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Atiku Abubakar and the PDP: Time to change the tales 

Atiku Abubakar and the PDP: Time to change the tales – Dr. Ugoji Egbujo

Atiku Abubakar

In 2015, Governor Fayose told us about his 74 year old mother and her diapers. He was desperate to paint the picture that a 73-year old would be too frail, too demented, to be president. He bought front pages of some national newspapers. He made Buhari the butt of deathly geriatric jokes. In a few months, he would return to the soap box. Fayose would ( tell people to vote for a 73-year-old Atiku. Atiku would be 73 in 2019. I believe Atiku is fit. But the Fayoses of the PDP would have to repackage their tales.

Atiku-Abubakar
2019 can’t come too soon. The PDP would have to campaign without mentioning certificates. In 2015, the PDP had a candidate who flaunted a PhD. So they mocked Buhari. They said he didn’t have the required academic qualification to contest for president. They were not persuaded that he had passed the senior officer’s course at the United States War College.

In 2019, the PDP would have to sell Atiku and his certificates. Atiku Abubakar owns a miserable grade 3 WAEC certificate. His certificate was so pale it couldn’t keep him in the Police College where he had been admitted. Atiku Abuabkar had failed O level mathematics. The PDP and Atiku can burnish that diploma from the Kano school of hygiene. They could tell us that the Kano school of hygiene is an ivy league school.

I think Atiku is intelligent. He communicates effectively. He has good business acumen. He is urbane and tolerant. Atiku cannot be sold without a loss of face. That is what pettiness brings. The PDP commissioned documentaries into Buhari’s family life. Buhari was a retired army General. They portrayed him as an unrepentant dictator. Abubakar Atiku is a product of sin soaked Customs Service. The PDP can claim that the Customs is the home of discipline and order. Fortunately, the PDP doesn’t pretend to hate corruption so much.

The PDP likes to say that Buhari is misogynistic. They would like to tell more jokes about some, kitchen and the ‘other room.’ But that could hurt them. It is true polygamy is permitted by Islam. And Atiku has never exceeded four women at a time. But matched against Buhari, it’s not difficult to see who is a better example. Atiku has multiple ‘other rooms’

Sometime ago Fayose and the PDP came loose. The governor picked a microphone and announced that Mrs Aisha Buahri, the president’s wife could not visit America. He said she was wanted by the FBI. PDP supporters were excited. The freedom to enter and leave America became a measure of righteousness. Aisha Buahri entered the United States. Fayose and his media men said the pictures were doctored. Then Aisha held public events in the United States. Gov Fayose, shamelessly, offered no apologies.

That falsehood and the drama that followed it could tell on Atiku. Atiku, it appears is barred from entering the United States. Obasanjo says Atiku has questions to answer in the United States. Atiku has not had the courage to dare Obasanjo. Yes, the denial of entry by some Western countries cannot be disqualifying. But you have to have some sympathy for Atiku. He would be surrounded by people who love to mock anyone who can’t travel to America in peace. Poor Atiku, he claims he is innocent.

In the last two years, the PDP has lived on incendiary and divisive rhetorics. The party lost the 2015 elections and lost its orientation. And receded into dangerous sectional and religious brinksmanship. Yes, acts of political insensitivity by the Federal Government inflamed roiled tempers. But it was that recourse to naked demagoguery that took the nation to the brink. Atiku is Fulani. There are many who hate Buhari because he is Fulani. Many of them are now blowing Atiku’s trumpet. They may have to stop. That way their bigotry would have a little integrity.

Atiku has run for president in the past. This time he would be examined up close and personal. An intrusive standard that has been created in the last two years. Atiku says he can explain his wealth. He set up an Agric business while he was in the lower ranks of the Customs. The business failed. Agric businesses can be a little unsentimental.

There are no government privileges to leverage upon. Then he set top a huge trucking company. Since his father was poor and he inherited little, he may have to tell of his magic, to inspire the youths. He became the Deputy Director and miraculously ran into one Volpi , a foreigner. They hit it off, and set up a multimillion dollar logistics company. Atiku, the Deputy Controller General then, birthed a company to operate in the very ports he supervised. The company ate ‘growth hormones’ and became a giant in no time.

Atiku is a good businessman. But His company, Intels, largely lived on commissions for monies it collected, monopolistically, for the Federal Government. So much for hard work. I don’t know why many think Atiku is not that incorruptible. He is just a man with an eye for opportunities. Could it be a certain lack of discretion about conflict of interest? A certain knowing of rules and knowing the loopholes. While he worked in public service, he came to own companies that full time businessmen could only dream about. He says the law allowed him to own shares and that he was not engaged in day to day running of the outfits. He is right. They all did it.

He is right. At the kirikiri prisons warders own food vending companies run by their wives. These outfits monopolize the sales of foods to inmates. The warders would also say they are not involved in the day to day running of these companies flourishing within the prisons. It’s no use finding out how their ownership of these companies affect the quality of food budgeted by the government for the prison inmates.

Atiku has returned to the PDP. That’s heartwarming. The PDP was disoriented. Atiku is media savvy and resourceful. The prestigious Yaradua school of politics whose doctoral degree he must possess teaches pragmatism and a little ruthlessness. An Atiku came back at the right time. The nation needs a well resourced and ambitious opposition. President Buhari and company need anything that can rattle them out of conceitedness and presumptuousness. The president takes his public acceptance for granted. That is why he has slept comfortably on the Maina scandal, for a whole month.

Welcome Atiku.
Culled from Vanguard 

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Atiku is a spent force, no threat to Buhari – Ajomale

Atiku no threat to Buhari–Ajomale

Leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have been advised not to hope for taking over power from the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019. Giving the advice in this interview with TUNDE THOMAS, the Chairman, Conference of APC States’ Chairmen, and Lagos State APC Chairman, Chief Henry Ajomale, said the PDP leaders are only day dreaming if they ever think that the party can bounce back into reckoning at the national level.

Ajomale also spoke on some other national issues including the recent defection of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, to the PDP, Tinubu’s visit to Afenifere leader in Akure, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro’s defection from PDP to APC.

As the Chairman of the Conference of APC States Chairmen, what is your reaction to the defection of the former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, to the PDP?

Atiku is a political chameleon, he is ever unpredictable. It becomes a tradition for him to be jumping from one political party to another. Atiku is not a principled politician. Nobody should take Atiku’s defection serious. It is good riddance to bad rubbish. This is about the third time Atiku would be leaving PDP and going back again to the party. He is not a serious politician.

Atiku should not be deceived by political hangers-on; he must have realised the bitter truth, and the truth is that, he is politically finished. Even in his home state of Adamawa, Atiku has become a laughing stock. His defection to PDP, to us in APC, is good riddance to bad rubbish. Atiku has no political value again. He has nothing to offer again. I even pity Atiku for going back to PDP, because PDP as of today has become a divided house. By going back to PDP, Atiku is going to cause more crisis for the party. PDP is going to become more polarised with Atiku’s return to the party. Atiku has become a spent-force. I don’t think he has anything to offer anymore.

Some people have accused the former VP of not being a principled politician …

Of course, yes. To be saying that, they are absolutely correct. Atiku from all intents now is being driven by personal political ambition. His being in politics from all indications and his own personal actions have shown that what is paramount to him is how to realise his personal political ambition; he has shown that he is not keen on or being driven by the urge to serve the nation, but rather it is the realisation of his own personal interests that matters to him.

But the danger about the way he is playing his politics is that nobody would trust and believe him again. By going back to the PDP, Atiku has simply returned to eat his vomit. For us in APC, we don’t miss anything by Atiku’s defection to PDP. APC doesn’t feel threatened at all, it is Atiku that has become a threat only to himself. APC is not losing any sleep over Atiku’s action. We wish him good luck back in his former political party to which he has now returned.

But some people have described the former VP as a political heavyweight whose departure from the APC is going to be felt, what’s your take on that?

Atiku as a political heavyweight? May be before, but to describe him as a political heavyweight today is to dress Atiku in borrowed robes. Maybe around 1999 and the following years, he was a political asset, but the reality today is that Atiku has become a spent force. He is gradually going into political oblivion.

With a man like President Muhammadu Buhari in the saddle, there is no way Atiku can have political relevance again. To me, Atiku is a political chameleon, he is so desperate for political power; you must be wary of such a man. I will support what former President Goodluck Jonathan said recently that if Atiku wants to realise or secure presidential ticket of PDP, that he should go and beg Obasanjo. However Obasanjo is not the only obstacle to Atiku’s ambition; if Atiku knows that his hands are clean, let him undertake a trip to the United States of America like Obasanjo has been challenging him. Atiku so far has not been able to take up the challenge. So far, so good, Buhari has been performing up to expectation, and not only that, being a man of integrity who is incorruptible, Buhari’s image and personality has been rubbing off positively on Nigeria. How can anybody think of Atiku being Nigeria’s president, a man with so many political baggages? If Atiku wants to prove to us that he is a clean man worthy of leading this nation, let him today undertake a trip to the United States.

This challenge has been thrown at him on several occasions, but since he has skeletons in his cupboard, Atiku has not been able to take up the challenge.

There have been fears of mass defection hitting APC following Atiku’s departure from the party …

Which mass defection? Which mass defection have you seen so far? It is unfortunate that Atiku is being overrated, but sincerely speaking, I hope Atiku should know his own limits. Atiku is already politically finished; nobody is going to follow him into PDP, maybe a handful of supporters if anything at all. Do you know what is referred to as mass defection?

However, let me state this clearly, because Atiku has money and what he usually does is to rent crowd, and most of these people will pretend to be his supporters after collecting money from him. Atiku has so much money that he doesn’t even know what to do with the money, and so what he usually does is this, he rents crowd to give impression that these people are his supporters, but Atiku can’t deceive anybody again, except only himself. Don’t ever judge the crowd you see with Atiku with his political popularity; the crowd you see with him are rented.

By going back to PDP, some Nigerians have described Atiku as being confused, and also lacking political discipline, do you agree with that?

Those saying that are absolutely correct. They are right. There was a time Atiku was quoted as saying that APC would be his last political bus stop, but what happened now? Atiku has proved that he is not a man of his words. That time he condemned the PDP, and there was no name he didn’t give PDP, but has he not eaten his own words by going back to the PDP. Honestly, I don’t understand such a man. For a man like that, I don’t have respect for him again. There was a time, that was sometime in 2011, Atiku was talking with the ACN led by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the CPC led then by General Muhammadu Buhari. The basis of these parties and their leaders talking was to form an alliance in order to face the PDP during the 2011 general elections, but to our shock, Atiku abandoned that alliance talks and returned to the PDP where he boasted to match former President Jonathan money for money in order to clinch the presidential ticket of the PDP, but in the end, Jonathan defeated him.

Some people who have sympathy for Atiku have said the former VP should not be blamed for taking that decision, especially having a feeling that this may be his last time to have the opportunity to contest the presidential election. The argument is that age is not on his side anymore, what’s your take on that?

Does Atiku feel he can beat Buhari if Buhari decides to seek re-election? That would be a mere wishful thinking. But let Buhari declare his intention first. If Buhari wants to seek a second term, how can Atiku of all people think of defeating Buhari? That is nothing but day-dreaming. Atiku would be committing political suicide if he ever thinks of running against Buhari.

All over the world, Buhari is widely respected. But can you say that about Atiku? Buhari can travel to any part of the world, but can Atiku do same?

Nigeria is making steady progress, and also being viewed with respect in the comity of nations. But to have somebody like Atiku to be in charge of the leadership of this country will be a great setback for Nigeria. Atiku’s political coffin will be nailed if he ever tries to run against Buhari.

The recent visit of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti in Akure has been eliciting mixed reactions. As a close associate of Tinubu, why did the APC leader embark on that trip, because the general impression everybody has is that the relationship between Tinubu and Afenifere leaders has not been cordial. Is this trip the beginning of a good rapport between Tinubu and Afenifere leaders?

Tinubu has no problem with Afenifere leaders. He regards them as his fathers. He respects them a lot. There was a time Baba Ayo Adebanjo, late Baba Olaniwun Ajayi also visited Tinubu. Tinubu is showing respect as somebody who believes in the Yoruba tradition by showing respect for leaders. Pa Fasoranti is a highly respected Yoruba leader. People should not insinuate anything extraordinary or unusual to Tinubu’s visit. It is like a son paying visit to his father.

I saw Tinubu and others off at the airport when they were going, and we all collectively agreed that Tinubu should embark on the trip, which we also believe will strengthen unity among the Yoruba.

With Tinubu’s visit to Pa Fasoranti, should the Yoruba now expect closer rapport between Tinubu and Afenifere leaders?

Afenifere leaders are getting old, and it is obvious that they will need to groom some younger elements that will take over the baton from them. Nobody is contesting the leadership of the Yoruba with them, but they need to groom a natural leader of Tinubu’s caliber to step into their shoes, so that there won’t be a vacuum.

I believe that it is time for Afenifere leaders to bring Asiwaju Tinubu close to them. The Yoruba should not experience leadership vacuum, and that’s why it is very important for Tinubu and Afenifere leaders to work closely together.

Tinubu is a younger man who the Afenifere leaders need to be very close to them in order to learn from them what the future holds in stock for the Yoruba race. A closer rapport between Tinubu and Afenifere will be the interest of Yoruba race.

Asiwaju Tinubu perfectly fits into the shoes of a Yoruba leader who will continue to fight for the Yoruba interests within the larger Nigeria.

Who initiated the visit, Tinubu or Afenifere leaders?

There is nothing like who took the initiative or not; if Asiwaju Tinubu decides to visit his fathers, is there anything wrong with that? No. There was a time we all used to converge at Owo, the birthplace of late Papa Adekunle Ajasin. Our convergence there didn’t have any political coloration as what we usually discussed had to do with the Yoruba interests. Tinubu’s visit to Pa Fasoranti is a sign of good things to come for the Yoruba nation. Tinubu is still going to visit other prominent Yoruba leaders including traditional rulers.

What’s your reaction to the recent formal defection of former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro back to theAPC?

Obanikoro has always been one of us until he took that decision to join the PDP. But all along, I knew that Obanikoro is a prodigal son who will one day return to the fold.

We started AD together. We were also together in the cabinet of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He was also elected into the Senate on the platform of AD. With Obanikoro’s defection, the PDP is finally dead in Lagos. Nobody is going to hear anything about PDP again in Lagos.

My good friend that I’m now waiting to receive in APC is Chief Bode George. I’m very optimistic that George will soon be part of us in APC. PDP has nothing to offer Bode George. By now, Bode George ,with the way PDP is treating him, should have realised that the PDP is not a party he can trust.

See how the PDP members are sabotaging his efforts to become the party’s new national chairman.

PDP is a party you can’t trust and that’s why we thank God that APC was able to bring to an end the PDP’s 16 years of bad leadership at the national level.

Initially, PDP ceded the position of national chairman to the Southwest, but suddenly they have changed the rule, and what the party is now saying is that the position has been zoned to the entire South. But the game plan by some leaders of PDP was to ensure that Uche Secondus emerged as the new national chairman of the party. I’m very sure that Bode George’s eyes would have been opened now. My advice to him is that being a Lagosian, he should join APC, he should team up with us in APC so that he can also be part of the success story that APC has been in Lagos State. I’m waiting to hand over APC flag to Bode George. There is nothing again in PDP for him. PDP is a party of manipulators and deceitful men. Bode George has been betrayed by the PDP. If he continues to remain as a PDP member, he will become politically irrelevant.

How would you react to the claims by some Nigerians that APC and PDP are the same, that you can hardly differentiate between the two?

That’s an insult. A very big insult. How can you compare APC with PDP. It is like comparing light with darkness. APC is light while PDP is darkness, and that’s why Nigerians use their voting power to get rid of the party in 2015.

By the time PDP was voted out of office, the party has become a big burden on Nigerians. In actual fact, Nigeria would have become a failed state under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan. Now look at the transformations that have been steadily taking place under the APC leadership. It is no longer business as usual. The era of impunity, which was one of the hallmarks of PDP’s government is also over.

Unlike the ‘ungolden’ era of PDP when looters were having a field day, now it is no longer business as usual. Although some may be complaining about some hardship, APC is trying its best to overcome this challenge. Some of the steps being taken may be gradual, but surely the positive impacts of APC government is being felt all over the place. PDP has gone into political oblivion. The party will never rise again. PDP brought pains, misery and poverty upon Nigerians but, APC is taking steps to ensure that things are getting better as soon as possible. As for 2019 general elections, I have been reading some PDP chieftains boasting that PDP will bounce back into power. What a dream. What wishful thinking. These PDP leaders are suffering from political hallucination. Nigerians will never vote PDP into office again.

On the issue of President Muhammadu Buhari seeking reelection in 2019, the issue has become controversial …

I don’t see any reason for any controversy. So far, Mr President has not come out to make a categorical statement on the issue. The ball is in Buhari’s court, let’s wait for the President to speak on the issue. If Buhari decides to seek reelection, it is his constitutional right to do so, but like I said earlier, let Buhari make his intention known first instead of people speculating.

Source: The Sun

PDP bars Atiku from voting at convention

PDP Shuts Out Atiku From Voting At National Convention

BY CHIBUZO UKAIBE, Abuja

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) declared yesterday that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar might not vote during its national convention billed for this coming Saturday.

Making reference to the party’s constitution over his eligibility to vote at the convention, the party noted that Atiku would however be allowed to attend and address party members at the convention.

This is even as PDP BoT chairman, Walid Jibrin, has said that the party is waiting for Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker Yakubu Dogara and other Senators and members of the House of Representatives to return to its fold the way Atiku did.

He further added that the All Progressives Congress (APC) should be grateful to Atiku for not tearing the membership card of the party like former President Olusegun Obasanjo did to signal his exit from PDP.

Jibrin declared that it is too late to micro- zone the position of the national chairman. Atiku who formally returned to the PDP last week had visited the party’s national secretariat on Tuesday ahead of Saturday’s

national convention.
Section 8 of the PDP constitution, which

deals on procedure for rejoining the party states: “A person who desires to rejoin the party after leaving it shall – (a) apply to his Ward Secretary for re-admission; and (b) unless given waiver by the National Working Committee, be placed on probation for a period of not less than one year.

“(9) Subject to the provision of Section 8(b), a member on probation shall have the right to attend all meetings of the Party, but shall not be entitled to vote at

such meetings, nor shall he be eligible to contest for elective of ce on the platform of the Party”.

Asked whether Atiku is eligible to vote, the national publicity secretary of the party, Prince Dayo Adeyeye said, “All you need to do is pick up the constitution of the party and see whether Atiku is quali ed to vote or not”.

When pressed further, he said, “First of all, I can tell you that we are happy with Atiku coming back to the PDP. It’s very exciting for all of us. It’s a good omen to everybody in the PDP.

“He was one of the founding fathers, one of those who built this party and he’s coming back home. His room was never occupied. So, we have opened it for him. “He will be part of this convention. He will even make a speech at the convention but he may not be voting at the convention”. Adeyeye further alleged that some people serving under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration are trying to disrupt their convention.

He added that those behind the plot know that if it is successful, their days in government will be numbered.

Adeyeye who said they have no evidence of Buhari’s involvement in the move however appealed to him to stop his aides.

The PDP spokesman didn’t reveal the individuals involved in the alleged move to disrupt the convention.

He said, “I want to draw your attention to an issue that bother us. We have credible information that some overzealous elements in the government are trying by any means to disrupt the convention of the PDP to make sure this convention does not hold successfully.

“They have been trying every effort but we are happy that we have no information that it is coming from the very top. But some overzealous elements in the administration are bent…It is a very credible information and they are doing everything possible to make sure that this convention is disrupted.

“They are afraid that if the PDP should hold a successful convention, their days in government are numbered. By the time we hold this convention and our of officers are elected and they take office next year, there will be a floodgate of people even from APC to the PDP.

“This is a credible information and that is why we are appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari to please rein in his aides. We have no evidence that the president is aware of this.

“It is happening and we are calling on him to do his own investigation and to call those who are trying to cause this problem to desist because it is capable, not only of destroying this democracy, but also of destroying the country”.

On his part, chairman of PDP’s BoT, Sen Walid Jibrin, said “As the party joyfully welcomes Atiku back to his home PDP, we are equally waiting to receive more members of the APC, including Sen. Kwankwaso, Senators, members of the House of Representatives, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, APC governors who had earlier left PDP. Thereafter, all of us would unite to take power from APC come 2019”.

On Atiku’s defection, Jibrin said, “APC should remain grateful to Atiku Abubakar, the Wazirin Adamawa, for peacefully resigning with respect without tearing their party membership card, unlike our former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who after ruling Nigeria under the PDP for eight years and after serving as the chairman of the BoT for about Two (2) years, disgracefully tore his membership card”.

He added that it is too late to micro-zone the position of national chairman “considering that after more than Eight (8) aspirants have purchased the forms and are right now about to be screened by the Special Screening Committee.

“They should be allowed to test their fame through the primaries that is about to start on the 9th-10th December 2017. I want to assure our party members that whoever emerged the National Chairman, the BOT is ready to cooperate and work with him for the progress of the party. I wouldliketoreiterateour position that BOT has not anointed any candidates for now”, he added.

Meanwhile, the party has technically barred the states of Anambra and Osun from taking part in the convention because of internal squabbles within the party chapter of the two states.

IBB Optimistic Of Rancour-free Election

Meanwhile, former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, has expressed con dence that the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa- led national convention organising committee of the PDP will conduct a process that would be devoid of any rancor. He spoke when the convention committee chairman and Delta State governor led the chairman of the caretaker committee of the PDP, Ahmed Makar , and other top of cials of the party to pay him a visit at his hill top residence in Minna, Niger State.

He said, “I have here the chairman of the caretaker committee, former chairman of Kaduna State, the chairman of convention planning committee, the governor of Delta State with the offcials for the convention.

“I am glad they are working hard and I have seen that they want to make sure that the convention of the PDP is rancor-free, transparent and everybody will be given a level playing ground”.

The former Nigerian leader expressed hope that “PDP will see one of the best convention like never before”.

On the return of former vice president Atiku Abubakar to the PDP, IBB said, “He is a Nigerian; he is allowed to go to any party and our constitution allows it. So, it is not new and there is nothing wrong for a politician to move from one party to another”.

Earlier, Makarfi disclosed that the visit was in line with the tradition of the PDP where elders and leaders of the party are consulted for the right decisions to be taken  
Source: Leadership 

I will easily defeat Buhari in 2019 — Atiku

I will easily defeat Buhari in 2019 — Atiku

Samuel Ogundipe

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said defeating President Muhammadu Buhari will be a cakewalk for him if the president runs against him in 2019.
Mr. Abubakar said Mr. Buhari has become politically weak after squandering the goodwill which Nigerians accorded him following in 2015 elections.
“I will definitely beat him this time. He has wasted a lot of his massive goodwill,” Mr. Abubakar said.
The former vice-president was interviewed by Dele Momodu for his column which was published Saturday in The Boss Newspaper he publishes.
He said many associates of Mr. Buhari are furious, but they are silent about their disapproval of the president, and are waiting for the right time to strike back.
“A lot of people are disgruntled but keeping quiet and lying low,” Mr. Abubakar said. “Our youths are suffering terribly and now they are being sold into slavery.”
“Everyone knows my track record of inviting and attracting a good team and giving them the opportunity to work professionally. Nigerians are tired of leaders who cannot think big and work big,” he added.
Mr. Abubakar said he would be ready from day one should Nigerians elect him president in 2019.
Mr. Abubakar, vice-president from 1999-2007, dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress last week Friday, citing alleged failure by the Buhari administration to improve the quality of life in the country and neglect of the youth in federal cabinet appointment.

His political allies have indicated that Mr. Abubakar was on his way to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, which has opened its doors to him.
The national spokesperson for the APC, Bolaji Abdullahi, countered Mr. Abubakar’s assertion, saying Mr. Buhari would handily beat the former president should he stand for re-election.
President Muhammadu Buhari
“I believe that the reasons Nigerians voted for President Buhari in 2015 are still pertinent. They voted President Buhari because they needed a leader who has integrity, strong on corruption and capable of defeating Boko Haram.
“If he stands for election in 2019, we believe Nigerians would still vote for him,” Mr. Abdullahi told PREMIUM TIMES by telephone Saturday afternoon.
President Buhari has not yet declared his intention to seek re-election although his recent actions and comments have strongly suggested he will.

Source: Premium Times

I will easily defeat Buhari in 2019 — Atiku

I will easily defeat Buhari in 2019 — Atiku

Samuel Ogundipe

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said defeating President Muhammadu Buhari will be a cakewalk for him if the president runs against him in 2019.
Mr. Abubakar said Mr. Buhari has become politically weak after squandering the goodwill which Nigerians accorded him following in 2015 elections.
“I will definitely beat him this time. He has wasted a lot of his massive goodwill,” Mr. Abubakar said.
The former vice-president was interviewed by Dele Momodu for his column which was published Saturday in The Boss Newspaper he publishes.
He said many associates of Mr. Buhari are furious, but they are silent about their disapproval of the president, and are waiting for the right time to strike back.
“A lot of people are disgruntled but keeping quiet and lying low,” Mr. Abubakar said. “Our youths are suffering terribly and now they are being sold into slavery.”
“Everyone knows my track record of inviting and attracting a good team and giving them the opportunity to work professionally. Nigerians are tired of leaders who cannot think big and work big,” he added.
Mr. Abubakar said he would be ready from day one should Nigerians elect him president in 2019.
Mr. Abubakar, vice-president from 1999-2007, dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress last week Friday, citing alleged failure by the Buhari administration to improve the quality of life in the country and neglect of the youth in federal cabinet appointment.

His political allies have indicated that Mr. Abubakar was on his way to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, which has opened its doors to him.
The national spokesperson for the APC, Bolaji Abdullahi, countered Mr. Abubakar’s assertion, saying Mr. Buhari would handily beat the former president should he stand for re-election.
President Muhammadu Buhari
“I believe that the reasons Nigerians voted for President Buhari in 2015 are still pertinent. They voted President Buhari because they needed a leader who has integrity, strong on corruption and capable of defeating Boko Haram.
“If he stands for election in 2019, we believe Nigerians would still vote for him,” Mr. Abdullahi told PREMIUM TIMES by telephone Saturday afternoon.
President Buhari has not yet declared his intention to seek re-election although his recent actions and comments have strongly suggested he will.

Source: Premium Times

Leave me out of your trouble with US, Buhari blasts Atiku

Buhari to Atiku: Leave me out of your trouble with US

By Yusuf Alli

•Declares: ‘I have never been barred from entering America’
•Ex-VP on why he can’t enter USA
•Vows to beat President in 2019

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday told ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar to go and deal with whatever issues he has with the United States of America (USA) instead of looking for a straw to clutch at.

He dismissed as a fiction, claim by Atiku that he (Buhari) was barred from entering the USA for 15 years on account of his religious views.

Atiku had admitted in an interview with The Boss newspaper published yesterday that he has been unable to visit the United States of America (USA) in the last few years owing to what he termed administrative denials.

He said it was wrong therefore to suggest that he was avoiding a trip to America or afraid of an arrest warrant against him in the US.

He then cited President Buhari, who according to him, was also denied entry into the US for 15 years on account of strong reservations by the White House about his religious views.

The President did not take kindly to the statement.

His Special Adviser of Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina branded the Atiku allegation as “a fictive concoction being passed off as truth.”

He said: “”This fictive concoction being passed off as truth is mind boggling, coming from a former Number Two man of Nigeria, who should know the truth.

“At no time was President Buhari, as a private person, ever forbidden from entering any country in the world.

“Rather, the rest of the world has always held Muhammadu Buhari as a man of sterling qualities, strong on integrity, transparency and accountability. The same testimony is still borne of the Nigerian President by many world leaders today.

“It is curious that former VP Abubakar had been asked why he had not visited America for over a decade, something that had been a stubborn fact dogging his footsteps.

“Instead of answering directly, he begged the question, saying Buhari also had been disallowed from entering the same country for 15 years, before becoming President.

“We hereby make it resoundingly clear that what the former Vice President said only exists in the realm of his imagination. If he has issues to settle with American authorities, he should do so, rather than clutch at a straw.”

Atiku, explaining his own situation said: “I applied but wasn’t issued a visa. However, they did not decline me categorically either.

“They’ve only said my application is going through administrative process. It is the sole prerogative of America to determine who they want in their country or not. I’m not running away from America.”

Speculations about Atiku’s run in with the U.S. authorities stemmed from a broadband contract awarded to iGate, an America company which Williams Jefferson, then U.S. federal lawmaker from Louisiana, had interest in.

Jefferson was jailed in the US for his involvement in the deal in which cash was said to have changed hands.

The former Congressman revealed in a secretly recorded conversation with the FBI that Atiku stood to benefit up to $500,000 for helping influence the broadband deal in Nigeria at the time.

Jefferson subsequently lost his seat in the Congress but Atiku was never prosecuted in Nigeria and there is no record that he was indicted in the U.S over the case.

Responding to the perception he is a corrupt politician, Atiku said: “I have challenged anyone, anywhere, who has any evidence of corruption against me to come forward.

“I’m sure they would have combed everywhere trying to find anything incriminating against me but they have not found it.”

On his presidential ambition in 2019, Atiku who recently resigned from the All Progressives Congress (APC) boasted that he would easily defeat President Muhammadu Buhari should he contest against him in 2019.

“I will beat him this time. He has wasted a lot of his massive goodwill.

“A lot of people are disgruntled but keeping quiet and lying low. Our youths are suffering terribly and now they are being sold into slavery.”

Source: The Nation

Why I’ve not visited United States — Atiku

Why I’ve not visited United States — Atiku

Former Vice-president Atiku Abubakar

Samuel Ogundipe

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar . [Photo credit: Guardian Nigeria]
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has explained why he could not enter the United States.
There have been concerns that Mr. Abubakar was avoiding a trip to America because he fears a warrant was out for his arrest there.
But Mr. Abubakar, who is expected to run for president in 2019, said in an interview published by The Boss newspaper that he had actually made attempt to visit the U.S. but was denied on administrative grounds.
“I applied, but wasn’t issued a visa. However, they did not decline me categorically either. They’ve only said my application is going through administrative process,” Mr. Abubakar told the paper published by Dele Momodu.
“It is the sole prerogative of America to determine who they want in their country or not. I’m not running away from America,” Mr. Abubakar added.
The former vice-president said such administrative denials were not unique to him, saying President Muhammadu Buhari could not also enter the country for 15 years due to his religious views.
The U.S. Embassy in Abuja did not immediately respond to PREMIUM TIMES email seeking comments Saturday afternoon.
Speculation about Mr. Abubakar’s run in with U.S. authorities stemmed from a broadband contract award to iGate, an America company which Williams Jefferson, then U.S. federal lawamker from Louisiana, had interest in.
Mr. Jefferson was said to have used his political influence and friendship with Mr. Abubakar to ensure that the contract went smoothly in Nigeria with intentions to pay some kickbacks to Nigerian officials, including the former vice president.

Mr. Jefferson revealed in a secretly recorded conversation with the FBI that Mr. Abubakar stood to benefit up to $500,000 for helping influence the broadband deal in Nigeria at the time.
Although Mr. Jefferson lost his representative seat and served jail term in America for the deal, Mr. Abubakar was never prosecuted in Nigeria. It is also not clear if Mr. Abubakar was indicted in the U.S over the case.
“On the issue of corruption, I have challenged anyone, anywhere, who has any evidence of corruption against me to come forward. I’m sure they would have combed everywhere trying to find anything incriminating against me, but they have not found it, or they are still searching,” Mr. Abubakar said.
Mr. Atiku, vice-president from 1999-2007, has largely been a businessman since retiring from Nigeria Customs Service decades ago.
He dismissed his critics and contenders as lacking basic entrepreneurial knowledge, hence the reason they despise him for his own business acumen.
“Let any of those who want to compete with me show what they have managed successfully,” Mr. Atiku said.
Mr. Abubakar’s likely 2019 ambition has become increasingly noticeable in his activities in recent months.
Over the past year, he had initiated a slew of political moves to cast himself in a brighter light.
Prominent amongst these is his relentless call for a fundamental restructuring of Nigeria, arguing that the current system is unworkable —a position that Nigerians are buying into in an ever increasing number.
Mr. Abubakar has been described as a serial contender for the presidency, having run in 2007 and 2015 elections, although the 2015 bid ended at primary stage when he lost to Mr. Buhari.

He dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress last week Friday, citing alleged failure by the Buhari administration to improve the quality of life in the country and neglect of the youth in federal cabinet appointment.
His political allies have indicated that Mr. Abubakar was on his way to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, which has opened its doors to him.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan, openly threw her support behind Mr. Abubakar’s presidential bid in September despite the uncertainty that clouds Mr. Buhari’s re-election plans.
Mr. Abubakar also accused the president of sidelining him after contributing immensely to ensure his victory against then-incumbent Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.
The presidency has not reacted to Mr. Abubakar’s criticism.
But Mr. Abubakar’s recent actions have earned him renewed criticism, with many of his adversaries exhuming his past controversies, which include the iGate scandal.

Source: Premium Times