Former ministers who served in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration rose from an emergency meeting Monday challenging ailing President Muhammadu Buhari to contest the 2019 elections.
The ex-ministers explained that they would not seek Buhari’s removal on ground of ill health because they wanted the president to get well and return to face the PDP in the 2019 presidential election.
The meeting which was presided over by former Special Duties Minister, Tanimu Kabiru Turaki and had 20 of the ex-ministers present, said it was unfair for Buhari to have sought the removal of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua during the ailment that eventually took his life.
Turaki, who read the resolutions of the ex-ministers at the end of the meeting, declared: “People behave differently to different situations. We are not unaware of the point President Muhammadu Buhari made when the late Yar’Adua was sick. For us as a former ministers forum, we wish him speedy recovery. We want him to come back and continue the job for which he persistently fought to be elected and for which he was elected. We want him to come and continue because we want to defeat him in the 2019 election and not anybody else.”
The meeting also charged the Federal Government to take more measures to curb the rising cases of insecurity in the country. It specifically lamented the alarming rate of kidnapping as well as attacks on innocent people by herdsmen in most parts of the country.
The PDP leaders said it was unfortunate that the Buhari administration had greatly polarised Nigeria and Nigerians, a development they noted led to the increased agitations for secession and restructuring in the country.
They expressed support for the Ahmed Makarfi-led caretaker committee of the party and stated that “we believe very strongly that the judgement of the Supreme Court which is coming sometime next week will unite the party more than dividing us.
“The National Caretaker Committee of the PDP led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi has been playing a commendable role in keeping the members of the party together and upholding the tenets and visions of the party. The forum therefore reaffirms confidence in the NCC.”
The ex-ministers condemned the deteriorating security situation in the country particularly the increasing rate of kidnapping, armed robbery and the unchecked menace of herdsmen that regularly kill, rape and vandalise farmlands across the communities.
“The forum also notes that as a result of the inept leadership of the APC-led Federal Government in Nigeria, Nigerians have never been so polarised along regional, tribal, ethnic, religious and other divides, and we feel that this is really most unfortunate. PDP made the supreme sacrifice to make Nigeria one and ensured that our indivisibility as a people and as a country was not compromised and that was why our presidential candidate in the 2015 election conceded defeat to President Buhari contrary to the expectation of pessimists,” the PDP chieftains said.
According to Turaki, “The forum condemned in very clear terms the persecution and decimation of the opposition and the unwarranted invasion of the residence of the immediate past Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Namadi Sambo and the continued harassment and detention of key members of the opposition.”