By Ademola Adeleye
The All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign council and the Atiku/Okowa campaign are currently in a rage over the endorsement of Peter Obi by Nigeria’s former president, Olusegun Obasanjo on new year’s day.
Reacting to the endorsement in a statement, Bayo Onanuga, director of publicity of the APC campaign council, said the former president’s endorsement is “worthless”.
Onanuga wrote: “We respect the democratic right of former President Obasanjo to support and endorse any candidate of his choice in any election.
“Except that he made it known formally in his new year message, any discerning political watcher in Nigeria knows that Chief Obasanjo’s preference for Peter Obi is expected.
“He had earlier stated his position at various public events, the last being at the 70th birthday anniversary of Chief John Nwodo, former President of Ohaneze Ndigbo in Enugu.
“We make bold to say that our party and candidate, Asíwájú Bola Ahmed Tinubu, will not lose sleep over Obasanjo’s move, as Obasanjo is notorious for always opposing progressive political forces, as he did against MKO Abiola in 1993.
“The endorsement is actually worthless because the former President does not possess any political goodwill or leverage anywhere in Nigeria to make anyone win a Councillorship election let alone win a Presidential election. He is a political paperweight.
“He is also not a democrat anyone should be proud to be associated with.”
Endorsement, your wish not Nigerians, says Atiku
Kola Ologbondiyan, the spokesperson of the Atiku/Okowa campaign organisation, in a statement, said the former president’s stance does not reflect the opinion of Nigerians.
“The Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organisation says the subjective support for the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi, by former President Olusegun Obasanjo is his personal wish which does not reflect the opinion or position of overwhelming majority of Nigerians across the country,” the statement reads.
“While former President Obasanjo is entitled to his personal opinion; as remarkable as it may appear, it remains individualistic and cannot redirect Nigerians from their determination to rally with the more experienced, more proficient and more accepted Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, to rescue and rebuild our nation from the APC misrule.
“What is surprising to majority of Nigerians is that in the face of the alarming challenges facing the nation, which requires a tried and tested hand, former President Obasanjo is suggesting a candidate that has not had any experience in governance at the national level.
“In any case, Chief Obasanjo’s opinion cannot sway Nigerians who can easily remember how he endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari, whose administration, he (Obasanjo) now describes as “stressful years for many Nigerians,” during which our nation “moved from frying pan to fire and from mountain top to the valley.”
“Atiku remains the most widely accepted candidate, whose choice is not predicated by sectional, tribal, ethnic or religious sentiments or the endorsement of any individual, high or low, but by record of ability and performance, authentic vision, honesty and character; physical and mental capacity; the very indices set by the former President.”