The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, yesterday dismissed the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, as unfit to be entrusted with the presidency of the country, describing the main opposition party’s flag bearer as “a merry-go-round and carnival-like politician with no focus or mission.”
Speaking in similar vein Vice President Yemi Osinbajo expressed confidence that the APC would win the forthcoming presidential election, saying Atiku would be no match for President Muhammadu Buhari.
But in a swift reaction, the PDP presidential campaign said Tinubu’s statement could only come from an incoherent politician, who suffers from limited knowledge of politics and its dynamics.
One of the campaign’s spokespersons, Prince Kasim Afegbua, told THISDAY yesterday that Tinubu’s put down of Atiku betrayed the APC’s mortal fear of the PDP candidate’s capacity to lead the charge against, what he called, “APC’s three and a half years of incompetence that has led to debilitating hunger in the land.”
Delivering a keynote address at the meeting of National Consultative Forum by the National Committee of Buhari Support Groups held yesterday in Abuja, Tinubu said the PDP standard bearer, had changed parties so many times and collected so many membership cards that he had become unstable and confused.
The National Chairman of APC, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, who was listed as guest of honour at the event, however, did not show up.
According to Tinubu, “Atiku could build a house of the party membership cards he has accumulated. But one thing he should remember is that a man who builds a house of cards ought not to cast stones at a man who is building a house with a firm and true foundation.
‘’He should also realise that such a feeble house will collapse as soon as the wind of truth blows it.”
Tinubu also attacked Atiku’s campaign pledge to ensure 14 million new jobs yearly, and crashing of fuel pump price, describing them as lies that have no basis for actualisation.
The APC leader berated former President Olusegun Obasanjo for suddenly doing a somersault to endorse Atiku’s presidential bid after vowing never to support him, saying the move by the former president to mend fences with his former deputy was not a sincere one.
He dismissed the PDP’s call for the resignation of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, and the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, describing it as blackmail.
Tinubu also spoke on the role being played by Senate President Bukola Saraki in the opposition party, describing him as a sell-out, who used APC’s mandate to negotiate with the opposition.
He used the occasion to highlight some of the achievements recorded by the APC-led administration and promised to provide the support group with campaign tips.
On insecurity, Tinubu said that the administration had largely succeeded in beating back the Boko Haram terror group though there had been some skirmishes of attacks that needed to be dealt with.
The former Lagos State governor said the APC was working to convert the tragedy of herdsmen-farmers clashes into an economic gain through construction of ranches and irrigation of farmlands.
Tinubu said Buhari was committed to building the necessary foundation for a prosperous nation and diversified economy that would provide employment and fair opportunity for all.
Osinbajo: Buhari Will Win Because of His Integrity
Also speaking at the event, Osinbajo said there was a gang up by discredited elite against Buhari, adding that despite all attacks and evil wishes, Buhari is alive and well and will emerge victorious at the 2019 general elections.
“We will return President Buhari as president of the country for a second term,” he said.
Earlier, the chairman of the National Committee of Buhari Support Groups, Senator Abu Ibrahim, said the meeting was intended to rally all the leadership of the support groups preparatory for commencement of campaigns.
The Chairman of the event, Senator George Akume, said there is a lot the APC will showcase to Nigerians as the campaign progresses, saying the APC-led administration has delivered on both security and in lifting people out of poverty.
APC Leader, an Incoherent Politician, Replies Afegbua
However, responding to Tinubu’s comment last night, one of the spokesmen for the PDP presidential campaign council, Prince Kasim Afegbua, said, “We are not surprised that Senator Tinubu has suddenly found his cracked voice to run commentary against former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
“For those who parade limited knowledge of history with faint memory, it is our duty to remind them, where they are coming from. When Alhaji Atiku was in APC, Senator Tinubu worshipped him like a semi-god.
“He was always at his beck and calls. Simply because he moved to PDP, he’s suddenly turning history upside down like a typical revisionist.
“His mouth-watering commendations about Atiku when the latter was in APC are well documented in history, except he wants Nigerians to conclude that he was under a mental spell or brain wave when he was uttering those commendations and positive testimonials, else we can’t take his present comment serious.”
He added that Tinubu lacked the moral authority to accuse anyone of inconsistency, saying he has been a political traveller since 1999 in his “inordinate ambition to assume control of politics.”
Afegbua said, “He has migrated from AD to AC to ACN and now APC. How can such an individual derive the morality to pick the specks in another’s eyes, when his own history is laden with crass inconsistencies?
“Now that APC has fully realised its manifest failures and foibles, crippled governance and leadership, with ridiculous incompetence and incapacity to deliver on its electoral promises, the likes of Tinubu will deliberately want to distract attention from the critical issues plaguing us today as a country.
“A government that has been dithering on all critical sectors, with monumental failures cannot suddenly hoodwink the masses by making Atiku Abubakar the subject matter of its political discourse.”
He said Tinubu’s story was an open sore that was irredeemably contrived in several incongruities, hypocrisies, inconsistencies, and double standards, adding that he cannot wake up overnight to wear a moral badge.