Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC), including Bola Tinubu, were yesterday trade corruption allegations and other accusations over the forthcoming elections.During the APC presidential campaign rally held at the Ilorin Metropolitan Square in Kwara State yesterday, the leaders of the party gave reasons they were seeking, through the coming elections, to clip the wings of Saraki in the nation’s politics.
Tinubu and the national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole said the party was fighting Saraki to discipline him for his alleged treachery and to liberate his Kwara from alleged political bondage he makes the state to suffer. Tinubu, who is the National Leader of the APC, described Saraki as a traitor and a politician who enriched himself at the people’s expense. He said the party intended to discipline him with a loss at the polls.
The former Lagos State governor, who clarified that the APC was not fighting the political dynasty the Saraki’s father, Olusola, established, explained said the party wanted to use the election as celebration of freedom of the people of the state from alleged anti-people politics of Saraki.
“It’s been a long time they have been deceiving you. Bukola has been deceiving you. We are not here to fight Baba Saraki’s family because Gbemisola is here and she is his daughter. But today we have come to discipline Bukola. He is a traitor. He is a slave master. This campaign is, therefor, the celebration of your freedom, it is the celebration of the falling Berlin Wall of the politics of Kwara, it is the end of the oligarchy, the end of the emperor that didn’t exist until recently.”
Oshiomhole said he was anxiously waiting for the outcome of Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections to celebrate the fall of Saraki from the control tower of Kwara politics.Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed spoke in a similar vein.
In a swift reaction, Saraki condemned the alleged insulting statements made against him by Tinubu and Oshiomhole. He said the statements were mere expressions of frustration over the imminent loss of their party in the next Saturday election.
Saraki, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Yusuph Olaniyonu, pointed out that the APC leaders “know that their party will surely lose the presidential and National Assembly elections on February 16, 2019 and that is why in their desperate mood they are only hurling abuses instead of discussing issues and telling the people what they will do for them.”
The Senate president challenged the APC leaders to explain what they want to do differently and what contributions their candidates and other officials in the state have made to the various communities to justify the people shifting their loyalty to their dying party.
“They promised nothing concrete that will improve the standard of living of the people and provide infrastructure. They have only come to Kwara to vindicate my position that they have no good plans for Kwara State and its people. It is obvious that the APC has nothing to offer Kwarans. They represent nothing good for our people. My problem with them has always been that after we worked with our people to support them to win in 2015, they refused to work on infrastructure and other policy issues that can bring direct benefit to our people,” he stated.
Saraki said that his refusal to allow Tinubu become the vice president to President Muhammadu Buhari was the main issues the APC national leadership had against him.
“As for Tinubu, we have never expected any good words from him. All his life, he will continue to belly ache and nurse grudges over my opposition to the Muslim-Muslim ticket idea in 2015. As far as he is concerned, I stopped him from realizing his ambition then. However, I believe my action then and now is in pursuit of national interest. Again, I supported President Buhari in 2015 because I believe he could make a positive change. I left the party when I realized he lacked the capacity and the desire to make any change.
“Tinubu on his own part said though he agreed with me about my assessment of the man, he would continue to support Buhari even if the man had to govern from the hospital stretcher because that is the way he (Tinubu) could become the president in 2023.“So, while my position is premised on national interest, Tinubu’s is based on his personal interest and ambition. Now that Tinubu’s new speciality is to hurl insults at people like former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, focusing on me today is okay if it will help him feel good.
“It is surprising that a man like Tinubu will be talking about morality and corruption. This is a man whose disrepute is known both within and outside Nigeria. This is somebody who personifies everything that is wrong with the Nigerian system. Well, I am not ready to roll in the gutter with him. Unlike them, I will stay on the issues that are germane to national development and the welfare of our people.
“However, let me make it clear that what Tinubu and his putative party chairman, Oshiomhole did today is to insult the people of Kwara State who are independent minded, forward looking, assertive and God-fearing. On Saturday, the APC will be punished for their bad behaviour. Kwarans will tell them that they cannot take dictates from power mongers, pretenders and hypocrites. The people of Kwara State will never take dictates from selfish individuals. Their evil design will be thwarted on Saturday and March 2”, Saraki added in the statement.
Also, the PDP in the state condemned the APC leaders over their verbal attacks on Saraki. The party in a statement by its state publicity secretary, Tunde Ashaolu wondered why the APC decided to make Saraki its campaign point, instead of telling the electorate the programmes it has for them. Ashaolu said:” The outbursts of Oshiomhole is understood because they face imminent defeat in the forthcoming general elections. They are attacking Saraki because he has planned the APC’s down fall through robust and purposeful campaign across the country.
“Let APC tell Nigerians the programmes they have for them. They have woefully failed in implementing their campaign promises of 2015. Nigerians are wise people, they cannot be deceived again. From President Buhari’s speech today, it is clear that he does not have the grasp of the issues affecting the state. Ditto for the factional APC gubernatorial candidate in the state, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.“We are happy that the people of Kwara State who Saraki is toiling for day and night, appreciated his efforts and have decided to vote end masse for the PDP in the coming elections in the state. Only this morning, the organised labour in the state declared their support for the PDP, signing an MoU to vote for all the PDP candidates in the general elections.”