Sen. Ali Ndume has said that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, will be a walkover for President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 general elections.
Ndume, Chairman, Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service, at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja, said the All Progressives Congress (APC)) was not perturbed by Atiku’s emergence.
The Senator maintained that Atiku was not a threat to the APC in any way.
“Next election is a walk over with Atiku.
“We were anxious when PDP was to organise their primaries but when Atiku emerged, we were glad for so many reasons.
“Atiku was our Vice President for eight years and he was one of the most powerful vice presidents we ever had and we know what he did.
“He was under former President Obasanjo and in his book `Under My Watch’, he voluntarily described who the Presidential candidate is.
“We all know where we were and where we are now. Had it been they are presenting a new person – someone that Nigerians do not know – that may be a threat.
“But with Atiku, no way.
“Let us analyse it. North West is where the president comes from and we are banking on our highest votes there and if you go to any part of the North West, you will realise that his popularity is unprecedented.
“Then if you go to North East, Buhari is a moral obligation,” he said.
He expressed disappointment that Atiku, in spite of coming from the North East, there was no record of him sending relief materials to people displaced by Boko Haram.
“We have to vote for him (Buhari) because we know where we were with the government of PDP.
“In my state, including my local government, my town and even my house were taken over by Boko Haram.
“It was the government of President Muhammadu Buhari that salvaged the situation and now my people are back to our local government.
“Those that are trying to take over from him or compete with him were there before.
“Atiku was the vice president and one of the richest Nigerians ever, but I cannot remember Atiku taking even a bag of rice to our people that are suffering in Borno and he wants to be our president.
“For me, this election is between Nigerians and the Nigerian corrupt.
“Atiku’s background is known. All the show of money from him, Saraki and others is what they got from politics, people’s money,” he said.
On fears that election campaign might be marred by violence, Ndume said APC would not be part of such.
He also said that President Muhammadu Buhari as well as the National Chairman of the party had admonished party faithful to shun violence, name calling but to focus on issues.
“When the `Next Level’ was launched by our presidential candidate and the president of the country, he specifically said we should go on with the campaign decently.
“That means no name calling, no insult, but concentrate on issues and during our convention, our chairman clearly stated that our campaign is going to be different.
“This is the first time APC government is campaigning for the second tenure so we want to campaign on issues and ideas.
“We do not want to campaign on personalities and we do not want to be involved in name calling as PDP is desperately trying to do.
“We will not join issues with them; they can only fight themselves,” he said.
The lawmaker warned Nigerians against voting PDP, saying it had nothing to offer.
He said “PDP is not new to Nigerians. They have a product that is known to Nigerians, a product that Nigerians rejected four years ago for obvious reasons.
“Now we have a candidate that the marketer of that product had rejected.
“We know what they did and as I said, we have been cautioned not to campaign on persons; but then, you have to speak the truth.”