The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that former President Olusegun Obasanjo was being hunted by the ghost of his past and now believe that the Buhari led APC government would replicate his rigging machineries in the forthcoming general elections.
The party also said that it was an insult to ask President Muhammadu Buhari to sit on the same stage to debate with former Vice President and PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar , saying the President does not need the debate as his achievements are there to speak for him. Addressing a news conference on Sunday, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Lanre Issa Onilu said the former President should adjust himself to the reality of the time, saying the APC has no reason to rig the election.
While assuring Nigerians that the 2019 general elections will be free, fair and credible, Onilu said the vote of Nigerians will count as the President has made it abundantly clear that the elections was not a do or die.
He said: “When you are dept in a particular thing, it means it is something that you know how to do best. Throughout the eight years of former President Obasanjo, all the elections he conducted and government policies were determined by whatever mood he found himself. All institutions of government were brought under his whims. What he did for those eight years is what is hunting him.
“He cannot imagine that it is possible for INEC to exercise the statutory independence that he has. We have had about 93 elections since this government came into power and all those elections were conducted without any interference from this government.
“If there is anything that you want to credit this government with, it is the fact that institutions are allowed to fulfil their mandate without anybody interfering. We can understand where the former President is coming from because his past is hunting him.
“He must have looked back at the books when he was President and saw that if they use the same method that he used, this is what is going to happen. The 2003 and 2007 elections were nothing to write home about and they happened under former President Obasanjo. We all knew how the elections went.
“For us in the APC, votes will count. We are going to have a free, girl and credible election. We have no reason to rig election because our achievements speak for us. Former President Obasanjo should adjust himself to the reality of the imminent defeat that is staring him in the face.
“He has carried himself as the dispenser of our destiny and God is showing him clearly that he has only been lucky and the favour that God has done to him, he is now considering as things he has done for himself.
“This election will come; it will be free and fair. APC does not have any reason to rig it. You have seen all the rallies we have done and you have seen the folly in the claim by the PDP that the President was going to campaign by proxy.
“They are the ones now showing the concern nobody need from them that the President is doing too much in terms of the rallies he has been attending. For us, former President Obasanjo should adjust himself to the reality that after February 16, he would realize that he is not God
Speaking on the absence of the President and the PDP candidate at Saturday’s Presidential debate, Onilu said said Atiku’s real purpose of wanting to appear for the debate was to attack the person of the President and not his programmes and policies and therefore missed an opportunity to sell himself to Nigerians.
He said: “The President does not have to give any reason for not attending that debate. The debate is one of several platforms to engage with the public and we cannot attend all of them. So, we pick the ones that are most impactful and we are the ones in position to determine the platform we want to use.
“Debate with who? That is an insult. You want the President to come and debate with who? The debate the President is having is the one he did that morning in Niger state and the people of the state can look forward to a brighter future.
“The people of this country, anywhere they go can see development and we believe that these developments constitute the debate and the President is already engaging with the public. That debate is important for people who are seeking power and not for the person who has a lot speaking for him already.
“As fantastic as the debate is, it is only one of the several opportunities to engage with the public. It is left for us to choose the platform we believe will best serve as our interest.
“Few days before this particular debate, the President was live on television with Nigerians discussing his projects alongside the Vice President. That for us is more important and gives us the platform to say we are different. We are not in the same class with Atiku and PDP.
“You want us to come and share the same stage with people who ruin this country? To talk about what? The same people who started several projects and they became conduit pipe to steal money and now APC government has come in to fix these projects one after the other and the same party is complaining that APC is completing projects.
“Is that the same party you want us to sit with and debate? Don’t take Nigerians for granted because they are not stupid. We are not in the same class.
“Atiku had the opportunity to appear before the nation to give account of his last misdeed and show remorse and apologise to the nation and tell us that you have turned a new leave and no longer a corrupt person.
“Atiku’s understanding of that opportunity was to see the President physically standing before him and then attack him and not his programmed and policies. That is what he wanted to do and he said he won’t be able to do that if the President was not present. That was scandalous.
“Just four years ago, when this same opportunity was presented to President Muhammadu Buhari who was then a candidate, he courageously came up and spoke to us about his vision and mission for this country. He presented his programmer even though the then President did not come. President Buhari did not run away like a coward.
“The original objective of the people who put the debate together is for you to come and present your programmed and point to the weaknesses of the policies and programmers of your opponent and not to attack people.
“It is very disappointing and a display of arrogance for Atiku to think that other candidates who were at the debate didn’t matter, but only Buhari matters. Even if that was the case, it should be his policies and programmes and not seeing the President there should have given him an opportunity to tear the programmes to pieces.
“He should tell Nigerians why it was bad for the President to Commission the Baro port on that day which was left abandoned for 16 years. He should have come to tell us that it was not a good thing to complete all the abandoned projects that are being completed by the APC government or that the road to lead to his own Jada Community which he could not rehabilitate for the 16 years they were in government and is being constructed by the APC was not good enough.
“When Universities were on strike for several months, Atiku as Vice President was busy negotiating Franchise for his university in Yola . It is a dark past that we will never go back to because Atiku is the face of the dark past that this country has witnessed. ”