The Peoples Democratic Party has asked the Presidency and the All Progressives Congress not to intimidate or harass the Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa, the National Assembly Service Commission or PDP lawmakers.
In a statement released in Abuja by its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, the party declared that any move from the quarters of the All Progressives Congress to take its anger out on PDP members would be seen as witch-hunt and victimisation.
This comes on the heels of a statement by President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, in which he stated that a request had been sent to the clerk of the Assembly to shift the time for Tuesday’s inauguration to enable the President address the APC legislators but he ignored it.
According to Metuh,the statement by Shehu “amounts to putting undue pressure on civil servants in the National Assembly for performing their legitimate duties and sends a serious signal which should not be ignored.”
Metuh described as unfortunate, the fact that the APC displayed its “arrogance and disrespect for the dictates of the constitution” by attempting to adjust the President’s promulgation order on the National Assembly and seeking to put their interest over and above the supreme law of the land.
He said, “It is a clear mark of disrespect to the constitution for the President and his party to fix a meeting for him to address their legislators the same time he had directed the Assembly to be inaugurated in line with the constitution.
“For 16 years that PDP nurtured democracy in this country, there was never a day it attempted to arm-twist or intimidate the bureaucracy of the National Assembly to do its bidding given our recognition and respect for the independence and sanctity of the legislative arm.
“The National Assembly is the citadel of democracy and represents the collective voice of all Nigerians. The PDP, even in opposition, will continue to protect its sanctity and will therefore resist any attempt by the APC to undermine its independence and those of other democratic institutions in our country.”
Metuh noted that the position of the APC and the Presidency was against Buhari’s inaugural notion that he was for everybody and belonged to nobody as Nigeria’s President.
He therefore charged the Presidency and APC to apologise to Nigerians for the embarrassment their “ineptitude and inexperience have been causing the nation since they came into office.”