The presidential candidates of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar yesterday clashed over health status.
There were reports that Atiku was flown to the UK, for medical attention, but his handlers said the former vice president was not ill, but travelled out of the country on an invitation by the British government.
But reacting yesterday, Tinubu, in a statement by the Director, Media and Publicity, of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Bayo Onanuga, insisted that Atiku was ill.
“We have it on good authority that Atiku indeed fell ill, while missing on the field. He was indeed in the UK for some medical help, though handlers camouflaged the fact that he was there on the invitation of some British officials at Whitehall, in a mimic of the earlier visit of the APC rival, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“Despite the efforts by his handlers to showcase Atiku as healthy and physically fit to endure the rigours of the presidential campaign, pictures from rallies have belied this. Campaign pictures sometimes showed him being helped to descend steps at stadia. Sometimes, he walked with an apparent handicap, dragging his feet,” he said.
The statement said, “It’s time for Atiku Abubakar, the 76-year-old presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, to come clean over two issues clouding his campaign: his health status and his scandalous confession of how he colluded with his former boss, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, to fleece the Nigerian treasury, using the special purpose vehicles after he became vice president in 1999.
“If Atiku has some modicum of honour, he ought to have stepped down from the race that he is bound to lose again, following the release of his audio clip, in which he provided a vivid explanation into the modus operandi of his legendary corruption.
“The lies of several years and the various diversionary tactics are no longer sustainable. Atiku’s edifice of lies is about to crash on him. The PDP presidential candidate is certainly not okay, the papering efforts notwithstanding.”
But reacting, Kola Ologbondiyan, a Spokesperson of the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organisation said Atiku is healthy and energetic, adding that Tinubu is unfit to hold office as president.
“The Atiku/Okowa Campaign Organisation mocks the presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, over his failed attempt to impute illness on the healthy and energetic presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar.
“Since Tinubu by himself has opened the channels for Nigerians to examine his ill-health, we have no other option than to further expose that the APC candidate must be suffering from manifest Parkinson’s disease accompanied with incontinence.
“For clarity, Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder which symptoms include shaking hands, stiffness of limbs, difficulty with coordination, problem with balance when walking; articulation disorder, memory problems as well as general mental and physical weakness which are all being witnessed in the APC presidential candidate.
“This perhaps accounts for the desperation, the endless gaffes, the articulation errors, the incoherence, the many blunders and disconnection from reality for which Asiwaju Tinubu has become the butt of weird jokes among Nigerians and internationally.”
Saawua Terzungwe & Baba Martins