The ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) has denied endorsing any candidate ahead of the 2023 elections.
The party accused the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of pasting posters suggesting an endorsement, in order to cause discord within the party and distract it from facing the governance of Nigeria.
APC’s spokesperson, Lanre Issa-Onilu, while addressing a press conference at the party’s National Secretariat in Abuja on Thursday, also said the ruling party will once again record victory over the PDP and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, at the Supreme Court.
PDP and Mr Atiku have appealed the judgment of the presidential election petition tribunal dismissing its petition and affirming the reelection of President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC.
Mr Issa-Onilu also commented on the recent allegation made against the APC by the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) and the speculated discord between President Buhari and his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo.
CUPP, on Friday, had accused the ruling party of a plot to influence the selection of Supreme Court justices to sit over the appeal from the PDP petition.
“Having won the election convincingly, and having the mandate to rule the government for the next four years, our major and only focus now is governance. We are not in any way involved in activities about 2023 elections. Wherever you see such, just know that it is from the mischief-makers. It is part of the PDP strategies to distract our governing party from focusing on what is important to Nigerians.
“Whatever posters you have seen of our leaders are irrelevant to us. It is not from us or the leaders of our party. It is strictly part of the strategy of a party that is supposed to provide an alternative to our governance model and cannot do that.
“We dissociate ourselves from manoeuvre over the election, the election is done and dusted. We have this next four years to turn this country around and surmount these challenges we face,” Mr Issa-Onilu reacted.
He considered the allegation of a plot to “arm-twist” the Supreme Court as an attempt to undermine the integrity of the judicial institution before Nigerians. He accused the main opposition of being the master of such a device.
“We understand where the PDP is coming from as that has been their practice for 16 years. Perhaps, it is an instrument that any other party could use but we do not need to disparage the judiciary.
“We are happy to note that PDP has taken the right step by going further to the Supreme Court and we are meeting them there. It is unfortunate that they cannot create new issues. All the issues they put on the table hold no water and that is why they failed woefully at the tribunal. So, they still have this opportunity to repeat that failure,” he said.
PEPT judgement and “crack” between Osinbajo and Buhari
Mr Issa-Onilu, while defending his party’s victory at the tribunal, said the opposition PDP and its presidential candidate failed to defend their case before the court which earned the ruling party a deserving victory.
“When we presented the result from Cambridge, we expected them to present a witness from Cambridge to say that the result is not from them. PDP did not do that. A WAEC certificate was presented, PDP had the opportunity to present a witness from WAEC to say that result is fake, they did not do that.
“The INEC server, which is the joke of the year, I am very sure that some of the leaders of the party would be ashamed that such is what their party is putting forward,” he defended.
Mr Issa-Onilu also commented on reports about Mr Osinbajo. He said the allegation of a “crack” in the relationship between President Buhari and Mr Osinbajo is a fallacy made up by the opposition to distract the APC-led administration from delivering its promises to Nigerians.
“How do you determine a crack? Vice-President has been sent out to represent the president at an event. He also presided over the cabinet’s meeting just yesterday. Is that not part of the PDP crack? Let’s stop these jokes and face the challenges in this country,” he said.