Atiku Abubakar has faulted President Bola Tinubu over the removal of fuel subsidy.
This is as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 election, also called on PDP National Assembly members-elect to discharge their responsibilities according to the provisions of the Constitution.
He urged them not to be part of the “rubber-stamp legislative arm or those who may want to govern as dictators”.
Speaking at a one-day retreat for elected members of the National Assembly at the Banquet Hall of the Government House, Bauchi, on Saturday, the former vice president urged them to remember that their key role as members of the opposition was holding the government in power to account.
According to him, in doing so, they must demonstrate that the party was ready to govern at the shortest time possible.
“Our party campaigned on specific programmes and policies, so you must remember laws and that Nigerians expect your work as National Assembly members to reflect those promises we made to them. That you are not currently in the INEC-selected governing party is not an adequate excuse.
“You must collectively push the temporary government in the direction of policies and programmes that serve the Nigerian people,” he said.
He added, “You should not be part of the rubber-stamp legislative arm or those who may want to govern as dictators. Our democracy must endure and you should help to make that happen.
“As you know, the PDP remains the only true political party that is owned by its members rather than one or a handful of godfathers. There’s no one group of members that is bigger, better or important than the party in the PDP.”
“You are representatives of the party in your constituencies. Do not attempt to abandon your party just because of the INEC-induced temporary setback. In the end, the good and truth shall triumph over falsehood and evil.
“Therefore, you must please, remain resolute, do not work in isolation from one another. You are a team and you should always work as a team in order to achieve meaningful results and also remain connected to your roots, that is your constituents and other stakeholders.”
While expressing optimism about the party’s case at the Presidential Election Petition Court, Atiku said.
“Based on the results announced by INEC and pending the determination of the challenges in court, our members-elect are not the majority in the National Assembly.
“So, for the time being, they have to plan to work as an effective, constructive opposition while also preparing for possible roles as majority party when the cases are resolved. Don’t just lose hope.”
The Turakin Adamawa said the Federal Government had thrown the citizens into untold hardship by removing the fuel subsidy without providing palliatives for those affected.
“Let me make a passing remark on the announced fuel subsidy removal. Between 1999 and 2007, the PDP government initiated the petroleum subsidy removal and I chaired the committee. We achieved subsidy removal in two phases but only after providing palliatives for those most affected by the subsidy removal,” he added.
Meanwhile, the PDP Governors’ Forum has elected the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, as its Chairman.
Adamawa State Governor, Umaru Fintiri, who announced this at the end of a closed-door meeting of the governors held at the office of the Bauchi governor on Saturday, said Mohammed would replace the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, while Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, was elected as the vice chairman of the forum.