Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) standard bearer Atiku Abubakar yesterday drew the ire of the President’s campaign spokesman Festus Keyamo (SAN) over his remarks on the Presidency’s handling of the nation’s affairs, especially the anti-corruption war.
According to Keyamo, the former Vice President would not be walking a free man, lest vying for the presidency if not for the faulty system bequeathed to the Buhari administration in 2015.
Keyamo said Atiku’s diatribe against President Buhari amounted to nothing “but a disgusting grandstanding and an attempt to mock the system.”
He said in a statement: “Our attention has been drawn to a statement credited to the presidential candidate of PDP, Alhaji Abubakar, disputing the assertion by President Buhari that the system in Nigeria allows corruption to thrive because the system is slow in tackling corruption.
“Alhaji Abubakar further blamed President Buhari for perceived failure in addressing some instances of ‘corrupt practices’ under his watch.
“Let us remind him that he is one of the greatest beneficiaries of the failed system in tackling corruption that was in place before President Buhari took over in 2015.
“We know he is aware of this, hence his latest diatribe against President Buhari amounts to nothing but disgusting grandstanding and an attempt to mock the system.
“If the system in Nigeria was indeed working, Alhaji Abubakar would not have acquired substantial shares in INTELS in clear conflict of his duties as a Customs officer whilst in office. Those shares would have belonged to the Nigerian people by now.
“If the system in Nigeria was indeed working, Abubakar would not have run a monopolistic company called INTELS all these years, ripping off the Nigerian people and the Nigerian state before President Buhari came and broke that monopoly.
“If the system was working, he would have been prosecuted and jailed for various acts of corruption and abuse of office after he left office as vice president, some of which are:
(a) For himself and his boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo, granting themselves licenses to build universities as president and vice president whilst in office in clear breach of the Code of Conduct for public officers. Those universities would have been probed, seized and transferred to the Nigeria state and the Nigerian people by now.
(b) Laundering slush funds to the United States of America using phony companies, part of which was used to fund his present American University in Adamawa State through which he is also extorting Nigerians through exorbitant fees. It is public knowledge that this indictment is contained in a U.S. Congressional Report that has led to the prosecution and conviction of his accomplices in the U.S., such as William Jefferson and Siemens. They were convicted under a system that works, whilst he has been walking free in Nigeria and even aspiring to the highest office in the land. It is also public knowledge that his ban from entering the United States was as a result of these indictments.
(c) His indictment and recommendation for prosecution by the report of the EFCC over the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) scandal whilst he was vice president.
“We have also read with keen interest the case filed against Alhaji Atiku Abubakar by some public spirited Nigerians alleging that he never paid his personal income taxes as when due, yet he wants to ‘get Nigeria working again’.
“In this regard, we are also challenging Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to publicly display his personal income Tax receipts for the three years preceding 2018 to show that he did not just run to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in 2018 to pay his backlog of Personal Income Taxes.
“For the information of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, President Buhari’s gallant efforts in tackling corruption head-on, has led to the conviction of the President’s own party men and ex-governors who served under PDP and for acts they committed whilst in PDP. Seven hundred and three persons and institutions have been convicted by the EFCC under the watch of President Buhari since 2015. The biggest recoveries of stolen public funds in the history of Nigeria are being carried out by President Buhari. These recoveries were made from principally his party men who now wish to lead Nigeria with him. Some of these recoveries/seizures/forfeitures (interim and final) are:
(a) 407 mansions since 2015; (b) N794 billion, over $261 million 1.1 million Pounds sterling, 8.1 million Euros; (c) 259 automobiles; (d) a fully functional hospital, – St. Solomon Health Care Centre at 24, Adeniyi Jones Street, Ikeja, Lagos e.t.c.
“There are so many other instances too numerous to mention. These are a world apart from the few instances of the reluctant fight against corruption that Abubakar claimed happened under his watch as vice president.
“During his time, there was a competition for corruption between himself, his boss and public officers.
“We also urge the PDP to stop making wild, unsubstantiated allegations of corruption without a modicum of proof. We have no time to respond to any allegation by the PDP without the backing of some kind of document or proof.
“When we see some scintilla of proof, we shall respond appropriately. And that is how we have treated the recent allegation of acquisition of shares in Etisalat and Keystone Bank by some supposed ‘family members’ of the President. No name was mentioned and no document was shown.
“Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s latest adventure in trying to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in matters of integrity with President Muhammadu Buhari is a political suicide mission from which we thought his handlers would have tried to steer him away.
“But alas! They have decided to test the waters. Locally and internationally, President Muhammadu Buhari stands several miles away from Abubakar in matters of integrity. When the President used all his life in public office building a reputation and a name, Abubakar used all his life in public office to build mansions and acquire personal wealth. Now Judgment Day has come when the credentials needed by the Nigerian people for the highest office are not the buildings and wealth but the simple quality of integrity. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar cannot eat his cake and have it.”