Senate President Bukola Saraki has reacted to attacks on his person by a leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, and the party’s national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, during the ruling party’s presidential campaign rally in Kwara State on Monday.
Saraki described Tinubu as personifying everything that is “wrong with Nigeria system” adding that the APC has nothing to offer the people of Kwara and represent nothing good.
Saraki also said that Tinubu will continue to nurse grudges against him all his life because of his opposition to Muslim-Muslim ticket idea in 2015, which supposedly denied the former Lagos State governor the opportunity to emerge as President Muhammadu Buhari’s vice president.
Tinubu, Oshiomhole, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, reportedly took turns to lambast Saraki during their rally.
Tinubu had described Saraki as a traitor, backstabber, emperor and a thief and asked the people of Kwara State to ensure Saraki, who is vying for a senatorial position in the state and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), are voted out in the coming elections.
He said, “It’s been long they have been stealing your money and who has been doing it? it’s Bukola. We are here to fight Bukola, we are here to quarrel Bukola, he is a traitor and backstabber, we must not allow him steal our votes.
“This is the celebration of your freedom, the emperor that did exist here for several years now.”
But in his response, Saraki, in a statement by his special adviser on media and publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said the insulting statements made against him in Ilorin by Tinubu, Oshiomhole and Mohammed, were expression of their frustration over the imminent loss of their party in next Saturday election.
“They came to Kwara State to hurl insults at me and my people, instead of explaining to the people what they want to do differently and what contributions their flag bearers and other leaders in the State have made to our various communities to justify the people shifting their loyalty to their dying party. They promised nothing concrete that will improve the standard of living of the people and provide infrastructure.
“They have only come to Kwara to vindicate my position that they have no good plans for Kwara State and its people. It is obvious that the APC have nothing to offer Kwarans. They represent nothing good for our people. My problem with them has always been that after we worked with our people to support them to win in 2015, they refused to work on infrastructure and other policy issues that can bring direct benefit to our people.
“As for Tinubu, we have never expected any good words from him. All his life, he will continue to belly ache and nurse grudges over my opposition to the Muslim-Muslim ticket idea in 2015. As far as he is concerned, I stopped him from realizing his ambition then. However, I believe my action then and now is in pursuit of national interest. Again, I supported President Buhari in 2015 because I believe he could make a positive change. I left the party when I realized he lacked the capacity and the desire to make any change.
“Tinubu on his own part said though he agreed with me about my assessment of the man, he would continue to support Buhari even if the man had to govern from the hospital stretcher because that is the way he ( Tinubu) could become the President in 2023. So, while my position is premised on national interest, Tinubu’s is based on his personal interest and ambition. Now that Tinubu’s new speciality is to hurl insults at people like former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, focusing on me today is okay if it will help him feel good.
“It is surprising that a man like Tinubu will be talking about morality and corruption. This is a man whose disrepute is known both within and outside Nigeria. This is somebody who personifies everything that is wrong with the Nigerian system. Well, I am not ready to roll in the gutter with him. Unlike them, I will stay on the issues that are germane to national development and the welfare of our people.
“However, let me make it clear that what Tinubu and his putative party chairman, Oshiomhole did today is to insult the people of Kwara State who are independent minded, forward looking, assertive and God- fearing. On Saturday, the APC will be punished for their bad behaviour. Kwarans will tell them that they cannot take dictates from power mongers, pretenders and hypocrites. The people of Kwara State will never take dictates from selfish individuals. Their evil design will be thwarted on Saturday and March 3”, Saraki’s statement read.