The Peoples Democratic Party says the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari as the sole presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress has indicated that the ruling party is “irredeemably doomed for a crushing defeat” in the 2019 presidential election.

The party pointed out that Buhari’s fear to contest an elective presidential primary, for which he and a few APC leaders allegedly scared away other presidential aspirants with threats and high nomination form fee, had ruined APC’s chance of fielding a good candidate.

The spokesman for the PDP, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, who stated this in a statement in Abuja on Thursday, added that the APC and Buhari had killed democracy in the ruling party.

He alleged that the President and the leaders of the APC devised means of scaring away others from the race because of the unpopularity of Buhari.

Ologbondiyan said, “Had President Buhari shed his desperation for power and allowed internal democracy within the APC, particularly when it became clear that Nigerians have become averse to his re-election due to his incompetence and insensitivity to their plight, there would have been hope for the APC.

“In muzzling contest in the APC and gleefully emerging a sole candidate, President Buhari has merely won a pyrrhic victory; a General without a troop, without capacity to face a general election, as the army of stakeholders and the masses that supported him in 2015 have left him because of his unfulfilled promises and many failures in governance.”

He added that the President had confirmed by his body language that he had no chance in a party he led.

The PDP spokesman wondered how Buhari could stand a chance in the general elections involving millions of Nigerians who were suffering untold hardship because of his alleged misrule.

He added that the angry Nigerians were waiting to deal the President a blow with their votes.

Ologbondiyan said owing to Buhari’s alleged incompetence, Nigerians’ purchasing power has become abysmally low, while industries had shut down with attendant mass job losses and foreign direct investments hitting an all-time low.

He also said that international partners had lost confidence in doing business with Nigerians, alleging further that Buhari administration has no economic blueprint except borrowing.

The spokesperson for the main opposition party said Buhari’s desperation to contest in 2019 had made some “members of the party who are democrats” to leave for the PDP.

He said, “Since President Buhari’s declaration to contest the 2019 election, true democrats and other well-meaning citizens have continued to leave the APC in droves to the repositioned PDP, which has now become the rallying platform for all Nigerians in their collective quest for a new President among the array of very credible aspirants in the PDP.

“While it is settled that President Buhari is no match for any of our presidential aspirants, all indices point to his imminent defeat as the PDP remains committed to a credible, free, fair and transparent presidential primary.”

However, the spokesperson for the Buhari’s Presidential Campaign Organisation, Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN), said the allegation that Buhari had suppressed internal democracy in the APC was a figment of the PDP’s imagination.

He said unlike the PDP which printed only one presidential nomination form which was obtained by then President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015, the APC, ahead of the 2019 election, had printed many forms, adding that other APC presidential aspirants merely conceded to Buhari’s popularity and chose not to obtain forms.

He said the APC was not doomed, pointing out that rather, the PDP, which he said existed only on Twitter and Whatsapp, was the one winding up.

He said, “As of today, the PDP only exists on Twitter and Whatsapp. The APC is not doomed; rather, it is the PDP that is winding up.

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“The solution to a problem cannot be to go back to the people who caused the problem.”

Also, the APC advised the main opposition party to prepare for the crisis that would follow the battle over who got the party’s presidential ticket.

The APC said the PDP’s attempts to meddle in the internal affairs of the APC were not what should concern it at the moment.

The acting National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Yekini Nabena, said this on the telephone in Abuja on Thursday.

Nabena said, “We will advise the PDP to prepare for the crisis which will follow the contest for its presidential ticket. We have sorted our own out.

“Unlike what the PDP did with President Jonathan in 2014, our presidential aspirant will still face direct primary; our members will still vote for him to become our candidate. The PDP is already conceding defeat.”

Meanwhile, Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State said on Thursday that Buhari would record additional one million votes in 2019 in the state compared to the 1.5 million votes he polled in 2015.

Masari spoke to State House correspondents in Abuja.

He said, “The people of Katsina are 100 per cent behind President Buhari and they will continue to support him even after the elections of 2019.

“We expect that, based on figures coming out of the registered voters, the residents will give him nothing less than 70 to 80 per cent votes.

“In 2015 he got almost 1.5 million votes from Katsina State. We expect that in 2019, we will be able to give him an additional one million votes making it at least 2.5 million votes.”

He also said both direct and indirect primaries were recognised by the APC constitution.

He said, “Lagos, Kano and Niger states have opted for direct primaries in a country of 36 states plus FCT. I think it shouldn’t be a contentious issue.

“In fact, the constitution of the party recognises direct, consensus and indirect primaries; so whichever method is adopted, nobody is breaching the constitution of the party.”

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