By Tosin Tope, Akure
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo on Thursday dealt a hard blow on President Muhammadu Buhari over the scarcity of the naira notes and the lingering fuel queues at petrol stations less than 72 hours before the presidential election.
In a statewide broadcast, Akeredolu slammed the naira redesign policy implementation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the “artificial” fuel scarcity, noting that they are both “lethal injections” deliberately introduced to create a crisis in the country and frustrate the Saturday’s election.
He added that Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), is the center of all the ‘darts and arrows’.
“For us as a government, our stand then and even today remains the same. We are convinced that both the ill-timed Cash Swap Policy and the artificial scarcity of fuel are both lethal injections deliberately administered to de-market the government, create an uncontrollable crisis in the nation, brew disaffection between the people and government and finally frustrate the 2023 general elections.
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“To say the least, it is a dagger drawn at the heart of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on the eve of the elections in order to destroy it and the governments it controls at the Federal and State levels,” Mr Akeredolu said in the broadcast.
The governor’s broadcast is coming less than three days before the February 25 elections even as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) assured its preparedness for the weekend exercise.
In Saturday’s election, Tinubu will be up against Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), and a host of other presidential candidates.
Speaking further in the broadcast aired on the state-owned media stations, Akeredolu said the mission of Buhari’s government was to truncate Saturday’s election and to abuse the principle of the rotational presidency by denying a section of the country its legitimate right.
He added that it was also to frustrate the chances of Tinubu from winning the election thereby fueling ethnic disaffection and creating a grave constitutional crisis in the country.
“The central purpose is to frustrate his (Tinubu) popularity and renowned acceptability across all tribes and religions in this country. The goal is to truncate the election and deny the country the service of a true patriot, an endowed visionary with a proven record of character, knowledge, leadership, and performance.
“It is also an attempt to abuse the principle of rotational presidency by denying a section of this country its legitimate right thereby fuelling ethnic disaffection and creating a grave constitutional crisis in the country.”
While lamenting that the experiences of the people in rural areas are better imagined with the magnitude of the unpalatable experiences at the city centers, Mr Akeredolu said despite desperate efforts by “selfish elements within the Buhari’s government to destroy the election and multiparty politics in Nigeria, the dividends of good governance brought to the people by APC remain indelible.
He, however, advised the residents of the state to shun violence and provocation before, during, and after the polls while also urging them to troop out en masse and vote Tinubu.
Meanwhile, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state has described the broadcast as an empty lamentation.
In a statement issued by its spokesperson in the state, Kennedy Peretei, the party said the address of the governor was far below the expectations of the residents.
“Mr. Akeredolu, a Governor elected on the platform of APC, vilified President Muhammadu Buhari for policies designed to precipitate national crisis, and the failure of their party, and by implication the failure of their presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
“Akeredolu joins the league of APC Governors and Ministers that have openly declared that, the Buhari APC government has achieved nothing in 8years.
“The empty broadcast, full of lamentations failed in his attempt to dissociate APC candidates from the present gloom into which APC has sunk Nigeria.
“From the confessions of APC key players, it is clear that, a vote for any APC candidate in the forthcoming elections is a continuation of the present situation.”
While urging the people to disregard the address as it did not provide the slightest of succour like some other states are doing, the PDP noted that the broadcast was like “adding salt to injury.”
“The affliction called APC shall not rise again in our land. The final burial rites will be performed in the next two days,” it added.