Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, on Wednesday, took a swipe at his All Progressives Congress (APC) rival, Bola Tinubu, and described him as a hypocrite over his attempts to extricate himself from the failures of the APC-led government.
This is as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has said Atiku and his running mate, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, were adequately prepared to transparently manage the nation’s economy and create jobs for the masses.
At the same time, the party in Kano, has said it was planning a big rally for its presidential candidate come February 9.
Atiku, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, had reacted to Tinubu’s latest open attack on President Muhammadu Buhari at the Calabar rally on Tuesday.
Tinubu had said, “Today, they moved the exchange rate from N200 to N800. If they had repaired it, if they had arrested this, we wouldn’t be where we are today; we would be greater. They don’t know the way, they don’t know how to think, they don’t know how to do it.”
But Atiku, while reacting, said prior to the election season, Tinubu had defended the exchange rate policy of the current regime, when a group of youths led by Moremi Ojudu led a protest to his house located on 26 Bourdillon Street, Ikoyi, on February 9, 2017, when the dollar hit N500.
He said Moremi, the daughter of Babafemi Ojudu, Special Adviser on political affairs to President Muhammadu Buhari, had challenged Tinubu over the declining value of the naira but Tinubu was seen on video telling protesting youths that, “I am not worried about the exchange rate, because your salary should be in Naira and you are not an importer. Maybe that is even teaching us a lesson to be dependent on our domestic product.”
Atiku said Tinubu was not only a pernicious and lubricious hypocrite but also a death-defying politician, who is trying to be clever by half. He said it was funny that Tinubu, who proudly held the position of national leader of the APC for the last eight years, could throw the President under the bus in his desperate quest for power.
The former vice president described Tinubu as a deceitful politician, who likes to throw his friends under the bus whenever there is a little challenge.
“Tinubu has disingenuously been criticising President Buhari, trying to extricate himself from the failures of the APC, which he had vigorously defended in the last eight years. Nigerians must not be deceived by this charlatan, who is now posing to be on the side of the masses.
“Tinubu is the APC, mind, soul and body. He was the national leader of the party even before Buhari became the presidential candidate. Is it possible for a snail to deny its own shell? Tinubu needs to give up this rascally act and take ownership of the failure of his party in the last eight years. His latest outburst is nothing but diversionary tactics.
“When some disgruntled APC leaders were against Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s ambition, Tinubu threw Ambode under the bus. He ensured Ambode never returned despite entreaties from President Buhari, Governor Atiku Bagudu and several others. Curiously, he is now taking credit for Ambode’s achievements, including the transformation of the Oshodi district.
“This is the sort of person Tinubu is. He is a user, who throws his friends under the bus when things get tough. Nigerians have been facing petrol scarcity for nearly a year. Why is Tinubu just speaking about it now that elections are a few days away?” he asked.
Atiku noted that as elections approached and the reality slowly dawning on Tinubu, he increased his attacks against the President in order to distance himself from the failure that his party has become, adding that, Nigerians must not fall for this trick.
Also, one of the spokespersons for the Atiku/Okowa campaign, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, has said, during a panel discussion on “Ensuring Transparency in the Management of Foreign Loans” on “Focus Nigeria”, a programme aired on AIT, that Nigeria currently spends hundreds of billion in excess of its earnings on debt servicing.
According to him, “Because we are spending much more than what we generate, you can see how it reflects in the 2023 budget.”
Aniagwu added that Atiku was not just taking advantage of the Minister of Finance’s comment on debt serving costs, but has studied what happened in a number of countries that found themselves in similar situation in the past such as Peru in 1980s, Germany after the first World War, United States in 1971 under President Nixon and of course, what he did with President Obasanjo in 1999.
“As at 1999, the jobs had gone and the middle class had been wiped off but Atiku and Obasanjo came in with Atiku heading the economy as Chairman of the National Economic Council and the economy grew to about 14.6 per cent as at 2006 and 2007. They were able to do it by introducing the GSM revolution, banking consolidation and other economic policies which stimulated growth in the economy,” he said.
He said Atiku was determined to take Nigeria out of deluge of debts by getting the people to work by creating jobs for them.
“Atiku wants to bring back the jobs. In his policy document, he intends to discuss with our creditors to seek their support in rescheduling these debts and possibly get forgiveness by ensuring utmost transparency and responsibility in deployment of loans.
“As at the last quarter of 2014, our domestic debts was N9.6trillion today it is N26.9trillion; as at the last quarter of 2014, our foreign debt was as low as 1.6trillion, today it is N17.1trillion.
“Our ways and means was just about 0.6billion as allowed by the law but today it is about N23billion and that is a government that claims to have done so well. Atiku and Obasanjo did it in 1999 and I have said earlier that where we are now is almost like where we were in 1999.
“Atiku will get private sector involved to stimulate productivity and he is already reaching out to the international community with a view to getting debt relief for the country. He will reduce unemployment by stimulating growth in the agricultural sector and also partnership with the private sector, which employed a lot of Nigerians during the GSM revolution,” he said.
Nevertheless, Chairman of Media and Publicity Committee, (Local Organizing Committee), Atiku Presidential Campaign Rally, Dr. Sule Yau Sule, told journalists that the proposed February 9 rally was designed to be the mother of all rallies.
According to him, going by the strategic nature of Kano in the nation’s politics, PDP was planning a very big rally.
“Our presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, will be coming to Kano on February 9. He is coming to tell Kano people, and indeed, Nigerians, what PDP has to offer. He is coming to talk to the people, he is fit and strong to talk and discuss with the people. He will explain to Nigerians how he is going to turn things around and offer good leadership.
“Please, come and see for yourself whether Atiku will be someone that will come, dance and go, without speaking! Atiku Abubakar, our next President, Insha Allah, will come, walk, speak and even dance more than those who danced without saying a word.”
Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja