forced to issue a statement, saying she is not a blood relation of the president, as the PDP and others have claimed," he noted.
He added: “In targeting Zakari, the PDP has forgotten that she was appointed in their time. If she was found worthy then, what has changed now?
“Very soon the PDP will call a news conference to blame its own presidential candidate for the party’s failed campaign. That’s what you get from an opposition that lacks focus or direction, an opposition that says it wants issue-based campaign but throws mud at everyone."
On the IGP’s tenure, the minister noted that it is the prerogative of the president to extend or not extend the tenure of the Inspector General of Police or any service chief.
He said the prerogative cannot be taken from the president on the altar of paranoia by some people.
“Obasanjo, in his time, extended the tenure of Mr Sunday Ehindero as I-G. Was there no opposition party then? Also, in his time, President Umaru Musa Yar’Ardua extended the tenure of Mr Mike Okiro as I-G, heavens didn’t fall," he said.
He said the government is not perturbed by the planned nationwide protests on the matter.
Already, the Action Peoples Party and the Coalition of United Political Parties have dragged President Muhammadu Buhari to court over the purported moves to extend the IGP’s tenure.
The president had already approved the extension of the tenures of the Chief of Defence Staff, the Chief of Army Staff, the Chief of Air Staff and the Chief of Naval Staff.
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