In recent times, there has been a series of personal attacks sponsored in a section of the media by some All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders in a spirited plot to discredit officials of the federal government and those of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The overall Machiavellian purpose of these attacks by the APC leaders is very clear: to bring respected officials of the federal government and the PDP to public odium.
Typical of a desperate opposition, as the 2015 general elections approach, the APC leaders have scaled up these attacks. In the last couple of months, they have engaged an army of heavily paid consultants masquerading as columnists and writers in local and foreign media to sustain this devious enterprise by employing their stock-in-trade of lies, insults and blackmails.
This is in addition to the unleashing of APC thugs in the social media who use multiple accounts with pseudonyms to attack PDP, its people-oriented programmes and post lies and insults against President Goodluck Jonathan.
Of particular note is the endless personal attack on the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh. In the last few months, the APC has concentrated its onslaught against the PDP spokesperson and the reason is not far-fetched. Since his emergence as PDP spokesperson, Olisa Metuh has become for members of the opposition party, a thorn in the flesh for matching their propaganda machinery by effectively projecting the positive image of the PDP while exposing the many inherent negatives of the APC.
The APC is distraught because Metuh has been able to adequately communicate the unique selling points of the PDP and the major difference between its content and character and those of the APC. They are bitter because their party has been appropriately and correctly profiled by Metuh as an anti-Nigeria platform which does not have the interest of the people at heart.
While effectively projecting the PDP as a national and democratic party, committed to the overall national interest without regard to ethnic and religious considerations, Metuh has further succeeded in presenting the true picture of the APC as a sectional and undemocratic party, completely lacking in ideology, promoting division among Nigerians; a party of frustrated and corrupt dictators seeking a platform to actualize their ethnic, religious and pecuniary agenda. He has succeeded in exposing the hidden links between the utterances of the APC and the insecurity that has claimed the lives of thousands of innocent citizens.
The APC leaders have been having sleepless nights because Metuh not only stripped their party of its fake messianic robe, making a public display of its true identity as a party on a mission to destroy Nigeria, but also showed that it is no alternative to the PDP, a message which has stuck, forming a strong foundation for informed electoral choices for 2015 general elections based not on propaganda but on reason and facts as was the case in the June 21 Ekiti state governorship election.
It is against this backdrop that the PDP National Publicity Secretary has become a critical assignment for the APC. He must be stopped. Having failed to silence him through a series of threats and litigations, the APC leaders have now resorted to a well-funded campaign of calumny in an attempt to discredit and cow him to silence so as to effectively deny the PDP a credible voice to project its image, defend its policies and programmes and highlight the performances of its elected officials.
Characteristically, Metuh has maintained his high moral ground of decency and equanimity in the face of the attacks by APC leaders. He has refused to join issues with them or to allow himself to be distracted. However, it is very important to place on record that there is no statement by Metuh on APC or its leaders that has not been based on facts. This explains the reason APC leaders and their paid writers have continued to indulge in stretching their imagination but always end up with insults and threats.
The questions are: is the APC not a private estate of few politicians who have instituted a reign of impunity and brazen dictatorship within its fold? Are APC leaders not running their party like a rebel group? Are they not engaged in actions and utterances that promote division and violence in the country? Have they not been deliberately dishing out lies and fabrications in their statements to incite Nigerians and discredit the PDP led-administration?
Since its registration on July 13, 2013, the APC has never purposefully and constructively engaged and challenged the PDP on issues. Instead, in its 15 months of existence, it has issued hundreds of press statements all of which have been devoted to attacking government officials and those of the PDP as subterfuge to cover their heinous plot against the nation.
APC leaders have continued to promote violence through their utterances as a means to achieve political control. The statement by their National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun that his party will set up a parallel government should it lose in the 2015 presidential election (bear in mind that APC’s understanding of ‘rigging’ is where they lose) not only betrays their inner agenda but also confirms Metuh’s position that the APC is promoting a Janjaweed ideology.
This is in addition to inflammatory statements by other APC leaders, including its Deputy National Secretary, Nasir El-Rufai, who was widely reported to have declared that the 2015 elections will be bloody and for which he was questioned by the Department of Security Services.
Metuh has been able to prove that we have an opposition party which seeks to weaken critical institutions of government, make them vulnerable and set the stage for the materialization of their ignoble plans. The publishing of negative advertorials and articles in local and foreign media by the APC; and the sponsoring of pockets of anti-government protests across the country confirm his position.
Nigerians may recall the sustained vitriolic attacks and campaign of calumny against the legislature at the national and state levels with the APC issuing statements labeling them as corrupt and falsely accusing them of receiving millions of dollars to do PDP’s bidding.
A typical example of the lies that constantly lace APC statement was its news release of June 19, 2014 where it averred that a plane carrying Kano state Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso to attend its rally in Ekiti was denied landing permission in Akure, only for Kwankwaso’s Director of Press Affairs, Baba Dantiye to announce that his boss was at another event in Kano on that day and had no plans to travel to Ekiti state.
Having been completely exposed, APC leaders are very bitter with Metuh. They are now desperate and want to use every means including circulating negative publications to stop him. Of particular reference is a publication in a section of the media by Sunday Dare, the Special Assistant to the former Governor of Lagos State and APC leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. A similar article written by one Tobi Idaomi appeared in some online news sites. This is in addition to attacks by paid bloggers and APC social media thugs.
Typical of the APC, the Dare article, meant to be a response to the well-articulated PDP statement wherein it urged Nigerians to quit the APC because of its anti-democratic stance and the dictatorial tendencies of its leaders, left the issues and dwelt on insults. Tinubu and his co-travelers in APC must be extremely bitter because Metuh’s well-researched statement issued on Saturday, September 6, 2014 completely exposed their despotic tendencies. Instead of responding to the issues raised in the PDP statement, Tinubu’s handlers went wild with abuses further confirming Metuh’s position that the APC is a party of intolerant politicians.
The questions Nigerians must ask are: why has Tinubu refused to answer Metuh’s query regarding how he emerged the leader of APC? Was he elected? Does this not show the APC as an undemocratic party “where despots crown themselves national leaders without recourse to appropriate democratic process?”
Tinubu should answer Metuh on why he barred a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Bamidele Opeyemi from contesting the June 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State on APC platform. He should explain the role he played in stopping former Senate Minority Leader, Olorunnimbe Mamora, from re-contesting the Senate seat in 2011.
Yes. Tinubu should reply Metuh. Did he not impose his son in-law, Hon. Oyetunde OladimejiOjo as a member representing Ijero/Efon/Ekiti West Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives? Did he not impose his sister in-law, Lola Fibisola Akande as a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly and his daughter, Mrs. Folashade Tinubu-Ojo, to replace his late mother, Abibatu Mogaji, as President-General of the Association of Nigerian Market Women and Men?
These and many more were issues raised in the PDP statement which Tinubu’s media office failed to address. In fact, they will be rendering better service to their master by helping him provide answers to Nigerians on the widely reported allegations of monumental fraud and massive looting of Lagos state’s resources leveled against him.
In any case, the APC must understand that no amount of sponsored media attacks, blackmails, insults and threats will subdue the resolve to stand for the truth, which Olisa Metuh now personify in the current political scenario. Indeed, nothing will deter him from continuing to be of service to our dear fatherland by exposing the evil machinations of the APC until they heed calls by well-meaning Nigerians to learn to conduct themselves in a manner expected of responsible citizens and stakeholders in the Nigerian project.
Richard Ihediwa is Special Assistant to PDP National Publicity Secretary.