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Chatham House: Tinubu tired, should take deserved rest, says Atiku’s aide

By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh and Adamu Abuh (Abuja)
07 December 2022   |   4:16 am
The dust raised over Tinubu’s outing at Chatham House is yet to settle. There was controversy when Tinubu, who has been absent at debates and town halls in Nigeria, asked members of his campaign to answer some questions directed at him.

APC presidential candidate Bola Tinubu speaks at Chatham House on November 5, 2022.

• Momodu blames Tinubu’s handlers for ‘Chatham charade’
• I made money from real estate, Tinubu explains source of wealth in BBC interview
• ‘I won’t vote Atiku or Obi if I’m not contesting’
• APC: Obi has nothing to offer, his manifesto full of fallacies, false statistics

The dust raised over Tinubu’s outing at Chatham House is yet to settle. There was controversy when Tinubu, who has been absent at debates and town halls in Nigeria, asked members of his campaign to answer some questions directed at him.

   
While the ruling party defended him, saying it was a sign that he would run an inclusive government if elected, the opposition said the act shows Tinubu could not withstand the rigour of questions and answers.
   
In a statement yesterday, Special Assistant to Atiku on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, said Tinubu bungled the opportunity to redeem himself.
   
“The disgraceful campaign of Tinubu reached its nadir at Chatham House in London, where he was expected to have sold himself.
   
“Six long months after emerging the candidate of the party, the self-styled Lagos godfather has continued to avoid any public engagement with other candidates because his intelligence pales in comparison to them. The Chatham House event was, therefore, an opportunity to redeem himself, but once again he fell short.
   
“After reading his prepared speech for about 15 minutes, it was time for the question and answer session. Clearly lacking the capacity to respond to easy questions, he claimed his style is to delegate and thereafter decided to call on members of his campaign to answer questions for him.”
   
Shaibu likened Tinubu’s action to that of a final-year student who asked his colleagues to come help him defend his project.
   
“Utterly disgraceful! Rather than reveal how he will tackle insecurity, he called on Governor Nasir el-Rufai to answer the question on his behalf. For the sake of clarity, Kaduna State under el-Rufai recorded 1,192 civilian killings alone in 2021, almost leveled with that of war-torn Syria. This is also a governor that admitted to paying killer insurgents to stop murdering his people.
   
“Early this year, Kaduna was cut off completely, becoming inaccessible by air, rail or road. In August, he wrote a letter to President Buhari stating that election may not take place in parts of the state due to activities of terrorists. Yet, he was the one nominated by Tinubu to address security issues, what a joke!
   
“In the unfortunate event that he becomes president, Tinubu’s presidency will be run by a cabal pulling the strings from the backstage. This is not about effective delegation, but dereliction of duty. The warning signs are there for Nigerians to see.
   
“This country deserves a very healthy person. The office of the President is not for sick people. Tinubu has tried his best but he is now weak and tired and should be allowed to go home and take a deserved rest, while I urge the electorate to vote for Atiku at next year’s poll, as the former Vice President is the only candidate that has got what it takes to turn around the fortunes of Nigeria.”
   
Also, PDP’s PCC has blamed what it called “a complete charade” by Tinubu on the poor handling of the situation by his aides. Director of Strategic Communication in the PDP PCC, Dele Momodu, in a statement tagged: ‘Weep not for Tinubu but for Nigeria,’ said what happened at Chatham House was a complete charade.
   
According to him, Tinubu’s handlers fumbled, and bungled it big time; they showcased him like a packaged invalid. “It would have been better to present him as a brilliant politician and administrator, warts and all, who’s capable of independent thoughts.
   
“No man is perfect. His gaffes would have been more pardonable and acceptable. He was expected to sell his own vision and mission,” Momodu said, lamenting that “what we saw was a theatre of the absurd.
   
Momodu submitted that Nigeria should be placed above friendship, adding, “the truth is that the problem of Nigeria is often aggravated by the voluptuous ambitions of some acolytes who wish to remain eternally relevant in the corridors of power at the expense of the long-suffering nation.
   
Comparing Tinubu’s performance with that of President Buhari seven years ago, Momodu said: “I was with President Buhari the day he visited Chatham House seven years ago. He was solid and charismatic. He needed no one to prompt him. He answered questions eloquently and intelligently to the best of his abilities. That’s what Tinubu was expected to accomplish on Monday. What he did instead was like inviting helpers to sit for a JAMB exam for him.
   
“It is horrifying to watch some respected intellectuals like el-Rufai and Kayode Fayemi as they struggled to window- dress Tinubu on a much hallowed global stage.”

PRESIDENTIAL candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has described those criticising his source of wealth as being driven by envy.
   
The former Lagos State governor stated this in an interview with BBC News shortly after his Monday’s appearance at Chatham House in London, which was aired yesterday.

   
According to him, his wealth came from investments in real estate. He said: “I have an example of Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world, he started from stock buying and brokerages. I inherited great real estate. I turned the values around. I’m not denying my wealth.
   
“I was the most investigated, most accused governor in opposition for eight years, till 2007, and since I left office. I’m still here.
   
“I’ve not taken any government appointment. No government contract. I’m not getting any share of revenue from Lagos. The World Bank and IMF have investigated the record in Lagos.”
   
He expressed optimism that next year’s polls will be free and fair. “Things are going very well. I’m very, very confident that this election will be free and fair. I’m the frontrunner and that’s why I’m getting many arrows.”
   
He, however, added that he would not vote for any of his counterparts if he was not on the ballot. Tinubu specifically said he won’t vote for Peter Obi of Labour Party (LP) and Atiku Abubakar of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) if he was not contesting.
   
“I won’t vote any of them, because they are not as competent as any other person out there. They have no track record, none of them is qualified except me.”
   
Speaking on the recently released manifesto of the LP candidate, APC has said Obi offers nothing refreshingly new to Nigerians but “fallacies and false statistics.”
   
The Director, Media & Publicity of APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), Bayo Onanuga, in a statement yesterday, also said Obi’s manifesto is a poor imitation of the programmes of the current APC-led administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
   
Obi had released his 62-page manifesto tagged: ‘It is Possible: Our Pact with Nigerians’, which was anchored on seven thematic areas: security, production, institutional reforms, industrial revolution, infrastructural development, human capital development and robust foreign policy.
   
However, Onanuga, in the statement, said “after perusing the document, which is very high on graphics and demagogic rhetorics and short on substance, we have come to the conclusion that the document is empty and vacuous.
   
“The document offers nothing refreshing to Nigerians and comes across as total anti-climax. The subtitle ‘Action Plan’ was shamelessly parroted from Tinubu’s manifesto. As expected, Obi’s document contains fallacies and false statistics.
   
“Obi claimed China moved 740 million people out of poverty. He understated the achievement and was silent about the period it took the Chinese Communist party to achieve this. China moved close to 800 million people out of poverty and it was achieved in 40 years. This makes the present APC government’s plan to move 100 million of Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years, more realistic than Obi’s rhetoric tends to suggest.
   
“One of the fallacies contained in the document, which Obi has often repeated to his followers, is that Nigeria is a failed state. We wonder whether the LP candidate sometimes bother to check the meaning of a failed state and whether the country he dreams to govern falls into the mould of Yemen or Somalia, where institutions of government have lost total control of their societies,” the statement added.
   
The APC also said Obi’s policy document has exposed him as “ill-prepared for the titanic task of governing  a country the size of Nigeria.”