The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said the PDP’s reference to APC’s Road Map as a product of ‘Janjaweed Ideology’ is a thinly-veiled religious blackmail, which is in furtherance of its (PDP’s) ongoing campaign to pigeon-hole the APC as an Islamic party, rather than engage in an informed critique of the Road Map.
On a more dangerous level, it shows that the PDP will not relent from engaging in Islamophobia by using the Boko Haram crisis in a part of the country to stereotype Muslims and paint them as terrorists, even when it is obvious that majority of Muslims do not support the heinous crimes being perpetrated by the sect, APC’s Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said in a statement in Lagos on Sunday.
The party wondered why the PDP, in reacting to the APC’s Road Map, would be making an allusion to the despicable Janjaweed militia which is wreaking havoc in Sudan’s Western Darfur region, saying this is nothing short of religious escapism and a dangerous attempt to whip up religious sentiments against people of a certain faith.
”The only reason that the PDP used the word ‘Janjaweed’ is because the militia that goes by that name comprises mostly, if not exclusively, of people of Arab/Muslim stock in Sudan.
”This has further confirmed our fears that there is a clear attempt by the PDP, led by President Goodluck Jonathan, to divide Nigerians along religious lines as never before in the history of our country and to use religious as a political tool – a very dangerous move that can only result in religious warfare, from which no country that engages in it has ever survived intact.
”Or how else can one explain the continuous attempt by the PDP, despite warnings from right thinking people and groups, to cast people of a certain faith, who constitute half of our country’s population, as either terrorists or terror sympathizers/sponsors, or to label the APC as an Islamic party just to hang it? Couldn’t the PDP have criticized our Road Map without resorting to its well-worn, dangerous game of religious blackmail?” APC queried.
The party said while it had been restrained all along by not responding in kind to PDP’s blackmail, it is not unaware of the dictum that a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth.
”Perhaps the PDP has mistaken our decision to take the high road and avoid religious and ethnic politics as a sign that it (PDP) is succeeding in its religious blackmail. Therefore, we have decided to let Nigerians know that the sooner they repudiate this dangerous tactics by the PDP, the safer for our country.
”We are a party for all Nigerians, and we believe in issues-based politics, not one based on religious or ethnic sentiments. We believe God is neither Christian nor Muslim, and that he is the God of all, irrespective of their religion. We believe God will judge politicians not according to their religion but according to how much they have fulfilled the mandate to ensure the welfare and security of their people, and by how much they have lessened the people’s burdens rather add to them.
”We therefore call on Nigerians to prevail on the PDP, especially President Jonathan, to de-emphasize ethnic and religious
politics. President Jonathan should start off by refraining from using the Pulpit to disseminate political messages, as he has been doing since assuming office,” APC said.
The party challenged the PDP to unveil its own Road Map for Nigerians to see and compare, rather than attempt to drown the opposition’s message in a sea of religious blackmail.
”We will not allow our Road Map to be buried on the altar of diversionary rhetoric by the do-nothing PDP. Therefore, in the days and weeks ahead, we will be highlighting the key areas of the document for all Nigerians to see.
”For now, let us say that our Road Map is for job creation, for which we have unveiled a broad and comprehensive agenda to create 20,000 jobs in each state for those with the minimum qualifications and who participate in technology and vocational training, and to encourage every state government to create jobs by matching every job created at the state government level with two jobs by the federal government.
”We will fight corruption, for which the PDP-led FG has become infamous, whenever and wherever it occurs. An APC government will show zero tolerance for government or private sector corruption by placing the burden of proof on persons with inexplicable wealth to prove their innocence; and guaranteeing the independence of anti-corruption and financial crimes.
”We will provide free, relevant and quality education that is essential to prepare our youth for the jobs of tomorrow and to ensure Nigeria’s future success. We will revive agriculture as an engine for economic growth and new jobs and increase the supply of quality housing through a policy of social housing for the poor and affordable housing for the working class.
”We will improve Health Care; provide Social Welfare; build and improve our roads, power and basic infrastructure to create new jobs and unleash business growth and strengthen peace and security by stopping the kind of horrendous acts of terrorism, especially in the Northeast, which have robbed us of Nigerian lives of every age and withered confidence in our nation’s security,” APC said.