The firm stance of Yakubu Dogara, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives against the All Progressives Congress (APC) Muslim Muslim ticket has rattled the party’s presidential candidate.
Dogara reaffirmed his stance against the same faith ticket after a meeting with some northern members of the party over the weekend.
“It was a marathon meeting yesterday with our Muslim counterparts where we resolved to work together and jointly adopt a pan-Nigerian political platform that will engender unity, inclusiveness and a sense of belonging among the Nigerian citizenry ahead of the 2023 election,” he tweeted.
In response to Dogara’s meeting, Bayo Onanuga, the director, media and publicity, Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council described the former Speaker as a reprobate and demagogue.
In a statement titled, ‘Yakubu Dogara and his band of so-called APC Christian leaders are impostors’, Tinubu said Dogara was working for the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
“Former Speaker of House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara has apparently lost his mind since he could not realise his self-imposed ambition to be on the presidential ticket of All Progressives Congress. On account of this he has certainly become a reprobate and demagogue, delivering hate speeches and whipping up emotions, with the aim of setting our country ablaze.
“The Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council is therefore not surprised by media reports about a meeting of some so-called Northern Christian leaders, who claimed to be members of our All Progressives Congress that was championed by Dogara and his ilks.
“The claim was totally fraudulent,” the statement read.
Adding that, “Yakubu Dogara, the peripatetic and politically unstable politician who organised the meeting left our party officially and unceremoniously weeks ago. And those who attended the meeting were representing themselves, their selfish agenda, not Northern Christians.
“Before then, the former speaker had spearheaded a campaign of vitriol and hate against our party, using religion as camouflage, after he lost the vice-presidential candidacy to a better qualified Senator Kashim Shettima.
“A careful reading of the people who attended the unholy meeting he called also showed that they were all PDP members, masquerading as APC members.
Tinubu noted that, “Among the politicians at the unholy consultative meeting were Mukhar Shagari, Boni Haruna, Abdulfattah Ahmed; Damishi Sango; Senator Idris Ahmed Umar; and two former deputy governors of Kogi State, Yomi Awoniyi and Simon Achuba. They are all PDP members working for the presidential ambition of Atiku Abubakar.
“We were not surprised by the resolutions adopted. Our surprise was that the media failed to read through their smokescreen.
“The APC PCC wondered how the assembly of strange bedfellows hoped to foster unity and cohesion in our country, when their candidate represents the antithesis of the goal, having emerged the greatest divider of our polity, between the north and south.
“All Nigerians are aware that Atiku’s emergence as the PDP presidential candidate grossly violated a power rotation code between the north and the south. His insistence on snatching and retaining what righly belongs to another political region has triggered a crisis within his party, making him run from Port Harcourt to London to mend fences.
“We want to assure Dogara and his co-travellers fanning hate campaign against our Presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his running mate, that they will fail spectacularly at the polls.
“From the engagements our leaders have had with men of all faiths, bigotry will not win next February election. What will prevail are the track records of our candidates and the solution-driven and all-inclusive progressive programmes the candidates offer Nigerians.
“Asiwaju Tinubu and Senator Shettima are going into this campaign with clear objectives to engage Nigerians across the socio-economic brackets on policy actions that will make their lives better. Our candidates will not exploit our country’s fault lines to win election and sell religion as Kool Aid.”