PDP, ACN squabble over Tinubu’s U.S. trip

Former Lagos governor, Bola Tinubu

A week after the U.S. Democratic Party National Convention, Nigeria’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party, and opposition Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, are still engaged in a war of words on whether the leader of the opposition party, Bola Tinubu, was invited to the convention, or whether he bought VIP tickets to attend.

The controversy started when Mr. Tinubu’s media office released a statement on the eve of his departure to the US stating that Mr. Tinubu was invited to the convention in his capacity as the leader of opposition in Nigeria, without actually saying who extended the invitation.

“Tinubu who was invited to the Democratic Convention in his right as the leader of the opposition and an influential figure in Nigeria will be at the ringside as the Democratic Party conducts activities that will culminate in the nomination of President Obama …” the statement said.

Mr. Tinubu’s media team also said he received “a gold card which is prime” and that he will be accompanied by Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state; Dele Alake, an ACN senatorial aspirant; and Lagos parliament speaker, Adeyemi Ikuforiji.

The PDP in a statement, Tuesday, debunked the claim by the ACN that Mr. Tinubu was invited to the convention, citing a supposed denial issued by the Democratic Party on the Invitation of Mr. Tinubu.

On its part, the ACN accused the PDP Spokesperson, Olisa Metuh, of misinforming the public, saying the party never actually said Mr. Tinubu was invited.

The spokesperson of the ACN, Lai Mohammed, said the PDP was only involved in “a needless smear campaign.”Mr. Mohammed said his party never issued a statement about Mr. Tinubu’s invitation and challenged Mr. Metuh to provide evidence to the contrary.

Responding to the ACN’s statement, Mr. Metuh, on Wednesday, issued another statement asking the ACN to apologise to Nigerians for “embarrassing the nation and for bringing our proud people to ridicule before a foreign political party”.

Mr. Metuh said the ACN is simply trying to fool Nigerians “on the imaginary international exposure and connection of its national leader,” by tapping unto the credibility of an American political institution through a spurious claim that backfired.Mr. Metuh said that Mr. Tinubu was neither invited nor sent any Gold card by the Democratic Party; rather he bought an invitation card for five thousand dollars to attend the convention.

He also said PDP officials have been attending the National Convention of both the Republic and Democratic Parties since 1999 but did not deem it big enough to publicise.

Who has more integrity?

Mr. Metuh also castigated the ACN for challenging the integrity of the PDP, saying that the party lacks the moral ground to attack PDP’s integrity.

“When the ACN spokesman attacked the PDP on the issues of integrity and relevance in his statement, he clearly forgot that such sensitive matters often revolt at the consistent knockings of history,” he said. “Who should talk of integrity, the PDP, the ACN or its national leader?  We leave Nigerians to judge.”

Mr. Metuh said that a party (ACN) that has a leader whose state of origin and academic records still shrouded in controversy and under whose leadership Lagosians are suffering “his insatiable greed” with “his companies in almost every pie,” should not talk about integrity.

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