BusinessDay

Presidency: Tinubu sees Atiku as ‘worthy opponent’

Bola Tinubu, former governor of Lagos State and presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has said he looks forward to squaring up with Atiku Abubakar, as a “worthy opponent” in the 2023 elections.

Tinubu said this while congratulating Abubakar on his emergence as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In a statement by Bayo Onanuga, director, media and communication of Tinubu Campaign Organisation, Tinubu commended Abubakar for his patriotism and commitment to Nigeria’s progress, but warned that Nigerians would ask him pertinent questions during the campaigns.

He said Abubakar must be prepared to tell Nigerians how he planned to reverse his party’s ruination of Nigeria’s prospects during its 16 years governance between 1999 and 2015.

“I welcome the victory of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the just concluded primary. I look forward to squaring up with him as a worthy opponent in the coming election. I have known the former Vice President as a formidable politician and a patriot who believes in the unity and progress of our dear country,” he said.

He said the PDP and its candidate would be burdened to explain why Nigerians should give it another opportunity, after being in government at the centre for 16 years without much to show.

According to Tinubu, Nigerians are yet to forget the national ruin and mismanagement of the country for 16 years by successive PDP administrations.

The two-term Lagos State governor stressed that this bad memory would dog the campaign of the PDP candidate.

“Nevertheless, I once again congratulate our former vice-president for his victory at his party’s primary election,’’ he said.

He added that Abubakar’s victory did not come as a surprise to Nigerians because of his vast experience as a statesman and veteran of many presidential contests since 1993.

He welcomed the PDP candidate to the race, saying the 2023 election campaigns should be about issues that would improve the quality of life of Nigerians.

He added that the election should also bring peace, progress, political stability and solve the myriad of socio-political challenges and insecurity currently facing the country.

He said: “I welcome the victory of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the candidate of the PDP at the just-concluded primary election. I look forward to squaring up with him as a worthy opponent at the coming election.

“I have known the former vice-president as a formidable politician and a patriot who believes in the unity and progress of our dear country. As we move further into the election season, I charge the PDP presidential candidate and all political actors across party lines that we should make this election season one that is devoid of bitterness, rancour and strife.

“We should make our campaigns peaceful and issues-based; election season should be a festival of ideas that will uplift our country and improve the living condition of all our people.”

He also congratulated the other PDP contestants for the orderly and peaceful way they conducted themselves and their resolve and pledge to rally round the Abubakar in the true spirit of democratic sportsmanship.

Abubakar polled 371 votes to emerge as PDP’s presidential candidate at the party’s primary election.

He defeated Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers State, who polled 237 votes; Emmanuel, governor of Akwa Ibom, who polled 38 votes and Bala Mohammed, governor of Bauchi State, who polled 20 votes.

Read also: Tinubu is going to emerge as President Buhari’s successor in 2023 – Arisekola

Two former senate presidents, Bukola Saraki and Anyim Pius Anyim, polled 70 votes and 14 votes, respectively.

Anyim has urged the party to seek ways to address burning national issues, irrespective of the outcome of the contest.

In a statement on Sunday after conceding defeat, he commended the PDP 2022 Special Convention Committee for doing a great job and congratulated Abubakar for clinching the party’s ticket ahead of the 2023 presidential elections.

Anyim said he is proud to have gone through the race to the end, but regretted however, that delegates voted based on the same old primordial sentiments, while avoiding how to use the exercise to resolve burning national issues.

Prior to the election, he had been a proponent of zoning of the Presidency to the South East, as a way of addressing marginalisation and social injustice in Nigeria.

“I am shocked that consideration for voting the PDP presidential candidate was not based on burning national issues and how to resolve them, but still on the old primordial sentiments.
It appears doubtful if our search for nationhood is yielding any results.”

He expressed his appreciation to all those who stood by him throughout this race, “especially those that voted for me at the primary election.

“I want to assure all of you that we shall continue to stand tall until we birth the Nigeria of our collective dreams,” he added.

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