A boastful Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday declared that even if the All Progressives Congress (APC) duo of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar were put together as one, they will be routed at the polls in February by Goodluck Jonathan, the PDP candidate.
The unprecedented boast was issued in Abuja by the party’s spokesman, Olisa Metuh, during a conversation with reporters on the PDP’s plans for its national convention which holds on Wednesday and Thursday.
Both Buhari and Atiku are presidential aspirants in the APC, which holds its primary on Wednesday, but Mr. Jonathan was endorsed by his party.
"We have a very good product to sell to Nigerians,” Metuh said. “GEJ will win the 2015 presidential poll based on his popularity. We are today sending notice to the opposition party, the APC to expect a crushing defeat at the poll.
"In view of our confidence, preparedness and the popularity of our candidate, we declare and urge the APC to put forward its two frontline aspirants in one pot, namely: Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and Alhaji Atiku as joint presidential candidates with their collective credentials and followership to face our president, Goodluck Jonathan.”
He said his party was certain that with the grassroot support and love they enjoy from Nigerians across the board, Mr. Jonathan will secure an emphatic victory “against any presidential candidate of the APC or all the candidates put together as one."
Asked to comment on the readiness of President Jonathan to engage the presidential candidate of the APC in a debate, Metuh said the debate must be issue-based.
"Let us elevate the conduct of this election,” he said. “We will base it on who is best for this country in terms of unity of this nation, who is best to stabilise our public policy, who is best to lead us to prosperity. On those three and other issues we will debate whoever is the candidate of APC.”
It would be recalled that in 2011, Mr. Jonathan debated himself and did not have to face any scrutiny from any other candidates or journalists on live television. Analysts say he is unlikely to enjoy a similar luxury this time around, and that his ability to think on his feet and meaningfully defend his five years in charge will be severely tested.