Mixed reactions on Monday trailed the Sunday inauguration of the campaign documents of President Muhammadu Buhari and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Buhari who is the candidate of the All Progressives Congress and Atiku are the leading contestants in the presidential election slated for February 16, 2019.
The President unveiled a campaign document called ‘Next Level,’ while the PDP candidate released a documented titled ‘Let’s get Nigeria working again.’
The two documents have elicited different reactions.
Civil society slams Buhari, Atiku over campaign promises
The first salvo came from two civil society, the Campaign for Democracy, and the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership.
The organisations said neither Buhari nor Atiku had clear-cut programmes for the country in their policy statements for 2019.
In separate interviews with The Punch, the civil societies said it was unfortunate that Nigeria had to choose between two unpleasant choices ahead of the general elections.
The CD President, Mr Usman Abdul, said, “If not for the immaturity of our democracy, I would say that neither of the two presidential candidates is worth the votes of Nigerians in 2019.
“This is because if the incumbent President is campaigning on economy and security, what has his administration achieved in the last three years? He has not got it right yet.
“Also on Alhaji Atiku, it is wrong, in my opinion, for him to say he is going to sell a substantial part of the country’s refineries. Someone who is still trying to build a brand should not come up with such campaign pledges.
“I would have preferred a new brand of Nigeria not in the hands of either of these candidates. But I know Nigerians will make their choices in 2019.”
Also, CACOL’s Director, Mr Debo Adeniran, said, “It is unfortunate that Nigerians don’t have better options but to choose between the two so-called prominent candidates.
“This is because stereotype has eaten deep into the minds of the electorate. They no longer even consider other presidential candidates as able to make headway. This is why we have to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea.
“However, if you look at the antecedents of the two candidates, the current President does not seem to be enmeshed in as many scandals as the PDP candidate.”
He added, “Basically in my opinion, there are lots of things working against the opposition than the incumbent. This is despite the ailing economy and insecurity. I believe that three years may not be enough to fix a country that has gone wrong in 16 years.”
Oshiomhole condemns Atiku’s campaign policy document, says Ex-VP can’t be trusted
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, has criticised the campaign policy document of the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
The former governor of Edo State queried how he hoped to create millions of jobs when he could not do anything as the Vice to President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja on Monday after the National Working Committee meeting, Oshiomhole said the campaign ahead of the 2019 elections must be issue-based and not hate speech or smear campaign.
In a veiled reference to Atiku, he said, “If you are going to create 10 million jobs, how come that when you were in government and you produced a SEED document where you promised to create seven million jobs, by the time when that government was out, we had lost Michelin; Dunlop closed down, textile industries closed down, we witnessed unprecedented industrial obituary and factories were closing one after the other?
“So, these are the issue we really want to engage. It is going to be a very interesting season for the media. They have to play back what people are saying and to compare to what they did when they had the opportunities. So, l think that there would be more to keep us busy rather than to resort to primitive tactics of harassing and using thugs to intimidate state leaders of our party.”
Buhari’s ‘next level’ will be disastrous for Nigeria –PDP
The next critical reaction came from the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Uche Secondus. He warned Nigerians to be on their guard, saying that Buhari’s second coming would be disastrous for the nation and its people.
In an interview with The Punch, Secondus asked Nigerians to consider the high cost of living which he claimed Buhari had subjected them to since he assumed office in 2015.
He said the “forthcoming election is not between the PDP and the All Progressives Congress alone, no. It is simply between Nigeria and the calamity called the Buhari Presidency.”
Secondus said what the President meant by saying he was taking the country to another level was to punish the citizens more, adding that what the nation experienced in the last three and half years was nothing but disaster and calamity.
He said, “We listened attentively on Sunday when the President was making his speech. We thought he would say anything new that could make Nigerians have a rethink about his first term that has taken Nigeria and Nigerians from glorious days to gloomy days.
“The President may actually mean he is going to punish the electorate more by adding to their yokes and make them more debtors to things they never enjoyed.
“When President Buhari assumed office, the cost of a bag of cement was N800, but it is N2,600; dollar was exchanged to naira at 180 to one dollar but it is now N360; fuel was sold at N87 per litre but is now selling at N145.”
He added, “Before he brought us to this level, the cost of one way local flight was N10,000 but it is now N30,000; while a bag of rice was just N8,000 before his first coming but now selling at N18,000.
“Ask him and his party, which level is it taking Nigeria to again? To a level where its citizens will not be able to feed themselves and where herdsmen will send them away from their homes and farmlands?
“Nigerians are not docile, and there is no way they will allow such corrupt, nepotic and insensitive government to ruin their lives and that of their children and generations yet unborn to continue in power.”
He asked Nigerians to visit the Debt Management Office to know how much the Buhari Presidency had borrowed without accountability in the last few years, saying, “If you are told, you will cry for the country.”
He also urged Nigerians to visit the office of the National Bureau of Statistics to find out the number of those who had lost their jobs to the “planlessness of this government.”
Secondus alleged that the ruling party, the APC, “is not planning to win the election but to rig.”
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