The Presidency Sunday described the comments by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on the cancellation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Zamfara State as “mischievous, shameful and disgraceful”.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, had on Friday said Buhari ought to have reassured Nigerians by travelling to Gusau instead of opting 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”.
Reacting, a presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, said, it was sad for the country that the bankruptcy of issues had forced the so-called leading opposition party to hang on to life by only telling lies.
He said: “Their caravan of falsehood had moved even more speedily following the inauguration of their not-so-new national executive at the end of last year.”
He said the party’s criticism showed either a lack of understanding of presidential movements, especially for a party that held that office for sixteen years, or an act that smacked of mischief.
“Whatever be the case, there must be a limit to trivialization,” Shehu said.
He stated: “When roads are closed for presidential movements here and elsewhere, consideration is also given to the safety of other road users, not just that of the president or even governor.
“The statement on the issue by the PDP attacking the president for not making it to Gusau without this being planned ahead of the journey is shameful and disgraceful for a party that held the presidency of the country in the past. What is their own record?
“It is equally important that local political actors who have seized upon the cancellation of the visit to describe it as a victory for this or that faction of the party, accompanied by songs, lyrics and videos to know that their joy is a short lived one. As he promised in that broadcast, the visit to Gusau by the president is only a matter of time.
“Given the right conditions of the weather and all other things, he will return, and in time to accomplish his mission.
“As briefly explained by the president in a special broadcast to the people of the state, the sudden deterioration of the weather was the sole and only reason for the cancellation of the visit.
“It is not unusual for flights to get cancelled when there is bad weather, whether this is arising from wind or rainstorm, fog or haze as we had it on Thursday over much of the northern towns including Gusau, capital of Zamfara State. Many of these cities are known to suffer from low visibility during the harmattan season as we are now in.
“A kilometre of visibility is usually a standard landing minimum requirement but in the case of Gusau on the day in question, this minimum requirement of 1,000 meter was down, fluctuating between 300-400 meters. Clearly, this was unsafe in the absence of precise instrument approaches that provide guidance for the pilots. The flights into Gusau were, in view of this, cancelled.”