Personal Assistant to the President on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, says President Muhammadu Buhari will defeat former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in any part of the country when Nigerians go to poll.
Mrs Onochie said this on Sunday in Abuja during her appearance on the weekend edition of Channels Television’s political programme.
Asked whether the former vice president would be the biggest nightmare for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and Buhari’s administration in the 2019 presidential election, she said, “absolutely not”.
“He (Atiku) may have had that weight some years ago but over the years he’s been losing that weight and at the moment, I can tell you that even in his local government area in his native Adamawa, he can’t win any election. So where is the weight?” the presidential aide questioned.
This comes hours after the former vice president announced that he has officially returned to his home, the Peoples Democratic Party following his resignation from the APC last month.
Among the reasons Atiku gave for his defection was that the issues which made him leave the PDP in 2014 had been resolved and that the ruling party has failed the Nigerian people.
“I want to let you know that I am returning home to the PDP as the issues that led me to leave it have now been resolved and it is clear that the APC has let the Nigerian people, and especially our young people, down,” he had said.
Onochie, in her response, faulted the claims that the Federal Government has failed the people, saying the APC was trying to fix the mistakes of the previous administrations.
She, however, said the present administration was working hard to provide good governance for the people but Nigerians cannot expect President Buhari to fix the problems of over a decade in two years.
The presidential aide accused the former APC chieftain of distracting the President from serving the good people of Nigeria, saying Buhari was not competing with Atiku bearing in mind that it was not yet time for the election.
“I think Alhaji Abubakar Atiku has lost touch with reality; I think he needs to check again. President Buhari is not competing with him at the moment, what he’s trying to do is to put President Buhari out of the good work he’s doing and to come to wallow in the mud with him.
“And President Buhari is very busy trying to repair the damage that PDP did for 16 years to this nation, he is busy with the job of governance and trying to ease the pains that Nigerians have been going through over the past 16 to 17 years. The President also knows that the ban on politics has not been lifted; so, he is not going to come out to wallow in the mud of ‘he said, she said”, Onochie said.
On whether Atiku’s exit from the APC has any effect on Buhari, she said: “The president is not perturbed at all, he is not moved in any way.
“Alhaji Atiku is known to hobnob from one party to the other when he cannot have the control of the party. When he resigned from the PDP some years ago, he gave the same reasons he gave so many years ago and that’s what he has given again for leaving the APC.”
Atiku was the vice to former President Olusegun Obasanjo from 1999 to 2007 after Nigeria returned to democracy.
After the end of Obasanjo’s administration, he contested and lost the presidential election of 2007 on the platform of the then Action Congress.
He had declared his intention to run for the presidency in 2011 but also lost to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The former vice president joined the APC in February 2014 and remained in the party until his exit on November 24, 2017.