As the 2023 presidential election draws closer, the political atmosphere is becoming tense with camps of presidential candidates engaging in verbal attacks.
The tense atmosphere is visible in the camps of the leading candidates – Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Peter Obi of the Labour Party, LP.
It was observed that supporters of these frontline presidential candidates have increased the intensity of their verbal attacks towards each other.
Severally, followers of Obi have been accused of insulting and bullying supporters of other presidential candidates online. Some political stakeholders had described Obi’s supporters as intolerable of others.
Just last week, the spokesman of the APC presidential campaign council, Festus Keyamo, likened the PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to a conductor applying for a driver’s job.
Tackling Keyamo over his comment, Atiku’s media aide, Paul Ibe, also likened Tinubu to a drug baron applying to head an anti-narcotics agency.
Condemning the verbal attacks, Chuks Ibegbu, a former spokesman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, urged Tinubu, Atiku, and Obi’s camps to address politics of issues.
He urged the camps of the frontline presidential candidates to jettison the politics of rancor.
Speaking to newsmen, Ibegbu said: “It’s unfortunate that despite the efforts by the Abdulsalam Abubakar-led National Reconciliation Committee, some political actors are bent on mud-slinging and political rancor.
“It’s unfortunate that some political actors have failed to learn the lessons of political bitterness. It was political bitterness that caused the fall of the first Republic and resulted in civil war.
“It appears that people don’t learn from history; why can’t they pursue politics of issues? There is ginger in the land, and people are suffering, yet you see them traveling in private jets; see what happened in Uyo. They are not telling us what would put food on our table or solve our problem. That’s not what Keyamo and other political aides are interested in, but they are only interested in causing political havoc everywhere.
“Those people they are using should learn from history. Be you Peter Obi, Tinubu, Kwankwaso, or Atiku; they should talk about politics of issues and tell their followers to stop politics of mudslinging.
“Followers of presidential candidates should face issues and not follow all these men that have stolen us dry in the past.
“I want to advise Tinubu, Peter Obi, and Atiku to address politics of issues and not that of rancor.”