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Atiku attacks Tinubu, APC over call to snatch power

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PRESIDENTIAL candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Friday condemned a call made by his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart, Senator Bola Tinubu, that his supporters should grab and snatch power at all costs. 

Tinubu, in a video recorded in London, is shown telling a gathering of APC leaders and supporters that, “Political power is not going to be served in a restaurant. It is not served a la carte. At all costs, fight for it, grab it, snatch it and run (away) with it.” 

Reacting to that statement on Friday, Atiku, through his spokesman, Paul Ibe, said the plan of Tinubu and his party was to subvert democracy in the coming polls. 

“This is a confirmation that these are enemies of democracy masked as progressives. “They are enablers of violence and snatching of ballot boxes. It is obvious even to the blind that the APC and its presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, do not have any records of achievement in the last seven years plus to campaign on. And so their plan is to snatch, steal and subvert the cause of democracy. 

“All men and women of goodwill who love this country and are truly committed to the bid to recover Nigeria must sleep with their two eyes wide open in the days ahead and on election day because eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” Atiku’s spokesman told Saturday Tribune. 

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has advised Tinubu to quit the race and take a “deserved rest.” 

In a response to an earlier call made by Tinubu for Atiku to withdraw from the contest because he had run numerous times and failed, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, said on Friday that if there is anybody that needs to rest, it is the former Lagos State governor. Speaking at an interactive session with newsmen in Abuja, Ologunagba observed that Tinubu is not in the physical and mental condition to lead the country as demonstrated by his constant gaffes. 

The PDP spokesman said: “I do not know if he advises himself as well. If there is anybody who needs to go rest, it is him. 

“He is just a butt of joke all over the place: ‘bala blu bulaba blu blu blu’. Come on! 

“Number two, he is the only man who creates a state without going through the constitution. You will recall his campaign in Delta State. He said the candidate of the APC in Delta State would be the governor of Niger Delta State. 

“The constitution provides for how to create a state but he created it right on the podium. 

“So, if there is anybody who needs to rest, it is him. He is a man who cannot even pronounce a word, he is tottering. 

“For us, I think we just express pity. You see, dementia is setting in, sadly so. 

“In Lagos, he said, ‘Do you love me? Do you love me? Go and collect you APV’. It is all out there. I understand that some people are even compiling a compendium of Asiwaju’s gaffes. “Is that what this country wants? It is a serious business. If you are too sick… In any event, the constitution provides for qualifications you have got to have. Of course, you must have soundness of mind. 

“You do not need any other external influence to help. There are allegations that he needs some push from other external forces, we don’t know. 

“But I think if anybody needs advice to rest, it is him and I hope very soon, he will go to rest because apart from the physical ability, the mental capacity that is required to be a president in this country, there are other issues that I believe is in the public domain. 

“Issues about reported cases of indictment, of conviction, of forfeiture in the United States. Those are issues for which I think if there is anyone who needs to rest, it is Bola Ahmed Tinubu and we hope he will take the advice.” 

Also speaking at separate interactive forum with newsmen in Abuja on Friday, the Director-General, Strategic Communications, PDP Presidential Campaign Council, Dele Momodu, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to act on his promise to ensure the conduct of free, fair and credible elections. 

The appeal followed the harassment and attacks the PDP campaign has witnessed in parts of the country. Momodu said it is not enough to bark but words must be followed with concrete actions. 

According to him, the party has not been able to mount its campaign billboard and posters in all APC-controlled states, especially Lagos, because they have been prevented from doing so. 

He said: “In practically all APC controlled-states, it has been virtually impossible for us to install our billboards, to paste our posters, use APC government-controlled radio stations, especially in Lagos, where the candidate of the APC is seen as next to God. 

“So, I wish to appeal through you to the Federal Government, since they control the APC, that this is not what democracy is all about. I was one of those who fought and suffered for this democracy. We never envisaged that in the civilian regime, we are going to have this kind of harassment, whereby we cannot practise democracy as it should be done.

“In 2014/2015, I was one of those who supported Buhari and there was never a time that the PDP disturbed us because if they had disturbed us, maybe there would have been no Buhari. 

“So, we are hoping that Mr President will help us speak to the security agencies, to protect the lives of our people, to protect our properties wherever they are on the soil of Nigeria, because we are all Nigerians.” 

Momodu also affirmed that despite the harassment the party receives, its candidate, Atiku, is leading on all fronts while his challengers are fading in strength. He said: 

“People can see the clear difference between His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar and the other challengers. It is very clear that he is the most experienced, the most detribalised. He doesn’t go anywhere discriminating against anyone. He is prepared. 

“Nigeria cannot afford another sad experiment or experimentation, because if you are not prepared, that is what will happen. Atiku knows what to do from day one. 

“There is no doubt in my mind right now that the PDP is in the lead when it comes to campaigning. When it comes to positive messaging, the others I will not say are in disarray; they are struggling. The PDP is clearly in the lead. 

“The PDP is a very responsible political party. We are the most organised political party and that is why if you have monitored or if you have followed our rallies, you would have noticed that they are usually carnivals, carnivals of ideas, carnivals of issues. 

“A few times we have had issues, it was because some people wanted to disrupt our rallies. But thank God, we have a very good defence team. They always go ahead to make sure that there is maximum security because if you go to a rally and people get killed or injured, nobody wants to come to the next rally. 

“So, we have been extremely fortunate that we have been able to prevent the thugs from taking over our rallies.” 

PDP leaders lack mental capacity to evaluate Tinubu —APC 

However, the APC on Friday dismissed the PDP’s call on Tinubu to withdraw from the race. Reacting to Ologunagba’s statement in a telephone interview with Saturday Tribune, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr Felix Morka, said the PDP’s spokesman and others in the party “lack the mental capacity to evaluate Tinubu.” 

Morka said: “Tinubu is mentally sound, fit and working harder than all the other presidential candidates. 

“The PDP spokesperson has nothing to say worth responding to.”

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