*Demands Arrest, Prosecution of Presidency Officials
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the denial from the MLK Foundation of giving President Muhammadu Buhari an award,
as a national disgrace.
The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Thursday, accused President Buhari’s handlers and the All Progressives Congress (APC), of desperation to procure international endorsement, ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The party said the recent controversy over the ward was highly embarrassing to the country.
The statement read in part: “It is now clear that this sinking, incompetent and deceptive APC administration, in their desperation, can fabricate and stage-manage anything, including name-dropping of international figures and agencies, in their desperate attempt to delude Nigerians, once again, now that the 2019 general election is fast approaching.
“Nigerians have discovered that having failed to gain any endorsement from reputable international figures such as Bill Gates, the APC and the Presidency have now cheapened the nation by resorting to this despicable act of name-dropping of world-renowned human right activist, Dr. Martin Luther King jr, further dragging down our once sterling image before the comity of Nations.
“The fact remains that not many Nigerians believed in the authenticity of the award in the first place, as the Buhari-led administration, by its undemocratic and anti-people proclivities, including records of violations of rights of citizens, is not deserving of any form of recognition by any human rights group, let alone the family of the world-acclaimed Martin Luther King jr.
“Today, the PDP has been vindicated in its stand that the APC government is not only hypocritical but overtly deceptive and must not be trusted.
“It would be recalled that we had issued a statement, earlier this year, cautioning Nigerians and the international community to be wary of information and claims coming from the APC and the Presidency, particularly on endorsements and performances indices.
“While we urge the Presidency to shed its proclivity for lies, we demand the immediate arrest, investigation and prosecution of all the Presidency officials involved in this messy scandal and crime against our nation”.
The Family of Late Martin Luther King Jnr’s Family had dissociated self from the award presented to President Buhari on Tuesday. According to Coretta Scott King, an American author, activist, Civil Rights leader, and the wife of Martin Luther King, Jr, the award given to Buhari was not given by ‘The King Center, at the request of The King Center or by the children of Martin Luther King Jrn’.
Recall that Presidency on Tuesday disclosed that President Buhari received the family of the late African American civil rights activist, Martin Luther King (Jr), at the State House, Abuja and was also conferred with the 1st Black History Month National Black Excellence and Exceptional African Leadership Award 2018.
But on its official tweeter handle, @TheKingCenter, the official living memorial to #MLK, founded by #CorettaScottKing to educate on nonviolence and build the #BelovedCommunity. #Nonviolence365™. #Atlanta, it said “The award given to President Buhari of Nigeria was not given by The King Center, at the request of The King Center or by the children of #MLK and #CorettaScottKing. @MrFixNigeria”, it twittered.
In response to the flurry of criticism, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, explained on Thursday that the award was given by Naomi King in a personal capacity and not on behalf of The King Centre.
There were allegations on the social media that monies exchanged hands for the award to be bestowed on the president.
In a statement made available to newsmen on Thursday, Dabiri’s media aide, Abdulrahman Balogun, said that the award was a commemorative plaque to appreciate Buhari’s fight against corruption in Nigeria.