LAGOS— All Progressives Congress, APC, governors, yesterday, rebuffed Tuesday’s concerted attack on the party’s presidential candidate, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governors, describing it as a reflection of the poverty of ideas of the ruling party.
The governors were joined by the APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who described the attacks as suggestive of the “desperation, despondency and dejection” of the ruling party to the Buhari phenomenon across the country.
The governors, in separate reactions, faulted the failure of the PDP governors to articulate issues that would promote their party, saying the resort to attacking the person of Buhari showed the emptiness of the ruling party in Abuja.
PDP governors led by the chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, Obong Godswill Akpabio and factional chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Jonah Jang, had in a media parley in Lagos on Tuesday raised several allegations bordering on Buhari’s past services to the nation and his capacity to steer the nation. The charges were capped by that from Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State who alleged that Buhari would serve only one term, a development he said would deny the North an eight-year shot at the Presidency.
Among the governors that reacted to the allegations yesterday, were Governors Adams Oshiomhole, Edo State; Rochas Okorocha, Imo; Rauf Aregbesola, Osun; Abiola Ajimobi, Oyo, and Abdulfatah Ahmed, Kwara.
It’s desperation, despondency, dejection —Mohammed
Reacting to the attacks on the party’s presidential candidate, Mohammed, the APC national publicity scribe, told Vanguard yesterday: “What has come out clearly in the media interaction between the PDP and the media yesterday (Tuesday) is desperation, despondency and dejection on the part of the PDP.
“When you have an interaction with a gathering like PDP governors, you expect something much more elevating. You see, they lost a beautiful opportunity to even sell their party.
“When they concentrated on attacking an individual, people went away with the impression that they have run out of ideas, and they have run out of issues. So, that is why you find that if you took a poll yesterday and a poll today on the popularity of PDP you will find out that it sank lower especially against the fact that this man who they have been attacking almost daily has never uttered a word in retaliation because what they are attacking is the integrity of this man, but his integrity is unassailable.
PDP has already accepted defeat
“I think Nigerians have now got to the point of asking PDP: do you have anything in stock for us? Why don’t you advertise your own wares? Honestly, I looked at PDP yesterday and was very sorry for them.
“From what happened yesterday, PDP has already accepted defeat because they are saying already that Buhari will not have two terms, that he would have one term. Why should that become the concern of the ruling party? They are already behaving like the opposition party.
“I think Nigerians are not taken in by this smear campaign. On the contrary, the man is becoming more and more popular and they are spending so much money, so much time, so much effort vilifying this man. Even those APC members who are not on the ballot, they are spending time and money to vilify them. Is that what this campaign is all about?”
It’s indicative that PDP had lost the election —Oshiomhole
Governor Oshiomhole in his response, yesterday said the attacks and the innuendo of a single term were indicative of the fact that the PDP had lost the election.
Noting Buhari’s focus on issues, he said: “When you are playing a match, and it is clear that you are winning and your opponent is going for your legs instead of the ball, while you hope and trust that the referee will enforce the rule, you must remain focused on the ball.
“The PDP governors said many other things that do not make sense. I read one of their statements that Buhari has signed an agreement that he is going to do only one term, and that the North would be short-changed. That is what they claim. That is fine.
“That means they accept that Buhari will win the election, but they are only worried about how long he will be there for, and if that should be the burden of the PDP, it tells you that they have exhausted everything.
“I don’t want to join those who want to move away from the issues focusing on personality and irrelevant issues. I think that the issue for me is about policy choices, it is about leadership, it is about security and well-being.
“That is how the real rural poor are being defrauded. Why should trillions of naira be spent on kerosene and yet poor people instead of paying N50, PDP made them to pay N150. So even the poor are being defrauded of N100.
“Those are the issues I expect PDP governors to address. I expect the PDP governors to address why they inherited a currency that was exchanging at N75 to a dollar in 1999 when PDP took over governance. As they were in Lagos talking about Buhari’s security of tenure, Naira is now N230 to one US dollar, and everything is going up.”
On card readers
Governor Okorocha, on his part lashed the PDP governors for their stance against the card readers, saying the PDP governors had shown their inclination towards a failed and crooked electoral system.
“There is nothing really wrong with trying to introduce something new in the nation’s electoral engineering. With the card readers, INEC can confidently say the number of people that cast their votes in any outing,” Okorocha, who spoke through his media aide, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, said.
Governor Rauf Aregbesola on his part said Nigerians “should not be surprised that diatribes against our presidential candidate, Buhari, were the major points at the meeting of the PDP Governors Forum in Lagos.
Aregbesola, who spoke through his Director, Bureau of Communication, Mr Semiu Okanlawon said: “That tells you pointedly that APC has given them what to battle with until they are all consumed by electoral defeat.”
Asserting that the PDP’s record of woeful performance translating to hardship for the people is enough unpaid advertisement for the APC, the governor said: “So it is no wonder that all they travelled to Lagos on Tuesday to do was to abuse Buhari, abuse APC leaders and move further to want to divide the people of Nigeria through their religious bigotry and primordial ethnic sentiments.
“But the mistake they make is that Nigerians have caught up and overtaken them in these useless factors.”
Governor Ajimobi of Oyo State, on his part, dismissed Governor Aliyu’s claim of a one part pact between Buhari and the APC.
“It is not in the character of the APC to determine the tenure of its candidates before they run. This must have been concocted for political reasons,” he said.
Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State in a similar reaction said the argument of the PDP governors that the one term plan for Buhari would destroy the rotation between the north and the south only existed in the figment of the imagination of the PDP governors.
Ahmed spoke through his Senior Special Adviser on Media and Communications, Dr Muideen Akorede.
Similarly, the director of media of the APC in the South-West, Mr. Ayo Afolabi described the PDP as a drowning party grappling anything and saying anything to hang on to life.