Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), ridiculed former president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday for endorsing one of the presidential candidates, Labour Party’s Peter Obi.
In a special New Year’s message released to the media on Sunday afternoon, Obasanjo stated that while none of the contestants are saints, Obi has an advantage over the others in terms of knowledge, discipline, and what they can offer. Therefore, he urged young people to support the LP candidate.
Obasanjo also criticised Tinubu and Atiku, stating that ‘Emi Lokan’ (My turn) and ‘I have paid my dues’ are synonymous and represent the wrong attitude and mentality for the leadership of Nigeria at this time.
The APC candidate swiftly dismissed the endorsement as “worthless” and not a threat to his ambition, while the PDP stated that it was not seeking the endorsement of any individual.
Tinubu, in a statement released by Bayo Onanuga, Director of Media and Publicity for the APC Presidential Campaign Council, described the endorsement as worthless, which will not keep him awake at night.
He stated that Obasanjo has no political influence or goodwill in Nigeria to help anyone win an election.
A portion of the statement reads, “We feel sorry for Peter Gregory Obi because we are confident that Chief Obasanjo cannot win his polling unit and ward in Abeokuta for Obi in the upcoming presidential election on February 25, 2023.”
“Mr. Peter Obi cannot use Chief Obasanjo’s endorsement as political currency anywhere in Nigeria because he is not a political force, even in his region.
Chief Obasanjo likewise endorsed Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party’s 2019 candidate against President Muhammadu Buhari. Buhari defeated Atiku by a large margin in the election.
“History will repeat itself in February, as our candidate, Aswáj Bola Ahmed Tinubu, will also defeat Obi by a significant margin,” he said.
The candidate for the APC accused the former president of “constantly opposing progressive political forces, as he did in 1993 against MKO Abiola.”
In its response, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stated that it only cares about the approval of the Nigerian people and not that of an individual, regardless of how influential the individual may be.
Debo Ologunagba, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, told Daily Trust over the phone that Nigerians have endorsed the PDP and Atiku Abubakar, and that the endorsement of a single individual does not bother them.
“Nigerians have endorsed the People’s Democratic Party and Atiku Abubakar, and this is occurring daily. This is evident from the response to our campaigns. Recent victories in Osun, FCT, and elsewhere serve as indicators. We are confident that the PDP will win regardless of who endorses them, because ballot experience matters,” Ologunagba explained.
The party spokesman added, “Obasanjo’s endorsement is that of an individual, and he has the right to endorse whomever he chooses.” However, as a political party, we are primarily concerned with gaining the support of the Nigerian people; a single individual’s support will not translate into a vote.
Obasanjo has the right to endorse whoever he chooses, regardless of how important he may be, but our focus is on the Nigerian people for their endorsement. What is essential is that Nigerians have witnessed what is occurring and cannot be swayed by a single endorsement. This is why, as a party, we are focused on election issues.
What are the problems? The issues are insecurity, nepotism, government inexperience, and the apparent lack of preparedness of the APC government. The PDP has provided Nigerians with a candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who possesses sufficient experience for the upcoming task. For this reason, many APC members are joining Atiku’s camp. They are leaving the party because they are aware of the real situation.” He said