The South-West chapter of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has told President Muhammadu Buhari to use the occasion of his 78th birthday to seek God’s forgiveness.
The advice was contained in a statement on Thursday by the Director of Media and Publicity, PDP, South-West, Lere Olayinka.
According to him, rather than celebrate, President Buhari should apologize and seek forgiveness from the people of South-West Nigeria.
Olayinka accused Buhari of abandoning the region as Military Head of State, frustrated the progress of the South-West, abandoned the region when he was Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) under late General Sani Abacha, and has done nothing for the region since 2015 when he became the country’s democratic leader.
While congratulating Buhari on his 78th birthday, the statement noted that he should use the occasion to seek restitution for his misdeeds not only to the South-West region, but also to all citizens of Nigeria.
It accused Buhari of unlawfully jailing leaders of the region in the past simply because they demanded their people should get better treatment from the government.
The statement reads in part: “The South-West PDP said one of President Buhari’s major disservice to the people of the zone was the cancellation of the Lagos Metroline project embarked upon by the government of Alhaji Lateef Jakande, adding that; “The Metroline project was scrapped by Buhari at a loss of over $78 million to the Lagos tax payers. If Buhari had not cancelled that project, transportation in Lagos would have been better than it is now.
It added that; “Today, we thank God for taking our President this far and congratulate him for attaining 78 years.
“However, it is expected that Mr President will be honest enough to see today as an opportunity to seek forgiveness for his sins, especially the ones he committed against the people of the South-West.
“It is on record that in 1984, he impounded the international passport of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and prevented him from visiting his doctors at Mayo Clinic, Rochester Minnesota, USA. The passport was only returned to him with courtesies by General Ibrahim Babangida in 1985. It was however too late as Awolowo died in 1987!
“It is also on record that with President Buhari’s directive, Chief Olabisi Onabanjo was abducted by military men while recuperating from a surgical operation at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital. He was sent to Bauchi prison.
“President Buhari sent our notable leaders like Onabanjo, Jakande, Chief Michael Ajasin, Bola Ige, Chief Bisi Akande and others to jail for committing no offense other than showing commitment to the development of the region and welfare of the people.
“Curiously, in April this year, when he was granting state pardon to those he sent to jail as military Head of State, the President did not remember to extend this pardon to Chief Bisi Akande, despite being his party man and one of those who ensured his electoral victory in 2015 and 2019.
“Therefore, Mr President, as you celebrate your 78 birthday, take heed to this wise counsel and seek forgiveness from the Almighty Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) and the people you have caused untold sufferings, especially those in the South-West.”