The Presidential Campaign Management Council of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has knocked the presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu and his Labour Party (LP) counterpart, Peter Obi, saying that the former Lagos State governor is unfit for the presidency while the popularity of the former Anambra State governor is waning.
PDP’s campaign council has also argued that a vote for the LP presidential candidate is an indirect vote for the ruling party, insisting that the LP cannot win next year’s presidential election.
THISDAY gathered that following a statement by the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar that he has moved on, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and his camp are said to be at crossroads ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
But despite Atiku’s position that he had moved on, efforts to resolve the internal crisis rocking the PDP continued on Saturday with its National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu; Director General of the Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Council and Governor of Sokoto State, Hon, Aminu Tambuwal, and a former Governor of Jigawa State, Mr. Sule Lamido meeting behind closed door with Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed. The PDP Presidential Campaign Management Council, which insisted that Tinubu is not fit and strong to rule Nigeria, called for medical tests for the APC presidential candidate and his counterpart in the PDP, Atiku Abubakar.
It wondered how the LP intends to win the presidential election when it cannot even field more than 30 of the senatorial seats in the country and 40 per cent of the seats for the House of Representatives.
The council also berated a former Minister of Aviation, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, for defending the APC vice presidential candidate, Ibrahim Shettima, describing him as a puerile defender of the ungodly.
Fielding questions from journalists yesterday in Abuja, the spokesperson of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, Senator Dino Melaye, argued that any vote for Obi is an indirect vote for Tinubu.
“Nigerians must know that any vote for Peter Obi is a vote for APC because Peter Obi cannot make it. So, anybody that is voting for Labour Party is voting for Tinubu. Anybody that is campaigning for Peter Obi is praying and working for Tinubu to become the President of the Republic of Nigeria because if you are voting for Peter, you are depleting the votes of the PDP because Peter cannot make it. The truth of the matter is that LP only fielded 30 out of 109 candidates for the Senate.
“They only fielded in 30 constituencies. Even the House of Representatives, they couldn’t field in every constituency. For the House of Assembly, they couldn’t field up to 50 per cent of the seats across the country.
“Everybody who is a politician knows that this criteria or indices (fielding of candidates) are a yardstick for measuring your national spread. And there is no regional champion that has ever been president in this country. Peter Obi must know that,” Melaye explained.
He continued: “Awolowo was a fantastic leader, intellectually mobile and cerebral, very sagacious. But because he was running on regional grounds, both as Action Group and UPN, he never became the president of this country. Azikiwe, another fantastic nationalist, but because of his regional base, he was a regional champion; his enclave only produced governors within the eastern part of his country. Aminu Kano, the friend of the talakawas, very pious man, with all sincerity and integrity.
“PRP could only win the elections in Kano and Kaduna. Buhari himself, ran on the regional ground three times and lost woefully because he was the regional champion, both in ANPP, in APP, and Congress for Progressives Change; he couldn’t until he eventually now ran on a national platform; when people like Atiku, Tinubu, Saraki, myself, collapsed to form a national party was when Buhari could become president. So historically, Peter ought to know that no regional champion can be president in Nigeria,” Melaye explained.
When asked whether PDP does not consider Peter Obi a threat, he responded thus: “As I speak with you, with Peter or no Peter, Atiku is going to win the next election because we have looked at it, we have looked at the spread, we have looked at the acceptability, we have looked at the programmes. We know that APC cannot make it. Only people who suffer arthritis of the brain will go out and vote for APC with the outrageous calamitous situation we are in in this country,” he added.
“So, Peter is a creation of Atiku and his movement is a euphoria that is gradually dying. By January, it will go down more, because people will realise that it is going to be a wasted vote; people will realise that he cannot become president, and people will realise that voting for Peter is voting for Tinubu.
“So, that is why I’m having a clarion call on Peter Obi, gentleman, progressive-minded, sound, to in the interest of this country for his tomorrow, he should give up today and come back home to support his elder brother and mentor,” Melaye said.
“How do we pray that Tinubu should come and continue with insecurity; Tinubu should come and continue with kidnapping; Tinubu should come and continue with banditry; Tinubu should come and continue with the rise in the price of goods and commodities in this country; Tinubu should come and continue with poverty, hunger and starvation; Tinubu should come and continue with bad roads, decaying infrastructure?” he queried.
Melaye argued that Obi cannot unite this country.
“The Igbo will be comfortable in Atiku’s presidency. The Yorubas will be comfortable in an Atiku presidency. The Hausa, Fulani, the Ijaws, the Ibibios, the Tivs, the Kanuris will be happy with an Atiku presidency because they know that Atiku is not a religious bigot; he’s not an ethnic champion,” Melaye said.
Speaking on the issue of physical fitness required to become the president, Melaye said, “Tinubu is not physically and mentally fit. I challenge him to a medical examination between him and Atiku because this is a constitutional requirement to be president and he should fulfill it.
“We challenge both of them; they should go for a medical examination because the constitution says that you must be physically and mentally fit to be president,” he said.
“So, I challenge the presidential candidates to submit themselves to medical fitness examination, including narcotic examination. “I call on Buba Marwa to carry Atiku and Tinubu and collect their blood samples for drug tests because anyone who must be our president must be free of drugs, because we are fighting as a nation seriously, to battle drug abuse,” he added.
Melaye also berated Fani-Kayode over his defence of the APC vice presidential candidate, Shettima, describing him as the puerile defender of the ungodly.
“It is ridiculous for Femi Fani-Kayode to say, for want of substance, that Shettima is a refined, decent and godly man who wants to help his country. The country in context must be a reference to the bandits’ empire, otherwise, how could a godly man harbour Kabiru Sokoto who bombed worshippers on Christmas Day at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church at Madala on the fringe of Abuja in December 2013? It means then that with godly people like Shettima hell is their paradise.
“What a sardonic humour to also award Shettima the undeserved award of a helper of Nigeria? Where is the record of that service? Where was Shettima when the Chibok girls were hauled into Sambisa Forest? Attempting to compare the unlike to the like in such a manner is a reprehensible pretence by the indecent,” Melaye explained.