•Former president is election rigger without peer, says Tinubu
•Your comment reckless, improper, PDP tells APC leader
Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja, Ejiofor Alike and Eromosele Abiodun in Lagos
Former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday reignited the war of words between him and President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, saying that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is several times better than Buhari.
But in another comment on the recent utterances of the former president, the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC) and Co-Chair of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Senator Bola Tinubu, described Obasanjo as a rigger without peer, stressing that the ways of the former president were not the ways of the ruling party.
The PDP, however, replied Tinubu last night, saying his comment on Obasanjo was reckless and improper and asked him to show more respect to his elder.
Obasanjo, who made the assertion in an interview he granted the BBC Pidgin monitored in Lagos, said Atiku would perform “two times better” than Buhari.
The former president said Buhari has shown “utter incompetence, condones evil and corruption.”
He stressed that anyone could steal the whole country and go scot-free as long as he belongs to the ruling APC.
He added that the reason he is backing Atiku is because, of the two choices before Nigeria for the immediate, Atiku is better, adding that his former deputy has shown remorse and admitted his past misdeeds.
The former president was however, quick to say that Atiku is not the messiah, adding that the PDP presidential candidate is not a saint and has not claimed to be one.
Obasanjo stated, “Atiku is not a messiah; he is not a saint. Fortunately, he has not claimed to be. He has not claimed a fake sanctimoniousness. He came here. He acknowledged his past misdeeds and showed remorse,” Obasanjo said.
“I am a believer and a Christian as such and the teaching of God in my own religion is to forgive so that you can be forgiven. In fact, it goes further that if you do not forgive, you have no right to expect God’s forgiveness.
“I’m a sinner and I want God to forgive me sins. So, if anybody who has offended me comes to ask for forgiveness, I must forgive him. That’s number one.
“Number two, the choice that we have for the immediate in Nigerian situation today and the immediate is 2019 is between the candidate of party APC and PDP. The other minor parties will line behind or not sufficiently relevant.
“So, if APC puts down Buhari and PDP puts down Atiku, and from what I know of Buhari and what you know, what he has done and shown is utter incompetence, nepotism, condones evil and misconduct, including corruption.
“The weakness of the body, mind and the totality of Buhari, compared with Atiku, I believe Atiku will perform two times better than Buhari.
“Now, you can steal the whole of Nigeria and if you belong to APC, you are safe. Corruption is not only stealing money; nepotism is a form of corruption.”
He stated that all the things he said about Atiku in the past remains the same, stressing that no one has come to controvert his claims.
Obasanjo in the interview insinuated that Buhari’s government accommodates corrupt politicians who defect to the APC while the government has been waging a war on perceived opponents in the name of fighting corruption.
The former president also insisted that, “Even if you steal the whole of Nigeria, once you join APC, you are safe.”
When asked what his perception of the ruling party is, he said, “Now, you can steal the whole of Nigeria, and if you belong to the APC you are safe. But you can steal N10 and criticise Buhari and his government, even when you stole that N10 about 15 years ago, they will come and say look you stole N10, you have seen that.”
This is not the first time Obasanjo has criticised Buhari in the past few days. The former president had at a press conference held last Sunday at his Ota Farm residence, called out Buhari for what he described as the mismanagement of the Nigerian economy, security and anti corruption fight.
He had also said that the president is not fit to rule Nigeria again while throwing his full weight behind the former vice president.
Obasanjo is Election Rigger Without Peer, Says Tinubu
Meanwhile, Tinubu yesterday described Obasanjo as a rigger without peer, stressing that the ways of the former president were not the ways of the ruling party.
In his formal response to Obasanjo’s recent letter where he chastised Buhari and his administration, claiming the president was preparing to rig the 2019 poll, the former governor of Lagos State said Obasanjo was projecting on to the APC the misconduct he would perpetrate if he were still in power.
“There is no election, which occurred under Obasanjo’s watch or in which he participated that did not involve cheating on his part. Even the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua admitted that he was the beneficiary of a flawed election engineered by no other than today’s vociferous complainant,” he said.
Tinubu, in a statement titled, “Chief Obasanjo – At War against His Own Deeds,” said Obasanjo should be the last person to complain about election rigging.
He said, “Moreover, Chief Obasanjo should be the last to complain about election rigging. His administration was an unalloyed miscarriage of justice and of the best aspirations of the Nigerian people.
We all know he was not elected in 1999. He was handed Nigeria on a silver platter; perhaps because Nigeria was so easily given that he went about treating the nation as if it was a less than precious thing; he thought it was a cheap give-away not a privilege to govern this nation.”
Tinubu accused Obasanjo of trying to convert Nigeria’s young democracy into a one -party state.
According to the former Lagos State governor, the PDP had boasted that they would rule for 60 uninterrupted years without boasting that they would govern well during even one year of the 60 years.
He also accused the former president of handing over the economy to a tight group of cronies, and turning what should be a modern economy into a version of the mammoth trading companies that dominated the 17th and 18th century.
He alleged that the Transcorp conglomerate was intended to be a throwback to monopolistic enterprises such as the East Indian Company where a select handful would control the national economy’s strategic heights.
“We hoped that Obasanjo would personify statesmanship, thus showing the way to a more benign political culture. Instead, he bickered and feuded with his vice president and mostly anyone who dared remind him that he was human and thus infallible,” Tinubu said.
Reacting to Obasanjo’s allegation that the case of Chief Justice of Nigeria’s assets declaration was evidence of future vote-rigging by intimidating the judiciary, Tinubu argued that Obasanjo ignored the large cache of dollars in the CJN’s account and the millions of dollars that passed through the accounts.
PDP: Tinubu’s Comment Reckless, Improper
The PDP took up Obasanjo’s battle yesterday, reprimanding Tinubu over his comments on the former president and said his tirade sounded like a ‘’disrobed ruler facing a pang of defeat as he watches his empire being legitimately taken.’’
According to the PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, ‘’It is shocking that Asiwaju of Lagos can be in cahoots with President Buhari, a known anti-democrat, who has always been in league with all known dictators, while at the same time claiming to be on the side of democrats.
‘’It is, however, not a surprise that Tinubu is in severe pain because President Obasanjo exposed their rigging plans. Asiwaju had always won elections for himself and his cronies through rigging and this account for his bitterness.
‘’His reliance on rigging was typified in the Osun election, where results were manipulated in order not to disgrace the fading politics of the Asiwaju of Lagos.’’
PDP stated that Obasanjo, contrary to Tinubu’s claims, did not at any time, assure the party that he holds sway throughout the South-west and as such will deliver Osun State to the PDP, adding that ‘’the people’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar,’’ did not also claim to have rigged election in the South-west.
He added, ‘’However, if Tinubu today denies his affinity with Atiku Abubakar, which is well known in the entire nation, then he can deny even his own existence.
“Moreover, it is an established fact that Obasanjo remains a statesman and a global figure that always speaks truth to power and puts the interest of our nation above all.
‘’It is on record that President Obasanjo and PDP genuinely fought corruption in this country. With the establishment of ICPC, EFCC, SFIU in the police as well as the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to investigate economic crimes and corruption activities as well as trial of Nigerians believed to have committed wrongdoings.
‘’Under President Obasanjo, there were no sacred cows in the fight against corruption, unlike what we are witnessing today, in which corruption has become pervasive under the nose of President Buhari in the presidential villa.’’
PDP described as ‘’ridiculous,’’ Tinubu’s attempt to justify the sharing of N10,000 each to traders, in the market by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, saying the PDP believes that Asiwaju of Lagos has not read, and like President Buhari, is also unaware that the same poor people, which Osinbajo claimed to be helping with his ‘tradermoni’ voodoo, chased him out of the UTC market in Abuja.
PDP said it is shameful that Tinubu can compare any administration in the history of the nation to the Buhari administration, saying ‘’Nigerians have never been this hungry, our purchasing power has never been this low, our fault lines have never been this manifest and our nation has never been turned into a huge funeral parlor as we have witnessed under President Buhari’s incompetent, divisive and colossally corrupt administration.’’