The Director General of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Campaign Organisation, Bukola Saraki, has responded to reservations expressed by the federal government over moves by the United States to grant a visa to the presidential candidate of the party, Atiku Abubakar.
The federal government through the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, had on Thursday warned the US government not to give impression that it was endorsing one particular candidate over the other.
Saraki speaking on Friday at his maiden interaction with the media as the presidential campaign DG of the main opposition party, described the statement as a panic reaction of a scared government.
He stated: “I think it was a panic action by the government. How does granting somebody visa a way to endorsement, it’s more like a panic action because government is panicking.
“They should allow the normal process to go. But again as I said, that is a panic reaction of a government that is scared and is worried that it is about to lose election and is trying to see how they can hustle around and that is otherwise, a desperate act to go along those issue.”
On ‘Tradermoni’, the Senate President said that the programme has been going on for the last few years, but wondered why APC is giving out money few weeks to the election.
According to him, “In 2015, I didn’t see the vice-president going anywhere to give anybody trader money. In 2016, I didn’t see the vice-president going anywhere to give anybody trader money. In 2017, I didn’t see the vice-president going anywhere to give anybody trader money, but all of a sudden in 2018, and the worse part about it is that he goes with women leaders of his party, governors of his party.
“At least, if you’re going and it is Nigerian money, you should have women leaders of all political parties because the money belongs to Nigeria. But all I see is APC women leaders, it is wrong, we have said it. It equates in a way to a sophisticated vote buying because if it is not vote buying, he should have been doing it since 2015.”
He explained that there were budgetary provision for the programme in 2015, 2016 and 2017, but wondered why the APC-led federal government refused to implement the programme before now.
“When the money was appropriated, we did not put beside it APC appropriated money. It is money appropriated for all Nigerians. So, when they go out on such events, they should have all Nigerians present. Definitely it is wrong, it is either they stop it completely or they expand the space and ensure that it represents all Nigerians because the money belongs to Nigerians,” Saraki added.