The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, yesterday responded to comments made by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, accusing the PDP flag bearer of offering him a vice presidential ticket in 2007.
Speaking on Arise News Channel on Friday, Atiku had stated that he rejected Tinubu’s request to be his running mate on the platform of the Action Congress (AC) in 2007 because of his aversion to a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
Atiku stated that his refusal to accede to Tinubu’s request made the former Lagos State governor switch his support to the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who was the presidential candidate of the PDP.
But in a swift reaction by Tinubu’s media aide, Mr Tunde Rahman, the APC presidential candidate stated that it was Atiku that offered him the vice presidential ticket in 2007.
Tinubu Campaign Council (TCO) has also reacted to Atiku’s claim, saying that the former vice president was ill-prepared to be the president of Nigeria in 2023.
However, Atiku has challenged the APC presidential candidate to subject himself to a one-hour interview, like he did, to test if he will be able to be as articulate and mentally present as him (Atiku).
This is coming as the Rivers State governor, Mr Nyesom Wike has disclosed that he would soon speak about the former vice president and the recent events in the PDP.
In the statement by Tinubu’s media aide, the APC presidential candidate disclosed that the former vice president knew nothing about the formation of AC at the time, adding that after he clinched the presidential ticket, he offered him the vice presidential slot.
He said Atiku in his desperate attempt to win the presidential election by stoking religious bias reduced himself to uttering baseless lies on national television.
“Atiku may want to be president. However, all he has shown is that he is a pathological liar.”
“Whatever moral compass he had has been lost. During a 22 July television interview, Atiku assaulted historic truth by lying that he did not name Tinubu as his running mate in 2007 on the Action Congress ticket because Atiku did not want a Muslim as his running mate.”
Tinubu disclosed that the actual founders of the AC offered the party’s flag to Atiku.
“I feel sorry for dear old Atiku. Love of his ambition has eclipsed his relationship with the truth and an honest account of the past. We formed the AC without his knowledge. When President Obasanjo virtually exiled him from the PDP, we lent him our support by giving him the AC platform for the 2007 election.
“Let me say openly that Atiku offered me the vice presidential ticket in 2007. Let me also say that my religion has not changed. When he offered the position to me, I was a Muslim and I believe he was aware of my religious faith at the time.
“Atiku’s calculations and deceit had nothing to do with religion or his sensitivity to it. His conduct has everything to do with what we discovered about his paucity of character and love of intrigue,” the statement said.
Tinubu alleged that 15 years later, Atiku promised the Governor of Rivers State, Mr Nyesom Wike the same vice presidential ticket and also reneged.
“Atiku has no business raising the issue of a Muslim-Muslim ticket except as a hypocrite. Perhaps he believes people have forgotten his antics during the 1993 election. After he woefully lost his bid to be the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party, what did he do? He canvassed and lobbied harder than anyone to become the running mate to late Chief MKO Abiola. When it benefitted him personally, Atiku did not see anything wrong with a Muslim-Muslim ticket. He saw everything right in such a ticket as long as he was on it.
“Now, Atiku criticises my selection as running mate based on religion. He does so because he cannot criticise it on other grounds,” Tinubu added.
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