The All Progressives Congress (APC) said yesterday that Senate President Bukola Saraki lacked the capacity to become the president. It described his aspiration as a joke.
The party challenged the Senate president to showcase his achievement in his eight years in office as Kwara State governor, which qualified him for president.
It said a presidential aspirant, who promised to create jobs and infrastructures, should have evidence of his past achievements in that area.
Acting National Publicity Secretary Yekini Nabena said in a statement in Abuja that as Senate president, Saraki used the position to superintend over budget padding, sabotage the executive by frustrating confirmation of presidential nominees, among others.
The statement reads: “At last, Senate President Bukola Saraki has declared his intention to run for the president. While the All Progressives Congress (APC) welcomes him to the race, as it is his right to do so as a Nigerian, there are, however, issues that border on his integrity, antecedents, competence and capability to preside over the country.
“We are not unaware of reports that Saraki’s presidential declaration is his tactic to deflect attention from the deluge of issues he deals with, particularly ahead of the 2019 general election, i.e. pressure to reconvene the National Assembly, a fast shifting political order in Kwara State, among others.
“Saraki in his declaration speech said among others:
I have decided to heed the call of teeming youths, who have asked me to run for the president.
I have what it takes to secure inclusive growth for Nigeria.
I will address our infrastructural deficiency through aggressive financial initiatives.
Our fight against corruption will be on deterrence.
I offer leadership driven by empathy.
“On these few points, we are mindful of the popular axiom: “By their fruits, we shall know them”. By virtue of Saraki’s antecedents, he is an abysmal failure and is incompetent to offer himself as a candidate for leadership of Nigeria.
“As Kwara State governor, was his Shonga Agricultural Programme not a white elephant project in which hundreds of millions of state funds were sunk into?
“The infrastructure, particularly road network in Kwara State, in which the present administration remains under his tight grip and political machinations long after leaving office, remains deplorable while state resources are mismanaged through corrupt enrichment.
“A presidential aspirant, who promises to create jobs and turn around the economy at the national level, must have done so in a state he served as governor for eight years. We challenge Saraki to give the nation his scorecard as Kwara State governor.
“As Senate president, how Saraki used the position to superintend over budget padding, sabotage of the executive by frustrating confirmation of presidential nominees, stalling legislative approvals for election budgets and his recent shadow boxing on the Electoral Act, among other treacherous actions against the APC (which he was then a member), in pursuit of his selfish political interests, has been well reported.
“Was Saraki’s Senate presidency not a journey of shame and disgrace? – moving from one court or tribunal to another over charges of forgery of Senate rules, false declaration of assets, and being linked with robbers, who brutally killed and maimed innocent residents in Offa recently.
“Saraki says he is heeding the call of Nigerian youths to contest for the president. We are not aware of any meeting of Nigerian youths held during which they decided that. For the record, the #NotTooYoungToRun group berated Saraki for selfishly using their forum to make his presidential declaration.
“We are not surprised by Saraki’s selfish actions, as it has come to define his politics and persona. Saraki says he will offer leadership driven by empathy. Coming from an incredibly selfish and self-opinionated politician, this is indeed an irony.
“Saraki’s presidential aspiration is a huge joke and should not be taken seriously. He has repeatedly displayed his character as extremely selfish, deceitful, untrustworthy and unreliable. His only goal is to get to the top, stay at the top, ruin or wreck whatever he finds there or in the event of failure, collapse the system or process.
“Nigerians have had enough of Dr. Bukola Saraki’s retrogressive and disruptive style of politics and deserve no more.”