A former governor of Lagos State and national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu has taken a swipe at President Goodluck Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP for acting as stumbling block in his quest to be named as Gen. Muhammadu Buhari's running mate for the 2015 presidential election.
Tinubu alleged that Jonathan and the PDP have embarked on campaign of calumny to ensure Buhari picks another running mate. He was reacting to an article published in an online medium titled: “How Jonathan Blackmailed Bola Tinubu before 2011 Presidential Election: Season of Wrong knives.”
Tinubu accused Jonathan and the PDP of being behind the report because they are scared of his political followership. Political analysts are of the view that some leaders of the APC are not comfortable with the combination because both are Muslims. A statement by the Tinubu Media Office, on Tuesday, said the unfolding: “Smear campaign” against the former governor did not come as a surprise.
“The successful merger and birth of the APC posed the most potent threat to the PDP and Tinubu, an architect of the merger, has become a marked man,” the statement said. “The thought of a Buhari-Tinubu ticket confounds the PDP hierarchy and their crisis-battered president. That Tinubu might be nominated as General Buhari’s running mate also incenses the small element within the APC who joined the party not for its progressive vision but to exploit its platform to press forward their vision of themselves.
“Having failed at halting General Buhari’s bid; the PDP disinformation machine has thrown itself into overdrive trying to stymie the selection of Tinubu. Sadly, some elements within the APC are elevating their personal ambition over party and national interests and have lent themselves to this endeavour.”
The statement recalled that during the Nazi takeover of Germany, “madman” Adolf Hitler became jealous of those within his own party who showed independent thought and who would not allow themselves to be bent just so he could satisfy his megalomania. Outraged by the situation, Mr. Hitler engineered a purge executing the lot of them, a bloody scheme that became known as the “night of the long knives.”
It said Nigerians had entered the “season of the wrong knives.” Mentioning some of the allegations made in the campaign against Tinubu, the statement said the one on the academic qualification of the APC leader was not new. “What is new is how desperate they have become to stir up a new controversy using an old lie,” it said.
“In the past these allegations were successfully rebutted. Recent attempt to present them as fresh allegations will not go unchallenged.” It said the online report also claimed that Tinubu withdrew his support for the ACN in the 2011 election due to blackmail by the president. It however noted that it was rather odd that the report coloured the former governor as the villain.
The statement averred: “If the report were true, he would be a victim. President Jonathan and his administration would be guilty of the high crime of extortion. “This tiny consideration seemed not to dawn on the authors of this scurrilous piece; so fixated on stabbing Tinubu, they implicate their own boss in wrongdoing. So eager to please their master, Jonathan’s mindless men further ensnare him. If Tinubu had been scared off in 2011, it would make no sense for him to spearhead the formation of the APC against the same president. If the president had such control over TInubu why didn’t the president use that leverage earlier to scuttle the APC before it gained a strong position in the political space? The story makes no logical sense.”
The statement said while the authors of the article claimed the former governor did not attend Chicago State University, they cited as their evidence, a letter from the US Consulate. It added that a closer look at the letter suggested that Tinubu’s name was misspelt. It said the authors likely misspelt the last name so that the name search would reveal nothing. “This is clever but immoral; it is a wrong knife,” it said.
The statement recounted that as late as August 2012; Tinubu visited the university and was given a special reception and a tour by the school’s president. It argued that this would not have been done for a stranger but for a distinguished alumnus.
It said after graduation, the former governor landed jobs with two well established international companies, one the accounting firm Deloitte and Touche and the other, ExxonMobil. It also stated that such companies investigate applicants’ academic backgrounds and that if he had not attended the school, these companies would not have hired him. On the allegation of drug running levelled against Tinubu, the statement said it was the lowest form of calumny.
“He has never been arrested, charged or indicted for any drug-related crime, had any such suspicion existed, the American government would not have granted him political asylum during the Abacha era. Under American law, asylum cannot attach to anyone who has broken or offended that same law, moreover, Tinubu travels frequently to the states. This means he has a visa. American law prohibits visa issuance to anyone reasonably suspected of drug dealing, let along being convicted of the same,” the statement said.
“If I were Tinubu, I would place a wager with the PDP. He should offer to fly to America if the PDP would also send Buruj Kashamu. Both can fly to Chicago. Then he should bet the PDP who would return to Nigeria first. We all know the answer,” the statement said.
The statement said the vicious campaign against the APC leader was being run from the PDP’s basement. The statement said the authors, who it described as “assailants” were desperately trying to scuttle Tinubu’s potential candidacy. “In that the truth offers them no solace, they resort to lies. They seek to ambush the man under cover of innuendo and untruth. But their aim is off and their knives are wrong. In the end, what they use to injure him will turn to point against them. Such is the outcome when one engages in malice,’’ another extract read.