The Vice presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) Senator Yusuf Dati Baba-Ahmed has implored for the immediate release of Aminu Mohammed, a final-year student of the Federal University, Dutse in Jigawa State.
He said LP was shocked over the reported arrest, battery, and detention of Mohammed by agents of the federal government.
At a press conference in Abuja yesterday, Baba-Ahmed said while LP has presented earlier in its address, that it will never condone hate speech and disrespect to elders.
But, he said individuals must be allowed to express themselves freely and any infraction of law pursued as a civil matter and not through high-handed abuse of power.
“This is not 1984. We lend our voice to the genuine calls for his immediate release,” he said.
Baba-Ahmed said LP has stressed that civility and respect for the law must not be read by misguided elements as signs of weakness on our part.
“It is not too late to adopt our style of strictly campaigning on relevant practical national issues while respecting individuals, and institutions.
Any actions to the contrary the people responsible must know they will be held accountable in the decent manner we have presented our issues here today, and in the ways of the law,” he said.
The LP vice presidential candidate said the 2023 elections will be different as the Nigerian electorate is increasingly becoming aware of the dangers of ethnic and religious politics; a fact that is causing anxiety, frustration, and desperation among political actors of the old order.
He said the party enjoys the goodwill of Nigerians and will win the 2023 general election.
Also, stressed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Ahmed Bola Tinubu and his vice Kashim Shettima have adopted disinformation and falsehood, and personal attacks on the LP presidential candidate Mr. Peter Obi in violation of the signed Peace Accord.
He said while the above was in clear violation of the peace accord which represents an agreed code of conduct for the 2023 Presidential Elections signed by all parties, he and his principal Peter Obi will not advise the APC candidate to withdraw from the race due to ill health.
He said rather, the Labour Party which enjoys the goodwill of Nigerians will beat him and respectfully ask him to rest.
“Nobody has ever heard me speak about the health condition of Bola Ahmed Tinubu or for that matter any other person. And I can speak for His Excellency, Peter Obi. We don’t speak about their conditions or any God-given talents because there is a philosophy behind it. There is the morality behind it. I believe that the health of anybody is bestowed by Almighty Allah.
“When Tinubu could not show up for a variety of events, Obi spoke and he said I hope this gentleman is alright. He expressed that concern. I hope Tinubu is okay and Peter Obi and myself do not hold it against him that he is not well. The health and strength of Peter Obi and myself are God-given. We sympathize with Tinubu and will not hold it against him.
“However, Nigeria is too great for any individual and group. Bola Ahmed Tinubu claims to be a godfather, he can continue to be a godfather. It is not in our place to tell him that he is sick. If he thinks he can, please be our guest. Come to the field, we beat you,” he said
He said the brief was informed by the need to set records straight and highlight some incremental challenges to the signed Peace Accord.
Datti-Ahmed said in the squabble for second and third positions, “some erstwhile major political parties appear to have crossed the boundaries of decency to transgress our peaceful activities and our focus on political schedules.
He recalled that on 29th September 2022, an eminent group of statesmen under the aegis of the National Peace Committee brought together all the Presidential Candidates to sign a Peace Accord, which represents an agreed code of conduct for the 2023 Presidential Elections.
“It is unfortunate that despite the noble objectives of this initiative, disinformation and misinformation about the Labour Party and its candidates have become fashionable in this election season.
He said that earlier attempts to discredit the Obi’s candidacy through fabricated allegations of demolition of mosques, internal deportation of Northerners, issuance of ID cards to northerners, and ethnic hostilities were all conclusively proven to be false and without basis.
“APC’s strategy against Peter Obi now appears very clearly centered on promoting falsehood, in addition to empty and derogatory personal attacks, and of course, this is because they can find no contentious points of negativity to push”.
He wondered why the vice presidential candidate of APC “has consistently put to shame the noble heritage of the great Bornu Empire, in his unguarded and uncultured public pronouncements, which expose his intellectual laziness and discomfort with empirical facts and arguments.
“Regular insults which have now become his trademark, have not spared the current Vice President whom he directed to go and sell ice cream, nor the former Vice President whom he described as a pure water seller, a noble venture which serves the populace better than a certain white substance.
He recalled how Shettima at a recent public event belittled Atiku Abubakar’s educational qualification as well as the modest lifestyle of Peter Obi.
“Mr. Shettima is out of touch with reality and cannot understand that people like Peter Obi who have reached the heights in business and material achievement have long transcended the need for ostentatious displays of wealth.
“We congratulate Mr. Shettima on having improved his dressing, but equally remind him that he needs to improve on his public composure and discipline in communication. Shettima is called upon to speak kindly and more responsibly about all personalities if only to uphold long-established standards”.
“We cannot also forget his disposition and uncooperative attitude when hundreds of schoolgirls were abducted under his watch as governor in 2014 where he did little to secure them in the first place or facilitate their rapid rescue; a Governor under whose education was sustained as ‘forbidden’. The circumstances of his emergence as a Candidate in 2011 leaves yet many questions unanswered” he added.
He also belittled Atiku Abubakar for playing ethnic politics at an event in Kaduna and called on him to withdraw such comments.
“Others are not left out; It is important to underline that Oaths of office do not expire with tenure, and hence the comment that the Northern electorate does not need a Yoruba or Igbo leader is greatly at variance with the oaths of office taken in 1999 and 2003 respectively, and the Peace Accord of 2022.
“This is to call upon the owner of the statement to respectfully retract the same to be readmitted to the onor list of esteemed presidential candidates. The truth of the matter is that every Nigerian from anywhere needs a credible and competent President. Simple” he said.
He expressed concern about the fate of areas designated by security agencies as ungoverned spaces which contain legally delineated polling units. “It is necessary for INEC to address the nation on how it intends to handle the challenge of conducting elections in these areas”.
Baba-Ahmed condemned attacks on Labour Party offices, meetings, and our members in parts of the country, and even INEC offices have not been spared.