While acknowledging its human frailties, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) insisted at the weekend that the party’s 16 years of mistake remained far less than the calamity of the last two and half years of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in multiple dimensions.
A group, the National Volunteers for Lamido, which made the assertion in a statement issued in Abuja, noted that whatever the PDP did, it left the scene over two years ago and that exit provided Nigerians the opportunity to gauge the standard of performance.
It said: “From the economy, foreign relations where an APC government has decided to make caricature of the country, its leadership and people, security, wage theft, misapplication of resources and the lack of vision at all levels. This is total disaster.”
In the statement, signed by its national coordinator, Umar Danjani Hadeja, the group also accused the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, of deliberately choosing to feed the public with falsehood and obvious inaccuracies, deliberate misinformation and even mischief bordering on denial and selective amnesia.
It was reacting to Shehu’s attempted response to a recent interview granted by a former Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido, wherein he fielded questions on his presidential ambition and the state of his party, the PDP, as well as some snippets on reasoned insights on President Muhammadu Buhari’s leadership style, the All Progressives Congress government and the future of Nigeria and the place of her youth.
The group particularly lampooned the presidential spokesperson for relishing in quackery whenever he ventures into the laborious attempts at rebuttals or rejoinders, more often with scant regard for the truth.
It said: “Clearly, Garba’s attempted response to the said Sule Lamido interview is yet another classic example of the PR disaster and liability that he now represents for the Buhari administration. Surely, we would care less for this misfortune of an appointee of Mr. President who is fishing and scavenging desperately for ‘stuff’ that would make him look useful in a job he clearly does not know how to do. His brazen and intellectually lazy import-substitution mission for issues never raised in the interview in the effort to tar Alhaji Sule Lamido with a dirty brush is at best mischievous, unprofessional and a damning verdict on Garba.”
While describing the attempt by Shehu “to tar Alhaji Sule Lamido with a dirty brush” as mischievous, unprofessional and a damning verdict on the presidential spokesman, the group also expressed concern over the feeble and failed attempt to address or “attack” the facts of the matter raised in the interview.
It took a swipe at the presidential spokesman for falsely accusing Lamido of impugning the integrity of the nation’s judicial system and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission when, in actual fact “the government is itself destroying” these two institutions.
It said: “Where, for instance, did Garba see any reference to these institutions in the said interview? Did he at all read the interview or in the classic case of playing the ‘Boss’, lazily rely on some subordinates who supposedly drew his attention to a publication he never sighted? And as if this was not shameful enough, he brazenly proceeded to blindly issue a ‘rejoinder’ to a publication he apparently knew nothing about. This is a further injury to the image, integrity and ethics of the journalism profession.”
According to the group, Shehu has thrown up the poverty of the government’s effort to water down any serious effort to address national ills, adding: “His usual habit of ignoring facts was manifest in his attempt to defend his party rather than the government’s confused approach to implementing the agenda it promised.”
The group said Lamido would not be deterred, distracted or cowed by the shenanigans of the likes of Shehu, stressing that as a statesman and nationalist whose sole driving impetus is improvement in the material condition of the ordinary Nigerian citizen as well as carving a place of high repute for Nigeria in the comity of nations, “Alhaji Sule Lamido is forging ahead with steely determination and singleness of purpose.
“Lamido will continue to speak truth to power and call out the APC government in all its numerous failings. No amount of name-calling, falsehood, character assassination or intimidation will do the trick. Not from Garba Shehu, not from anyone else. The APC government must shape up or ship out, or else expect the Sule Lamidos of this country and they are in the majority now, to continue to call it out.”
Still comparing the PDP government with the current administration, the group further drew attention to what is called confusion and lies, cross messaging and open confrontation among various officials of government even while brazenly engaged in corrupt practices of various kinds as widely reported in the media.
It said: “This is worse than a calamity for a developing nation like ours. Garba should encourage the government he serves to investigate those cases instead of chasing shadows and silhouettes. If you check the markets, prices have skyrocketed. There is unemployment, poverty and hunger, which bad effects have shot over the roofs, while some officials, including Garba, are smiling as they hide their loots from this government. These stories have become daily doses of media reportage. Time shall tell.”
Maintaining that the antecedents of everyone given opportunity of service speaks for him or her, the group contended that Lamido comes across as a deliverer of promise, challenging anyone in doubt to visit Jigawa State to understand the difference between the Lamido years and the present reality.
It said: “Every visible productive project of stature dotting the entire landscape was initiated and completed by him.
“The essential Alhaji Sule Lamido is a quintessential leader who is and still loved by the people, among whom he lives to date. He speaks his mind, no matter who is involved. In the process, he has encountered and also survived the vicissitudes of politics while serving his fatherland. This has, over the years, shaped his vision with courage of conviction and strength of character. You may confirm by the kind and nature of people around him and his associates.
“Unlike Alhaji Sule Lamido, Garba is inconsequential, inconsistent, foul mouthed and practicing quackery as public affairs management. Therefore, our final word and free consultancy for Garba is this: Attend a refresher course on how not to be a Public Affairs assistant. We understand one such course is scheduled for some time in the year 2019, otherwise, you will remain an albatross on President Buhari’s neck. Nigerians are watching.”