Former vice president Atiku Abubakar has said President Muhammadu Buhari will be judged by his actions in the run-up to the February 16 presidential election and not by rhetoric.
Atiku, who is also the presidential standard bearer of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stated this, yesterday, in a statement by his media aide, Paul Ibe, in reaction to the president’s New Year message, in which he cautioned that the 2019 polls should not be a do-or-die affair.
The former vice president said it was not enough for Buhari to condemn do-or-die politics if he could not contain the activities of over zealous aides, including the country’s security chiefs.
He admonished the president “to go beyond lip service and urge security chiefs to be politically neutral during the election”, stating that “their loyalty to the constitution doesn’t include putting themselves at the service of the ruling party at the expense of free and fair elections.”
Besides, the PDP candidate urged President Buhari to follow the example of former president Goodluck Jonathan, who, in 2015, walked the talk of the 2015 elections not being worth the blood of any Nigerian.
“Jonathan lived by his noble words and statesmanship when he conceded defeat without hesitation, thereby contributing to peaceful conduct of election,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Atiku has said it is insensitive for President Buhari to claim during the flag off of his reelection campaign in Uyo, last week, that he had fulfilled his 2015 campaign promises to Nigerians, when the realities on ground indicated otherwise.
In another statement, also signed by Ibe, Atiku said it was ironic that a day before Buhari’s claim, it was revealed that the number of Nigerians living in extreme poverty had increased from 87 million to 90 million in just four months.
He stated that except the president has vowed to impoverish Nigerians, it was difficult to see how he could have fulfilled his promises when there is pervasive poverty and hunger in the country.
“But the most blatant insult from the president was his assertion at Uyo that ‘we have defeated Boko Haram.’ It was most insensitive of the president to have said such on a day that foreign and domestic media reported the entrapment of our gallant troops by Boko Haram/ISWAP in Baga, with as much as 700 reported missing.
“Even more indicting is the statement from the US-based International Strategic Studies Association, that the Boko Haram insurgency was lingering due to the massive corruption around President Buhari.
“How would those soldiers feel, how would their families feel, how would their colleagues in the barracks feel when they are facing a life and death situation and their commander-in-Chief is impervious to reality? Atiku queried.
The PDP candidate said in the face of denial of reality by Buhari, it has become expedient to revisit the demand by the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) for all presidential candidates to submit themselves for a mental health test.