Former National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) and ex- governor of Edo State, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, has said the presidential candidate of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, cannot be held responsible for the performance of the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. Oshiomhole spoke yesterday on “The Morning Show”, a programme on Arise News Channel, the broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspapers.
Oshiomhole’s assertion came as a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) group rallying support for its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, The Atiku Mobilisers Ekiti (TAME), yesterday said the frightening insecurity across the country and weak economic status had rendered Tinubu unmarketable before Nigerians.
However, Oshiomhole, a former President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), stressed that Tinubu should not be blamed for Buhari’s performance, as the former Lagos State governor never participated in governance at any level in the current federal administration. He stressed that it would be unfair for anyone to hold Tinubu responsible for the performance, policies, and policy implementation of the current government.
Speaking on the controversy surrounding the choice of a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket by APC, which had generated much debate, the former APC national chairman urged Nigerians to focus on the future of the country. He said Nigeria’s challenges were beyond religion, adding that religion cannot really be a problem for the country.
Oshiomhole believed Nigerians should spend more time discussing the qualities of the presidential candidates, particularly, their ability to do things differently in order to expect a different outcome.
“I think these are the issues and given the situation we are in currently, in terms of the economy and security, we should devote time to discuss such national issues,” Oshiomhole stated. “Evidence exists that Nigeria was probably at its best when religion didn’t feature under the military rule and thereafter,” he added.
The former labour leader made a case for Tinubu, stating that he has a Christian wife whom he has been married to for over 40 years and did not force her to adopt his religion.
He said, “If we have a Muslim-Muslim ticket, will that affect the freedom of worship, if the answer is yes, then there’s a serious issue and vice versa. Presently, Christians and Muslims worship freely, so why should it be a problem for anyone?”
Oshiomhole accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of mismanaging the country to the extent that after their defeat, there was an open debate and banner headlines in newspapers about contemplations by PDP leaders to change the name of the party.
He stressed that Buhari inherited a terrible economic situation, saying progress has been made in many areas, even as new challenges have also emerged, some of which are external to the country.
Speaking on the security situation in the country, Oshiomhole said the size of the armed forces should be doubled as the Nigerian population had quadrupled, and considering the current challenges around the world and within the country. He also called for a review of the security architecture.
Oshiomhole said, “I do not understand why we should have separate outfits for civil defence corps and the Federal Road Safety Corps. I have travelled to many countries, and I have not seen the multiplicity of agencies.
“I believe that given the level of able young men and women, there are a lot of Nigerians who can be of help, if properly employed.”
He emphasised that everything he said was his own views and not that of APC.
Buhari’s Failure in Security, Economy Make Tinubu Unmarketable, Says Atiku Group
Meanwhile, TAME boasted that its presidential candidate, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, would garner over 60 per cent of the votes in Ekiti State in the 2023 general election.
The group warned APC against being carried away by the euphoria of victory recorded in the June 18 governorship poll in the Ekiti State. It said the insecurity and state of the economy had left Tinubu without qualities that could attract the votes of Nigerians.
The group mocked the President Muhammadu Buhari government for failing in the critical areas of security and economy.
Chairman of TAME and ex-Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Sikiru Lawal, who spoke yesterday in Ado-Ekiti during a meeting of TAME’s local government coordinators, urged all PDP groups to coalesce for the actualisation of Atiku’s presidency.
Lawal said, “We have coordinators in all the 177 wards and we will soon appoint the coordinators across 2,445 units to galvanise support for our candidate. We did poorly in the governorship election in Ekiti because the PDP preparation was poor. But we are going to win Ekiti election for the presidency.
“We have realised our mistakes and the result was as a result of internal wrangling. We are working hard at the unit and ward levels. We will salvage the situation.
“There is no party without rancour, we are going to come together.
“The unemployment, insecurity and the bad state of the economy have made Asiwaju Tinubu unsellable to Nigerians.
“We are going to change the “change”, because the APC change has brought hardship and bloodshed to Nigerians. PDP is targeting 60 per cent of the votes cast in Ekiti because the Nigerian citizens are tired of the APC-led government and they are ready to vote them out.”
Lawal said Atiku would be easy to market because he had a well-encapsulated agenda, competence, as well as mental capacity to transform the country and, particularly, rescue the populace from the current stranglehold of insecurity.
He stated, “Nobody is happy with the current situation. Is it about youth unemployment, inflation, inability to buy ordinary bread, petrol and diesel. I’m sure that even the APC and Labour Party members will vote for Atiku in this coming election.
“To us in this group, we are urging Nigerians to wait and vote the APC out, rather than impeachment process against the president because the impeachment kite might be a game plan.”
Former Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Hon. Kola Oluwawole, said TAME would harness the human resources available in Ekiti PDP and other parties to mobilise for Atiku across the 2,445 units and the 16 local government areas of the state.