President Muhammadu Buhari aborted his trip to Zamfara State over fear of attacks by bandits, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), claims.
Mr Buhari was scheduled to visit the bandits-ravaged state on Thursday but aborted it, citing poor weather conditions as reason in a video recording released by the Presidency. He promised to visit some other time when the weather is friendly.
But in its reaction in a statement by its spokesperson, Debo Ologunagba, the opposition party claimed the Nigerian leader shelved the trip out of fear of attack from bandits who, in August last year, shot down a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) fighter jet.
It wondered why the president also refused to journey by road to the planned destination from nearby Sokoto where he had gone to commission some projects.
“The Party dismisses President Buhari’s excuse of not travelling to Zamfara State because of inclement flying weather when he had the option of travelling the short trip from Sokoto to Gusau by road,” Mr Ologunagba said on Friday, querying, “We ask, did Mr. President cancel the trip to Zamfara State out of fear of terrorists?
“Was Mr. President, an Army General, with all the security apparatus under his command afraid to travel by road because he was not sure of his security as well as the dilapidated state of our roads under his watch?
“From Sokoto to Gusau, the Zamfara State capital is about 206 kilometres, a journey a leader who has the interest of the people at heart and who is sure of his security could have undertaken by road.
“President Buhari ought to have reassured Nigerians by travelling to Gusau, instead, he opted for a video broadcast in which he promised the troubled people of the state that he looks “forward to a more weather-friendly period when I will visit.
“This is another sad demonstration of the President leading from behind against his own promise and commitment to Nigerians to lead from the front in the fight against terrorism.
“Such attitude to governance speaks volumes as to why our nation is in a shambolic state under the Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration which is largely laidback, unconcerned and corrupt.
“If truly the people matter to Mr. President and his Party, the APC; if truly President Buhari and the APC believe in Nigerians and feel their pains; if truly they are very concerned about the wellbeing of the people, then Mr. President would have taken it upon himself, with all the apparatus of power at his disposal, to visit and empathize with the people of Zamfara State who are daily traumatized by terrorists.”