By Emmanuel Mogbede, Abuja.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has advised Nigerians to be wary of the fake campaign promises of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 general elections.
Mr Bayo Onanuga, Director of Media and Publicity, APC Presidential Campaign Council (APC), conveyed the warning via a statement on Sunday in Abuja.
“We need to warn Nigerians to be wary of the sugar-coated promises of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and his PDP, as they embark on their inordinate and desperate campaign to gain power at all costs.
“A party that should be eternally shameful about its appalling record in governance between 1999 and 2015 is now busy rewriting history, embellishing the locust years as if it was a golden era in our history.
“Of course, this is fake history at its worst, we are not fooled. Nigerians should also not be fooled about the boldfaced lies, being articulated by the candidate and his party,” he said.
Onanuga said that what was more shocking was Atiku’s audacity in standing up to ask for votes, in spite of what his boss, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, wrote about him in his book, “My Watch”.
He said that Obasanjo wrote that it would have been an unpardonable mistake and sin against God to foist Atiku on Nigeria, saying that the former president still had the same mindset till tomorrow.
“We are, however, not totally surprised about Atiku’s latest desperation.
“Aware that this is his last shot at the elusive presidency, Atiku, while on the hustings, has been spewing series of lies.
“Making empty promises and presenting a false narrative about our present reality and the legacy of the 16-year ignoble era of the PDP administration, of which he was a principal actor,” he said.
Onanuga said Atiku’s claim at his rally in Abuja on Saturday that the country was not secure for trading and farming was a false narrative.
This, he said, Atiku had been pushing around for some time since he relocated to Nigeria from his base in Dubai, principally to contest for the 2023 presidential election.
The PCC Director of Media and Publicity expressed believe that in his private moment, Atiku would concede that his view about insecurity was exaggerated.
According to him, the country is certainly better secured than in 2015 when the PDP allowed insurgents to seize 17 Local Government Areas in Borno State.
Onanuga said that this was in addition to some four councils in Atiku’s home state of Adamawa, Abuja was then under constant bomb attacks and people slept with eyes wide open.
He wondered about what further proof of progress made by the APC did Atiku need than the fact that he was able to recently carry his party men and women to Maiduguri to hold a rally without any attacks by insurgents and bandits.
“Atiku can also drive smoothly from Yola, his state capital, to Jada, his hometown, on a reconstructed road by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration.
“The road was impassable for eight years when Atiku was Vice-President and got progressively bad and totally cut off from civilisation until the Buhari-government reconstructed it.
“The most grotesque of Atiku’s promise is that he will ensure that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) stopped going on strike so that universities reopen forever and ever.
“Atiku forgot to tell his audience that a PDP-government in 2009 signed an agreement with ASUU, which it never implemented for six years, leaving the mess of the agreement for APC to deal with,” he said.
Onanuga said that as Nigerian universities were left to rot under PDP’s watch , Atiku and his boss, ex-President Obasanjo, opted to set up their own universities, ABTI-American University and Bell University, meant for the children of the rich.
He said that a pointer that the former vice-president had not changed in his character, as portrayed by Obasanjo, was his promise to sell the newly commercialised NNPC Ltd. and all its assets and subsidiaries for just 10 billion dollars.
He added that even before inviting bids, Atiku had already undervalued the oil conglomerate, the way he had undervalued Nigerian companies he was asked to sell.
This, he said, was done under the abused privatisation programme of the Obasanjo-administration.
Onanuga recalled that Atiku made a similar promise in 2019, saying that he would sell the NNPC to his friends and cronies.
“Surely, he retains the same mindset, though he has changed the terminology to privatisation.
“In his campaign. Atiku’s refrain has been to tell the less-discerning Nigerians that he is on a recovery and restoration mission in presenting himself to be elected.
“The question every Nigerian must ask him in pidgin is: Recover Wetin.
“Can the PDP ever be a recovery vehicle for our country, judging by its old record of service when it spent 16 billion dollars on power that only resulted in worsening darkness?” Onanuga quipped.
He said that could the PDP ever be a recovery vehicle when it also midwifed the privatisation of power distribution to cronies, also leading to more darkness.
“Now the nation’s hope for uninterrupted electricity lies on the 2.5 billion dollars Nigeria-Siemens deal initiated by the Buhari-administration.
“We need to further ask whether the PDP is hoping to be a recovery vehicle for our armed forces, when during its stewardship, it diverted billions of dollars allocated for arms procurement into private pockets and marabouts.
“Our ill-equipped soldiers were left to die, as they faced guerrillas with superior weapons.
“Today, the APC-government of President Buhari has changed the misfortune of our armed forces and boosted their morale with modern weapons, fighter jets, warships and others,” he said.
Onanuga asked if a party that could not recover itself due to its internal implosion and crisis could recover and rescue Nigeria.
He said that the PDP should first rescue and recover itself and its abandoned national secretariat.
Onanuga said that after raising over N20 billion to build a national party office, PDP and its leaders plundered the money the same way they plundered our country.
He, therefore, advised Nigerians to ignore anything Atiku Abubakar said, adding that he was a desperate politician who should never be trusted.
“Atiku is not coming to recover Nigeria from anything; he is only coming to restore it back into his pocket and those of his cronies,” he added.