Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar has challenged his major opponent for the Presidency Bola Tinubu to “take the hot seat”.
Atiku’s statement on Saturday followed a release by Tinubu’s media aide Tunde Rahman earlier in the day.
Mr Rahman had said Atiku, in his recent interview with Arise TV, played the religious card by condemning Tinubu’s choice of a Muslim running mate despite he also is a Muslim. He also accused Atiku of lying about refusing to pick Tinubu as running mate in 2007 because they are both Muslims.
Responding to Rahman’s statement, Atiku’s media aide Paul Ibe said in a counter-statement, “We were rather amused to read the knee jerk response from the Tinubu Campaign Organisation to the wave making interview granted by Waziri Atiku Abubakar to Arise TV on Thursday, July 21, 2022.
“Amusement, because we expected this. Mr. Tinubu has not sat down to do any prolonged interview for obvious reasons. Nigerians have seen him talk in public and can themselves gauge the reason why he is mortified to do so.”
The statement added, “The Tinubu campaign exposed its gross desperation and vacuousness by citing the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) 1999, to declare Waziri Atiku Abubakar’s stance on engaging in a side business while he was a young custom officer as a breach of the law. It is pertinent to educate the Tinubu campaign organisation that Nigeria is not under a military regime and our Constitutions are not retroactive in nature.
“Again, the Tinubu campaign betrayed either dishonesty or lack of attention to detail by claiming that Atiku Abubakar said oil contributed 20% of Nigeria’s GDP. That is a lie. What the Waziri said is as follows: ‘Oil only maybe accounts for about 20% of our GDP.'”
Mr Ibe said the use of the word “maybe” by Atiku was in reflection of the different figures given.
“While the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics states a figure close to 10%, other multilateral organisations have given a much higher figure of between 15-20%.
“In conclusion, we would like to challenge Bola Tinubu to subject himself to an hour long interview, like the Waziri did, and if he is able to be as articulate and mentally present as our candidate, then he can talk.
“Until then, we will only want to remind him and his yes men that they are not in a position to point fingers when they have not sat on the hot seat,” the statement added.