• Atiku Challenges Tinubu To Hour-long Televised Debate
The brewing spat between the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar deepened, yesterday, with the former alleging that the latter has fallen out of love with the truth having been blinded by his ambition.
The feud between the two former political allies got ignited after the former vice president, during a 22 July televised interview, said that he declined to name Tinubu as his running mate in 2007 on the Action Congress (AC) ticket because he did not want a Muslim as his running mate.
The former Lagos State governor, in a statement by his Media Office, signed by Mr. Tunde Rahman, said that AC actually offered Atiku its platform because of the compelling “need to fight the authoritarian designs then President Obasanjo, and the PDP had on Nigeria’s democracy.”
Tinubu, who stressed that democratic forces rallied around Atiku, who had “been unceremoniously pushed aside if not out of the PDP by Obasanjo,” so as to “confront the one-party state Obasanjo had in mind, added that, “Atiku was simply a beneficiary of this collective duty to fight the attack on multi-party democracy the PDP had launched.
“I feel sorry for dear old Atiku. Love of his own ambition has eclipsed his relationship with the truth and an honest account of the past. We formed the AC without his knowledge. When President Obasanjo virtually exiled him from the PDP, we lent him our support by giving him the AC platform for the 2007 election,” Tinubu said.
He added: “Let me say openly that Atiku offered me the vice presidential ticket in 2007. Let me also say that my religion has not changed. When he offered the position to me, I was a Muslim and I believe he was aware of my religious faith at the time.
“When it comes to intrigue, we can say that Atiku is without bias. He will attempt to lie and deceive both Christian and Muslims with equal vigour. Atiku has no business raising the issue of a Muslim-Muslim ticket except as a hypocrite. Perhaps he believes people have forgotten his antics during the 1993 election. After he woefully lost his bid to be the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party, what did he do? He canvassed and lobbied harder than anyone to become the running mate to late Chief MKO Abiola. When it benefitted him personally, Atiku did not see anything wrong with a Muslim-Muslim ticket. He saw everything right in such a ticket as long as he was on it.
Responding to Tinubu’s attack on his principal, media adviser to Atiku, Paul Ibe challenged the APC flag bearer to subject himself to an hour-long interview like Atiku did, “if he is able to be as articulate and mentally present as our candidate, then he can talk. Until then, we will only want to remind him and his yes men that they are not in a position to point fingers when they have not sat on the hot seat.”
Ibe said that the Tinubu campaign exposed its gross desperation and vacuousness by citing the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) 1999, to declare Waziri Atiku Abubakar’s stance on engaging in a side business while he was a young customs officer as a breach of the law.
On claims that the Tinubu Campaign Organisation accused Atiku of having “limited education,” Ibe said “Atiku Abubakar has an earned Masters’s degree from Anglia Ruskin University. We challenge any of the present Presidential candidates to present an equal or higher degree.
Moreover, his university attendance is a matter of verified record. Can we say the same about some other persons?