The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of directly abusing his office and exhibiting “the worst form of corruption” by detailing the officially restricted presidential jet to chauffeur his daughter, Hanan, for her private photography event in Bauchi state.
On Saturday pictures emerged in the social media showing that the president’s daughter, who recently graduated with a first-class degree in photography from a United Kingdom university, was conveyed in the presidential jet to attend the Durbar in Bauchi on Thursday on the invitation of the Emir of Bauchi, Rilwanu Adamu, as a special guest of honour.
According to the reports, the durbar was specially organised to give Hanan the opportunity to take photographs of the durbar and other interesting sites in the state.
The presidency defended the action by saying that the use of the presidential jet by Hanan followed due process.
Reacting to the enquiry by a national daily, presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu maintained: “It’s true that a member of the First Family was flown to Bauchi yesterday on a mission duly authorised. It wasn’t an impromptu or improper trip because it followed normal procedure.
“The Presidency informed the National Security Adviser of the mission who in turn informed the Commander of the Presidential Air Fleet.
“The normal practice in existence for a long time is that the Presidential Air fleet is available to the President and the first family and four others. These four are the Vice President, the Senate President the Speaker and any other person(s) authorised by the President.”
However, in its reaction, the main opposition party described the action as provocative, condemnable, completely improper and an unpardonable slap on the sensibility of millions of Nigerians, particularly, the youths, who look up to the president for integrity, uprightness and respect for rules.
In a statement issued by Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP National Publicity Secretary in Abuja, the party held that the development was a strong pointer to the recklessness that pervaded the Buhari Presidency and “the indefensible annexation of our national assets and resources for illegal private use.”
It added: “It is even most appalling that instead of apologizing to Nigerians, the Buhari Presidency, in its arrogance, is resorting to falsehood and trying to justify the inexcusable.
“Our party holds that Mr President should apologise for approving that her daughter uses the Presidential jet just for the purpose of allegedly taking photographs in a Durbar event in Bauchi state.
“Perhaps, the Buhari Presidency forgot that it is public knowledge that the Presidential fleet can only be authorized for use by the President, the First Lady, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, former Presidents, Presidential delegation and no one else.
“Moreover, the rules do not grant the President any powers to transfer any paraphernalia of office or privileges of his position to any of his children.
“The Presidency’s defence is, therefore, a direct spat on millions of Nigerians who cannot freely ply our highways because Mr President and his party the APC, have failed to fix and rid our roads of kidnappers and bandits, who have practically taken over major routes under their despicable watch.”
The PDP noted that never in the history of the nation has a Presidency exhibited such arrogance, impunity and corruption, adding that the action has further shown that the Buhari Presidency had only been parading and getting away with false integrity.
The party further said: “Nigerians could recall how President Buhari heavily accused and criticized previous administrations of voting and wasting huge resources to maintain the Presidential fleet and promised to sell off most of the planes to save cost.
“Since President Buhari assumed office, none of the planes had been sold. “Instead, the Buhari Presidency had continued to budget more funds for the fleet with N8.5 bn budgeted for 2020 alone, only to approve that his daughter uses a Presidential jet for her private photography event.”
The PDP urged the Buhari Presidency to respect the sensibilities of Nigerians by immediately withdrawing his provocative justification and show leadership by apologizing to the nation for this “abuse of office.”
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