A civil Rights Advocacy group, HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA), has accused Nigeria’s Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, of destroying the growth and development of democracy in the country, as well as displaying disdainful sycophancy to please his employer. The group, therefore, advised President Muhammadu Buhari to be conscious of the incisive utterances of Lai Mohammed that could precipitate violence and deepen divisiveness in the country if the president aspires to bequeath enduring legacies of statesmanship and patriotism to Nigerians and generation yet unborn at the end of his second tenure.
HURIWA berated Lai Mohammed over his irrational, undemocratic and uncoordinated outburst in reaction to the decision of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its Presidential candidate in the 2019 elections, Atiku Abubakar, to challenge the controversial judgment of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja which upheld the contentious victory of President Muhammadu Buhari at the Supreme Court.
The tribunal had dismissed the petition of the PDP and Atiku while proclaiming that Buhari is eminently qualified to contest presidential election, among other declarations, despite the WAEC certificate scandal which the president could not present to the tribunal but claimed he cannot trace the certificate after his false information on oath that his credentials are with the Nigerian Army which the Army refuted. More so, a retired General who Buhari invited to stand as witness for him also confirmed that the president did not submit any certificate to the military, affirming they both joined the Army same time and at entry, o one requested any credential from them.
HURIWA, therefore, cautioned President Buhari to distance himself from the tragic line of thinking of the Information Minister; arguing that “it is inconceivable that even a first year law student, talk less an old lawyer like Alhaji Lai Mohammed, could utter such sarcastic and absolutely thoughtless statement which runs contrary to civilized thinking.” The group depicted Lai Mohammed as someone who lacks the elementary knowledge of the fundamentals of election litigation governed by adherence to the rule of law which the Nigerian Constitution being the grand norm so recognizes.
HURIWA stated that it is odd and totally irrational that a serving minister and a lawyer, for that matter, can be quoted as demanding public apology and/or prosecution of a petitioner in a highly contentious election matter which for the time being has also been contentiously and controversially resolved in favour of the president who is a necessary respondent in the election litigation.
“Only a completely uneducated road-side political fanatic who is delusional and cut off from the reality and dynamics of constitutional democracy can be heard demanding that someone like the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who chose the most civilized and constitutional route to seek for legal redress over his perceived ‘shortchanging’ by Independent National Electoral Commission, should apologize for choosing to go to court of law.
“We urge President Buhari to stay clear of Lai Mohammed who is simply a crass political opportunist totally unmindful of the need for President Buhari in the last stage of his prolonged political career to focus on bequeathing enduring legacies of statesmanship and patriotism. Lai Mohammed by this outlandish outburst has shown himself as a political pupil who stokes up crises for selfish aggrandizement.
“What that empty rhetoric of Lai Mohammed shows is a man with a warped idea of what is the best step to adopt to seek for justice. Would Lai Mohammed had preferred that Atiku Abubakar never filed a suit but instigate his supporters to revolt,” HURIWA declared.
The group insisted that the Atiku has the constitutional right to institute any legal matter to democratically seek for redress.
HURIWA, therefore, expressed disappointment that Lai Mohammed could claim to be speaking for the Federal Government telling the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate in the 2019 general elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to apologize to Nigerians for willfully distracting the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari with a frivolous election petition, instead of appealing the ruling of Wednesday’s Presidential Election Petition Tribunal. The Rights group said the statement attributed to Lai Mohammed is disgraceful and repugnant to both good conscience and rational thinking.
HURIWA dismissed these statements by Lai Mohammed as the ranting of someone who does not wish President Muhammadu Buhari but sheer display of disdainful sycophancy.