The Presidency yesterday lashed Senate President Bukola Saraki for disparaging President Muhammadu Buhari. Dr Saraki, who defected from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to seek the presidential ticket of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), described Buhari as lacking the vision and capacity to run the country.
He spoke when he led his presidential campaign team to visit Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson in Yenagoa, the state capital.
The Senate President urged the electorate to replace the APC leadership, which he accused of causing disunity in the country.
But the Presidency fired back at Saraki, describing him as a dangerous and desperate politician who can do anything to achieve his inordinate ambition.
It, however, pleaded with Buhari’s supporters to ignore what it called “Saraki’s crude speeches”.
A statement by presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said: “The Presidency wishes to react to the crude speeches hitting the news from Senator Bukola Saraki who recently joined the Peoples Democratic Party with the sole ambition of running for the president of Nigeria.
“In response to the condemnable and extremely derogatory speeches by the PDP aspirant, we urge all Buhari supporters to display restraint in language and conduct and to always put across their points of view in a decent language.
“Throughout his political career, Senator Saraki has shown that he is a very dangerous person who can go any length to promote his personal interests.
“The language of his campaign is such that cannot be used against a domestic help. Is he just knowing that the President lacked vision? This is someone that the Senator had worked with very closely for more than three years. Amazingly, he never said all that he is now saying against him.
“Rather, his word for and on the President were always respectful and reassuring. That’s the man he called ‘My Father’. About him, ‘there is no cause for alarm…a President who is healthy, witty and himself.’ What then changed, all of a sudden?
“Is he saying these blatantly false and crude things against the President because he is gunning for the same office? Could it be that he is targeting President Buhari because the party he just joined does not have any real issues to highlight?
“Be that as it may, our appeal to our supporters is to ignore Saraki and any such politicians bent on lowering the quality of political discourse. Let them drown in their own waters.”
In his search for support, the Senate President claimed that the country needed a leader of his stature to unite the country and create a sense of belonging through fair distribution of appointments.
He insisted that the country was in need of a young vibrant leader with the capacity to withstand the rigours of governance at all time.
He said governance must be accompanied with the willingness and capacity to give 24 hours attention to the demands of the job.
According to him, the Asian Tigers were respected to have developed their countries because of their painstaking commitment and patience in dealing with issues of governance.
He urged PDP delegates to consider him for the presidential candidacy to make the requisite difference in the governance of the country.
He said: “2019 is a very crucial election for this country; we are at the crossroads as we have never been so disunited as we are today.
“Wherever you go, people ask questions: where do you belong? We need to address the issue of unity in this country; it is time for everybody to have a seat on the table, a time for everyone to have a sense of belonging in this country. It is not about me.
“There is a new order in the world today, wherever we go, we see leaders that have vision, that are ready to develop their countries. A lot of us talked about the Asian Tigers, but they did not come by chance, or trial and error; they became tigers because they have visionary leaders.
“They are leaders that are ready to defend their countries that have an idea of what they want to do. As I keep on saying, you cannot give what you don’t have. Where we are now, we have a leadership that has no vision for us. We must bring visionary leadership to the presidential level so we can move this country forward.”
Dickson said that the time had come for the country to move away from bigotry and leadership founded on sectional superiority.
He called for a country where all could be trusted and appointed into sensitive positions irrespective of ethnicity and religion.