The spokesperson for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign council, Festus Keyamo, has said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential Atiku Abubakar is the least candidate out of the three leading presidential candidates in terms of capacity to make decisions.
While appearing on ‘Politics Today’, a political programme on Channels TV on Friday, Mr Keyamo said the former vice president has never held any executive position where the buck stops with him, whereas, the candidate of his party, Bola Tinubu, and their Labour Party opponent, Peter Obi, are ahead because of their experiences as former governors of Lagos and Anambra states, respectively.
Mr Keyamo, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, said Mr Obi is “ahead of him (Mr Atiku) in terms of capacity to make decisions. So how are we going to hand the country to somebody who has never held a position—who has never shown capacity where he makes the final call. Atiku Abubakar is not tested, he is not trusted. He has never held such a position, even Obi is ahead of him.”
“The major rival we have today has never held an executive position where he makes the final call in government. So, we cannot second guess—Atiku Abubakar has never held an executive position where he made the final call; he was the vice president, he was not the chief executive, he was never governor, he was never anything. Even Peter Obi is ahead of Atiku Abubakar,” he said.
Mr Atiku was elected the governor of Adamawa State in 1998 before he was tapped by former President Olusegun Obasanjo as his running mate. He was elected as the Nigerian Vice-President and served in that capacity for two terms. In 2007, he ran for the president on the platform of the Action Congress, a party that was then under Mr Tinubu’s control. Mr Tinubu campaigned for him across the country, although, he came third in the election.
‘Nigeria managing inflation better than US, Canada’
Mr Keyamo also defended the record of this administration on the economy.
He claimed that Nigeria has done better in terms of managing inflation than some advanced economies like the US, Canada, Spain and Germany.
According to the minister, those countries have experienced a higher percentage rise in inflation rate than Nigeria. He added that the opposition cannot campaign on the prices of commodities without putting it from a global perspective.
“It is very lazy to campaign on ‘what is the price of tomato? What is the price of tomatoes now?’ ….Look, you must put it in the context of a global macro-economic situation of the major countries around the world. And to tell you that Nigeria has done extremely well in a context. Don’t quote me that Nigeria has done extremely well when people are suffering, but in the context of what we have seen in the global economy.
“Let me tell you this, the inflation you see today was hovering around 13 per cent—as at 2020 during the pandemic, now we are doing 18 per cent which is around a percentage (increase) of five per cent. That five per cent increased in one of the worst periods of human existence. However, we are better than major countries around the world, like the US, Canada, Russia, like Spain, like Germany. Go and fact-check me.
“I am not saying their inflation is 18 per cent or more, I am not talking of the figure, but the percentage of the increase. In other words, we have tried to keep inflation down, more than other countries that are even bigger than us. Ghana is worse, it did 19 per cent in terms of rise in inflation.
“The inflation in Ghana is about 29 per cent to 30 per cent,” he said.
On insecurity, Mr Keyamo said the current administration has performed exceptionally well in dealing with Boko Haram in the North-east and addressing the farmers/herders clashes. He stated that the difference between the current administration and the immediate-past administration is that this administration is ready to face the problem.
He also dismissed the concern raised on the recent surge in insecurity in the Federal Capital Territory. He claimed that the media is helping bandits to propagate fear, adding that insecurity is not peculiar to Nigeria. He said the current administration has shown the capacity to address the problem.
Although Mr Keyamo is trying to blame the media, Nigerians are experiencing heightened insecurity of late. An unprecedented attack on the presidential guards recently occurred in Abuja weeks after the daring attack on the Kuje prison in Abuja where detained Boko Haram members were freed.
The situation has been so bad that federal lawmakers are mulling impeaching President Muhammadu Buhari over insecurity. Before embarking on a long recess, the lawmakers in the opposition parties gave Mr Buhari six weeks’ ultimatum to fix insecurity or risk impeachment.
The impeachment move is gaining cross-party support as some APC senators have also expressed support for the impeachment of the president if the security situation is not addressed. Two senators of the ruling party, Elisha Abbo (APC, Adamawa) and Umar Bulkachuwa (APC, Bauchi) have both publicly expressed support for the impeachment.