The ruling All Progressives Congress has dismissed the presidential campaign flag-off of Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party as a “disaster foretold”.
The spokesperson for the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, said this in a statement on Monday, blasting the PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu for making promises to Nigerians when he failed to fulfil his promise to step down as the party’s chairman before Atiku’s emergence.
Read below the full statement:
Monday, October 10, 2023
PRESS RELEASE BY THE TINUBU/SHETTIMA CAMPAIGN COUNCIL:
PDP PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN FLAG-OFF IN UYO: A DISASTER FORETOLD
The launch of PDP’s presidential campaign today in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, was, as expected, a disaster waiting to happen. Once again, the delinquent PDP continued to treat the now discerning Nigerian public with disdain and disrespect.
Aside from the obscenity of a poorly-scripted farce misnamed a flag-off, Nigerians suffered today additional trauma of having to witness a show of shame, listening to a litany of falsehoods spewed out at the gathering by failed, expired and rejected politicians. Speaker after speaker kept echoing a farrago of incomprehensible political jargons that left most Nigerians wondering whether it was a circus.
For example, if not the loss of the sense of shame, what else could have goaded PDP’s now discredited “sit tight” National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, to be audacious enough to stand on a podium today in Uyo and make any promise to Nigerians? Has he been able to fulfill the promise he made to himself and his party members to step down from office should a Northerner emerge as the presidential candidate at their party primaries? How can a party that cannot unite itself promise to unite Nigeria? How can a party that brazenly violates its own constitution on zoning be trusted to obey the constitution of Nigeria if again trusted with power?
When you have a flag-off campaign that is shunned by the National Vice-Chairmen of the South-South, South-West, and five sitting Governors out of thirteen, that is a definitive and resounding red-flag that Nigerians should not vote the Presidential candidate of the PDP in this coming election. If the people’s representatives at the state levels are so unanimouly against their party’s candidate that they would shun his campaign launch, then indeed, we would say to Nigerians, “A word is enough for the wise”.
Fortunately, to the benefit of Nigerians, there remains a few good men within PDP. These honourable men belonging to the party’s NWC, deemed it right to return hundreds of millions of Naira allegedly transferred into their individual bank accounts as “hush money” to suppress the investigation of the scandal of humongous financial misappropriation levelled against their National Chairman.
It is quite obvious to Nigerians that the PDP is a house that is divided against itself and it sure won’t stand. At their presidential campaign flag-off in Uyo today, the absence of many of the PDP State Governors tells a story to Nigerians that no amount of political jamboree can whitewash PDP’s cracked walls. It tells a story of a budding autocratic leadership, nourished by impunity, which now fans the flame of divisions and absolute disrespect for laid down rules and regulation.
Not much should, therefore, be expected from such a gathering. With the obvious inability of its Presidential Candidate to assuage frayed nerves of disaffected persons within their ranks, how will it be possible for such a person to unite people within such a diverse landscape as Nigeria? You definitely cannot give what you don’t have.
After being voted out of power in 2015 ignominiously, Nigerians had hoped that the PDP would, by now, be contrite as a party. Just as many had expected it would be able to muster the organisational acumen to play a formidable opposition Party, having been at the helm of running the affairs of our dear nation for 16 years prior to its disgraceful fall in 2015.
Alas, such expectations now seem far-fetched. Rather than seize every opportunity to redeemed its battered image, PDP has continued on its free fall, much the same way it bungled the running of the affairs of our country for 16 good years in an orgy of incompetence, unabated corruption and impunity.
The PDP and its self-conceited leadership failed woefully to put its house in order before hitting the streets to ask for the votes of Nigerians and, ironically, telling Nigerians they are on a rescue mission. Till date, their National Secretariat remains uncompleted, whilst the APC, in its relatively shorter existence, now has a permanent headquarters.
Our democracy is young. This Fourth Republic is barely 24 years old. But then, a 24 years old man would be said to be coming of age. At this time, Nigerians are no longer interested in a trial-and-error leadership. Those who have not been proven to be “good enough” leaders should have no access to our highest office. If nothing else speaks to the disaster an Abubakar Atiku presidency will be, this crisis within the PDP does so eloquently.
It is high time Nigerians called out the PDP for their spurious promises and the obnoxious behaviour of their helmsmen. It is highly unfortunate that some of the most honorable of their leaders are being sacrificed on the altar of the greed of a few persons and their inordinate ambition.
Festus Keyamo, SAN, FCIArb(UK)
*Director of Public Affairs and Chief Spokesperson, Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council.
* Minister of State, Labour and Employment,
Federal Republic of Nigeria