President Muhammadu Buhari has assured members of the All Progressives Congress, APC that he is fully behind the party and its candidates in every state of the federation, and campaigning for them wherever he goes.
Speaking to journalists on Wednesday, presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, dismissed insinuations that President Buhari did not show full support for the APC while campaigning on Tuesday in Imo State, a state that has made headlines recently for the fractiousness within the ruling party there which has led to disagreements with the state governor, Rochas Okorocha.
“The massive crowd that gathered to welcome President Buhari in Imo State was made up of not only supporters of the APC in the state, but also supporters of other parties who are united by their love for the President and their desire to see him re-elected, despite the local candidates they support,” Shehu said.
He explained that President Buhari’s consciousness of this obviously-mixed crowd was the reason why he did not speak only about support for the APC during the campaign, but also encouraged the people to vote according to their consciences.
According to the presidential spokesman, “While President Buhari is fully behind APC, he welcomes endorsements from those who do not belong to the ruling party but is also sensitive to their support for non-APC candidates at the local level. It would have been insensitive of him to offend his non-APC supporters by ignoring their local affiliations.”
Shehu noted President Buhari’s open endorsement of Hope Uzodinma, the APC gubernatorial candidate in Imo State, whose hand the President raised high before the crowd at the campaign rally.
“President Buhari is for the APC in every state and there is no doubt about that, despite his immense cross-party support,” he said.
But the the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) thinks otherwise. It says the scanty attendance at President Muhammadu Buhari’s rally in Owerri shows that Mr. President has become a ‘general without a troop’.
The party says the situation was so pathetic that a discomfited President Buhari could not articulate any message to support his re-election bid but told Nigerians to vote for any candidate of their choice in the general election.
“It was pitiable to watch Mr. President garble, as the audience who refused to carry APC broom also remained passive, while many started leaving the venue while he was still presenting his address.
“Ironically, Mr. President confessed that he had nothing new to tell Nigerians. If anything, the APC Presidential candidate, in his party’s usual penchant for false performance claims, alluded to a non-existent ‘market money’ which elicited heckles from the audience,” the statement by its spokesman, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan added.
The PDP says the fact that a sitting President cannot attract a meaningful audience from the same state where a mammoth and overflowing crowd received its Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, just a week ago, further confirms that Nigerians, across the board, have indeed attained a consensus to return the PDP to power, come February 16, 2019.
The PDP therefore charges President Buhari to counsel himself, end his desperation for power and spend the remaining days to prepare his hand over notes to Atiku Abubakar, so that our nation can be returned to the path of peace, national cohesion and economic prosperity, which has eluded us in almost four years.