As the 2019 general elections near, politicians are all out to undo one another as the bitter public battle between a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Atiku Abubakar played out in Abuja yesterday.
Tinubu fired the first unkind shot when he took Atiku to the cleaners in his (Tinubu’s) keynote address at an event organised by the national committee of the Buhari Support Group held in Abuja.
Tinubu who was unsparing in his attack described Atiku as a rolling stone politician who had switched camps so many times and collected membership cards which would be enough to build a house.
He said such “a merry-go-round and carnival-like politician with no focus or mission” was not suitable to be entrusted with the presidency of the country.
“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 on it. You, my friends, are that wind of truth.
“Atiku was with the PDP, with us, with another party then back with the PDP. He is a political merry go round and carnival all by himself. Ask him which party he belongs to, he must ask you what “year is it” before he dares answer. Ask him the direction he is going; he will answer North, South, East, and West at the same time.
“Any man who intends on going everywhere at the same time is a man intent on going nowhere. Atiku has every right to engage in such personal confusion. But he has no ethical right to try to substitute his personal confusion for our national mission.
“Just look at his relationship with his former boss, Obasanjo. At one point, one despised the other. Obasanjo said he had asked God not to allow Atiku to become President. If Obasanjo once asked God to prevent Atiku, we are entitled to wonder into whose ear Obasanjo now whispers his support for Atiku’s venal cause.
“They want to live in a land of false opulence and true greed, one where the weight of all their waste and the impunity of their misconduct is borne on the backs of the common man and woman.
“This is what the coming election is about. They claim to be a “reformed PDP” then they select as their candidate, Obasanjo’s VP, who took the term “privatization” to its literal extreme. Through plotting contrived sales of national assets to himself, Atiku sought to turn half of Nigeria into his own private property. He sought to run off with the goose that laid the golden egg while simultaneously staying put in order to milk dry the national cow. If given a second chance at the national till, he will consume all he did not take the first go around.
“This is not reform. It is regression. Whosoever tells you the path to your better future is to return to your worst past is more dedicated to your demise than your development
“While President Buhari worries himself daily about the plight of our people, Atiku and the PDP feast on their desire for power just for the sake of having power,” said Tinubu of Atiku who was the presidential candidate of his (Tinubu’s) defunct Action Congress (AC) in 2006.
Tinubu called on Nigerians to reject the PDP at the polls alleging that the frittered away the years of plenty and depleted the national storehouse.
“They now ask for the keys to that storehouse, so they can return to the scene of their malfeasance. They seek to come back not to repair what they did but to repeat it. We will not allow that to happen because we prefer progress over regression. We are here because we support honest government that will bring peace, justice and prosperity to all,” he said.
He described President Buhari as a man committed to building the necessary foundation for a prosperous nation and diversified economy that will provide employment and fair opportunity for all.
But responding to Tinubu’s comments, one of the spokesmen for the PDP presidential campaign council, Mr. Kasim Afegbua said the APC chieftain has no moral pedigree to attack Atiku judging from his (Tinubu’s) antecedents.
He said Tinubu worshipped Atiku when the PDP presidential standard bearer was in the APC.
“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,” said Afegbua.
He also stated that Tinubu lacked the moral authority to accuse anyone of inconsistency, saying he (Tinubu) had been a migratory politician since 1999 in his “inordinate ambition to assume control of politics.”
“He has migrated from Alliance for Democracy (AD) to AC to Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN) 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 added.
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.
Similarly, spokesman for the PDP and director of media and publicity of the PDP campaign council, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said what Nigerians expected from the ruling party in the run-up to the polls is an explanation of how they have managed the resources of the country in the past three years and not insult against Atiku.
“If indeed Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu described our candidate in those words, then it shows clearly how panicky the APC has become. It also shows that the hierarchy of APC has nothing to offer Nigerians.
“In the PDP, we believe the APC will use this campaign period to showcase to Nigerians their achievements in the last three years.
“But instead of showcasing what they have used humongous sums of money doing in the last three years, all they do is to attack the personality of our candidate. All they do is to be fixated with the personality of our candidate. But that is not the questions that Nigerians are asking.
“The question that Nigerians are asking is come to us and demonstrate the manner in which you have helped our cause in the last years. Is it through the education of our children? Is through security? Is it through provisions in the budget that have affected our lives directly?
“How have they affected your life and mine positively in the last three and half years? So, we are not surprised that they have resorted to insults on the personality of our candidate, who Nigerians, across board, have generally accepted is the best person for our country today. Like we always told them, when they go low, we go high,” said Ologbondiyan.