Former presidential aide, Reno Omokri, has carpeted one of the Asiwaju Bola Tinubu presidential campaign spokespersons, Festus Keyamo, over his criticism of Atiku Abubakar during an interview on Friday.
Keyamo, who is the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, had spoken on prospects of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 election, his appointment as Tinubu’s campaign spokesperson and the ongoing university lecturers’ strike when he appeared on Channels TV’s ‘Politics Today’ on Friday.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), during the interview, took a swipe at Atiku who is seeking election as president on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) platform.
Keyamo described Atiku as the least qualified among the 2023 presidential candidates because he “has never held an executive position where he makes the final call in government”, hence cannot be entrusted with the presidency.
But quoting a section of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution, Omokri argued that Atiku held different executive positions during his eight-year tenure as vice president to former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Taking a dig at Keyamo, Omokri said the minister neglected his “primary assignment” as minister “to become the Senior advocate of the progenitor of the gospel of Agbado and Cassava” by accepting to be presidential campaign spokesperson for Tinubu.
A Facebook post he shared on Saturday partly reads: “It may be that Mr. Keyamo is faced with selling such a bad product as Bola Tinubu, a man who voluntarily entered into a drug assets forfeiture plea bargain with the US Department of Justice, and who has multiple questions on his source of wealth, real identity, and educational qualifications, that he is doing the next best thing, de-marketing his main rival.
“Festus Keyamo also says some other things in praise of Bola Tinubu, however, he is wrong in his postulations for the following reasons:
“1. It is not true that Vice Presidents do not have executive experience and capacity, to the extent where they have the final call. At least in Nigeria and the United States. By virtue of Section 153 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, the Vice President has final executive control and capacity over the National Economic Council.
“2. As a matter of fact, Atiku Abubakar headed the National Economic Council during the Obasanjo years. The National Economic Council comprises of the Vice President as the Executive Chairman, and the 36 state Governors, as well as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“3. At the time that Atiku Abubakar headed the National Economic Council, Bola Tinubu, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, and Peter Obi were all members and sat UNDER him. In other words Atiku was their boss.
“4. Not only was Atiku Abubakar the boss of these bosses (Tinubu, Kwankwaso, and Obi), but he also led the National Economic Council at a time when Nigeria paid off all her foreign debts to the Paris Club and other Bretton Woods institutions, meaning that not only does he have experience, but his experience is good.
“5. Atiku Abubakar was also the Chairman of the National Council of Privatisation, which is a statutory body and he thrived in that position. Meaning that he also has further executive experience that is positive.
“6. It would be recalled that Atiku Abubakar stood in for then President Obasanjo on multiple occasions. One of such occasions was on July 10, 2003, when the Governor of Anambra, Chris Ngige was abducted while then President Obasanjo had traveled and then Vice President Atiku Abubakar was in charge. In an interview with ThisDay newspapers on August 16, 2020, Chris Ngige revealed how Atiku Abubakar ordered Tafa Balogun, the then Inspector General of Police, to restore him to power. What will Festus Keyamo call that, if not executive authority? This is the same executive authority that enabled Vice President Yemi Osinbajo sack the Director General of the Department of State Security, Lawal Daura, on August 7, 2018.
“7. And although it is fallacious to say that Waziri Atiku Abubakar has no executive experience, let us for the sake of argument condescend to Keyamo’s pedestrianism. How much executive experience did Kennedy, Obama, and Trump have before going on to be President? None. Yet, they performed.
“8. Keyamo said Tinubu increased Lagos’s IGR. True. But much more than that, Tinubu increased Lagos’s debt. Tinubu met a debt of less than $200 million and left a debt of billions of dollars. Lagos alone owes 6% of Nigeria’s external debt and approximately 4% of her domestic debt. Tinubu’s debt overshot his IGR, which is a net loss for Lagos. Besides, with AlphaBeta, are we sure the IGR got to the coffers of the Lagos Government, or to private hands?
“9. Furthermore, Keyamo averred that Tinubu Is a good head hunter. How can that be true when he was responsible for head hunting Buhari? How can that be true when he brought in Ambode and fought with him? How can that be true when the electorate rejected his hand picked Governor in Osun and he lost the state to the PDP?
“10. If, as Keyamo said, Tinubu is a good manager of men and resources, then how come he is the first governor of the Fourth Republic to have fought with two of his own hand picked deputy Governors and instigated their impeachments?
“11. Tinubu promised to continue with Buhari’s good works. Can he mention those good works? A man who wants to continue where Buhari stopped is definitely not the right choice for Nigerians.
“But besides the above, how can the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, be on strike for a record period, and the minister who is supposed to solve this national emergency, Festus Keyamo, has left his station to promote Bola Tinubu’s campaign? If this administration was serious, Keyamo should have been laser focused on the ASUU strike.
“His obsession with promoting Bola Tinubu at the cost of his responsibilities as minister of state for labour is another reason why the ASUU strike would not be solved any time soon and will move from an emergency to a crisis. This administration, and Keyamo, are more interested in politicking than in governing.
That is why Keyamo has left his place of primary assignment to become the Senior advocate of the progenitor of the gospel of Agbado and Cassava.
“Dear citizens of Nigeria, if you love your children, if you want ASUU strikes to be a thing of the past, then vote out a government that met Nigeria as the third fastest growing economy in the world, according to CNNMoney, and has now turned her into the world headquarters for extreme poverty for the last five years.”