Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has countered Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai who said he (Atiku) hates the masses for asking the Central Bank of Nigeria not to extend the deadline for cash swap further than February 10.
During an appearance on Thursday on Journalists Hang-out, a show on TVC, El-Rufai claimed that Atiku was benefitting from the suffering of the people hence his message to the CBN on the February 10 deadline.
Reacting to this, Atiku, in a statement on Friday by his Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, said he loves the masses but hates the influence of bullion vans during elections, an allusion to the APC’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, who had two bullion vans driven into his Lagos residence on the eve of the 2019 polls.
Atiku said, “The remarks credited to the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai concerning the crisis arising from the currency scarcity across the country comes across as a low point in the profile of the self-acclaimed Accidental Civil Servant governor.
“At a point when the masses of Nigeria are groaning under the weight of the currency crunch, it remains inglorious that the Kaduna State governor would, rather than sympathize with the masses, prefer to go on political entanglement over the issue.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the currency crisis (and indeed all other crises), as it stands today, is a mess created by the APC and it will be imprudent of the Kaduna State governor or anyone else to associate the PDP or its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar with the crisis.
“It is curious why Governor el-Rufai and other elements of his ilk in the APC had to wait this long before they found it contingent to speak in disapproval of policies initiated by their own political party. Perhaps, it is because for them, self-interest in an election season is more important than public interest.
“As a matter of fact, the lingering fuel scarcity and, indeed, the currency crisis of which el-Rufai so bitterly complained about did not just start today. In major cities across the country, Nigerians have been contending with the problem of fuel scarcity for almost two years in some places like the Federal Capital Territory, while el-Rufai and others crying foul in the APC turned blind eyes to the plight of Nigerians.
“On the contrary, Atiku Abubakar and the PDP have persistently brought the attention of the country to the sufferings of Nigerians by the APC administration in the past almost eight years.
“Nigerians surely know better who loves them more between Atiku who has remained on the side of the masses and the presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Tinubu who has never come out in defense of the people against the hardship that the APC has subjected the country to since it took power in 2015.”
Atiku further said that if El-Rufai is interested in knowing who hates the people of Nigeria, he should look in the direction of Tinubu.
“The APC and their presidential candidate are crying foul to the currency change policy because they fear the policy will frustrate their plan to take advantage of the impoverishment of Nigerians by the APC through vote-buying, a situation that has already commenced in the 2023 election.
“Of course, the ordinary masses of Nigeria can not stand up to the evil plans of the APC, but that is where Atiku comes in as the bulwark of anti-democratic forces.
“Atiku loves the people of Nigeria, and he has sufficiently demonstrated his love even at times when it was risky to do so. What Atiku hates, on the other hand, are politicians whose only intention is to compromise the electoral process through monetary inducement.
“We know those politicians who keep stacks of monies at home and in bullion vans to buy votes. They are the ones who, the once upright Mallam el-Rufai comes to the open to defend, and they are the ones who are afraid of the currency change policy,” he added.