Keyamo Only Takes Notes While Ngige Presides Over Meetings — Atiku’s Spokesman Slams Minister Over Comment
The brickbats between the presidential campaign spokespersons for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have continued to deepen ahead of the 2023 general election.
While the political parties must wait for at least the next 48 days before commencing campaigns, their spokespersons may have begun to set the tone for what Nigerians should expect during the electioneering process.
On Thursday, Daniel Bwala, spokesperson for the Atiku Abubakar presidential campaign, took a swipe at Festus Kayemo over a recent comment he made criticizing the PDP presidential candidate.
Keyamo, who speaks for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate, had during a recent interview said Atiku was ill-equipped to lead the country because he lacks “executive experience”.
Keyamo, who doubles as the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, said even though Atiku is a two-time former vice president, “he has never held an executive position where he made the final call”.
Keyamo’s statement had provoked reactions from aides and supporters of Atiku, including former presidential aide, Reno Omokri, who accused Keyamo of resorting to demarketing Atiku because he was “faced with selling such a bad product as Bola Tinubu”.
Appearing on Arise TV’s ‘Prime Time’ programme on Thursday, Bwala said even a level one law student would disagree with Keyamo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, on his claim that Atiku lacks executive experience.
The PDP presidential campaign spokesman jeeringly said that Keyamo sees the office of the vice president as inconsequential because he’s allegedly redundant as the junior minister of labour.
“You also talked about him saying that his candidate is more experienced than Atiku Abubakar. In fact, he made a very sad definition or characterization or explanation to what he believed to be the office of the vice president. You cannot find a part one student of the University that will agree with that.
“If you understand constitutional law, you will know that anything provided for in the constitution, it means it’s sacrosanct, it means it is above other extant law.
“The office of the vice president is constitutionally provided for, but I can understand why he’s saying that because as a minister of state, he has a minister above him and when they see to negotiate with labor what he does is he take notes after which you upload it on Facebook and be happy to say they’ve had a meeting.
“So, if you’re occupying that position, it is very easy for you to think that if you are a subordinate to someone above you that you are just there. But the fice of the vice president as established by the constitution is an office that is so powerful that the vice president is the supervisor of economic affairs of the country.”
Bwala further argued that “The vice president is the second most powerful individual in the country. The other branches of government like the legislature and the judiciary are equal branches, they are as powerful as the president and they have a specific function that they play. For example, the National Assembly cannot execute the law, they cannot execute projects and the judiciary cannot legislate, but the president is the one, by section five (of the Constitution), that is vested with the power to execute the provisions of the constitution and to execute every other law in Nigeria.
“The vice president is next to the president, in other words when the president is not around, the vice president steps ins and acts as a president, when the president is around the vice president still preside over economic affairs and there are other departments and ministries that are placed under the supervision of the vice president.
“And let me directly relate that to what Atiku did when Atiku came to power in 1999. Obasanjo was all over the map trying to gather collaboration to get debt cancellation for Nigeria. In the first three to four years, Atiku was practically the president, it was during this period that Chris Ngige, the principal to Festus Keyamo was abducted by people in Anambra. If you think the vice president does not have the power, Obasanjo was not in the country, Atiku ordered the immediate deliverance of that fellow from the hands of the abductors.”