Opposition does not mean hostility, says Buhari, as he meets PDP, APC leadership
• We’d Keep You On Your Toes, Give You Run For Your Money, Declares Makarfi
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday told the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to consider its current position in Nigeria’s democracy as one of providing vibrant but responsible checks on government rather than resort to hostility.The President stated this when he met with the leadership of the PDP and the All Progressives Congress (APC) who were at the presidential villa, Abuja yesterday.
He said: “Multi-party democracy is a very tried and tested form of government. Opposition does not mean hostility, enmity or antagonism. Democracy needs opposition, one that is vibrant but responsible.
Both parties were led by their chairmen, Chief John Oyegun of the APC and Ahmed Makarfi of the opposition PDP on a courtesy visit to welcome the President who recently returned to the country from London, United Kingdom (UK) where he had gone for a medical follow-up at the instance of his doctors. Recall that President Buhari travelled to London on May 7 for medical check-up and returned on August 19 after over 100 days in that country.
Meanwhile, Makarfi has vowed that the opposition PDP is poised to give the ruling APC-led government a good run for its money in the forthcoming polls in the country, as well as constantly keep the President on his toes as it strives to make the country a better place for all Nigerians.
“Mr. President, having welcomed you back and prayed for you, let me seize this opportunity to assure you, and through you, the entire country, that the PDP having assumed the leadership of the opposition in this country, is poised to play that role energetically, vibrantly, but very decently and with all sense of responsibility.
“This we shall do by giving you a good run for your money and constantly keeping you on your toes as we all strive to make this country better. “We assure you of our cooperation as much as the opposition can possibly give to enable you give your best in the process navigating the ship of our state into of a better tomorrow. We are glad to note that already the legislators of our party are cooperating with those of the majority party in both arms of the National Assembly to ensure a smooth legislative sail for the system.
“We are also proud of the contributions of our governors to the deliberations and other activities of both the National Council of State and the National Economic Council,” he said.While assuring of PDP’s cooperation with the government on any programme sincerely designed to take Nigeria to higher levels, the PDP Chairman also promised support for the government’s fight against terrorism as well as other crimes he said, have sneaked into the people’s consciousness like kidnapping and banditry.
Others, according to Makarfi, include farmers/herdsmen clashes and other crimes camouflaged as such and all other antisocial vices he said conspire to slow down the nation’s wheel of progress. His words, “We also offer our support for the fight against corruption and appeal that the institutions saddled with this onerous task be given a necessary encouragement and independence to do the right thing.
“This will help in further strengthening our institutions and insulating them from undue political interferences. It will also help give them a more credible outlook in the eyes of the public. “There is no way we can have a respectable voice in the comity of civilized nations until we rebuild our institutions and imbue them with the necessary independence and confidence that will improve both their visage and standing with the citizenry
“The government should lead the charge in this regard by, especially, exhibiting greater respect to judicial pronouncements as well as respecting the fundamental rights of all Nigerians. “The PDP as a great believer in the unity of this country will also partner with the government in any ways that will strengthen our historic bond and rebuild bridges of our beautiful relationships that seem to be cracking at the moment.
“Mr. President, we once again express our sincere happiness at your recovery and return home. We wish you more good health, strength and God’s guidance,” Makarfi said.In his remarks, the APC national Chairman said the meeting was a demonstration of the President was not averse to genuine ideas that would move the nation forward even if it were coming from the opposition.
Those present during the meeting included former governor of Bayelsa State Timipre Sylva, former minister of sports Bolaji Abdullahi, former Senate President Ken Nnamani, Senator Ben Obi and Wali Jubril among others.
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