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Poll postponement is hand of Esau but voice of Jacob, says Atiku

Former vice-president Atiku Abubakar has appealed to his supporters to remain peaceful following the postponement of the presidential election.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced early Saturday morning that it was moving the elections by one week because of logistics.

Atiku, who is flying the flag of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the presidential election, alleged that the shift in date was the handwork of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, employing the biblical expression “hand of Esau, voice of Jacob”.

He said: “As you know, the Independent National Electoral Commission has announced a postponement of the elections until 23 February and 9 March respectively.

“The Buhari administration has had more than enough time and money to prepare for these elections and the Nigerian people were poised and ready to perform their civic responsibility by voting in the elections earlier scheduled for Saturday, 16 February, 2019.

“This postponement is obviously a case of the hand of Esau but the voice of Jacob. By instigating this postponement, the Buhari administration hopes to disenfranchise the Nigerian electorate in order to ensure that turn out is low on the rescheduled date. Nigerians must frustrate their plans by coming out in even greater numbers on Saturday, 23 February and Saturday, 9 March respectively.

“Knowing that the Nigerian people are determined to reject them, they are desperate and will do anything in their power to avoid their rejection by the Nigerian people.

“Their plan is to provoke the public, hoping for a negative reaction, and then use that as an excuse for further anti-democratic acts.”

He asked his supporters to be patient “in the face of provocation”.

Atiku also urged them to come and vote en masse on the new dates.

“I call on all Nigerians to be patient. We have tolerated the maladministration of this government for four years. We can extend our tolerance a few more days and give them our verdict via our votes,” he said.

“Maintain the peace and be law abiding. Do not react to this provocation with anger, violence or any action that might be exploited by those who do not want this election to hold. Remain calm. We will overcome this. You can postpone an election, but you cannot postpone destiny.

“Please come out to vote on Saturday, 23 February and Saturday, 9 March respectively. Frustrate those who do not want this election to hold by coming out in very large numbers. That is the best antidote to their plans.

“May God bless you and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

US secretary of state calls Atiku, seeks credible elections

Michael Pompeo, the United States secretary of state placed a call to Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Friday.

Atiku disclosed this via his official Twitter handle but did not give details of his conversation with Pompeo.

He, however, said Pompeo affirmed the international community’s commitment to free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria.

The presidential and national assembly polls will hold on Saturday, while that of the governorship and state house of assembly will hold on March 2.

“Earlier today I received a call from US Secretary of State, @SecPompeo, who reaffirmed the international community’s commitment to free and fair elections in Nigeria,” he wrote.

“Wishing you all a peaceful elections, wherever you are. God bless Nigeria.”

Atiku Abubakar

@atiku

Earlier today I received a call from US Secretary of State, @SecPompeo, who reaffirmed the international community’s commitment to free and fair elections in Nigeria.

Wishing you all a peaceful elections, wherever you are. God bless Nigeria.

4,534 people are talking about this

There have been speculations that the US is in support of the candidature of Atiku, especially after he visited the country in January, 12 years after being denied visa.

Festus Keyamo, spokesman of President Muhammadu Buhari reelection campaign, had accused the US of protecting and seemingly supporting Abubakar.

Keyamo said Stuart Symington, the US ambassador to Nigeria, “seems to be saying that only a PDP victory will be evidence of a fair election”.

The US has denied the allegation, saying it is not in support of any candidate.

“The United States Embassy in Nigeria wishes to reiterate unequivocally that we are not taking sides in Nigeria’s election. We do not support any party or candidate,” Symington had said in response to Keyamo’s claim.

I still hope to be friends with Atiku after we retire him on Saturday —Tinubu

A national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, said on Thursday in Lagos that the APC would send the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, into retirement on Saturday for the good of Nigeria.

Tinubu said this in a statement by his Media Officer, Mr. Tunde Rahman.

“This election is more than a contest between two men, President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, for that one exalted chair.

”Look, I have made no attempts to hide my friendship with Atiku. We are friends before this election and hopefully we will be friends after February 16 when he goes into retirement.

”For the good of Nigeria and even the good of Atiku himself, we will do well to send him into retirement on Saturday.

”Perhaps, we should also send Obi into retirement along with his boss come February 16. Perhaps, together, they might manage to discover the place where they might learn compassion for the common man,” he said.

Tinubu said there was not much good that could be found in the policies and programmes announced by the PDP.

“Atiku’s answers to our economic challenges are to shrink and restrain government from being the active catalyst toward a diversified economy that assured broadly-shared prosperity through the just allocation of wealth and reward according to sweat and toil put forth by the Nigerian people.

“They seek an unfair, unjust and unequal Nigeria. Their definition of Nigeria is a nation run by the greedy, for the profit of the rich, at the command of the mighty,” he said.

Tinubu said that the objective of the APC was to remake Nigeria into a great nation.

“Our vision is the opposite of theirs. Unlike the PDP, we, the APC, are anchored to the proposition that every Nigerian is entitled to equal access and sufficient economic opportunity so that he may use his talents, skills and committed exertion to carve for himself and his loved ones the decent and good life every human being seeks.

“The ordinary person is not to be shortchanged of the fair dividends of his honest sweat and diligent labour simply because he may be poor or because the powerful and wealthy want more.

“Because of the APC’s concerns for the struggles of the average person, we launched beneficial social welfare programmes such as the school feeding programme, TraderMoni and N-Power.

“As such, we have made progress caring for our most needy and vulnerable through these and other innovative and unprecedented policies. These programmes are of the type all great nations do for their citizens,” he said.

Tinubu said that the APC was not satisfied by what had been accomplished, saying that what had been done was but the opening phase of a more ambitious undertaking.

“We have just begun to fight poverty and reform this economy on the scale required. Though we have helped millions, several millions more are needed to end poverty’s stranglehold on their lives.

“We must expand the scope and reach of our social welfare programmes to encompass those other people who have been denied access to the productive economy through no fault of their own.

“Additionally, we must put idle hands to work to build a modern infrastructure that will energise agricultural output in rural areas and foster labour-intensive industrialisation in our growing cities, ” he said.

The former governor of Lagos State said that the second term of President Buhari would be dedicated to changing the structure of the economy for the better.

“We must amend our national economic architecture to unlock the full potentials of our people and our land. To me, this is the core mandate of government for and of the people.

“Throughout the campaign, we have talked about taking Nigeria to the Next Level. To me, this Next Level is informed by forging a new partnership between government and the governed to create a more just and prosperous economy for all.

“The beginning of this new partnership is already taking shape. As stated before, we have initiated a first phase of social welfare programmes,” he said.

Tinubu urged the people of South West to join APC in implementing the Next Level agenda.

“The South West has always been at the vanguard of progressive governance in Nigeria. Today should be no exception to this historic role we have played.

“I ask the people of the South West to join the APC so that we attain the Next Level by implementing this bold and good new partnership built on the following pillars: power, infrastructure, housing, industrialisation, agriculture and social security,” he said.

Tinubu said that the coming elections were a choice between progress and retreat.

“The future is uncertain until we enter it. Feb. 16 is Election Day and on that day Nigeria shall step into its future.

“How you vote on that day will determine whether we walk into the future in a manner that guides our subsequent steps toward the national greatness that calls to us or will we walk into it backwards as if feebly trying to reinvent the past.

“One road leads to a certain replay of the economic injustices of the past. It is a road well-worn with familiar pitfalls and setbacks built into the very nature of it.

“The other road provides the truest, brightest chance for us to enter into our hopeful future but only if we are brave enough to believe in our capacity to improve our nation,” he said.

Tinubu urged Nigerians to vote for President Buhari for a secure future.

“This is the future we must enter. This is the future the APC champions. This is future you must choose on Election Day. Vote for yourselves by voting for President Buhari,” he said.

Tinubu urged Nigerians to conduct themselves peacefully before, during and after the elections to ensure a violence-free exercise.

“In the exercise of our civic duty at this historic and important moment, I ask that you conduct yourselves with utmost tolerance and in equal peace towards both political ally and political opponent.

“Let us show the world that we know the true meaning of democracy. On Election Day let not an angry hand be raised against any Nigerian.

“No matter our political differences, let us remember we are of one land and of the same national family.

“This election shall be free and fair and conducted without the arm of violence. For this is as Nigeria and our democratic exercise must be to achieve the excellent destination intended for us.“

(NAN)

Atiku says ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian

Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says his ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian.

Speaking at the signing of the national peace accord ahead of the February 16 presidential election, the former vice-president called on security agencies not to arrest opposition leaders 24 to 48 hours before the election.

“May I use this opportunity to renew my profound gratitude, firstly to my party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and then to General Abdulsalami Abubakar and members of the Peace Committee for their tireless enthusiasm, dedication, and passion towards ensuring the success of this Peace Accord Process,” he said.

“Our gathering here today clearly demonstrates the importance of the upcoming elections as well as how our democracy has matured, not only to our people, but also to the international community whose solidarity, Nigeria’s democracy has benefited from.

“As we prepare to sign off on this Peace Accord, as representatives of our party and people, may I freely quote the words of former President Goodluck Jonathan, which remains a benchmark, for me, taking into account the deep feelings that prevail as February 16th, 2019, approaches: ‘My ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian’.”

Atiku called on officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission to remain neutral.

“In this context, I appeal once again to every staff and the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigeria Police Force, to be fair arbiters in the upcoming elections while letting neutrality prevail.

“For emphasis and in the spirit of fair play, I also urge our security agencies, not to embark on indiscriminate arrests of members of the opposition, 24 to 48 hours before elections, as has been the case in previous elections.

“Hopefully, our democracy should emerge stronger from this process with the 2019 elections proving better managed than the 2015 process, which was adjudged free and fair with the then opposition’s victory unobstructed

“Consequently, I also appeal to the President, General Buhari, to use his good office to ensure that every eligible person who casts their vote is confident in the process and in the belief that their vote will count.

“Additionally, every candidate must remember that this election is about the future of Nigeria, therefore, we must abide by the will of the people as freely expressed through elections, under the terms of our constitution.

“Once again, despite concerns expressed by my party leaders concerning likely electoral malpractices and the intimidation of voters and observers, I trust that our election officials and security services will do their duty in accordance with their oath and obligations.

“In conclusion, I appeal once again, to our citizens, to go out and cast their votes for the candidates of their choice, to be peaceful at all times, and confident in our democracy, its institutions and processes.

“So, please go out this Saturday to vote for your future and the future of our great nation. May God bless you and God bless Nigeria”.

2019 elections: Eurasia Group predicts Buhari win …despite Atiku gaining momentum

Eurasia Group, reputed as the world’s largest political-risk consultancy, says President Muhammadu Buhari will win the February 16 presidential election, according to a report by The Cable.

In its final Eurasia Group Politics First election forecast, the group, which was founded in 1998 by American political scientist Ian Bremmer, said Buhari has a 60 percent probability to win.

“Opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar has regained some momentum in recent weeks, but President Muhammadu Buhari remains favored to win (a 60% probability),” the group said.

“On election day, the ruling All Progressives Congress’s (APC’s) significantly greater control of local political structures and resources—it governs 23 states compared to the opposition’s 12—will boost voter mobilization and solidify Buhari’s advantage.”

In 2015, Eurasia Group tipped Buhari to defeat former president Goodluck Jonathan, changing its stance some weeks to the election, after it had initially chosen the former president to win.

At the time, the group said although it initially tipped “President Goodluck Jonathan for re-election, a number of factors had since changed, and the pendulum had swung to the Buhari’s side”.

ONNOGHEN WILL NOT AFFECT ELECTIONS

Onnoghen and Buhari

The group said the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend Walter Onnoghen, the embattled Chief Justice of Nigeria, will not affect the elections.

“Positive news coverage in recent weeks, along with Buhari’s controversial move to suspend Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen over allegations of corruption, have boosted Atiku’s campaign, but it is too late to change the electoral dynamics and Buhari remains favored to win on 16 February,” the group said.

“As we have previously noted, key actors in Atiku’s camp—including his campaign’s director general Bukola Saraki, key powerbroker Governor Nyesom Wike of the oil-rich Rivers state, and southeast governors from his People’s Democratic Party (PDP)—had been disengaged from his election campaign”.

WIKE ANNOYED, SARAKI DISTRACTED

Saraki and Wike

The group added that Atiku’s big players have been disengaged from his political campaign, adding that governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will be fighting to ensure they win their own elections.

“Wike was annoyed by Atiku’s failure to consult him on key decisions, Saraki remains distracted by a tough Senate reelection battle in Kwara state, and the southeast governors are hampered by many conflicting motivations, including their own lack of political clout (which makes them reluctant to overtly challenge the federal government) and their wariness of Atiku’s running mate Peter Obi, a former governor of the southeastern Anambra state who they view as a political outsider.

“The lack of enthusiasm on the part of some PDP governors is a problem for Atiku because these officials control significant discretionary funds at the state level (known as ‘security votes’) that are easier to access without triggering graft concerns.”

ATIKU’S SUPPORTERS NOT WILLING TO DIE FOR HIM

Buhari’s passionate supporters

The group concluded by saying “Atiku’s voters do not match Buhari’s in passion and are unlikely to risk their lives on the streets for him”.

“Though Buhari’s decision to suspend the chief justice triggered widespread criticism and stoked passions (along with fears about a more autocratic Buhari second term), many voters blame the judiciary for not moving quicker to force Onnoghen’s resignation after he admitted he had violated rules regarding declaration of assets.

“Thus, should Atiku lose, as we expect, there will be few motivated stakeholders to encourage or instigate serious violence. Instead, we expect PDP governors to quickly turn their attention to fighting to retain their own jobs in state elections on 2 March”

A few weeks ago, Eurasia Group said Buhari will continue as a politically weak president, while Atiku may retract his pledge made during campaign season.

FG plotting to arrest Atiku’s associates, aide alleges

Phrank Shaibu, an aide of Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says the party has uncovered a plot by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to frame and arrest associates of Atiku.

In a statement on Thursday in Abuja, Shaibu said the ruling party wants to use the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to frame his associates for money laundering.

He alleged that the plot is being led by an APC governor in the north west working in tandem with a prominent minister in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet.

He urged the EFCC and the plotters to “desist from any act that could create chaos and anarchy” in the electoral process, adding that Nigerians were already fed up.

“The architects of this plot believe that unless the APC destabilises the main opposition party and gets rid of the key associates of the PDP Presidential Candidate, President Buhari’s plan to clinch a second term in office will be in jeopardy, especially as they are afraid – for obvious reasons that the President has become unpopular and won’t be re-elected at the poll,” the statement read.

“The first step in this desperate plot is to arrest some of our associates using the EFCC with others soon to follow, based on a list that has been drawn up by the cabal.

“The cooked intelligence report concluded that all means must be used to stop Atiku. Reading between lines, the measures being advocated in the report could only be to frame his associates for money laundering, creation of chaos and anarchy to pave the way for the derailing of the electoral process, which will ultimately lead to the emergence of an interim national government.

“We also warn the security and anti-graft agencies to be independent and not to allow themselves to be used for political gains. They should put national interest above partisan interest, and remember that the President Muhammadu Buhari and his APC gang are not synonymous with the Nigerian nation. Buhari is just a bull in china shop that will soon be ejected by the peoples’ votes on February 16.”

South East governors dump Buhari

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors, hitherto hesitant on throwing their weight behind the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in favour of a deal with President Muhammadu Buhari, have finally embraced the idea.

Vanguard, reports that alleged plans by the All Progressives Congress, APC to break the ranks of Southeast governors belonging to the People’s Democratic Party, PDP may have derailed, due to a new realisation that the Buhari option is a fluke.

The governors have been alleged to have struck a deal to enable President Muhammadu Buhari get at least 25% of the votes in their states in quid pro quo for their own easy re-election.

Concerns over the commitment of the Southeast governors to the PDP presidential candidate had in recent times emerged upon the open affinity of the governors to President Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Three of the Southeast governors belong to the PDP, the exceptions being Governors Rochas Okorocha of Imo State who belongs to the APC and Willie Obiano of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA.

All three PDP governors in the region, Dave Umahi, Ebonyi; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Enugu and Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia are all running for a second term.

Gov. Umahi had in particular been openly supportive of Buhari’s second term and was only last week endorsed by traditional rulers in the state who at the same time endorsed Buhari.

However, very reliable sources told Vanguard that the “wool was pulled of the eyes” of the governor at a confidential meeting involving all three governors, Atiku and Senate President Bukola Saraki.

The meeting which took place in Enugu according to sources was facilitated by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu.

“Some of the governors had been led to believe that giving Buhari 25% of the votes would not do them any harm but that meeting opened their eyes to the danger of that,” a source at the meeting disclosed.

“They were made to realise that they were all in the first term and that after helping the president that the president would turn around to push APC governorship candidates to throw them out and don’t forget that the governorship election comes after the presidential.”

Atiku who was present reminded them of the 2003 scenario in which the PDP swept all but one of the five Alliance for Democracy, AD governors from power. The exception was Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in Lagos who was allegedly tipped of by Atiku.

Gov. Umahi who is from Ohazara in the Southern Senatorial District had been especially touted as a collaborator with the Buhari Campaign following from their links in the former All Nigeria People’s Party, ANPP.

Sources, however, disclosed that the governor may have reconsidered upon the ethnic dimensions in the state. The governor is from Uburu in Ohazara Local Government Area, one of the smaller communities in the state.

Atiku vows to construct Mambilla Hydro power dam if elected

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Candidate on Tuesday pledged to complete the Mambilla Hydro Electric Power Dam in Taraba, if elected.

Abubakar, who made the pledge at the PDP Presidential campaign in Jalingo, said that the current administration had promised to construct the dam but failed to keep its promise.

The PDP candidate also promised to tackle insecurity in the state and the country head-on, to pave way for rapid development.

“If elected president of Nigeria on Feb. 16, I will complete the Mambilla Hydro Electric Power Dam within my tenure in office, to solve the problem of electricity in the state and the country.

“I will also construct Federal Government roads in the state as well as refund the money Taraba spent in constructing federal roads in the state.”

He urged the people of the state to re-elect Gov. Darius Ishaku to enable him to continue with delivering good governance.

The PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, urged the people of the state to vote Atiku for job creation, peace and prosperity of the country.

Secondus urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to provide a level playing field for all so that the outcome of the polls would be accepted by all.

Ishaku assured the presidential candidate of unalloyed support by the people of the state, to ensure his victory at the polls.

He noted that Atiku’s candidature was a symbol of unity and progress of the country, adding that he should be supported for a better Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that hundreds of PDP supporters turned out to welcome the candidate to the state.

Ganduje orders shut down of Kano stadiums ahead of Atiku’s rally

Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano state, on Tuesday ordered the immediate closure of two major stadiums in the state.

This is coming five days to the campaign rally of Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Atiku’s rally is scheduled for February 10 while the renovation is expected to end on February 18.

The proposed general renovation works include the installation of the new score board, the running track and provision of sources for steady water supply to all parts of the stadiums.

A government official who spoke off the record told TheCable that the shutdown of the two stadium — Sani Abacha Stadium situated at Kofar Mata and Kano Pillars stadium at Sabon Gari — was intended to frustrate the forthcoming campaign rally of the PDP.

But Abbati Sabo, spokesman of the sports commission, said the closure was not targetted at the presidential rally of the PDP presidential candidate.

He added that the renovation work was as a result of the 2019-2020 Nigeria Premier League (NPL) season.

“As far as I am concerned, this directive doesn’t have a political undertone. The state government was advised to order for the renovation of the stadium ahead of the NPL season,” he said.

“The government had now heeded to the advice and ordered for the project in order to have smooth conduct of the league. As you can see, the facility is in need of repair and the government has now answered the call for its renovation.”

President Muhammadu Buhari used the Sani Abacha stadium for his reelection campaign last week.

Atiku only got temporary waiver to enter US – Report

Lobbyists hired by Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), played a huge role in making him get a temporary waiver to visit the US after a ban which lasted over a decade.

In a report, Reuters quoted unnamed US government officials as saying the travel ban was waived temporarily by the US state department after lobbyists mounted a campaign among congressional lawmakers arguing that the administration should not snub the leading challenger to President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 16 election.

“One person familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Atiku was allowed to enter because the United States saw little benefit to creating bad blood with the man who might be the next leader of Africa’s most populous nation and the continent’s biggest oil producer,” Reuters said in the report.

The agency said during his visit, Atiku met with top US diplomats and lawmakers to thank them for the temporary suspension of a travel ban linked to bribery scandals.

Atiku’s critics had said he went to the US as an aide of Senate President Bukola Saraki, who was among those with the presidential candidate during the trip, but the Reuters report has laid that aside.

The visit was seen by his supporters as a major landmark, especially as the All Progressives Congress (APC) had argued he would be arrested if he tried entering the country.

Atiku’s row with the US authorities began after the FBI investigated a bribery scandal involving William Jefferson, former US congressman, in 2004. He was accused of demanding a bribe of $500,000 to facilitate the award of contracts to two American telecommunication firms in Nigeria.

The FBI had searched his residence in the posh neighbourhood of Potomac, Maryland, but no money was found. The investigators had videotaped Jefferson, who was the congressman representing Louisiana, receiving $100,000 worth of $100 bills which he claimed was meant for Atiku, but the former vice-president has consistently denied the allegation.

In another case, US senate investigators had alleged in 2010 that one of Atiku’s wives allegedly helped him transfer more than $40 million in “suspect funds” into the United States from offshore shell companies. At least $1.7 million of that money was bribes paid by German technology company Siemens AG, according to the US senate investigators.

The company pleaded guilty to bribery charges in 2008 and agreed to pay a $1.6 billion fine. Neither Atiku nor his wife is however, facing criminal charges in the US.

After leaving office in 2007, Atiku was unable to enter the US after his request for visa was refused.

Commenting on this in December 2017, he had said: “It is the sole prerogative of America to determine who they want in their country or not. I’m not running away from America. I applied, but wasn’t issued a visa.”

In November, The Cable had reported that Atiku’s party signed a deal with Brian Ballard, a top US lobbyist, to enhance US-Nigeria relations, with a focus to “maintaining political and security conditions free of intimidation and interference”.

TheCable also reported that he had been granted visa.

According to Reuters, Atiku engaged Holland & Knight, a lobbyist for the firm, “to help him secure a visa, in part by enlisting members of Congress to request one on his behalf.”

“Lobbyists hired by Atiku said they sought to overcome resistance at the State Department by securing support from members of Congress for the visit, as well as arguing that the top U.S. official for African affairs, Assistant Secretary Tibor Nagy, had an obligation to encourage democracy in the seventh most populous country in the world,” it reported.

A source at the US state department was also quoted as saying: “Assistant Secretary Nagy was pleased to meet with him and share the U.S. government’s expectations that Nigeria’s elections be free, fair, transparent, and peaceful, and reflect the will of the Nigerian people.”

The source added that the department had not requested the waiver.

Online media had reported how Judd Legum, former research director of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, suggested the former vice-president paid as much as $540,000 to get his way into the US.

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo was said to have been very instrumental in the process which made the US grant Atiku the visa.

 

APC has destroyed Nigerian economy, Atiku cries out

The Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has blamed the All Progressive Congress-led federal government for destroying the Economy of Nigeria.

Abubakar who spoke in Umuahia, the Abia state, capital on Saturday during his presidential campaign visit to the state, said the economic foes caused by the APC government has rendered millions of Nigerians jobless.

He said the future of Nigerian youths would be uncertain if such a government continued in power.

“We have 21 million people unemployed which is the highest in the history of Nigeria and this is not the government we want to continue in this country,” he said

The PDP candidate told the party faithful in the state to work hard for the party to win the presidential and other electoral offices in the forth coming election, saying the outcome of the election would determine the future of the Country.

He said, “This election is one of the most important elections in our life time because it will determine if we will be able to empower our youths and our women.

You had always voted PDP in this state, continue doing that because your support for the party has brought you good governance, development, progress and we will do more for Abia people”.

He urged his party men to ensure that their votes are counted and declared before leaving the polling units after voting.

“When you vote on the Election day don’t leave your polling units, make sure INEC officials counts the result and declares them before everybody because they know that they will lose and they will want to rig the election and if you allow them to rig our children will suffer the consequences. APC want to steal this election but we will not allow them to steal it”.

Also canvassing for votes for her husband the wife of the PDP presidential candidate Mrs. Jennifer Abubarkar urged Abia electorate to vote for her husband.

She urged voters who had yet to collect their permanent voters’ card to endeavor to collect them before the end of next week.

The PDP National chairman, Mr. Uche Secondus while campaigning for Abubakar, asked the security agencies in Nigeria to block the Country’s borders and ensure that no foreigner is allowed to vote in the 2019 election.

“All we are asking from INEC and the security agencies is not to rig the election, because if they rig the election it will cause violence and crises.

“We are for peace, they should allow the people to vote and defend their votes because their vote matters. We wouldn’t accept a rigged election and foreigners from Niger Republic and Chad coming to vote in Nigeria, INEC should take note of this.

“We call on the foreign affairs minister to close our borders; we saw foreigners demonstrating at the APC rally in Kano and we will not want them to give our PVCs to them to influence the election,” he stated.

“I will work with your Governor to create employment for the youths through small and medium scale enterprises because Aba is the head quarters of SMEs in Nigeria, we will create a business hub to ensure that Aba serves its purpose for Nigeria and by doing so many young men and women will be gainfully employed.

 

Protect your votes, Atiku tells youth in Ebonyi

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Candidate in the forthcoming  elections, has urged the youth in Ebonyi State to protect their votes in the forthcoming general elections.

Abubakar made the call on Friday during the Party’s presidential rally in Abakliki.

“You are agile, patriotic and determined, so make sure that you protect your votes.

“Go and vote massively for all the candidates of the party in the forthcoming general elections,” he told the youth.

Abubakar commended the governor of the state, Mr David Umahi, for mobilising massive crowd for the rally, and for his infrastructural strides, especially in road construction.

Abubakar’s running mate, Mr Peter Obi, said the party’s presidential candidate could turn around the economy of the country.

“He will replicate the infrastructural and related strides of your governor at the national level.

“We will ensure adequate security in the country. We will also ensure that our children are in school, because, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike would have been averted.”

The governor said that the state was the mainstay of the PDP in the country, and would massively vote for Abubakar and other candidates of the party in the general elections.

“I warn mischief makers who doubt the authenticity of the state as the headquarters of the party in Nigeria to desist from such.

“They should leave us alone as this is the highest mobilisation of party supporters in the nation ever since, and we are intact for the party.’’

The National Chairman of the party, Chief Uche Secondus, said that the mobilisation proved that the people of the state had actually accepted the party.

“Abubakar will rescue the country from insecurity and poor state of the economy, while enhancing the wellbeing of our youths and women whom he believes in,” he said.

The state Chairman of the party, Mr Onyekachi Nwebonyi, promised that party faithful would vote for all the candidates of the party in the elections.

The Presidential and National Assembly elections are scheduled for Feb. 16, while the governorship and state Houses of Assembly polls come up on March 2.

The Economist insists Atiku will win presidential election

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Africa is insisting that Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will win the February 16 presidential election.

On Friday, EIU Africa said the margin of victory is getting narrower as the election approaches, but Atiku and his political party will win the historic election.

 : Less than 2 weeks before ‘s presidential election. Abubakar has floated idea of corruption amnesty. It is arguably an impolitic time for such a delicate proposal,” EIU Africa tweeted.

“Abubakar is hard-pressed to convince voters that he is a clean politician, having been on the receiving end of numerous graft allegations in the past.

“We retain out forecast for  to win, but expected margin of victory is narrowing as the poll approaches.”

The EIU Africa team@TheEIU_Africa

: Less than 2 weeks before ‘s presidential election. Abubakar has floated idea of corruption amnesty. It is arguably an impolitic time for such a delicate proposal.

The EIU Africa team@TheEIU_Africa

Abubakar is hard-pressed to convince voters that he is a clean politician, having been on the receiving end of numerous graft allegations in the past. We retain out forecast for to win, but expected margin of victory is narrowing as the poll approaches.

See The EIU Africa team’s other Tweets

PREVIOUS PREDICTION

In 2015, the magazine also predicted victory for Muhammadu Buhari over then-incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, stating that Buhari was “the least awful choice,” which would be chosen “with a heavy heart”.

“Voters have ample cause to send Mr Jonathan packing. In a country where power has often changed through the barrel of a gun, the opposition All Progressives Congress has a real chance of winning through the ballot box,” The Economist said in 2015.

The research unit of London-based The Economist Magazine had said in 2018 that the PDP will win the 2019 election.

“Abubakar’s pledge is to reinvigorate the economy with pro-market reforms. Both candidates are from the northern Nigeria, where Buhari’s support base lies, presaging a fierce contest there,” EIU had said.

“With the vote likely to be split in the North, Abubakar will find it easier to garner support from the country’s south, which has traditionally been a safe haven for the PDP.

“This gives Abubakar an edge, as does popular frustration over the rise in joblessness and poverty (two of the biggest voter concerns) on Mr. Buhari’s watch, as well as growing insecurity in central Nigeria.”

Lai Mohammed, minister for information and culture, had said The Economist’s prediction was nothing but fake news.

“We have all read that the intelligence unit of The Economist said the PDP will defeat the ruling APC in 2019,” he had said.

“We have also read that the international financial institution HSBC said Nigeria’s economic development will be stunted if President Buhari gets a second term

“Let me state clearly that these reports are based on fake premises and, therefore, qualify as fake news. It is a psychological warfare by those who have been badly hit by our policies.”

Atiku: How I blocked a former Anambra governor from returning to office

Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says he had a hand in Chinwoke Mbadinuju’s failed bid at getting a second term as governor of Anambra state in 2003.

While fielding questions on The Candidates, a live television show on the 2019 elections, Atiku who was then vice-president to Olusegun Obasanjo said Mbadinuju did not do well with the state’s educational sector which Atiku said is most important to him.

He said he convinced Obasanjo that they should work against Mbadinuju.

“When I was VP, I took a tour to Anambra state during the governorship administration of Chinwoke Mbadinuju. I found out all the public schools were overtaken by weeds,” he said.

“I went back to the president and said this governor must never be allowed to come back. And, believe me, he never did.”

Mbadinuju had won the PDP governorship primary in 2003 but Chris Ngige was named the party’s candidate.

In an interview with Vanguard in 2012, Mbadinuju had also accused Obasanjo of stopping him from getting a second term as governor.

“And when it came to second term, the man who praised me so much; he wrote in the News magazine of 27th December, 2004, that he, President Obasanjo, single handedly stopped my second term in office. He was the person who said I scored A-plus in infrastructure and when it came to peace and security, I got Gold cup in National Competition in Abuja and in infrastructural development, I got B, second position,” he said.

“So, in terms of working as a governor of a state nobody can challenge me. When I asked him in Awka when he came to raise Ngige’s hand, I said, ‘ah Baba, why did you raise Ngige’s hand now, (yet) you gave me A-plus in my work?” He said, ‘Odera, it is politics.’ I said, ‘politics with my second term?’”

CJN’s suspension: Atiku slams Buhari, says it’s dictatorship taken too far

 

 

As expected,  reactions have trailed the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria , Walter Onnoghen  by President Muhammadu Buhari  and his replacement by Justice Tanko Mohamed.

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate,  Atiku Abubakar said the action was dictatorship taken too far and  was unlawful.

Below is the full statement from:.

 

PRESS RELEASE

The Purported Suspension of CJN Onnoghen is an Act of Dictatorship Taken too Far

Abuja, Nigeria, 25 Jan 2019:

The purported suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria by President Muhammadu Buhari, is an anti democratic act which I reject in its entirely and call on Justice Onnoghen and the judiciary to resist with every legal and constitutional means that they can muster.

This brazen dictatorial act is the latest action in the ongoing rape of our nation’s hard earned democracy by those who dined with anti democratic forces, and is symptomatic of the increasing desperation that President Buhari and the cabal pulling the strings have as February 16, 2019 draws near.

The fact that the unlawful suspension of Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen was announced just as it became public knowledge that the CJN was constituting the election petition tribunals is not lost on discerning Nigerians and the international community. This act of desperation is geared towards affecting the outcome of the 2019 Presidential elections. Indeed, it is not just the CJN that has been “suspended”, it is the Nigerian Constitution that has been infracted and, in effect, suspended, under the guise of the suspension of the CJN.

The case involving the legality or otherwise of the charges against Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen is in court, as it should be. So far, the judiciary has ruled in Justice Onnoghen’s favour. So, why not allow the court to adjudicate on the matter? What is the pressing urgency?

I want to seize this opportunity to call for unity amongst the judiciary. Do not let the Muhammadu Buhari administration divide you. Do not let this government turn you against yourselves. The judiciary is the last hope of the common man and the defender of our democracy.

I also urge the international community to follow the commendable example of the United States and the United Kingdom by intervening to make those involved in this undemocratic act know that their actions will have consequences. Strong consequences.

And to the Nigerian electorate, I call on you to save your beloved country from dictatorship by voting against President Muhammadu Buhari’s desperate war against the judiciary. Our country is falling apart under the leadership of President Buhari and it is time to stand up for democracy.

Signed:

Atiku Abubakar

Waziri Adamawa

Presidential Candidate of PDP & Vice President of Nigeria, 1999-2007.

Atiku didn’t travel to US as my aide —Saraki

Senate President Bukola Saraki says the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, did not travel to the United States as an aide to the Senate President.

The All Progressives Congress had said Atiku was finally allowed to travel to the US because he posed as an aide to Saraki.

Speaking on AIT’s Kakaaki programme on Wednesday, Saraki, who is the Director-General, Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation, described the allegation as nonsensical.

He said, “These are desperate claims. When you are campaigning and you see that you have suffered a setback, just move on and don’t make a fool of yourself. To say the candidate travelled on my merit is not true.

“He applied for his visa, was given the visa and he was invited to attend functions. How do you do that? How do you travel as an aide? That is ridiculous! They know it. It is very difficult for them to respond because they have sold a lot of propaganda and lies to Nigerians.

“I remember when we sat a lot of young people down when we started and introduced him (Atiku) as our candidate and they said they would support him because he has a good agenda for the youth and knows how to create jobs but the concern was that the government said Atiku could not travel to America and how can we have a President that cannot travel to America?

“And he (Atiku) always said it was not a problem but it was important for us to address the problem and put it behind us and because the other party was using it as propaganda, we decided to go to America and instead of them to keep quiet and move on, they say he went as my aide.”

Saraki also lambasted the Buhari-led government for operating an opaque fuel subsidy regime.

The Senate President, who exposed subsidy fraud at the National Assembly in 2011, said the corruption was still taking place.

He admitted that corruption thrived under former President Goodluck Jonathan’s subsidy regime but argued that Buhari’s own was worse because his government was give money to marketers  with funds that were not approved by the National Assembly.

Debate: Pick date, time, Atiku challenges Buhari

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to pick the date and time that would be convenient for him to debate with him and other presidential candidates.

In a statement shared on his verified Twitter handle, shortly after he walked out of the presidential debate venue, Atiku said, he would be unable to participate in the debate due to the absence of the President, who is the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress.

He tweeted, With respect to my fellow candidates, Fela Durotoye, Oby Ezekwesili, Kingsley Moghalu & to moderator Mark Sugar & with apologies to Nigerians here & at home expecting an interesting debate, I regret I will not be able to go on with this debate due to President Buhari’s absence.

“I, however, challenge President Buhari to choose a date and time for a debate where he will be present and I will be there, hopefully with the other candidates as well.”

The presidential debate is organised by the Nigeria Elections Debate Group and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria.

Atiku to Buhari: I’ll defeat you with or without US trip

Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says with or without a trip to the US, he will dislodge President Muhammadu Buhari, his main rival, in next month’s election.

Atiku said this in a statement issued which Phrank Shaibu, his special assistant on public communication, issued on his behalf on Thursday.

He asked the federal government to bury its head in shame having failed to stop him from travelling to the US.

He said it was shameful that the governing APC took it upon itself to call on the authorities of another country not to grant a private citizen entry visa, which ordinarily should not be its business.

Last year, Lai Mohammed, minister of information, had asked the US not to grant Atiku visa.

But Atiku who arrived in the US on Thursday said the APC was jittery knowing that its government has failed.

He said Buhari’s days as president were numbered, “which explains why members of the ruling party have been running from pillar to post”.

The former vice-president described as cock and bull story, the allegation that he has a case to answer over the collapse of BankPHB, a merger of Platinum and Habib Banks.

He challenged the federal government to either prove his alleged corrupt activities, or forever remain quiet.

“It is disgusting to continue to spin allegations of corruption against me by people who have failed to come forward with a single shred of evidence of my misconduct while in office,” he said.

“Isn’t it a shame that the ruling party whose National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole only yesterday gave official confirmation to the general belief that , even if Lawrence Anini becomes an APC member today, Buhari will forgive and consecrate him can turn around to accuse me of corruption today?

“They just suddenly woke up to the reality that, their lies about Atiku being corrupt can no longer hold? I challenge the federal government to come up with evidence that I benefitted from N156 million slush funds through Claremont Management Services Account on 13th January, 2009 as well as the collapse of BankPHB as they have alleged.

“It is instructive to note that, the same BankPHB is now Keystone bank Which was said to have been acquired Buhari’s cronies through AMCON last year.”

He said Nigerians had already made up their minds to send  Buhari packing on February 16, 2019 and there is nothing the ruling party can do about it.

“Tell them that their days of deceit are numbered. Nigerians are tired of them and they can no longer lie or take the people for a ride anymore,” the statement said.

Atiku said it was a mark of the idleness of the folks in charge of the APC that they resorted to lobby the US to deny him visa, when they should be busy strategising on how to save their party from an imminent defeat.

“There is no need to worry, as we shall unveil on Sunday, January 20, 2019 “Buhari’s Hall Of Shame”. It’s a scorecard of failure, incompetence, nepotism and a President’s proclivity to harbouring indicted and other famed thieves of our patrimony. Date and venue shall be made public in due course.

”Never in the history of Nigeria have the people being subjected to the kind of unemployment level that the country is now witnessing under the All Progressives Congress (APC). It is indeed a double tragedy that a government that cannot even provide for the people is also unable to ensure their security. Having failed woefully, it is time for the Buhari led administration and APC governments at all levels to be kicked out through the forthcoming general elections.”

Show evidence I benefitted from N156m slush fund, Atiku dares FG

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar has challenged the Federal Government to show evidence that he benefitted from the N156m slush fund that allegedly led to the collapse of the defunct Platinum Habib Bank.

Atiku made this challenge in a statement issued by Mr. Phrank Shaibu, his Special Assistant on Public Communication, on Friday.

He said, “It is disgusting to continue to spin allegations of corruption against me by people who have failed to come forward with a single shred of evidence of my misconduct while in office.

“They just suddenly woke up to the reality that, their lies about Atiku being corrupt can no longer hold? I challenge the federal government to come up with evidence that I benefitted from N156 million slush funds through Claremont Management Services Account on 13th January, 2009 as well as the collapse of Bank PHB as they have alleged.

“It is instructive to note that the same Bank PHB is now Keystone Bank, which was said to have been acquired by Buhari’s cronies through AMCON last year,”Atiku said in the statement.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed on Friday said the PDP candidate has a case to answer over the collapse of Platinum Habib Bank.

He revealed that the case would be started as soon as Atiku returns from the US, his first trip in more than a decade.

Atiku to be questioned when he returns from U.S. – Lai Mohammed

The Federal Government of Nigeria has said that the candidate of the opposition PDP in the 2019 election, Atiku Abubakar, has questions to answer when he returns from his current trip to the United States.

The government said it is investigating Mr Abubakar’s alleged role in the collapse of former Bank PHB.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said this while briefing State House correspondents on Friday.

Mr Mohammed said the decision to question Mr Abubakar is “following fresh evidence that he benefitted from slush funds that led to the collapse of Bank PHB.”

The government spokesperson said the government has in its position “paper trail which shows that he benefitted from N156 million.”

“It started from an internal memo dated 13 January 2009 asking that a draft in favour of Atiku Abubakar of 156 million should be raised,” he said.

Mr Mohammed also said another memo on the same date was raised to confirm that the amount was raised from a “claimant management account.”

He said the government has proof of the account mandate, cheque and account statement showing Mr Abubakar as the signatory to the account that received the money.

“We want him to stay in the US for as long as he wants but he has to explain to Nigerians when he returns,” he said.

Speaking further on the visit of the former vice president to the U.S., the minister said the government had earlier issued a statement advising the U.S. not to issue him a visa.

He, however, said it remains the prerogative of the U.S. government to issue visa to anyone

“We are not perturbed one bit. He can go ahead and get a U.S. green card. That will not save him from imminent defeat in the forthcoming election,” Mr Mohammed said.

He also said the “election will be held here not in the U.S.”

The minister, however, said his claim does not imply that the former vice president will be arrested on his return.