Former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, yesterday, opened up on how she intends to win next February’s presidential election with a blistering attack at President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, describing them as Siamese twins of failure.
But Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said, yesterday, that President Muhammadu Buhari deserved a second term in office since he has, in the past three and half years, impacted positively the lives of Nigerians.
However, describing Buhari and Atiku as men who cannot take the country forward, Ezekwesili charged majority of Nigerians, who she described as sleeper voters, to take up the duty of voting out Buhari and stopping Atiku from returning to power.
Making mention of alleged corruption cases involving some of Buhari’s most senior officials, she accused the president of looking the other way when issues of corruption were mentioned about him and his close allies.
She was equally dismissive of the challenge by Atiku, saying his records in Nigeria and United States do not give optimism of a new narrative of probity in governance.
Ezekwesili, who is campaigning on the platform of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, ACPN, at a world press conference to unveil her road map to victory in 2019 said: “President Buhari declared after his victory that he ‘belongs to everybody and he belongs to nobody’.
“It sounded like sweet music at the time, but it was a big scam. This is a man whose wife – and surely his wife should know him better than we do— lamented that a mafia had hijacked her husband’s government.
“There is no shadow of doubt: President Buhari is the most parochial, most nepotistic and most partisan president that Nigeria has ever seen.
“This president talks about fighting grand corruption. Please, please, give me a break! Does he think we cannot see? A president that looks the other way while his friends and cronies suffocate and strangle our country?”
Affirming that Atiku was not an option, she said: “Apart from forgetfulness, why are some Nigerians suddenly considering the PDP yet again? I have heard some people say it is because the PDP candidate has run successful businesses and, therefore, will be good for the economy at a time like this.
“That response just makes me shake my head in wonderment: Is it the same person we know, or are we speaking of another?
“Perhaps you never read a 2005 email from the president of Atiku’s university which was obtained by US investigators.
“Let me quote a small portion from that mail: ‘…The flow of revenue to the university will slow dramatically if Atiku’s political fortunes continue to wane… Construction delays on campus have also raised fears that the prospects for the university are linked to Atiku’s political success.’
“If we dive into all the filthy issues involving the PDP candidate —from the PTDF saga to the $2.8 million Siemens bribery scandal —we may spend the entire day here today and I simply do not have that time.”
Dismissing insinuations that her bid would divide the votes needed to remove Buhari, she said: “I just laugh when I hear some people say our citizens movement will split opposition votes. But the PDP is not in opposition to the APC. The candidate of the PDP has over the past 14 years gone from PDP to AC, AC to PDP, PDP to APC and now back to PDP. ”
We’ve left the era when votes were awarded, those cheated are told to go to court – Buhari
Meanwhile, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said, yesterday, that President Muhammadu Buhari deserved a second term in office, based on his performance.
The minister, who was a guest on Channels Television programme “Politics Today” on Sunday night, said the President had leveraged his legendary integrity and acumen in managing resources both human and materials to reinvent governance.
He stressed that Buhari had delivered on the three campaign promises he made, including fighting corruption, tackling insecurity and revamping the economy.
He said: “Today, under President Buhari, Nigerians can dream and hope because he has rebranded governance and put the country on the path of sustainable growth and development.
“He is investing in infrastructure and reinventing the most ambitious social programme in the history of the nation.
“The President is ensuring that the people do not loot the common resources and ensuring that Nigeria is self sufficient in food production
“Above all, he has brought honour and respect back to the country and fighting all sorts of insecurity in the country.”
Reacting to the allegation of non-submission of the President’s certificate to INEC, the minister said it was a non-issue and a mere distraction.
Speaking on the President’s health, Mohammed said the President had fully recovered and fit to discharge his duties.
He also said they were not worried by the endorsement of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate, by Obasanjo, since it was Nigerians that would decide who will govern them.
“It is Nigerians that are going to vote at the 2019 elections. They will make a choice between going back to the era of inefficiency, looting, decay in infrastructure and the era of integrity, when the economy is being revived and insurgency is being tackled.
“It is not what Obasanjo says that matters because I am sure Nigerians will make the right choice,” he said.
The minister also denied the allegation that the government was intimidating the opposition, expressing confidence that President Buhari would be reelected in 2019 because of his track record.