By Dirisu Yakubu
Ahead of the 2023 general election, a pressure group affiliated with the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the Action 2023, has warned against giving the party’s ticket to a man in his 70s, as that may cost the party victory at the poll.
Instead, the group advised PDP to beam its search light at aspirants in their 50s, who are in their numbers within the party.
The pressure group said this in a statement yesterday by its national chairman, Hon. Rufus Omeire in reaction to the views expressed by Segun Sowunmi, former spokesperson to former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in his recent letter to PDP governors asking them to reject a “kindergarten President and Commander in Chief” for PDP.
The Action 2023, in the statement signed by Omeire, pointed out that apart from Atiku, who is 75, others are mostly in their 50s, who seem to have better solid private sector experience as Chief Executives.
The group made case for Senators Anyim Pius Anyim, and Bukola Saraki and former Speaker, House of Representatives and governor of Sokoto state, Aminu Tambuwal who headed the two Houses of the National Assembly at different times.
The statement read: “Apart from Atiku who is 75, others are mostly in their 50s. Is Sowunmi saying that only those in their 70s are preferred Presidential candidates rather than the relatively younger ones he described as kindergarten candidates (sic).
“With respect to relevant experience for the top job, let us x-ray the candidates (sic).
Atiku Abubakar’s public sector experience consists of Deputy Director of Customs, a subordinate position. He never became Chief Executive of Customs and Excise Department.
“The buck never, for one day, stopped on his table in the Customs Service. He became Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a highly exalted office, but he was never a chief Executive. He only carried out instructions of his boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“He never had the experience of a Chief Executive. The buck never stopped at his table. The President could accept or reject his recommendations. He didn’t have relevant direct experience of the top job. So wherein lies the famed experience of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar?
“He clearly doesn’t have the requisite public sector experience. Does he have private sector experience? Atiku is not Dangote, Otedola or Jim Ovia or Tony Elumelu or Mike Adenuga.
“He is not a known manufacturer of goods and services. His well – known company INTELS, which he set up with others; is hardly a recommendation for Presidential office.
“One thing he has done very well is run a winning primaries campaign in defunct political party Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN and the PDP. Is this enough experience for President?
“Other candidates seem to have better public sector experience, some have solid private sector experience as Chief Executives. Tambuwal, Saraki and Anyim headed Houses of the Legislature at the Federal level as chief executives. The buck stopped on their tables as Speaker and Presidents of the Senate.
“Talking about experience on the job, maybe Sowunmi should have also talked about his boss’s attitude on abandoning ship mid sea, the way he did to PDP after the 2019 Presidential election, in which the PDP invested its ticket and hopes in him which he waisted partly because of the argument of experience and inevitability.
“He even lost four out the six states in the North-East, winning his home State of Adamawa with only 30,000 votes. Tambuwal, Bala Mohammed, Wike and Saraki have relevant executive experience as governors. They have seen it all from the executive point of view.
“They took decisions at the executive level in their states and have direct and first – hand experience in formulation and execution of government policies.
“Ohuabunwa (Chief Sam Ohuabunwa) was Chief Executive of a publicly quoted company NEIMETH and helmsman at Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria.
“Sowunmi should find other grounds to market Atiku, his boss, rather than flouting his old age and questionable relevant experience.
“He should further desist from this unnecessary insults on other aspirants whom Atiku might have to support after the primaries”, the group said.