Again, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, Atiku Abubakar, took the gloves off yesterday in their ongoing credibility battle.
The duo engaged in verbal war over PDP’s reaction to Tinubu remarks at the APC presidential rally in Abeokuta, Ogun State, on Wednesday that “the traitors” have plotted to sabotage his victory in the 2023 general election, using the fuel scarcity and the naira redesign.
Reacting to Tinubu’s allegation that the current fuel and naira scarcity was artificially created to sabotage his victory at forthcoming presidential poll, Atiku, through his special assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, said the former Lagos governor was the only one frustrated because his plan to deploy bullion vans and bribe poor voters and security agents on the day of election has failed woefully.
He accused Tinubu of trying to blackmail President Muhammadu Buhari and blame the APC-led federal government over his looming devastating rejection by Nigerians.
But Tinubu yesterday fired back at the former vice president and the PDP, urging them to stop getting high on their own smoke.
He said no political blackmail and ploy to create bad blood between him and President Muhammadu Buhari will succeed.
Specifically, Tinubu who spoke through the APC presidential campaign council accused Atiku and PDP of trying to twist his remarks on the fuel scarcity and the newly redesigned Naira notes.
“PDP and Atiku should remember not to get high on their own smoke. No political blackmail and an attempt to create a conflict between Tinubu and his long-term ally, President Muhammadu Buhari can succeed. We have bad news for Atiku and his handlers: their latest mischief is therefore doomed to fail,” he noted.
He said the opposition party attempted to create a wedge between him and Buhari by distorting his statement in Abeokuta that there are plans to scuttle the general elections through fuel crisis and naira notes redesign.
In a statement issued on Thursday by director, Media and Publicity, of the APC presidential campaign council, Bayo Onanuga, the former Lagos governor said Nigerians should no longer be in doubt about those working in cahoots with fifth columnists to inflict avoidable pains on them for a sinister political end.
Onanuga stated: “No sooner Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu empathised with the Nigerian people facing the dual crises of fuel and new Naira notes scarcity, than the opposition PDP and the Atiku camp issued a knee-jerk response, derailing from the issues, distorting Asiwaju’s statement and trying, in vain, to create a wedge between our presidential candidate and President Muhammadu Buhari.
“When the guilty are afraid of being uncovered, they try to push back with red-herring. For the records, Asiwaju Tinubu during the APC campaign rally at Abeokuta on Wednesday, in his statement, did not mention, blame or accuse President Muhammadu Buhari for the current challenges in the country.
“Asiwaju Tinubu was only adverting government’s attention to the sabotage being carried out by some Fifth Columnists in the system, possibly working in cahoots with the PDP.
Tinubu stated that the CBN officials, including Governor Godwin Emefiele have said many times that enough new Naira notes have been supplied to the banks, yet our people complain that they have not been able to get the new notes.
He explained that Tinubu only re-echoed what is well known and acknowledged, even by President Buhari himself, at different fora that there are Fifth columnists in and outside of government who often throw spanners in the works against good intentions and programmes of the government.
Tinubu also accused the PDP of sabotaging fuel supply in the country to blackmail the federal government for illicit political advantage.
Speaking in Markurdi, the Benue State capital, to a crowd of party supporters at the APC presidential campaign rally, Tinubu said that while in power, the PDP administration gave fuel retail licenses to their supporters and sympathisers who are now hoarding fuel to create long queues across the country and making Nigerians suffer.
Describing the PDP as Poverty Development Party, he said, “They met good oil prices for 16 good years, they didn’t remember gas pipelines, they are what I called saboteurs yesterday. They gave PMS license to their supporters and sympathisers. They are the ones who started creating fake queues. PDP, enough is enough.”
Taking further jab at Atiku, the APC standard bearer noted that the PDP candidate didn’t know that he broke the civil service rule in Nigeria when he said he was doing transport business when he was in the Nigeria Customs Service.
“They asked him, you are so rich, where did you get your money from, and he said from doing transport business. He didn’t know that was an offence. The only thing you are allowed to do as a civil servant is farming,” he stated.
Speaking to the needs of Benue youths, Tinubu assured that his administration would ensure access to quality education and education loans to allow brilliant and indigent students to have higher education.
From his prepared speech which he didn’t read verbatim at the rally, Asiwaju again used his achievements in Lagos as governor as reason Benue people should vote for him, insisting that they will not be owed salaries.
He also promised to end the problem of IDPs in the state.
On his plans if elected president, Tinubu promised to establish agricultural and industrial hubs, which will help expand businesses and improve local incomes.
He also promised to make Benue a global leader in agriculture, bringing further income to the state.
Count Me Out Of Your Problem With PMB, Atiku Replies
But rather than caving in, Atiku yesterday came out with guns blazing, asking Tinubu to count him out of his problems with Buhari which resulted in his “pouring of vitriolic on the person of Mr President.”
Atiku who spoke through the Atiku/Okowa presidential campaign organization said it is pathetic that Tinubu is turning around to blame PDP for his woes less than 24 hours after he stood on the public stage at his presidential rally in Abeokuta, Ogun State, to accuse the Buhari administration of creating artificial fuel scarcity and redesigning the naira to scuttle the 2023 election.
Spokesperson of the campaign team, Kola Ologbondiyan, stated that it is strange that Tinubu wants the world to believe that his caustic remarks against Buhari where intended for Atiku and the PDP when neither Atiku nor PDP is involved in the monetary policies or the failure to arrest the horrifically unending fuel crisis.
Ologbondiyan said, “It is important to remind Asiwaju Tinubu that in accusing the “powers that be” of creating fuel scarcity and hoarding the naira to truncate the election, he knew that President Buhari is the Minister of Petroleum Resources and that all agencies of government in charge of prospecting and distribution of petroleum resources are under his (Buhari) office.
“Asiwaju also knew that President Buhari approved the redesigning of the naira and that issues of distribution of the naira notes are vested on the APC-controlled federal government and not on the PDP.
“It is therefore clear that Asiwaju’s verbal assaults against President Buhari are the official position of his confused, disoriented and disorganized Campaign Organization.
“It is noteworthy that having come to the conclusion, by himself, that he does not enjoy the support of President Buhari, having realized that his campaign is now falling apart with its leaders leaving in droves given his manifest rejection by Nigerians, Asiwaju Tinubu now seeks to blackmail the President and incite his followers to violence, with the view of truncating the electoral process and blaming it on President Buhari.
“This further explains why Asiwaju Tinubu had set up the dangerous militia group, code-named the Jagaban Army, which is reportedly being trained and equipped to unleash violence on Nigerians and truncate the electoral process, having realized that there is no way he can win in a free, fair and credible election.
“Asiwaju Tinubu had always sought to exonerate himself and blame only President Buhari for the failure of the APC administration in spite of the fact that he (Tinubu) is behind the corruption ridden policies of the APC government that have brought untold hardships on Nigerians in the last seven and half years.”
Atiku further said Tinubu’s verbal somersault within a space of less than 24 hours has depicted him as a person that must not be entrusted with power.
PDP Asks DSS To Grill Asiwaju On Revolution, Riots Call
Similarly, the PDP said it has alerted the Department of State Services (DSS) and other relevant authorities of plans by the presidential candidate of the APC, Tinubu, to destabilise the country through a violent revolution and riots.
Atiku’s special assistant on Public Communications, Phrank Shaibu, said Tinubu’s outburst at the APC rally in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, on Wednesday January 26, 2023, was a prelude to the violence the Lagos godfather was planning.
Atiku recalled that Tinubu, while addressing a crowd at Abeokuta, almost declared himself as winner of an election that is 29 days away using the same entitlement mentality that he used in blackmailing his party men into getting the ticket for the general election.
“But we restate that his rhetoric does not reflect someone who will accept defeat in the event of his imminent electoral loss. He said in the Yoruba language, “This is a revolution. This election is a revolution. They don’t want us to have votes. They want to scatter it. Will you agree? No… I’m bringing a revolution.”
“Tinubu is not too big and he has no immunity neither is he above the law of the land to be interrogated by the Department of State Services or by the Nigerian police. To avoid bloodshed in the coming election, the APC flag bearer’s comments must not be waved aside. For clarity, in political science, a revolution is a “forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favour of a new system”.
Shuiabu, added that it is funny that Tinubu, who has been the national leader of his political party for over eight years, is now threatening a revolution against a government being run by his party, one month to an election in which he is participating in.
“Essentially, he is saying if he cannot have it, no one will.
“Recall that earlier in June 2022, Tinubu boasted in the same Yoruba language and also in Abeokuta about how president Buhari cried on National Television following his electoral loses and how he (Tinubu ) made him President. It is not a coincidence that barely seven months after, he returned to Abeokuta to accuse and denigrate President Mohammadu and the APC led Federal Government of trying to frustrate him.
“From information available to us, Tinubu has begun releasing money to some of his quack activists to stage protests in some strategic locations in the country especially in Abuja in order to cause violence ahead of the polls which he will lose.
“On the surface, the protests will be about the lingering petrol scarcity which he had refused to comment on before the election. Some demonstrations will also be held against the Central Bank of Nigeria in order to force the apex bank to extend the deadline for the currency swap.
“While it is the inalienable right of Nigerians to protest, Tinubu’s accusation that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was behind the petrol scarcity and the scarcity of the new naira note, a nonsensical claim given the fact that the PDP has not been in power for the last eight years.
“As his former campaign director, Hajia Najaatu Mohammed, stated on Arise Television, Tinubu has no honour whatsoever. Money is his religion and his essence. He wants to buy the election with bullion vans just as he bought the Presidential ticket of his party last year but this will never happen.”