The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has challenged the Acting National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Yekini Nabena, to a debate on national issues on any national television.
Mr Saraki presented the challenge, alleging that many people in the media believe he (Mr Nabena) is a robot and does not have a face.
His statement was in reaction to another earlier released by Mr Nabena on behalf of the APC where he said Nigerians are tired of Mr Saraki’s retrogressive politics and deserve no more.
He had also said Mr Saraki’s presidential declaration is his tactic to deflect attention from the deluge of issues he deals with particularly ahead of the 2019 General Elections i.e. pressure to reconvene the National Assembly, a fast shifting political order in Kwara State, among others.
The APC spokesperson described the senate president as an abysmal failure and incompetent candidate of leadership as well as guilty of budget padding, among others.
“A Presidential aspirant who promises to create jobs and turn around the economy at the national level, must have done so in a state he served as Governor for eight years. We challenge Saraki to give the nation his scorecard as a Kwara State,” part of the statement read.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Mr Saraki said he “will not be distracted by the antics of an upstart who lives in Abuja but waits to sign press statements composed for him from Lagos.”
He further said he does not have any credibility issues except the ones concocted by the “putative demagogues” to whom he (Mr Saraki) has become a nightmare.
“Meanwhile, Mr Yekinni Nabena should know by now that many people on the media believe he is a robot and has no face. Here is an opportunity for him to come out of his hiding and come on a national television to debate all the issues he has raised with one of the aides of the Senate President.
“We hope he will take up this challenge and stop behaving like a masquerade. He is free to choose any independent TV station of his choice.
“When his masters show their face, we will debate all the issues they have raised and the ones they may wish to even concoct,” the statement said.
The lawmaker wondered what APC’s business with an aspirant of another party was.
“The truth is APC is scared stiff of the possibility of a Saraki candidacy. Fortunately, they have no role in deciding that.”
When contacted, Mr Yekinni accepted the challenge as he asked him (Mr Saraki) to take on the leadership of the APC.
“Is it his aides that will argue for him? What about himself? I am challenging him to come out and debate on national issues with the leadership of the APC.
“He has declared for presidency. If he feels he knows what he will go and do there, he should come out and tell Nigerians. It’s not by bringing his aides. Are they the ones running for presidency?
“APC is ready to take him up on any issue. He believes that he doesn’t have any issue apart from his personal and selfish interest,” he said.
Mr Yekinni further stressed that the senate president doesn’t care about Nigerians because if he does, “he won’t shut down national assembly for months.”
Both the lawmaker and the opposition party have verbally attacked each other since Mr Saraki announced his exit from the APC as well as his declaration to run for the office of the president in the 2019 general election.