The PDP had accused the President of being insensitive to the plights of Nigeria for attending the public presentation of “My Participation”, an auto-biography written by All Progressives Congress (APC) pioneer National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, in Lagos.
Specifically, the PDP said the President chose to honour Akande on a day some Nigerians lost their lives to bandit attacks in some communities in the North.
But the President said the opposition party got its facts all wrong.
In a statement issued by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the Presidency explained that the primary reason for President Buhari’s visit to Lagos was to inaugurate various categories of military equipment.
It said the occasion coincided with Chief Akande’s book launch in Lagos. The statement floored the PDP for attempting to corrupt facts with the intention of confusing the public on the purpose for the visit.
The Presidency made the declaration in a reply to a remark by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Lagos State for the ship inauguration.
In the reaction, the Presidency said the purpose was primarily to inaugurate military equipment, aimed at enhancing the nation’s capacity to fight terrorism.
It reads: “On 9th December in Lagos, President Muhammadu Buhari launched a made- in-Nigeria naval defence ship, NNS Oji, and inducted other vital military assets that improve the country’s capabilities to fight increased piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
“With the waters off the coast of Nigeria seeing increased attacks – with 35 cases in 2020 – these new naval ships enter service at the most opportune time.
“Designed by Nigerians and built by Nigeria’s Naval Dockyard, the ships are the largest military vessels ever produced domestically. Key to President Buhari’s commitment to self-reliance as a nation and determination to build Nigeria into a manufacturing power, the ships pave the way for construction over time of larger more capable warships. In the future, Nigeria will move to become no more an arms importer to a defence exporter.
“In addition, the President surveyed and inaugurated a naval helicopter that will join the new vessels in scouting for and countering piracy that impedes security and trade.
“While in Lagos the President also graced the launch of an autobiography by Bisi Akande – a leader who played a crucial role in keeping democratic opposition to military rule alive, and later a critical place in the development and ultimate unity of that opposition to create today’s APC.
“Without visionaries such as Bisi Akande, the corrupt PDP and its acolytes who have done so much to strip our nation of its wealth, stunt its growth, and subject it to derogation abroad would still be in office.
“But, of course, those in the PDP who have nothing positive or new to add to the debate about the future of the nation seek to trivialise the President’s Lagos visit: they choose to ignore the crucial launch of the naval vessels; they suggest the primary reason for going to Lagos was to attend a book launch.
“They try to make further mileage by claiming the President should not have attended given the attack by bandits elsewhere in the country that same day.
“Should the president not have launched the naval ships the day after that attack? Should he listen to the PDP who feign concern for those affected by banditry when they did nothing to combat it for decades – not on land or at sea?
“Should our famously austere President not attend a book launch of his friend and fellow democratic opposition veteran when it coincided with a visit to Lagos to tend the affairs of state?
“Through their attacks, the PDP reveal their priorities. Of course, for decades, as the PDP enjoyed their decadent parties at others’ expense, the navy and the armed forces rotted through negligence.
“It is noted they have not criticised the President for boosting the country’s seaborne defence capacity. Instead, they only manage to make the attack personal. It reveals the chasm of difference between a president who cares for the country while managing to show courtesy to his comrades – and the opposition who corrupted the country through the sharing out of its wealth while celebrating and splashing about stolen public money.
“Sadly, these opportunistic opposition elements, in a desperate search for political points, have dragged respected religious leaders into the discussion, feeding them misleading information who have in turn used this distorted picture to blackpaint the President in the eyes of gullible and innocent members of the public.”