President Muhammadu Buhari just gave critics more reason to tear their hair out with his manner of endorsing his party’s candidate for the Sept 19 guber election in the state.
He first did on Friday, provoking anti-corruption warriors in the opposition and the ruling APC.
Buhari said his endorsement of Ize-Iyamu, whom he described as a dashing candidate, has angered the opposition party. That is the PDP—grumbling Buhari supported a candidate on trial for corruption.
But among those that will be cut to the marrow with Buhari’s latest defence of Osagie Ize-Iyamu and his campaign are the APC Governors Forum DG Salihu Lukman, Kaduna Gov Nasir el Rufai, all of the Adams Oshiomhole bashers in the ruling party, among others. These all share the PDP sentiment, and are brazenly speaking in opposition to their own candidate.
In support of the APC candidate, Buhari, however, wondered why the PDP, which, according to him, has been “struggling to clear its name from alleged deals with the underworld in Dubai and the United States”, has found the voice to attack the anti-corruption war of his administration.
The president was referring to the PDP hammermen—ex-V.P Atiku Abubakar, ex-Sen. President Bukola Saraki, and others—caught in a photo op with the notorious cybercriminal Ramon Abbas aka Hushpuppi already caged in the US after his extradition from Dubai.
“Let PDP first withdraw the governorship nominations it gave to Ahmadu Fintiri and Bala Mohammed of Adamawa and Bauchi States respectively, before it opens its mouth and talk on the efforts of this administration in fighting corruption. Or else, it should shut its mouth forever and leave us to do what it dares not attempt,” Buhari said in a statement.
“Both PDP governors were actually on bail from criminal trial on several counts of fraud and embezzlement.”
The president listed others on corruption trial while they made effort to contest, including former Deputy Governor, Lucky Imasuen, PDP Chairman in the State, Chief Dan Orbih, and other leaders of the party in the state, Tony Aziegbemi and Efe Erimuoghae, insisting that only the courts can convict.
Whether the Buhari defense will cut it or not with el-Rufai, Lukman, others is not in doubt.
The Kaduna governor allegedly leaked the decision by SGF Mustapha Boss to push Buhari into welcoming Ize-Iyamu on Friday. El-Rufai has not hidden his disdain for Ize-Iyamu, his major backer ex-chairman Oshiomole, and the campaign council chairman Kano Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje.
The two northern governors started their cold war when the Kano government knocked Kano Emir Sanuai Lamido Sanusi off the perch early in the year. El-Rufai has been skin-close to the deposed emir since then—to the chagrin of Ganduje.
Lukman, too, has accused Oshiomhole of hogging the Ize-Iyamu campaign. The DG was among those who joined forces to kick Oshiomole out of the national office two months ago.
Insider sources also leaked the decision AGF Abubakar Malami and IGP Mohammed Adamu made to provide police back up for the 14 APC lawmakers that impeached the Edo House Speaker Frank Okiye on Thursday.
With the glowing tributes Buhari just paid Ize-Iyamu and his campaign effort, one can only imagine how the enemies within and outside the APC will be stewing.