Presidency reacts to endorsement of Atiku by Obasanjo

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Atiku visits Obasanjo in company of Bishop Kukah, Sheikh Gumi, Pa Adebanjo, others
Atiku visits Obasanjo in company of Bishop Kukah, Sheikh Gumi, Pa Adebanjo, others

The Presidency has dismissed as ‘well-rehearsed theatre’ the reported endorsement of the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Atiku Abubakar, by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, saying ‘they will lose together’.

Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, stated this in a statement in Abuja on Thursday.

The presidential aide said that Mr Obasanjo’s predictable U-turn and somersault on the endorsement of Atiku did not come as a surprise.

The statement read: “The Presidency has received the news of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s predictable U-turn and somersault on the endorsement of the PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar, at a meeting Thursday, and to say that we are the least surprised by the well-rehearsed theatre.

“They will lose together. Listening to the prepared statement of the former President after the meeting showed the usual ego trip and “I know it all” character of Chief Obasanjo.

“In the first place, we dare to say that a pompous statement from the former President advising Nigerians on a vote against President Buhari is the best recommendation that can come at this time.

“It also betrayed a lack of understanding of today’s politics, which is about good governance.’’

According to Mr Shehu, the country voted for change in 2015 and a leader that ensures good governance, which only President Buhari and the APC can provide.

“Bent on these laudable goals, we will not allow ourselves to be distracted.

“We are busy on various national issues including the restructuring and the diversification of the economy, fighting corruption, terrorism and other threats to national security; increasing the availability of electric power, improving education, health, and providing long-delayed infrastructure – roads, rail, airports and so forth,” he added.

The presidential spokesman noted that many governments had come and gone, but they did not care about some of these projects.

“We were talking about these things for sixteen years under the PDP and nothing was done,” he said.

He added that President Buhari was proud of his record because his achievements were verifiable, while that of the PDP was manifested by the “devastating social and economic impact of large scale corruption during their governance.”

He, therefore, reiterated that the President would not relent in the war against corruption because “the ordinary people are the ultimate victims if we surrender to corruption and let its perpetrators go unpunished.

“Abandoning the war against corruption is not an option. President Buhari is in this battle against graft because he cannot allow a few, rapacious, and selfish class of the elite to divert the resources meant for the well-being of the ordinary people to their private pockets.

“Nigerians trust President Buhari in this effort because they are convinced he is not in government for personal financial benefits, or for an ego trip.

“It is just 11 years ago that the former President and Vice President in their ugly fight for power accused each other of corruption. Nigerians are yet to forget all that.’’

Mr Obasanjo had on Thursday in Abeokuta, Ogun, after a closed door meeting with Atiku, some prominent PDP members and some other prominent Nigerians, pledged to support Atiku Abubakar’s presidential bid, as candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Mr Obasanjo hinged his support on the fact that he and Atiku had reviewed what went wrong and he believed that the former Vice-President had re-discovered and re-positioned himself.

He said his prior position concerning Atiku was not personal but based on what he had done against the PDP and the country.

Mr Obasanjo had accused Mr Atiku of corruption and once said that God would not forgive him if he ever supported Atiku. Now he has eaten his words.

The elder statesman, however, said Mr Atiku had apologised and he had forgiven him.

Mr Atiku emerged on Sunday in Port Harcourt, as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, after the party’s presidential primaries held in Port-Harcourt, Rivers.

NAN