.Says, It’s an insult for Buhari to debate Atiku, others
By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJ – The All Progressives Congress APC has taken a swipe at ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo over his stinging remarks on the administration if President Muhammadu Buhari particularly as it relates to the forthcoming general elections.
This was as the party said it would be demeaning for its presidential candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari to engage his counterpart in the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, Atiku Abubakar and others in a debate on the same stage.
While the ruling party said Mr Obasanjo was being haunted by his own past, it added it does not have any reason to rig, asking the former president to adjust himself to current realities, because “after February 16th, Obasanjo will realize that he is not a god.”
Addressing a press conference Sunday evening in Abuja, APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, said during Chief Obasanjo’s regime, government policies were determined by whatever mood he (OBJ) found himself and all decisions of government were subjected to his whims.
“When you are used to a particular thing, that means something you know how to do very well. For eight years of President Obasanjo, all the elections he held, in fact his government policies were determined by whatever mood he finds himself and all decisions of government were brought under his wings, and all that he did in those eight years are what is hunting him.
“Obasanjo can not imagine that it is possible for a government to allow INEC statutory independence that it has. We have had 93 elections since APC came to power and we are sure that all those elections were conducted without any interference from this government. In fact, if there is anything you want to credit this government with, it is the fact that institutions are allowed to fulfill their mandate without anybody’s interference. So, we can understand where the former President is coming from, his past is haunting him.
“The 2003 and 2007 elections were nothing to write home about and those elections happened under President Obasanjo. So, for us in APC, votes must count. We are going to have a free, fair and credible election. We have no reason to want to rig elections because our achievements speak for us. So, President Obasanjo should adjust to the reality of imminent defeat that is staring him in the face. He has carried himself about as the dispenser of our destinies and God is showing him clearly that he has just only been lucky and the favour God has done for him, he has now considered them as things that come from him.”
Buhari won’t debate with Atiku, others
APC also said it is an insult for its candidate to be on the same stage with the presidential candidate of the People Democratic Party PDP, Atiku Abubakar.
Issa-Onilu stated clearly that the debate is meant for those that are seeking power and not the likes of President Buhari who has a lot already speaking for him.
Both Atiku Abubakar of PDP and President Buhari of APC were conspicuously missing at the live presidential debate organised by the Broadcasting Corporation of Nigeria (BON) and others.
He said Buhari was already engaging with the public through several other platforms which are considered more important and to meet APC’s interest.
He said: “The president doesn’t have to give any reason at all for not attending that debate. The debate is just one of the several platforms that are available for our candidate to engage with the public, we cannot exhaust all the platforms. So we pick the platforms that are most impactful and we are the ones in the position to determine which platform we want to use.
“To debate with who? That is an insult, that the president will come debate with who? The debate the president is having is what he did that morning in Niger state. The people of Niger state can look forward to a brighter future. The people of this country, everywhere they go can see development, they can see projects going on. So these are the debates that the president is already engaging with public.
“So, that particular debate may be important and I think it is important to people who are seeking power, not for somebody who has a lot speaking for him already. So, for us in APC, the debate as a fantastic idea it is, it is just one of the several options for our own candidate to engage with the public. There are many platforms we have used, there are many platforms we are still going to use and there are many we may not use. It is up to us to chose the platforms that will serve own interests.
“Don’t forget, just few days before this debate came, the president was live for two hours with Nigerians discussing his projects. Beside him was the Vice President of this country, talking about his projects and having very important debate over those policies and projects with Nigerians, with people having unfettered access and opportunity to make calls to him, to seek clarifications and ask questions. That for us is what our candidate needs. That for us is more important.
“That gives us the opportunity to say we are different. We are not in the same class with Atiku and the PDP to come share the same stage with people who ruined this country. To talk about what? The same people who started several projects and they became conduit pipes and the APC government has come in, fixing all these projects one after the other. The same party complaining about the fact that we are completing projects. Is that the party you want us to stand on the same stage to debate with. Don’t take Nigerians for granted. We are not in the same class.”