The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has said the attacks on Atiku Abubakar, its presidential candidate for the 2019 general elections by officials of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is an indication of a "sign of defeat."
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday in Abuja, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, specifically lambasted Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, as well as other unidentified officials of the presidency for allegedly maligning the character of Atiku, an action which he said was "deliberate."
According to the opposition party, the presidency and the APC have gone into "panic mode" by purportedly spinning out fake information and allegations about Atiku since his popular emergence at the PDP's presidential primary in Port Harcourt, noting that such action was cowardly.
Ologbondiyan said, “The PDP is aware of how the intimidated Buhari Presidency has unleashed its officials, spin doctors and hack writers with billions of naira, siphoned from our national treasury, to fabricate lies, spurious allegations and smear campaign against our presidential candidate.
“While it is understandable that President Muhammadu Buhari is discomfited and afraid to face a popular candidate in any elections due to his incompetence, for which Nigerians earnestly seek his replacement, engaging in a smear campaign, as a means of survival, is completely reprehensible and cowardly.”
The PDP National Publicity Secretary said President Buhari, who he said has allegedly to manage both private and public enterprises successfully, should not indict Atiku, whose personal hard work has led to his successful personal economic prosperity, for which he recognised globally.
Ologbondiyan said Atiku had contributed to the national and economic development of the country through his chain of businesses as a successful business entrepreneur.
He challenged Mohammed, who he claimed had his first name, ‘Lai’ replaced with ‘lie’ by Nigerians, to explain some corrupt cases allegedly executed under the Buhari administration.
He said the Minister should explain to Nigerians how N9 trillion was allegedly stolen from the country's treasury via a murky deal at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, as well as the money reportedly diverted through the subsidy scheme.
"Since Lai Mohammed is talking about era of corruption, we charge him to speak up on the leaked memo detailing the stealing of N9 trillion ($25billion dollars) through underhand oil contract at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and the Ministry of Petroleum, under President Buhari's direct supervision.
"Lai Mohammed should speak up on the alleged siphoning of N1.4 t through sleazy oil subsidy regimes and those benefiting from the alleged N58 hidden tax per liter which Nigerians have continued to bear since the fuel price increase from N87 to presumably unsubsidized cost of N145", Ologbondiyan querried.
He also asked Mohammed to provide responses on the scandal rocking the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, as well as the funds for the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, from the insurgency in the North East, which he said were allegedly diverted.