I challenge you to hour-long debate, Atiku tells Tinubu

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The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alh. Atiku Abubakar, has asked Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress to subject himself to an hour-long debate.

The PDP presidential candidate spoke through his media adviser, Paul Ibe.

Abubakar, in an interview aired on ARISE TV on Friday, made many claims including saying he rejected an offer by Tinubu, to be his running mate in 2007, so as not to field a Muslim-Muslim ticket.

But reacting to the interview, the Bola Tinubu campaign organisation said the PDP presidential candidate told “many lies” and displayed ignorance on issues in the country.

In a statement on Saturday, Ibe described the response of the Tinubu campaign organisation as “knee-jerk”.

He also said the APC presidential candidate is not in a position to “point fingers” at Abubakar.

The statement reads, “We would like to challenge Bola Tinubu to subject himself to an hour-long interview, as 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.”

Ibe also countered the position of the Tinubu campaign organisation on some of Atiku’s claims.

“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.

“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.

“Nevertheless, I will now take the issues in their statement one after the other.

“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”.

“The use of the word maybe by the Waziri was in reflection to the different figures given. While the National Bureau of Statistics states a figure close to 10%, other multilateral organisations have given a much higher figure of between 15-20%. So, while the jury is still out, it is right to qualify the contribution of oil and gas as a maybe. However, we do like to point out that Waziri Atiku Abubakar mentioned both the PDP and the APC during the interview and did not forget the name of his own party.

“It seems the Tinubu campaign organisation (can a disorganised body be called an organisation?) does not know the meaning of rotation of power and micro zoning. So, we will gladly educate them. Rotation of power refers to a constitutional provision where power is zoned between North and South. Micro-zoning refers to a non constitutional idea, where power is zoned not between North and South, but amongst geo-political zones. We hope this cures the political illiteracy of the authors of that document.

“The rude response also accuses Waziri Atiku Abubakar of having ‘limited education.’ Atiku Abubakar has an earned Masters degree from Anglia Ruskin University. We challenge any of the present Presidential candidates to present an equal or higher degree. Moreover, his university attendance is a matter of verified record. Can we say the same about some other persons?

“On President Lincoln, we are afraid the poor student of history is the Tinubu campaign disorganisation. Yes, it is true that Lincoln ran for President with his name on the ballot twice. But he ran at other times, and failed to get his name on the ballot,” Ibe said.

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