The forty-nine Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers in the senate have declared their support for President Muhammadu Buhari.
Speaking at a press conference at the national assembly complex in Abuja on Thursday, Godswill Akpabio, minority whip, joined 48 of his PDP colleagues to express their determination to support the president.
However, they lamented that PDP members were being targeted in the anti-corruption crusade of the federal government.
“The PDP senate caucus reiterates its support to Mr President Muhammadu Buhari and his quest to bring about a greater Nigeria,” Akpabio said.
“The PDP senate caucus, despite its formidable strength, has resolved to offer only credible opposition that would lead to the building of a better Nigeria.
The caucus will give him all the needed support to ensure his success as president.
“But the PDP senate caucus notes the crusade against corruption undertaken by the APC-led federal government and hereby declares her support to rid Nigeria of corruption.
The caucus is not happy with the current trend that seems to suggest that the war against corruption is selective and targeted at PDP stalwarts and states.
“The current war lacks transparency, fairness to all and appears to be aimed at political adversaries.
It is on this ground that we condemn in particular what is happening in Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Abia states where election umpires are daily arrested, their families and associates hounded, and judicial officers involved in election tribunals intimidated and questioned using trumped up petitions bordering on corruption.
“Yet, these officials were part of the 2015 elections that produced President Buhari, an election adjudged to be generally free and fair by the international community.”
Akpabio also alleged that the Department of State Service (DSS) was being used to wreak havoc on PDP-controlled states. ”The PDP senate caucus is worried, alarmed and shocked by the recent development in our polity where the DSS is now involved in electoral matters,” he said.
“A situation where officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Rivers state, Akwa Ibom and Abia states (all PDP states) are daily being arrested, detained and questioned on politically motivated corruption allegations is worrisome and spells doom for our democracy unless the trend is reversed.
“Reports reaching the caucus has it that INEC officials are being forced by the DSS to produce falsified documents to support APC candidates cases before the tribunals.
“This is abominable and unacceptable. Mr President and all well-meaning Nigerians must intervene to preserve the independence of the tribunals and that of INEC.”
While reiterating the pledge of the PDP to provide constructive opposition to the APC government, Akpabio urged the president to treat all Nigerians equally.
Responding to questions at the news conference, Akpabio said Buhari’s government was “too young to be judged”.
“The government is too young to be judged. It is still too early,” he said in reaction to a question on his perception of the APC government.
However, he criticised the government on its effort to recover stolen funds, saying that the recovered funds should be made public.
“The money that has been been recovered should be put on the pages of paper, and be shared to states so that everyone can see,” he said.
Regarding the alleged use of the Department of State Service (DSS) to hound PDP members and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Abia states, Akpabio said that the national working committee of the PDP had sent a petition to the president on the matter.
Nevertheless, he said the best route to take in the case was to bring it to the media, hence the convening of the news conference.
Akpabio was joined by 48 other PDP senators at the news conference. Some of them are Ike Ekweremadu (deputy senate president, Enugu), Ben Murray-Bruce (Bayelsa), Jonah Jang (Plateau), Sam Egwu (Ebonyi), Theodore Orji (Abia) and Andy Uba (Anambra).