The Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has taken a swipe at former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, over his anti-Muslim-Muslim ticket activities against the chances of the party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his running mate, Senator Kassim Shetimma.
According to the Tinubu/Shettima campaign team, Dogara is a bad sportsman who, having lost out in the bid to be in the APC presidential ticket has resorted to whipping up emotions.
It said the former speaker and his band of Christian leaders are members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who are camouflaging as APC members but working for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
The campaign council, in a statement by its director, Media and Publicity, Bayo Onanuga, was reacting to the resolutions of a consultative meeting in Abuja on Saturday in which some northern Christian leaders in the APC had said voting along religious lines in the 2023 general election may trigger negative consequences among Nigerians and threaten national development.
The northern Christian leaders led by Dogara and a former secretary to government of the federation, Babachir Lawal, had in in a communiqué jointly signed by Dogara and a former deputy governor of Sokoto State and former minister of Water Resources, Mukhari Shagari, resolved to dwell on issues that unite them instead of encouraging attacks on sensitive religious issues in the name of politics.
But reacting to the development, the APC presidential campaign council accused Dogara of spearheading a campaign of vitriol and hate against the governing party under the guise of religion after losing the vice-presidential ticket to Shettima.
Describing the former Speaker as a peripatetic and politically unstable politician, the campaign team said, “The Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council is therefore not surprised by media reports about a meeting of some so-called Northern Christian leaders, who claimed to be members of our All Progressives Congress that were championed by Dogara and his ilks. The claim was fraudulent.
“Yakubu Dogara, the peripatetic and politically unstable politician who organised the meeting left our party officially and unceremoniously weeks ago. And those who attended the meeting were representing themselves, their selfish agenda, not Northern Christians.
“A careful reading of the people who attended the unholy meeting he called also showed that they were all PDP members, masquerading as APC members.
“Among the politicians at the unholy consultative meeting were Mukhar Shagari, Boni Haruna, Abdulfattah Ahmed; Damishi Sango; Senator Idris Ahmed Umar; and two former deputy governors of Kogi State, Yomi Awoniyi and Simon Achuba. They are all PDP members working for the presidential ambition of Atiku Abubakar.”
Stating that it was not surprised by the resolutions adopted at the meeting but expressed concern that the media failed to read through their smokescreen, the APC campaign team wondered how an “assembly of strange bedfellows hoped to foster unity and cohesion in our country, when their candidate represents the antithesis of the goal, having emerged the greatest divider, of nation’s polity between the North and South.
Onanuga continued: “All Nigerians are aware that Atiku’s emergence as the PDP presidential candidate grossly violated a power rotation code between the north and the south. His insistence on snatching and retaining what righly belongs to another political region has triggered a crisis within his party, making him run from Port Harcourt to London to mend fences.
“We want to assure Dogara and his co-travellers fanning hate campaigns against our Presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his running mate, that they will fail spectacularly at the polls.
“From the engagements our leaders have had with men of all faiths, bigotry will not win next February election. What will prevail are the track records of our candidates and the solution-driven and all-inclusive progressive programmes the candidates offer Nigerians.”
Onanuga further assured Nigerians that Tinubu and his running mate, Sen Kashim Shettima, are going into the 2023 campaign “with clear objectives to engage Nigerians across the socio-economic brackets on policy actions that will make their lives better.
“Our candidates will not exploit our country’s fault lines to win the election and sell religion as Kool-Aid,” he added.