Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has said he would not lose sleep over former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s endorsement of the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi.
Obasanjo, in his New Year message, threw his weight behind Obi whom he said would be accountable, unlike the other major presidential candidates.
In a preliminary response issued by the Director, Media and Publicity of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Bayo Onanuga; Tinubu noted that Obasanjo was within his democratic rights to endorse anyone.
The APC flag bearer, who visited Obasanjo in August 2022, however, noted that no one can rely on the former President’s endorsement to be governor or councillor, recalling how Obasanjo’s adopted candidates had lost elections in the past.
Part of the statement reads; “We read with amusement the endorsement of Mr. Peter Obi, the Labour Party Presidential Candidate by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in his New Year message on Sunday.
“Following calls by journalists from various media houses who asked for our reaction we decided to make this preliminary statement, though we didn’t consider the so-called endorsement to be of any value.
“We respect the democratic right of former President Obasanjo to support and endorse any candidate of his choice in any election.”
The Tinubu campaign council added that except that the former president formally made his decision known in his New Year message, “any discerning political watcher in Nigeria knows that Chief Obasanjo’s preference for Peter Obi is expected”.
It noted that Obasanjo had earlier stated his position at various public events, the last being at the 70th birthday anniversary of Chief John Nwodo, a former President of Ohaneze Ndigbo in Enugu.
Noting that Obasanjo is not a democrat who anyone should be proud to be associated with, the Tinubu campaign said it would not lose any sleep over the development.
The statement added, “We make bold to say that our party and candidate, Asíwájú Bola Ahmed Tinubu will not lose sleep over Obasanjo’s move, as Obasanjo is notorious for always opposing progressive political forces, as he did against MKO Abiola in 1993.
“The endorsement is actually worthless because the former President does not possess any political goodwill or leverage anywhere in Nigeria to make anyone win a Councillorship election let alone win a Presidential election. He is a political paperweight.
“He is also not a democrat anyone should be proud to be associated with.
“We recall that in 2003 and 2007 general elections when he was a sitting President, Obasanjo used all the coercive instruments of State at his disposal to railroad people into elective offices against the will of Nigerians as expressed at the polls. In 2007, he declared the polls a do-or-die affair after he failed in his bid to amend our constitution to have a third term.
“From our records, President Obasanjo has not successfully made anyone win an election in Nigeria since then.
“Not even in Ogun State can anyone rely on his support or endorsement to become a governor or Councillor.
“We pity Peter Gregory Obi as we are confident that Chief Obasanjo cannot win his polling unit and ward in Abeokuta for Obi in the coming Presidential election on 25 February 2023.
“Chief Obasanjo’s endorsement is not a political currency Mr Peter Obi can spend anywhere in Nigeria because he is not a political force, even in his part of the country.
“Chief Obasanjo similarly endorsed Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Peoples Democratic Party candidate in 2019 against President Muhammadu Buhari. Atiku was walloped by Buhari with a wide margin in the election.
“History will repeat itself in February as our candidate Asíwájú Bola Ahmed Tinubu will equally beat Obi by a large margin.
“We take particular notice of the part of the endorsement statement where Chief Obasanjo said none of the presidential candidates is a Saint.
“We want to state here that Chief Obasanjo is not a good judge of character. He is a man who considers only himself as the all-knowing Saint in Nigeria.
“Over the years, Chief Obasanjo has also convinced himself that integrity, honesty and all good virtues begin and end with him.”