Says Osun election result signposts collapsing followership of APC
By Tunde Joshua
As the dust raised by the alleged hiring of clergymen to endorse the unveiling of Senator Kashim Shettima as the vice presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is yet to settle, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar on Friday revealed how he parted ways politically with Tinubu in 2007 over single religion ticket.
He berated the actions of the APC to foist a single religion leadership ticket on Nigerians while he described the Muslim-Muslim ticket as an unfair treatment for a secular nation like Nigeria.
The former vice president of Nigeria made this disclosure Friday morning while featuring on Arise TV, Morning Show programme.
As a Nigerian believer of the Islamic faith, he said he has been very careful about the sensitive issue of religion and has always been avoiding playing politics with religion.
This, he said, informed his decision in 2007 to oppose Tinubu on the issue of the same faith ticket when the latter was contesting for the presidency then.
“The diversity in the nation was from the APC-led government. My fundamental disagreement and departure from Asiwaju politically was in 2007 on the issue of Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“Remember I came out of PDP on the issue of zoning and together with him we formed ACN and I was given a ticket in Lagos and he insisted to be my running mate and I said no, I am not going to have a Muslim-Muslim ticket. So, he switched his support to the late Umaru Yar’adua. That was the departing point.”
This is as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) asked the presidential candidate of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to toe the path of honour by withdrawing from the 2023 presidential race and apologize for misleading Nigerians by dressing hired persons in bishop’s vestments to orchestrate an endorsement for his single religion presidential ticket campaign.
“It is in its strongest term, we condemned what is described as a profane and highly provocative act of desperation by Tinubu, in the face of “APC’s collapsing leadership, membership and followership structure across the country.”
The party said it was appalled by the ‘nauseating, blasphemous and unpardonable’ act by the APC and demanded from Tinubu, a public apology to Nigerians.
The PDP said from the foregoing, it is obvious that the image of APC and Tinubu has been battered beyond repair and that it is only responsible for the former Lagos State governor, to honourably bow out of the race to avoid further embarrassment.
National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Hon. Debo Ologunagba said these at a briefing in Abuja on Friday.
He said “Nigerians were sickened by videos and pictorial evidence of known mechanics, bus conductors and fraudsters sacrilegiously being dressed in fake bishop vestments and paid to endorse the unveiling of Asiwaju Tinubu’s widely rejected running mate, Sen. Kashim Shettima.
“Such action is unacceptable and unbecoming of any individual aspiring to a leadership position at any level let alone, the office of the President. This is an embarrassment to leadership.”
He added that with this scandalous act, Asiwaju Tinubu, who is still battling with issues of “alleged perjury, non-existent certificate and allegations of extortions” has become more ethically challenged and lost all moral standing to seek election as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“More sickening is the outcry by the hirelings that they were defrauded by agents of the APC Presidential candidate, who paid them sums ranging from N30,000 to N40,000 as against the N100,000 they were earlier promised.
“It is therefore ludicrous that instead of being remorseful and asking for forgiveness, the APC Presidential Campaign is shamelessly posting lame denials and excuses in the face of hard and verified evidence of its involvement in the shameless venture.
“Our Party is not surprised by the attitude of the APC Presidential Campaign. Such is consistent with the character and DNA of the APC, which was never a political party but a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) hurriedly put together by conflicting bed-fellows and inchoate sailors clobbered together for remote personal gain and whose only interest is to defraud Nigerians through falsehood, lies, deceit, bribery, Temporary Loyalty Purchase, corruption of established institutions and violation of set rules without regards to the feelings, sensibilities and wellbeing of Nigerians.
“With this ugly episode, Nigerians now know the individual who has been the planner and executor of the lies, false promises and corruption of the APC that have brought disunity, excruciating hardship, mass killings and political instability in the country in the last seven years.
“Now that the APC Presidential candidate has lost the basic required leadership integrity and having been exposed and roundly rejected in his ancestral home State of Osun, the South West and across the country; our Party counsels him to immediately withdraw from the 2023 Presidential race to avoid further disgrace.
“Nigerians cannot afford to have fraudsters, liars, deceivers, perjurers, swindlers and corrupt individuals at the helm of affairs in our country. Such individuals can only superintend over a deceptive, fraudulent and duplicitous administration and worsen the woes faced by our nation under the current inhumane and rudderless APC administration.
“The APC Presidential candidate and his party should know that it is in his own interest to withdraw from the race as it will be futile to go into an election in which the Will and aspiration of the people are manifestly against him and the APC.”
The PDP listed the many alleged administrative deficiencies of the APC government which Asiwaju Tinubu confessed to have helped to install.
The party said “our productive sector has been completely wrecked; the over $550 billion economy (largest in Africa and 26th globally) with a naira value of N167 to the Dollar handed over by the PDP has been brought to its knees with the naira now crawling at N665 to a Dollar today.
“Under Asiwaju’s APC government, Nigeria’s debt stock has astronomically risen from N12 trillion under the PDP to N41.6 trillion with our nation going broke as Debt Servicing cost has now surpassed Government revenue with over N300 billion.
“Today, millions on businesses have been shut down due to harsh economic policies and high cost of fuel; unemployment has risen to over 35%, cost of food items, medication and essential services have skyrocketed beyond reach as over 90 million Nigerians are no longer able to afford their daily meals and other basic necessities of life. What a tragedy!
“It is now crystal clear to Nigerians why the people of Asiwaju’s ancestral State of Osun and the South West geo-political zone which ought to be his natural stronghold outrightly rejected him and his APC in the July 16, 2022 Governorship election in Osun the State.
“PDP’s sweeping victory and the spontaneous jubilation across our country are direct statements by Nigerians on their resolve to stand on the platform of the PDP to free themselves from the agonizing stranglehold of the lying, cruel and life-discounting APC and its Presidential Candidate.”
The party said Asiwaju has no political fighting chance in the face of the soaring popularity of PDP’s very competent, candid, transparent, people-oriented and much more prepared Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar at the poll.
Ologunagba said the PDP is poised for a winning campaign and as always, is open to suggestions and further collaborations with well-meaning Nigerians to liberate the nation in the 2023 general elections.
However, both the party and candidates stoutly defended the presence of the clerics at the unveiling ceremony of Shettima.
Tinubu, through his campaign organisation, dismissed social media insinuations about the clergymen, saying the clerics were not fake as speculated.
Spokesperson of the organisation Bayo Onanuga said the clergymen were those gradually building their mission.
“They are not big names in Christendom yet, they are gradually building up their missions.
“They are church leaders who genuinely believe that Nigerians must eschew politics of hatred and religious bigotry and rather embrace politics of peace and nation building,” Mr Onanuga said.
He blamed the campaign of calumny against Tinubu as an unwarranted distraction from the opposing political camps.
Onanuga said, “we want to say that those clergymen were not fake, not mechanics or yam sellers as the purveyors of hatred have made Nigerians believe in the social media.
“We are well aware that the opposition parties and the sponsors of the social media charade are jittery and threatened by the intimidating political credentials of our candidates.
“The only way they hope to shift the attention of public scrutiny away from their uninspiring candidates and credentials is to create social media distraction,” he stated.
Another group, the Tinubu Shettima WinningTeam argued that the clergymen who were derided as “unknown Bishops” are after well-known decent men of reasonable conviction. The group even produced names and contact phone numbers of those it claimed were duly invited to the event.
“They are countrymen and patriots who have refused to be on the same page with hate-induced CAN, hellbent on setting Nigeria on fire.
“You can now call them to ask for their address and which denomination they belong to or shut up forever!”.
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