The President Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation has given details of what it calls the corrupt past of former Vice President and PDP Presidential candidate in the 2019 election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
The details were contained in a statement released on Wednesday by Buhari’s campaign spokesman, Festus Keyamo (SAN). The statement was released in response to Atiku’s rebutal of President Buhari’s recent claim that the Nigerian system was slow in tackling corruption, hence the slow pace in the government’s ongoing war against corruption.
Atiku had accused Buhari of refusing to address corrupt practices allegedly happening under the current administration.
“Mr. President, the problem with your anti-corruption war is not the system. You are the problem!
“The system allows you to arrest, try and convict your former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, who was fingered in a major corruption case, but you chose to let him go Scot free and you demonstrated your tolerance for his corruption by giving him a prominent role in your re-election campaign and recently welcoming him to the Presidential Villa with open arms.
“The system allowed you to arrest, try and convict Abdulrasheed Maina, the biggest ever alleged thief in our civil service history, who is suspected of looting the pensions of millions of aged Nigerians. Yet you chose not to go that route, preferring instead to recall him, reinstate and double promote him while giving him armed guards to move about.
“The system allows you to probe the $25 billion NNPC contracts awarded without due process, but you chose to bury the matter under the carpet, hoping the Nigerian people will forget about that grand scale alleged looting exposed by a leaked memo from a member of your cabinet.
“Finally, nothing in the system stops you from telling Nigerians who owns the billions found in an Ikoyi apartment.
“Based on the above statement of facts, I will not allow you to to make Nigeria the scapegoat for your failure. Your failure is personal, and not national.
But in a swift response, Keyamo stated that Atiku “is one of the greatest beneficiaries of the failed system in tackling corruption that was in place before President Muhammadu Buhari took over in 2015.”
Atiku had said that between 1999 and 2007 when he was Vice President, the adminstration “used that same system to speedily convict no less a personality than an Inspector General of Police, and several others including cabinet ministers and other high officials.”
Keyamo however disagreed, arguing that if the system had been working in the past, “Alhaji Atiku 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.”
He said Atiku ran a monopolistic company with INTELS before Buhari came and broke the monopoly.
The campaign spokesman gave more insights into why they maintain that Atiku and his fellow party men in the PDP had a corrupt past.
His words: “If the system was working, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar 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 US Congressional Report that has led to the prosecution and conviction of his accomplices in the US, which are 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 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 at 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 3 years preceding 2018 to show that he did not just run to FIRS in 2018 to pay his backlog of Personal Income Taxes.
“For the information of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, President Muhammadu Buhari’s gallant efforts in tackling corruption headlong 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. 703 persons and institutions have been convicted by the EFCC under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari since 2015. The biggest recoveries of stolen public funds in the history of Nigeria are being carried out by President Muhammadu 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 Dollars, 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 Lagose.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 Alhaji Atiku 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.”