…As Buhari fires first campaign shot at Atiku***
The wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Aisha, took to Twitter on Sunday morning to express her displeasure at the impunity in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
She tweeted that many aspirants in the party used their “hard-earned money to purchase nomination forms, got screened, cleared and campaigned vigorously yet found their names omitted on Election Day.”
These nomination forms, she tweeted, were bought at exorbitant prices.
She further stated that some who took part in the contest had their results delayed.
According to her, the delay was a ploy to give automatic tickets to preferred candidates.
Mrs. Buhari said this was condemnable particularly for a party that has change as its cardinal principle.
Aisha’s outburst is coming on the heels of the party’s national convention where her husband was nominated as the sole presidential candidate for 2019 elections.
In the meantime, the President Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation says the emergence of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar as the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will be counterproductive to the nation as a leopard cannot change its skin.
A statement issued by the Director, Strategic Communications, President Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation, Festus Keyamo, said while congratulating Abubakar for his victory, it was worthy of note that the primaries that produced him was dampened by rains of dollars in vote-buying.
“However, we note with interest all the reports in the media as to massive vote-buying at the PDP primaries (especially with foreign currency). We contrast this with the speech of President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2014 APC Convention when he said as follows: “I have always served Nigeria to the best of my ability. I have always tried to give more to the nation than it has given me. This is the principle of service that has guided my public life. Thus, I am not a rich person. I can’t give you a fistful of dollars or naira to purchase your support. Even if I could, I would not do so. The fate of this nation is not up for sale”.
“There were also media reports in the 2014 APC National Convention that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar freely used the same method of massive vote-buying in foreign currency, but he came a distant third. Till date, he has not denied those media reports. The claim therefore that the process that produce him now as a candidate of the PDP was free, fair and transparent is suspect.
“It is therefore clear that going into this election the issues that will agitate the minds of Nigerians most would be centered around the credibility of the candidate of the opposition and the kind of values he brings into our politics.
“Nigerians would ask themselves whether he can be trusted with our national resources with this proclivity for “dollarising” the political arena, thereby taking us back to the warped values from which President Buhari is trying to extricate the nation. One wonders what such a candidate would do with public funds,” Keyamo said.
Keyamo added that Nigerians would also note with interest the verdict of Atiku’s former boss when he was Vice President on his credibility and integrity, calling him unprintable names at different occasions, saying that Nigerians would note that in all of these occasions, Abubakar had never defended these allegations against him by his former boss, but continued to court his support and cooperation.
He said Nigerians would want to know how candidate Abubakar intended to inspire a nation to believe in his ability to fight corruption in the face of very damning reports both locally and internationally concerning his records on corruption whilst he was in public service as a Customs Officer and later when he was Vice President of Nigeria.
“We note with amusement that on many occasions Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has tried to claim some credit for certain “achievements” during the tenure of President Obasanjo when he was Vice President because, according to him, he was “part of that Government”. We also wish to remind Nigerians that as much as he claims the credit, he must be prepared to accept joint liability for all that happened in that Government. He cannot blow hot and cold. In due time we shall talk about all these.
“Taking all the above into considerations, Nigerians would rightly ask whether a leopard can indeed change its skin despite all the sweet talk they expect to hear from the opposition candidate during the election,” he said.
According to Keyamo, in the history of elections in Nigeria, the choices before Nigerians had never been clearer than now, as Nigerians would have to decide between a candidate with a history full of credibility crises, damning reports on corruption both home and abroad and another candidate, (the incumbent President) with an unblemished record in public service.
Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, emerged candidate for the 2019 presidential election.
Atiku polled 1,532 votes out of total of 3,221 votes, representing almost 50 per cent of the entire delegates’ votes to emerge PDP flagbearer at the party’s elective national convention held on Sunday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
In a tweet after the results were announced, Atiku thanked the delegates for their choice.
“This is a victory for all of us. The task to get Nigeria working again starts now”, he also tweeted.
A total of 12 aspirants sought the prized ticket in the primary.
They were former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo; Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal.
Included were the former governors of Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, Jigawa and Plateau states- Ahmed Makarfi, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Attahiru Bafarawa, Sule Lamido, and Jonah Jang.
The rest were Senate President Bukola Saraki; immediate past Senate President, Senator David Mark; former Minister of Special Duties, Tanimu Turaki and erstwhile lawmaker,Datti Baba-Ahmed.
1. BUKOLA SARAKI: 317
2. ATIKU ABUBAKAR: 1,532
3. AMINU TAMBUWAL: 693
4. IBRAHIM DANKWAMBO: 111
5. AHMED MAKARFI: 74
6. SULE LAMIDO: 96
7. DAVID MARK: 35
8. RABIU KWANKWASO: 158
9. DATTI BABA-AHMED: 05
10. ATTAHIRU BAFAWARA: 48
11. JONAH JANG: 19
12. KABIRU TURAKI: 65
Void votes: 68.