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APC, LP candidate fight over manifestoes

By Chukwudi Nweje

The Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has drawn the ire of the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Organisation of the Labour Party (LP) over its criticism of the recently released 72-page manifesto of Mr. Peter Obi, titled ‘It’s Possible: Our Pact with Nigerians.”

The manifesto listed seven priority areas that the Obi administration would concentrate on if elected president, including the introduction of hourly minimum wage and health insurance for 133 million Nigerians.

However, a statement by Bayo Onanuga, director of media & publicity of the Tinubu-Shettima PCC, described the policy document as not only filled with fallacies and false statistics, but showed Obi lacked the capacity to deliver on his promises.

Obi, however, knocked the APC and Tinubu for releasing a plagiarised copy of the 1993 manifesto of the late Chief M.K.O. Abiola and his Social Democratic Party (SDP). 

The statement by Onanuga read: “By now, many of the gullible followers must have been utterly disappointed that their man didn’t offer them anything to be proud of after all the blusters and the initial leakage of the document, which contains, strangely, 15 pages of the biographical sketches of Obi and his running mate, Datti Baba-Ahmed.

“Mr Peter Obi’s document contains no grand policy initiatives and options to excite right-thinking Nigerians. It was silent about how Obi wants to achieve his high objectives. Instead, it will set alarm bells ringing in the South South and North East as Obi promises to ‘engineer the transition of Nigeria from a fossil fuel dependency to climate and eco-friendly energy use.

“As expected, Obi’s document contains fallacies and false statistics. Obi claimed China moved 740 million people out of poverty. He understated the achievement and was silent about the period it took the Chinese Communist party to achieve this. China moved close to 800 million people out of poverty and it was achieved in 40 years. This makes the present APC government’s plan to move 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years, more realistic than Obi’s rhetoric tends to suggest.

“One of the fallacies contained in the document,  which Obi has often repeated to his followers,  is that Nigeria is a failed state. We wonder whether the Labour Party candidate sometimes bothers to check the meaning of a failed state and whether the country he dreams to govern falls into the mould of Yemen or Somalia, where institutions of government have lost total control of their societies.

“Another fallacy is Obi’s claim that Nigeria recorded modest gains between 1999-2015, the PDP years, even when all verifiable evidence points to the contrary. The Labour Party candidate simplistically diagnosed Nigeria’s problem as ‘elite capture’, which is self-indicting as he and his running mate, who he styled ‘new breed’ are members.

“He claims incompetent leadership has divided the nation, playing up religious and ethnic sentiments. Another self-indictment as the hallmark of his campaign has been to jump from one church to the other, positioning himself as a ‘Christian candidate’ and inciting the church against the current APC government.

“In fact, the document Mr Obi released is a poor imitation and regurgitation of what the current APC-led administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is doing. If anything, the document showed him as a man without honour, credibility and character because he is promising to do all the things he has railed against and de-legitimised in the past.

“We make bold to state that Mr Obi lacks the mental acuity and rigour for the job he is asking Nigerians to entrust to him.  He is surely not ready and prepared to be the president this great country deserves. And if indeed the Labour Party candidate paid for the wishy-washy document.”

But in a swift reaction, LP maintained that Obi’s manifesto addresses contemporary issues affecting the country, and how to tackle them.

Spokesman for the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Organisation, Dr. Yunusa Tanko, said the APC  was looking for ways to discredit LP’s manifesto because of its originality, depth and solution to contemporary issues facing Nigeria.

“Our document is a document of contemporary issues, they cannot find any fault in that document, so they are looking for ways to discredit the manifesto. We had been talking about the manifesto long before we unveiled it. Peter Obi had been talking about the seven-point agenda for a long time.

“As far as we are concerned, their own document has no credibility and no substance, and it does not address contemporary issues. Their manifesto has already been attested to be a plagiarised copy of Chief M.K.O. Abiola’s document, it is a copy and paste.”

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