SPOKESPERSON of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo has faulted the endorsement of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar by some socio-cultural groups as fraudulent and deceptive.
According to Keyamo, in a statement released on Sunday, members of the endorsing groups were known PDP sympathizers hiding under the umbrella of socio-cultural groups to give the impression that the PDP was expanding its support base.
Keyamo said members of the groups were angered at their inability to use the umbrella of the groups to get government patronage as they used to in the past, hence were keen on the emergence of Atiku Abubakar who had been quoted for saying that he was keen on enriching his friends.
He added that the groups were also annoyed that President Muhammadu Buhari had eliminated middlemen like them and ensured that the masses directly got dividends of democracy.
To this end, he further noted that the groups were disgusted that the bond between Buhari and masses continue to grow going by his achievements in infrastructure and social investment programmes.
Keyamo questioned whether the endorsing groups were satisfied with the level of infrastructure in their respective regions during 16 years of PDP rule compared to that of the Buhari administration.
“The so-called PDP-induced ‘endorsement’ of its candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar by a few individuals claiming, albeit falsely, to represent their respective regions.
“These are PANDEF, Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Ohaneze Ndigbo, a tiny faction of Afenifere and Middle Belt Forum.
“There is no fraud bigger than that of known PDP members and/or hardened PDP sympathizers wearing the apparel of socio-cultural groups, purporting to represent entire regions and endorsing their own political party.
“The impression given through these endorsements that PDP is expanding its support base is also an attempt to deceive Nigerians because these are groups that supported PDP in 2015 and lost the election along with PDP.
“Therefore, their excuse that they are supporting Alhaji Atiku Abubakar because of the bogey called ‘restructuring’ is nothing but a subterfuge.
“In any case, Ohaneze had said in its earlier release that the first reason they are endorsing Atiku Abubakar is that his running mate is an Ibo man.
“In the past, it used to be that some of these individuals have used the names of these groups and platforms to purport to represent their people and as such enjoyed huge government patronage.
ALSO READ: Buhari to EU observers: I’m impressed with INEC’s preparation
“The proceeds of this patronage have never trickled down to their people they purport to represent but ended up in their pockets and benefitted only their immediate families. This is in perfect tune with the campaign promise of Atiku Abubakar to enrich only his friends. Therefore, like bees and honey, these people and Atiku Abubakar are attracted to themselves.
“Unfortunately for them, President Muhammadu Buhari has managed to navigate his way directly to the masses who they purport to represent and is ensuring that the dividends of democracy reach the people directly. Their annoyance is that they have been eliminated as middlemen. That is why the bond between the masses and President Muhammadu Buhari continue to grow on a daily basis.
“The curious question we ask is that, where were these social-cultural groups all these years when the PDP squandered our resources and failed to develop critical infrastructure in their respective regions? Are they saying that they are satisfied with the level of developments of infrastructure in their respective regions during the 16 years of PDP rule?
“Where is the outrage of these socio-cultural groups as the Buhari administration has so far recovered from PDP members and their allies a total of nearly N800billion, 407 mansions, 259 automobiles, farmlands, filling stations, etc – all belonging to the Nigerian people? Where is their outrage? Instead they are endorsing these same set of people who perpetrated this evil against the Nigerian people.”