ALL Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was yesterday unsparing on the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the February 16 presidential election Atiku Abubakar.
The PDP, according to the former Lagos State governor, is seeking power to return the country to the dark days when the economy crumbled and Nigerians groaned under its reign between 1999 and 2015.
To him, it amounts to standing logic on its head to compare the PDP standard bearer to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, who is seeking re-election on the platform of the APC.
Tinubu issued a statement titled: “We accept President Buhari’s assignment” on his appointment to lead President Buhari’s re-election campaign as the Co-Chairman of the APC Presidential Campaign Council. He said the two candidates – Buhari and PDP’s Atiku Abubakar – are miles apart when it comes to vision, mission and character.
His words: “The character of the two candidates cannot be more distinct. President Buhari is a straight and honest man. Leave a naira on the table with Buhari in the room. You will find the naira on the table when you return.
“When Buhari says ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ you know where he stands. He means what he says, no more, no less. With Atiku, things are more nuanced. When Atiku speaks, he may mean ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ ‘maybe,’ ‘I don’t know,’ ‘come back tomorrow,’ ‘all the above,’ or ‘none of the above.’
“His compass has four needles pointing in different directions at the same time. He knows of no direction to take. President Buhari’s word is his bond. When Atiku speaks, it is to give you the slip.
“We cannot afford a President whose ways and mind is a maze of contradicting urges and colliding desires. This shows he has no vision for the nation and no guiding principles, except the naked pursuit of power for the naked use of that power.”
Tinubu spoke of Atiku’s role in the Obasanjo administration. He said: “Atiku had his chance to shine as VP when he controlled the privatisation programme of the Obasanjo government. He abused this assignment. He helped squander billions of dollars on power generation that did nothing but generated darkness.
“That government had so much money at its disposal and that is exactly what it did. It disposed of the money, yet, failed to treat the poor or build for the future.
“Atiku laid waste to the national treasury for eight long years. That is enough for one lifetime. We should not reward him by giving him another eight years because the more he feeds, the stronger his hunger grows.
“His is a thirst that can’t be quenched and a hand that cannot be restrained from taking whatever is on the table.
“As the PDP candidate, he is now the leader of an avaricious horde that seeks to reattach its mandible once again to the public wealth and forever lay siege to our nation’s future. Nigerians would do well not to pay them any attention.”
The APC stalwart also made scathing remarks on the PDP.
Drawing a comparison between the ruling and the main opposition parties, Tinubu said: “This election concerns more than two competing personalities and political parties. It is a contest between two different visions for the country and the futures these visions portend.
“The APC seeks a better Nigeria by reforming our institutions of governance that these institutions may better implement policies engendering dynamic economic development.
“We seek not only growth but also a fair and just allocation to all segments of the society of the harvest of our national endeavours. Let no Nigerian be forever trapped in poverty and despair. Let all Nigerians be given the genuine opportunity to realise their full potential and contribute to this nation and their own lives as much as their talents and willpower permits of them.
“We build a Nigeria where government leads the nation but does not rule over the people.”
“On the other hand, the PDP pushes toward a future that takes the nation back to the malpractices of the past. Blind to the possibilities of a better day and afraid of the equality that true reform will bring, the PDP remains vested in the ways of corrupt governance and arrogant disregard for the public. For them, the unjust past is not just the object of their dreams; it is their sole destination.
“Thus, this election is about two different policy visions and two different models of leadership. This election is about substantive issues and about character.
“The APC will continue to build a political economy that will well serve Nigeria long after oil revenues are no longer sufficient to sustain the nation and its ever-growing population.
“We are diversifying the economy, giving basic food, health and educational assistance to the most-needy among us, improving agricultural productivity so that our farmers grow more to feed for increasing urban populations and also earn more to sustain their families, and about building needed infrastructure, including electricity and water, because we realise a national economy cannot grow beyond the capacity of the infrastructure that serves that economy.
“Meanwhile, the PDP clan wants to return to the days where they rule the nation like overlords. They want to own every industry and control everything that has anything to do with the creation of wealth.
“They seek to reverse the democratic maxim that government is the servant of the people. The PDP wants a situation where those in government are the masters and the people bow their heads to the interests of the mighty and the rich.
“We have seen this before. Those who really care about Nigeria care not to see such malign governance again.”
Tinubu assured the President that members of the Campaign Council would work hard to stop those who will halt the nation’s progress from coming back to power.
He said the council would not let the President down “because doing so would also let down the nation”.
Tinubu said: “The 2019 APC Presidential Campaign Council has been inaugurated by President Buhari. In his speech at the inaugural meeting, he did more than offer us guidance on the campaign. In his straightforward manner, he outlined the achievements of his administration, reminding the nation of the pillars of progressive governance and of our party.
“I think I can speak for all members of the Campaign Council that we accept the assignments given by the President with devotion and a firm commitment to perform to our utmost the individual and collective tasks given.
“It is a great honour and responsibility he has given us. We dare not let him down because doing so would also let down the nation.
“Consequently, the members of the APC presidential campaign council accept our respective assignments as both high honor and heavy responsibility.
“We will work diligently to re-elect President Buhari. We do this not for personal accolades. We do this not merely to re-elect a party member. We do this because it is the best thing for Nigeria. The campaign has begun!”