Presidential candidate and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, travelled out of the country early yesterday after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
According to a statement by his aide, Tunde Rahman, Tinubu jetted off to Paris, France to hold some important meetings and is expected back in the country, shortly.
Before his departure, he attended the public presentation of a book, titled: ‘Mr. Speaker’, and launch of the legislative mentoring initiative in commemoration of the 60th birthday of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
This came as the APC distanced itself from a leaked document suggesting it voted N6.5 trillion to sway votes in favour of Tinubu.
The document alleged that an obscene amount of money was designated for vote-buying and compromising staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies, the judiciary and others.
Meanwhile, in a statement, the party’s national publicity secretary, Felix Morka, said there was no iota of truth in the story, describing it as a figment of the imagination of opposition party members.
He, therefore, urged Nigerians to disregard the document, saying: “The APC wishes to place firmly on record that the document is not of the party. We neither authored nor own any such document, and it certainly did not emanate from our party.
“Indubitably, the document is the handiwork of very sick elements of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a desperate quest for unmerited electoral advantage by attempting to smear our party with wrongdoing. In their zealous attempt to mudsling, the document’s authors senselessly alleged that our party proposes to apply nearly half of the country’s entire 2022 budget to buy votes.
“How in the world does a government operating a national budget of N17 trillion dole out N6.5 trillion to rig elections? It clearly betrays the authors’ extreme ignorance of the complexity of the systems and processes for appropriation and utilisation of state funds.”
The statement added: “Our party is focused on delivering the dividends of democracy to Nigerians in hope that they will reciprocate by supporting and voting for our candidates in the 2023 elections.”
“We are a law-abiding party and have no need to engage in any fraud and electoral malpractice suggested in that worthless document. Only a party that is a masterful looter of the national treasury, such as the PDP, can even imagine another capable of engaging in the kinds of atrocious acts the document suggests.”
However, the national chairman of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Prof. Rufai Alkali, yesterday, faulted the invitation by APC’s deputy national publicity secretary, Yakubu Murtala Ajaka, to Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.
Ajaka had earlier urged NNPP presidential flag bearer, Kwankwaso, to return to APC.
Alkali, however, described the invitation as coming from a drowning political party, desperate to cling to life.
He said Ajaka, having failed to study the mood of the nation, could not perceive the mass influx of APC members and those from other parties into NNPP.
He said: “I won’t be surprised if Ajaka knocks on our doors in the coming days to give him accommodation.”
Alkali added that Nigerians have since expressed their dissatisfaction with the APC and are looking for a credible alternative, which NNPP offers.