•Declares former Lagos governor, Shettima afraid to face Nigerians
•Again, Melaye attacks Fani-Kayode, says his venom cannot undo ruling party’s failures
Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organisation, yesterday, mocked the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, and his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima, for running away from national debates over fear of probing questions from Nigerians.
Spokesperson of the Atiku/Abubakar Campaign Organisation, Kola Ologbondiyan, said Tinubu had a record of avoiding debates and public interrogations for fear that Nigerians might take him to task on his alleged stinking corruption record, reported proxy treasury looting, obvious incompetence, ethnic bigotry, as well as his alleged masterminding of APC’s anti-people policies that wrecked Nigeria in the last seven and a half years.
Ologbondiyan also said the APC presidential candidate and his running mate could not face debate for fear of having Tinubu’s claims of building Lagos State publicly exposed as a hoax. He said the former Lagos State governor could not point to any legacy development project he achieved in the state.
Ologbondiyan stated, “Asiwaju Tinubu is also aware that he cannot face the public to answer questions bordering on his past, particularly, the question on his ancestry, the Alpha-Beta tax saga; as well as his alleged stranglehold on the business, politics and lives of Lagosians from 1999 till date.
“He is afraid of being exposed of fleecing Lagos State for eight years through multiple and harsh tax regimes with nothing to show other than rulership by brawl, breeding of touts and raising criminal street gangs, only to turn around now to attempt to claim the achievements of succeeding governors as his. While continuing to use Alpha-Beta to extort Lagosians for nearly 20 years. Alpha-Beta is the sole tax collecting agency in Lagos.”
According to Ologbondiyan, “Nigerians will recall that the APC presidential candidate did not attend the signing of the National Peace Accord in Abuja; he failed to turn up at Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries, he avoided the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Conference and shunned the televised debate organised by credible media houses and civil society groups in Abuja on Sunday to attend a marriage bash in the same nation’s capital.
“Is it not strange that Tinubu, who claims to be a progressive, is dodging debate, a hallmark of progressivism?
“Asiwaju Tinubu and Kashim Shettima have turned themselves into a butt of public joke over their reported inability to even defend the scripts that were written for them with spurious claims and litany of fake promises, which Nigerians have appropriately tagged as ‘Renewed Hopelessness’.”
Ologbondiyan explained that it was apparent that the APC presidential candidate could not detail his running mate to represent him at the Abuja debate ostensibly because of Shettima’s abysmal performance at the last Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries outing.
He challenged the Tinubu/Shettima campaign to come clean on allegations in the public domain that the former Borno State governor was avoiding the debates for fear of awaiting probing questions on the alleged compromise of security during his tenure as governor, which resulted in the kidnap of about 270 students in Chibok.
Ologbondiyan stressed that under Shettima’s watch as governor, there were unanswered questions over series of deadly terrorism attacks in the Borno State.
Ologbondiyan added, “Is Senator Shettima afraid of explaining to Nigerians why his government did not heed to the alleged security warning and directive by the federal government to relocate the schoolgirls to a safer location, which would have averted the abduction?
“In shunning public debates, both Tinubu and Shettima have shown that they have nothing to offer and that they are in the presidential race just for personal aggrandisement and not to serve Nigerians.”
On the other hand, Ologbondiyan said Nigerians were celebrating the dazzling performance of the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and the vice presidential candidate, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, in public debates, media interviews and town hall meetings. He said in readiness to take over power in May 29 next year, the PDP candidates had given excellent answers to questions and proffered practicable solutions to the myriads of problems brought to the country by APC.
In a related development, the diatribe between the spokesman of the PDP Presidential Management Campaign, Senator Dino Malaye, and former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, continued yesterday. Melaye said the venom of Director of Special Media Projects and New Media, Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council could not defend the woeful failures of the All Progressive Congress (APC) government in the last seven years.
In a statement, Melaye stressed that Fani-Kayode’s continued hurling of abuses with demonic venom could not defend the woeful record of eight years of APC misrule.
According to Melaye, “Even a person with Femi Fani-Kayode’s diminished stature is well aware of ‘the first law of holes is, when you are in one stop digging.’
“His recent 2696-word tendentious farrago of mendacity is only exceeded by the stunning absence of substance on the very serious issues affecting Nigerians, as Atiku’s policy platform seeks to address.
“It is difficult, if not impossible, to engage people like Femi Fani Kayode and a party such as the APC, which continue to demonstrate a level of fluency in incompetence and economic mismanagement unrivalled in Nigeria’s history.”
He added, “Ad hominem attacks, absent substantive engagement on policy by Femi Fani-Kayode is like to coin a phrase from a famous British politician, being ‘savaged by a dead sheep’, or in this case a morally and intellectually bankrupt dead sheep!
“A dead sheep born with a silver spoon in his oleaginous mouth who has made a Faustian bargain for 25 pieces of silver to feed both a craving for sycophantic relevance and a lifelong proclivity for indulgently excessive self-medication.
“No Sir! We chose not to engage you further in your defamatory rants, empty sloganeering and sneering. This campaign will be fought on the pressing issues affecting the lives, livelihoods and welfare of Nigerians.
“It is only Atiku that has put forward a covenant with Nigeria. It is Atiku who pledges to bring quality education, restructure Nigeria, build a dynamic economy for prosperity, ensure the safety and security of life and property, and restore unity in diversity, develop our human capital, giving the private sector primacy in the nation’s economic development. It is bold and ambitious.”
Melaye said it would be difficult, especially after the damage the APC had inflicted on Nigerians and the economy.
According to the PDP presidential management council spokesman, “On Education, Atiku seeks to enhance education outcomes with improvements in quality and efficiency.
“Flagship interventions, such as the National Open Apprenticeship Programme and Graduate Trainee Internships that will elevate the role technical and vocational education can play in ensuring suitably qualified people for the workforce of tomorrow.
“Atiku will create three million jobs, including one million internships and incubating 100,000 entrepreneurs and supporting business innovation. An Atiku government will lift millions out of poverty.
“On the economy Atiku’s covenant with Nigerians, among other things, is for inclusive growth, create millions of jobs, and more than GDP per capita in a decade with a focus on agriculture, manufacturing with emphasis on small and medium scale enterprises (the backbone of most economies developing and developed).
“On security, increasing Nigeria’s law enforcement capabilities and institutional responsiveness, including expanding policing numbers to one million. Reforming the nation’s security architecture is a priority.”
He said Atiku believed security was a collective issue, “unlike the APC candidate who is associated with various characters with reputations for purveying violence and mayhem, and his running mate with reported links to individuals involved in acts of terrorism in our country.”
Melaye said Atiku had a law enforcement background and understood what it was to be at the frontline of the nation’s security.
On restructuring, he said, “Atiku is the only candidate advocating for restructuring. Clearly, Nigeria faces multiple challenges that can best be addressed by asking probing questions as to how or whether we can improve upon the nation’s organising principles for diversification and devolution for our better collective national development, through devolving issues, such as social and welfare policies to state and local governments.”
On infrastructure, Melaye said Atiku was the only candidate with a plan for infrastructure development, firm targets for power, and a clear roadmap for diversifying the petroleum sector.