By Akanimo Sampson
The electioneering campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) does not seem to be exciting as was expected by the Nigerian people.
While the ruling party appears to be stealthily exploiting relevant state institutions like the armed security forces and the electoral agency to hold on to power beyond this year, the opposition has been battling to make a political capital out of the danger signals.
Already, the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation is busy denying what they described as an ‘’absurd allegation’’ by the APC against their presidential candidate, Atiku and his running mate, Peter Obi over campaign funding.
The party is also challenging the Co-Chairman of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Bola Tinubu, to explain his role in the Buhari Presidency cabal, through which the Buhari administration allegedly cripples the country’s economy.
The opposition is also daring Tinubu to respond to allegations that he succumbed to leading the Buhari ‘’ill-fated re-election bid following purported threats by agents of the Buhari Presidency to expose and prosecute him for corruption allegations and not because he believes in the propriety of President Buhari’s re-election’’.
According to the PDP Spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, who made this known, ‘’it is very unfortunate that at the time Nigerians, across the board, are boldly jettisoning their personal interests and joining in the quest to rescue our nation from President Buhari’s incompetent, corrupt, divisive and anti-people regime, a leader of Asiwaju’s status is chasing personal interests and self-preservation.
‘’Asiwaju in January 2018, at the 15th Annual Daily Trust Dialogue rejected the Buhari administration’s nepotism, incompetence, corrupt oil subsidy regime; blamed it for the high-level of poverty in our country and urged Nigerians to be guided by their conscience in electing leaders in the 2019 general elections.
‘’Asiwaju held that ‘too much political and economic power resides in the hands of too few. This result in a society described by too much unemployment, inadequate infrastructure, too little food, yet too much poverty’. Asiwaju had also rightly posited that, under President Buhari, ‘rather than becoming a joyous nation, Nigeria has become a cruel playground where the fears and concerns of the average person get exploited but their interests never get promoted’.
‘’He then concluded by urging Nigerians to follow their conscience in the 2019 elections by resisting ‘unthinking passions and old prejudices’, which is the hallmark of President Buhari’s re-election campaign. The question Nigerians are asking now is, what has suddenly changed in Buhari’s leadership style to warrants Asiwaju’s full circle turn?”
Continuing, PDP said Nigerians have seen that Tinubu’s involvement in Buhari 2019 campaign is not motivated by any national or even regional interests but by personal reasons far from the general good, adding, ‘’while we understand the frustration being faced by Asiwaju in this unfortunate task of marketing a rejected product, we caution him to be careful not to allow the ill-fated Buhari Presidency to destroy whatever is left of the respect he has earned among Nigerians, who have already made up their minds to rally behind the PDP Presidential candidate, Atiku as the next president of Nigeria.
‘’We therefore counsel Asiwaju to be mindful of his status in the pantheon of leaders and note that he is not with Nigerians in his new enterprise, for which he now needs to clear his name over alleged involvement in the anti-people cabal at the Buhari Presidency. We also want to caution Tinubu on his penchant for making unsubstantiated allegations against our candidate, Atiku.’’
The opposition insisted that Tinubu has no moral rectitude upon which he can stand to make allegations against Atiku. ‘’He should control his emotions and ensure that he desists from making frivolous allegations against Atiku, whom Nigerians have resolved to elect as President, come 2019.
‘’It is unfortunate that Buhari, who daily tells Nigerians of his commitment to a free, fair, credible and peaceful polls as well as issue based campaign will, within the same breath, mandate the officials of his party and members of his campaign to be engaging in malicious, vengeful and hate-inclined statements against respectable Nigerians whose integrity, competence and capacity overshadow his.
‘’We make bold to state that unlike Buhari, our presidential candidate and his running mate, have unbroken records of fulfilling responsibilities in all the offices they have occupied. They come with a trajectory of successes in their various engagements in public office and have never been indicted by any statutory authority or court of competent jurisdiction in any matter whatsoever.’’
While charging the APC to look inwards and see the array of drug barons, addicts, certificate forgers, money launderers and treasury looters that are assembled in their party and presidential campaign council, PDP said, ‘’this assemblage by people of questionable characters in a party where their leaders claim integrity is one of the puzzles that 2019 election will solve.
‘’We are therefore not surprised by the descent of the APC to this irresponsible level of allegation as a subterfuge to divert public attention from Buhari’s rejection, failure in governance and schemes to manipulate the 2019 general elections, and accordingly urged Buhari and the APC to refrain from ‘’dirty politics’’ since it will allegedly not deliver them from the rejection by Nigerians.