The national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, has said former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar does not deserve another shot at power because he blew his opportunity during his eight years reign under former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Tinubu said rather than use the opportunity of being in control of the Obasanjo government’s privatisation programme to shine, Atiku allowed himself to be blinded by greed, leading to the squandering of billions of dollars pumped into the power sector.
Tinubu said beyond the sheer ambition of being in power, Atiku had no vision for Nigeria and should therefore be rejected by Nigerians in the February 16 presidential poll.
He described the election as a contest between two opposing visions – “one seeking to better the lot of generality of Nigerians and one which has no regard for the public but seeks to return the country to the days of official malpractices and corruption.”
These were contained in Tinubu’s acceptance speech, following his appointment on Monday by President Muhammadu Buhari to spearhead the APC presidential campaign.
He described his appointment by Buhari as a great honour, pledging that he and other members of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, including the council’s Director General, Rotimi Amaechi, would not let the President down, as doing so would amount to letting the nation down.
Drawing a contrast between Buhari and Atiku, Tinubu said, “The character of the two candidates cannot be more distinct. President Buhari is a straight and honest man. Leave a naira on the table with Buhari in the room, you will find the naira on the table when you return.
“When Buhari says ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ you know where he stands; he means what he says; no more, no less.
“With Atiku, things are more nuanced. When Atiku speaks, he may mean ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ ‘maybe,’ ‘I don’t know,’ ‘come back tomorrow,’ ‘all of the above,’ or ‘none of the above.’
“His compass has four needles pointing in different directions at the same time. He knows of no direction to take. President Buhari’s word is his bond. When Atiku speaks, it is to give you the slip.
“We cannot afford a President whose ways and mind is a maze of contradicting urges and colliding desires. This shows he has no vision for the nation and no guiding principles except the naked pursuit of power for the naked use of that power.
“Atiku had his chance to shine as VP when he controlled the privatisation programme of the Obasanjo government. He abused this assignment. He helped squander billions of dollars on power generation that did nothing but extended our national darkness.
“That government had so much money at its disposal and that is exactly what it did. It disposed of the money yet failed to treat the poor or build for the future. Atiku laid waste to the national treasury for eight long years. That is enough for one lifetime. We should not reward him by giving him another eight years because the more he feeds, the stronger his hunger grows.
“His is a thirst that can’t be quenched and a hand that cannot be restrained from taking whatever is on the table. As the PDP candidate, he is now the leader of a avaricious horde that seeks to reattach its mandible once again to the public wealth and forever lay siege to our nation’s future. Nigerians would do well not to pay them any attention.”
Tinubu said this was why the APC Presidential Campaign Council would work diligently to ensure that Buhari was re-elected to forestall the chances of Atiku returning to power.