*PDP presidential candidate defends action*
*It’s PDP adopting PDP – APC candidate*
*Support out of tune with reality – LP*
*Voters don’t take such endorsement seriously – Kachikwu*
By Clifford Ndujihe, Omeiza Ajayi & John Alechenu
THE adoption of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, for the 2023 poll by northern Christian – Muslim politicians led by a former House of Representatives Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has kicked up dust in the polity.
The Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council, APC PCC; presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress, ADC, Mr. Dumebi Kachikwu; and Mr. Peter Obi’s Labour Party, LP, Presidential Campaign Organisation, were among those who pooh-poohed the endorsement, yesterday.
However, an elated Atiku said the move was a consensus on his acceptability for the nation’s top job.
*It’s PDP adopting PDP – Tinubu*
The APC PCC mocked the Dogara-led group for adopting Atiku Abubakar as its choice for the election, saying it amounted to PDP endorsing PDP.
A faction of the northern group led by a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Mr Babachir Lawal, had, few days ago, adopted Obi of the LP.
However, the Dogara faction swiftly dissociated itself, saying the former SGF was on his own as consultations were still ongoing.
On Friday, Dogara and his team named Atiku as its preferred candidate stoking criticisms in the polity.
Reacting to the development, Minister of State, Labour and Employment, who is also the Chief Spokesman for the APC PCC, Mr Festus Keyamo, said Dogara’s action had not altered any political permutation.
He said: “My very good and amiable friend and classmate, Yakubu Dogara, should have spared us all the drama. From PDP and back to PDP, nothing has changed; no alteration of political permutations. They were not with us in 2019 when we won. Wishing them all the best, except victory in 2023!”
Keyamo described Dogara’s group as peopled by members of the PDP, declaring that a group of PDP members have only just adopted their own candidate.
“It is just a case of PDP adopting PDP. A group of PDP members, supporters and sympathisers sat down and purportedly adopted PDP as ‘their best option’. That is, PDP adopting PDP, yet trying to pass it off as if there is some major shift in political alignment. All drama, no real content; all motion, no real movement”, he stated.
Babachir had kicked against the decision of his party, APC to adopt a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket. He was supported by Dogara, only for the duo to fall apart with the choice of a presidential candidate to be adopted by their group.
*Voters don’t take such endorsements seriously— Kachikwu*
Also speaking, ADC presidential flagbearer, Mr. Dumebi Kachikwu, said:
“Nigerians will take statements and resolutions like this seriously the day INEC starts issuing PVCs to associations and groups but for now it is one man, one vote. Such groups only speak for their membership.
“It is the same way sections of the media tout some as the leading presidential candidates even though they show decline in cognitive and physical abilities, offer no solutions to our myriad problems or tout fake numbers and statistics.
“This is happening at a time when our nation is confronted with a war that has had devastating consequences on her people and economy.
“This is a period when over 133 million Nigerians are said to be poor and about 50 million unemployed. We have multifaceted problems that threaten our very existence, and this is no time for us to let primordial sentiments becloud our judgement.
“The next President of Nigeria must in very clear terms tell Nigerians how he will create jobs for our youths and identify the specific industries that will anchor that employment.
“Our President must tell us how he plans to bring this war to an end, protect our borders, highways and farmlands. He should tell us how he intends to manage our diversities, grow our economy and build an efficient workforce that can compete globally.
“The next Nigerian President owes us all the duty of spelling out his plan to fix our infrastructural deficits, pay off our debts, grow tourism and support our small businesses.
“This is what I and other Presidential candidate owe the Nigerian people. This is what I am doing everyday.”
*Endorsement out of tune with reality – LP*
On its part, LP Presidential Campaign said Nigerians are tired of failed promises used by both the ruling APC and its predecessor, the PDP and are prepared to vote the two parties out in favour of candidates of the LP in 2023.
Chief Spokesperson for the Labour Party Presidential Campaign, Dr. Yunusa Tanko, told Sunday Vanguard, in Abuja, that the assessment carried out by Dogara and company before arriving at their decision was a far cry from Nigeria’s current political reality.
He said: “We are not in the least bothered by the endorsement. We are in a season of political activity and people are bound to make choices.
“For us in the Obidient and Labour Party, we are in touch with Nigerians across board especially the down trodden who are the worst hit when government takes the wrong decisions. Their verdict does not favour the APC or the PDP.
“As a people, Nigerians gave the PDP 16 years, what did we get in return? Bad governance and corruption.
“Tired of the lawlessness which the PDP plunged our country into, Nigerians spoke with one voice and said enough in 2015. We all voted out the PDP after believing the propaganda and lies sold to us by the APC.
“Today, the insecurity for which we voted out the PDP has reached a scale that wartorn countries are rated better in terms of security of the lives and property of citizens.
“Only the other day, the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, an agency under this same APC administration made public its report on our poverty index. 133 million out of a little over 200 million of us are living below the poverty line courtesy of the bad choices this APC -led government has made over the last seven years.
“With this reality staring us all in the face, Nigerians don’t need to be told neither the APC nor the PDP have solutions to our problems.
“This is where the Labour Party and the Obi-Datti ticket comes in. We have two of Nigeria’s brightest minds who have over the years excelled in business and governance coming together to offer Nigerians a better chance of recovery.
“We need to take our country back from objects which the ‘umbrella and the broom’ symbolize and give it back to real people, ‘the papa, mama, pikin’ which the LP logo represents.”
*My endorsement by multi-religious group confirms consensus — Atiku*
However, the Atiku-Okowa Presidential Campaign Organisation has welcomed the adoption of Atiku by cross section of Northern leaders working across religious divides.
It said Atiku’s adoption was a confirmation of the consensus among Nigerians across board that the PDP candidate remains the candidate of choice for most Nigerians.
Spokesperson for the campaign, Mr. Kola Ologbodiyan, in a telephone interview with Sunday Vanguard, in Abuja, said: “This adoption conforms with the consensus by the larger majority of Nigerians that all options weighed and considered, Atiku is the best among those seeking to govern Nigeria.“