Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate for the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, responded to former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s endorsement of Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party LP, stating the ex-Nigerian leader couldn’t win an Ogun voting unit.
However, Tinubu acknowledged that the previous president had every democratic right to support anyone in a preliminary response to the news.
The APC standard bearer claimed that no one could count on Obasanjo’s backing to be governor or councillor, not even in his native state of Ogun, where the former president’s adopted candidates had previously lost elections.
Tinubu and his own former deputy, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), were criticized by Obasanjo in a greeting to Nigerian youths on the first day of the year, saying that only Obi holds a promise for the nation.
“Let me say straight away that ‘Emi Lokan’ (My turn) and ‘I have paid my dues are one and the same thing and are wrong attitudes and mentality for the leadership of Nigeria now. They cannot form the new pedestal to reinvent and invest in a new Nigeria based on an All-Nigeria Government for the liberation and restoration of Nigeria. Such a government must have representation from all sectors of our national life public, private, civil society, professional, labour, employers, and the diaspora. The solution should be in we’ and ‘us’ and not in ‘me’ and ‘I”, the former president had declared.
In a statement sent by Mr. Bayo Onanuga, Director of Media and Publicity for the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Tinubu stated that he was reacting to the situation in response to several requests from journalists demanding his reply.
The council expressed sorrow for Mr. Obi, who it claimed is on his way to joining the long list of losers sponsored by Obasanjo in the past, and observed that the former president has a history of unsuccessful endorsements.
Part of the statement reads; “We read with amusement the endorsement of Mr. Peter Obi, the Labour Party Presidential Candidate by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in his New Year message on Sunday.
“Following calls by journalists from various media houses who asked for our reaction we decided to make this preliminary statement, though we didn’t consider the so-called endorsement to be of any value.
“We respect the democratic right of former President Obasanjo to support and endorse any candidate of his choice in any election”, the council noted.
Except for the fact that he officially announced it in his new year’s speech, the Tinubu campaign council stated that “every astute political watcher in Nigeria knows that Chief Obasanjo’s choice for Peter Obi is predictable.”
It was highlighted that Obasanjo had already expressed his views at a number of public gatherings, most recently at the 70th birthday celebration of Chief John Nwodo, a former leader of the Ohaneze Ndigbo, in Enugu.
The Obasanjo campaign claimed that it would not worry about the development because Obasanjo is not a democrat that anyone should be pleased to be associated with.
“We make bold to say that our party and candidate, Asíwájú Bola Ahmed Tinubu will not lose sleep over Obasanjo’s move, as Obasanjo is notorious for always opposing progressive political forces, as he did against MKO Abiola in 1993.
“The endorsement is actually worthless because the former President does not possess any political goodwill or leverage anywhere in Nigeria to make anyone win a Councillorship election let alone win a Presidential election. He is a political paperweight.
“He is also not a democrat anyone should be proud to be associated with.
“We recall that in 2003 and 2007 general elections when he was a sitting President, Obasanjo used all the coercive instruments of State at his disposal to railroad people into elective offices against the will of Nigerians as expressed at the polls. In 2007, he declared the polls a do-or-die affair after he failed in his bid to amend our constitution to have a third term.
“From our records, President Obasanjo has not successfully made anyone win an election in Nigeria since then.
“Not even in Ogun State can anyone rely on his support or endorsement to become a governor or Councillor.
“We pity Peter Gregory Obi as we are confident that Chief Obasanjo cannot win his polling unit and ward in Abeokuta for Obi in the coming Presidential election on 25 February 2023.
“Chief Obasanjo’s endorsement is not a political currency Mr Peter Obi can spend anywhere in Nigeria because he is not a political force, even in his part of the country.
“Chief Obasanjo similarly endorsed Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Peoples Democratic Party candidate in 2019 against President Muhammadu Buhari. Atiku was walloped by Buhari with a wide margin in the election.
“History will repeat itself in February as our candidate Asíwájú Bola Ahmed Tinubu will equally beat Obi by a large margin.
“We take particular notice of the part of the endorsement statement where Chief Obasanjo said none of the presidential candidates is a Saint.
“We want to state here that Chief Obasanjo is not a good judge of character. He is a man who considers only himself as the all-knowing Saint in Nigeria.
“Over the years, Chief Obasanjo has also convinced himself that integrity, honesty and all good virtues begin and end with him”, the council added.
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