The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) yesterday alleged that the Federal Government was plotting to discredit and silence key opposition leaders so as to stymie moves for merger of political parties ahead of 2015 elections.
In a statement in Lagos yesterday, ACN spokesman Lai Mohammed said the plot was targeted at ACN leader Bola Tinubu, his CPC counterpart General Muhammadu Buhari and their associates.
"Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is particularly a prime target of these evil machinations, because of his status as the leader of the country's second biggest party, his progressive credentials as well as his electoral value," Mohammed said.
He said the PDP-led government wants to "cripple the opposition, by ensuring that nothing will be left of the integrity of its key leaders even if they are fortunate to make it to 2015."
"Some key government agencies have also been co-opted to dig up any dirt they hope can be plastered on the targeted leaders, while foreign intelligence agencies have been contacted in a desperate attempt to unearth any information that can be used to discredit and disgrace these major opposition figures thus distracting them from the merger plans.
"Indications are that highly-combustible sectional and religious issues, that are being manipulated by desperate forces to divide and destroy, are not off the table as long as exploiting them can shut down the opposition. Or how else does one interpret a recent PDP statement that President Goodluck Jonathan is being criticized by the opposition because he is from a minority ethnic group?
"And what about the continuous efforts, which have failed so far, to portray a key opposition leader as a sponsor of Boko Haram? His nomination as a 'facilitator' of some phantom peace talks was not an accident, but was carefully choreographed to portray him as a religious zealot and terrorist not fit to preside over the affairs of the nation," Mohammed added.
Senior special assistant to President Jonathan on public affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, could not be reached by telephone, and he did not reply to a text message sent to him last night.
Also, PDP spokesman Olisa Metuh was not available for comments yesterday.