• Jonathan expresses concern about the 2023 election

Former President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday expressed concern about the political trend as the general election approaches.

Jonathan said he was concerned about the negative energy that the upcoming elections have generated.

His concern arose when the presidential campaign councils of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) continued to engage in a war of words and smear campaigns against each other.

The APC campaign council yesterday demanded the arrest and prosecution of Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential standard bearer, alleging that the former vice president colluded with his then director, President Olusegun Obasanjo, between 1999 and 2007 to “fleece the country and steal public funds using what were called special purpose vehicles (SPV)”.

The PDP responded, describing Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the APC’s presidential candidate, as a convict, and asking him to immediately withdraw from the presidential race.

I’m a little worried – Jonathan

The former president said that the politics of bitterness hampered development and called on politicians to market their policies with ideas, instead of fighting, insulting and abusing their opponents.

He spoke at the commissioning of the Afi-Uko Nteghe Uda Bridge on the Etebi-Enwang highway, in Mbo LGA of Akwa Ibom state, on Monday.

Jonathan said: “I am a little concerned about the negative energy generated ahead of the 2023 election. We have noted a level of bitterness in our politics that it does not create development and I plead with politicians that marketing is about commercializing their ideas. Politics is not about fighting, it is not about insulting, it is not about abusing.”

APC demands arrest and prosecution of Atiku

The APC presidential campaign council has called on security agencies to arrest, question and prosecute Atiku Abubakar for allegedly siphoning off the nation’s funds using registered companies while serving as vice president.

The council’s Director of Public Affairs and chief spokesperson, Festus Keyamo (SAN), who briefed the press yesterday in Abuja, was flanked by other members of the council’s media team.

“The purpose was to divert government contracts to these companies as ‘consultants’ and then pay money to these companies and use that money to finance the PDP and their private business and family activities.

“In this case, the judiciary will not stand still as we will clearly take action in the coming days to start a judicial process seeking the total disqualification of Atiku Abubakar from the race based on these facts.

“He is clearly ethically challenged, morally damaged for the highest office on earth,” the council said.

Furthermore, in a petition to the presidents of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Commission for Corrupt Practices and Other Related Crimes (ICPC) and the Code of Conduct Office (CCB), Keyamo called on anti-corruption agencies that they arrest Atiku within 72 hours for the alleged crimes of “breach of the code of conduct for public servants, money laundering, criminal breach of trust and criminal misappropriation, and conspiracy to commit a crime.”

Tinubu an ex-convict, must retire from career – PDP

In response, the PDP described APC presidential candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu as a convict and asked him to immediately withdraw from the presidential race.

Debo Ologunagba, the PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, said it was ironic that “a beleaguered Tinubu, beset by countless instances of fraudulent activity, including perjury, forgery, looting of treasure, corruption and narcotics-related convictions, may attempt to challenge the integrity blameless of the PPD presidential candidate.

“The effect of Tinubu’s conviction and forfeiture of the sum of $460,000 confirms that he is ineligible and unqualified to run for the office of President of Nigeria as required by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (modified) .

“Having been convicted, sentenced, and fined for drug trafficking in a criminal complaint filed pursuant to the United States Penal Code, Asiwaju Tinubu may not, under Section 137 (1) (d) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) to seek the office of President of Nigeria.”

In addition, Kola Ologbondiyan, spokesman for the PDP’s Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), called for Tinubu’s arrest and questioning for allegedly forming a squad code-named “Jagaban Army”.

He alleged that the “Jagaban Army” was meant to “disrupt the 2023 general election and raid polling units seeking votes on behalf of Tinubu.”

He said the move is also an affront to “the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies, as well as an assault on our nation’s sovereignty.”

According to Ologbondiyan, “It is reprehensible that Tinubu could create a rebel force solely for the purpose of undermining our nation’s electoral and security arrangements.

“Our campaign contends that this nefarious act by the APC Tinubu/Shettima Campaign lends credence to the position of the PDP and well-meaning Nigerians that Tinubu, as well as his base, has set out to make our nation ungovernable and, from since then, to disrupt the 2023 presidential election using their army of ‘Jagabandits’.

“The notion of ‘Jagaban Army’ is a ploy to gather thugs, thugs and mobsters under the cover of the APC and turn them into an official militia that will be used to wreak havoc on election day.”

By Saawua Terzungwe, Baba Martins, (Abuja) and Iniabasi Umo (Uyo)report this ad