The Federal Government has reacted to the recent release of an audio in which the Minister of Transportation and the director-general of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council, Rotimi Amaechi, supposedly criticised President Muhammadu.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who spoke on the matter described the audio as being maliciously edited out of context, adding that it will not break the ruling All Progressives Congress.
He also said that it was the prerogative of President Muhammadu Buhari to extend the tenure of the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, who has reached retirement age and will have his tenure expire on January 15.
Mohammed, who spoke to newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday said, “The opposition is determined to ensure the ongoing campaign for the 2019 elections is not based on issues but on mudslinging.
“What is the point in shopping around for audio clips or publications that are then maliciously edited out of context? Why do they think this will break our ranks in the ruling party?
“What advantage do they think they can get from this infantile act? Whoever wants to circulate any audio or video clip should do so in its entirety so the people can understand the context. Otherwise, let them continue wasting their time circulating an audio that is clearly designed to blackmail.”
On Idris he said, “The President is at liberty to extend his tenure.”
According to him, the proposed protest by the opposition would not be enough to stop the President from exercising his power.
“When you are drowning, you grab any floating object you can find. You even grab at straws. That’s what the PDP is doing with the issue of the IGP’s tenure.
“In the first instance, it is the prerogative of Mr President to extend or not to extend the tenure of the Inspector-General of Police or any service chief. That prerogative cannot be taken from Mr President on the altar of paranoia by some people.
“Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in his time, extended the tenure of Mr Sunday Ehindero as IGP. Was there no opposition party then? Also, in his time, President Umaru Yar’Ardua extended the tenure of Mr Mike Okiro as IGP, heavens didn’t fall.
“I have read that some opposition parties are planning a series of nationwide protests on the issue of IG’s tenure. That’s purely within their right in a democracy. And I wish them the best of luck.”
He also spoke on the issue of Amina Zakari’s appointment as head Collection Centre for Election, describing the opposition’s reaction to it as nothing but sheer hysteria that only emanated from a pathological fear of impending political doom.
“Her role is limited to overseeing the physical structure, that is the International Conference Centre, which is the collation centre for the presidential election. The cries of the opposition amount to red herring.
“In targeting Mrs Zakari, the PDP has forgotten that she was appointed in their time. If she was found worthy then, what has changed now?
“Ahead of the 2019 elections, the PDP has complained against the IG, INEC chairman, Mrs Amina Zakari, etc., the party is blaming everyone but itself for the sorry state in which it has found itself,” he said.
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