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Atiku: I’ll probe Buhari if I’m elected president

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar says if he wins the 2019 election, he will investigate the arms procurement of the current administration.

Speaking in an interview with BBC Hausa on Saturday, Abubakar said it is taking too long to defeat the Boko Haram insurgents.

“Eight years after, Nigerian government is still fighting Boko Haram that are not professionally trained,” he said.

“I want to be the president of Nigeria because I would be able to do things I could not do as vice president. I will investigate how the government was unable to defeat Boko Haram for years. I will also investigate the procurement of arms bought by this administration.”

He also vowed to tackle corruption, accusing the government of Buhari of protecting some persons who ought to be prosecuted.

“If Nigerians can recall, we initiated the Economic and Financial (Crimes) Commission (EFCC). I’m the person that sourced for the takeoff funds for the EFCC,” he said.

“In this administration, there are people who are untouchable, they are doing things that are not in order but they are being shielded by the government. If elected Nigeria’s president, my administration will not spare anybody. When I was in power, none of my relatives or friends was found wanting.”

He said before he left the All Progressives Congress (APC), he warned Buhari that he would quit if the party was not restructured.

Abubakar resigned his membership of the ruling party in November and returned to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) where he served as the nation’s number two citizen for eight years.

He said after the 2015 election, he met Buhari and advised him on the running of his government but that the president failed to heed his warning or implement his advice.

“The APC started on a wrong footing after President Buhari assumed office,” Abubakar said.

“After 2015 general election, I met the president and told him the activities of the party had been crippled and there was a need for restructuring.

“Also, the way the government was being run; I made my suggestions but it seemed they were deemed not important to them. I said to him, if things continued like this, I will quit but Buhari  ignored it.”

2019: I’m not desperate to be president, says Atiku

Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has said he is not desperate to become Nigeria’s president, come 2019, as some Nigerians have said.

“If I am desperate, I wouldn’t have stepped down for M.K.O Abiola in 1993 presidential race,” he said.

Mr. Abubakar stated this on Tuesday, in an interview with BBC Hausa morning programme.

He said if Nigerians could follow his political antecedent, they would not see him as a desperate politician.

“In 1993, I contested with M.K.O Abiola. I later withdrew from the race. In 1999, I was elected a governor of Adamawa state, then invited to be Nigeria’s vice president, under Olusegun Obasanjo,” he said.

Mr Abubakar said in 2007 he contested against former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, “to show the world that I have the right to contest and I did that to satisfy my conscience”.

“All the times I have been contesting for the presidency, I have been opportune only once to be presented to Nigerians as a candidate,” he said, adding that the remaining times, he ended up only at the primary election.

“I could have become Nigeria’s president in 2003 when virtually, all the state governors then, rallied support for me to contest which I declined. I am not desperate to be president as some Nigerians view it.

“As a former vice president, I am opportune to know things. If I am opportune to be elected as a president, I will accomplish my mission by reviving the economy, by making Nigeria an investor’s haven.

“The present administration discouraged investors into the country, because the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) exchange rate policies is too tedious for investors. CBN has three different exchange rate policies, which is not supposed to be.

“If elected Nigeria’s president, I will expand the nation’s source of wealth to cater for the growing youth population in the country. Nigeria can justify my claims, going by the number of youth that are working in my industries across the country,” he said.

Benue killings: Atiku replies Unongo

Former Vice President and chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has described as “disheartening” a statement credited to the chairman of the Arewa Elders Forum, Paul Unongo, that he is a sponsor of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria.

Mr. Abubakar’s reaction comes amidst outrage over recent killings in Benue State by suspected Fulani herdsmen.

In a statement by his spokesman, Paul Ibe, the former Vice President expressed his disappointment at what he described as Mr. Unongo’s “desperately sad and false allegations” which he said came in this period of intense grief in Benue State.

Mr. Unongo had in an interview with PUNCH Newspaper accused Mr. Abubakar of being the chief financier and most influential member of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, the largest body of Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria.

He reportedly said “I am aware that the most powerful person in Miyetti Allah is Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who wants to be the next president. If they are fighting for power and Atiku wants to create problems for Buhari, I don’t know. There are so many possibilities.”

The altercation comes a few days after suspected Fulani herdsmen invaded a community in Benue state and killed at least 20 persons, though the police put the figure at 10, over grazing rights.

The former vice president’s statement read: “Yes, Waziri Atiku Abubakar is a Fulani and proud to be one and has never hidden that fact. However, the Waziri is a thoroughly detribalised Nigerian that would never favour one ethnic group over another”.

It added that in 2017 during the massive flood in Benue State which affected over 100,000 families, the vice president, who holds the Tiv traditional title of ‘Zege Mule U Tiv’, donated cash to the Benue State Government for the care of the victims.

“This is fitting for a man whose Tiv traditional title means ‘the biggest shade of the Tiv people. Not only did the Zege Mule U Tiv make a financial donation, he also called on the Federal Government to do more to assist the flood ravaged communities,” the statement said.

The statement also cleared the air on Mr. Abubakar’s membership of the fulani sociocultural association.

“Let it be known that though Waziri Adamawa is a Fulani, he is not a member of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria nor has he ever been a member. He has also never discussed about that group with Chief Paul Unongo.”

The vice president also called on the government to conduct a thorough investigation into the killings in Benue, and that anyone found culpable be made to bear the full weight of the law.

The Fulani herders and farmers have clashed for decades over access to land and resources, particularly in the North-central states.

The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, recently signed the Open Grazing Prohibition Bill 2017, which prescribes a five-year jail term for herdsmen or pastoralists caught engaging in open grazing of animals in the state, into law. This has not gone down well with the herdsmen.

Atiku’s defection to PDP, exercise in futility – Masari

Gov. Aminu Masari of Katsina State has described the recent defection of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as an exercise in futility.

Masari made the statement in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria NAN in Maiadua, Katsina State on Monday.

He said the defection of the vice president would not in anyway affect the electoral success of the ruling APC, stressing Atiku had just answered his popular name.

He said the APC was aimed at repositioning the nation by creating leaders that would champion the positive cause of the nation; “about 65 per cent of our political appointments were allocated to the youth”.

Masari said the era of “do or die politics was over as individual character and his performance speak for him in a political warfare, not unnecessary pride and display of wealth”.

He said APC in the state and federal levels would not be deterred by elitist tendencies, adding that “we are set to receive more defectors into the party by next year as many influential members of the opposition would be joining us soon”.

He said the party was willing and ready to accept and accommodate any individual who sought to defect into its fold, stressing politics was a game of number.

He said his administration had, in the last two years, constructed many roads, schools, hospitals and intensified efforts on security in the state.

Atiku did not contribute anythi g to APC in 2015says El-Rufai

Governor of Kaduna state, Nasir el-Rufai former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar did not contribute anything to the 2015 presidential campaign of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Abubakar had accused the government of President Muhammadu Buhari of sidelining him despite his contributions to bringing it to power.‎

But speaking on ‘Democracy Today’, a Voice of America (VOA) Hausa service programme, which also featured Abubakar, el-Rufai said the former number two citizen did not contribute a dime to the campaign.

He asked Abubakar to provide evidence of how much he paid and to whom he paid it to.

“Agreed, in politics if you lose even only one person, it should worry you, but the utterances of the former vice-president that APC used his money,who did he give the money to?” El-Rufai asked.

“For me, I know those that supported us with their money and property that we used during election, and I never heard the name of Atiku that he brought a dime.

“If Atiku said he brought money, who did he give it to? Let him come and say it and how much did he give and what was it used for?

“And, in fact, if Atiku brought money, I ought to know, because I was part of the leadership of the party and during campaign, along with former Governor Rotimi Amaechi.

“We were at the centre of the presidential campaign. Therefore, we are supposed to know. So, let him mention who he gave the money and how much?”

The governor also said Abubakar defected from the APC because he knew he might not get the presidential ticket, even if Buhari decides not to seek re-election.

He said he could not lose sleep over Abubakar’s presidential ambition, adding that “this is the reign of President Muhammadu Buhari.”

“We in the APC were aware from the outset that Atiku was going to leave the APC back to the PDP in December and we thank God that he left in November,” he said.

“Atiku had seen that we in the APC, especially the APC governors, had resolved to support President Muhammadu Buhari to run again in 2019.

“Even if President Buhari decides not to contest, Atiku knows that the APC ticket is not sure for him.

“That is why he left APC since he was only looking for where to contest for president.

“So, by 2019, we are waiting to see Atiku contest; we are waiting to contest against him and see what happens. I cannot lose sleep because Atiku wants to contest because, by God’s grace, this is the reign of President Muhammadu Buhari.”

Convention: PDP governors revolt against IBB, Jonathan

To have a rancour-free convention and install the national chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors will compile a “unity list” of candidates who delegates will vote for, The Nation reported.

The list is said to be the governors’ joker to checkmate the influence of ex-military President Ibrahim Babangida and former President Goodluck Jonathan on delegates.

The “unity list” may be out on Friday, about 24 hours to the December 9 convention.

It was learnt that the North’s delegates had become divided over two candidates – former Acting National Chairman Uche Secondus and former Education Minister Prof. Tunde Adeniran.

Before the split, Adeniran was having a clear edge in the North over Secondus whose campaign has changed the game.

But the governors’ grip on the party has caused anxiety in the camp of ex-Vice-President Atiku Abubakar whose main backers are Babangida and Jonathan.

The tension in Atiku’s camp is over the fear that if the governors seize the machinery of the party, they may determine its choice of a presidential candidate.

Babangida on Sunday raised the alarm on huge deployment of cash to woo delegates.

The governors have reached out to ex-governors, ex-ministers, National Assembly caucuses and some members of the Board of Trustees (BoT).

They are believed to have allayed the fears of stakeholders who think that they are out to hijack the party. Their mission, the governors are quoted as saying, is to change the old order.

To carry all stakeholders along, the governors have chosen to consult and agree on a Unity List, which will be “representational”.

A governor, who spoke in confidence, said: “We want to have a stress-free elective national convention. We have been spending the past few days to build consensus on how to preserve the unity of the party.

“As I talk to you, we are working on a “Unity List” which will accommodate all interests and make the convention great.

“The list will also correct the perception of the loyalists of Babangida and Jonathan that we are out to destroy the party. This is our own way of checkmating the forces who have held the party hostage since 1998.

“The speculations about use of money are unfounded. As a new generation of leaders in PDP, we know what is good for the party too. We won’t allow the imposition any pre-determined agenda on delegates.”

Asked of who the governors will support for national chairman, the source, who pleaded not to be named for “strategic reasons”, added: “We are working on Secondus but the delegates will have the final say because we will allow a free and fair process.”

A member of the Board of Trustees (BoT) said: “Some of us are in agreement with the governors on the Unity List to douse the tension surrounding the convention.

“I think the governors will release the Unity List on Friday. What is important is for peace and harmony to reign in our party.”

Northern delegates are split over two Secondus and Adeniran.

“Initially, the Northern delegates had agreed on block voting but things have changed in the last 72 hours.

“Delegates from Plateau, Benue, Jigawa, Taraba, Gombe and Kano may not go ahead with block voting. The intrigues have been intense,” another source said, adding:

“As it is now, Northern delegates cannot talk with one voice at the convention on Saturday.”

It was gathered that the recourse to unity list by governors has caused anxiety in Atiku’s camp because the method may whittle down the influence of Babangida and Jonathan who lured the ex-Vice President back into PDP.”

A former governor said: “Once the governors take over PDP structure, it will be difficult for Babangida and Jonathan to impose Atiku as the party’s presidential candidate.

“This is why Babangida and his loyalists have been jittery about the activities of the governors. Even Atiku is aware of the danger ahead because he knows the capacity of governors.

“The same Atiku used the governors to hold ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo to ransom in 2003 before the ex-President could get a second term ticket.”

Atiku returns to PDP

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar will return to the People’s Democratic Party as according to him, the issues that made him leave have been resolved.

Atiku disclosed this in a Facebook live video where he also berated the ruling APC for letting Nigerians down.

Details later…

 

https://web.facebook.com/Atiku.org/videos/10155940704629640/

 

PDP: Jonathan, IBB boys, Gusau, Sambo, governors battle to hijack party

 

Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan is rolling out his political armour against several Peoples Democratic Governors (PDP) in a fierce battle for the soul of the party at Saturday’s crucial national convention.

Also scheming for control of the party’s machinery are ex-Vice President Namadi Sambo; ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar (who is yet to officially join the party); ex-governors, loyalists of ex-President Ibrahim Babangida led by a former National Security Adviser, Gen. Aliyu Gusau; ex-President of the Senate, Chief David Mark; Deputy President of the Senate, Chief Ike Ekweremadu; ex-Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ibrahim Mantu; members of the party’s Board of Trustees being coordinated by its chairman, Sen. Walid Jibrin, Sen. Ahmadu Ali and Prof. Jerry Gana, a former Minister of Information.

Serving governors are being coordinated by Mr. Nyesom Wike (Rivers) and Ayo Fayose.

Former governors of the party including Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), Rashidi Ladoja (Oyo), Gabriel Suswam (Benue), Ibrahim Idris and Idris Wada (both Kogi) are not left out.

Investigation revealed that almost every godfather in PDP is backing one candidate or the other for election into the National Working Committee (NWC).

The objective is to enable the godfathers have a say in the management of the party especially in the choice of the party’s presidential candidate for the 2019 election.

It was gathered that the interest of the godfathers has complicated the intrigues surrounding the contest for party offices at the December 9 convention.

Although some party leaders are pushing for merit, some other leaders believe that all the candidates have been tested in the past.

The positions of National Chairman, National Secretary, Deputy National Chairman (North); Deputy National Chairman (South) , the National Organizing Secretary and the National Publicity Secretary are attracting more interest from the godfathers.

The top contenders for the national chairmanship are a former Acting National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus; a former Minister of Education, Prof. Tunde Adeniran; a former Deputy National Chairman, Chief Olabode George; a former Minister of Sports, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja; a former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel; ex-Governor of Oyo State, Sen. Rashidi Ladoja; a media mogul, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi; and a former governorship candidate in Lagos State, Mr. Jimi Agbaje.

A breakdown of the support base of the chairmanship aspirants is as follows:

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; Wike, Fayose, PDP governors, state PDP chairmen
Tunde Adeniran—-Jonathan, IBB Boys, Gusau, Gana, Ali, Mantu, BOT members
Otunba Gbenga Daniel—-Ex-governors, a splinter of IBB Boys,
Olabode George—-Some BOT members
Taoheed Adedoja—-BOT members, some Northern delegates
Jimi Agbaje—–South-West delegates, BOT members
Rashidi Ladoja—-Ex-governors but under pressure to accept concession of Deputy Chairman slot to his choice
A top party source said: “The jostle for offices at the national convention is going to be a battle royale because the godfathers in the party and the governors want to slug it out to install their loyalists.

“For ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, the convention will be a litmus test for his plans to be a father-figure for PDP. But if he fails, it might be another political setback for him after the loss at the poll in 2015.

“Jonathan and others, especially loyalists of ex-President Ibrahim Babangida, are working hard for a national outlook for PDP but some of the governors think otherwise. They said they are already conducting some permutations.

“Our greatest fear is that all these forces are trying to outsmart each other. If the party leaders can cage the governors and allow the delegates to have a final say, we will be opening a new chapter for PDP.”

A member of Board of Trustees of PDP said: “we are all worried because if we do not get it right, we might as well say goodbye to our chances in 2019.

“The party is on the edge again. We are however struggling to appeal to all groups to sheathe their swords and avoid implosion at the convention.”

Responding to a question, the BOT source added: “All our leaders are conscious of the 2019 poll and they are struggling to be relevant. You cannot blame them because in politics, relevance matters.”

A governor, who spoke with our correspondent last night, said: “I think the way out of any crisis at the convention is to allow for a free and fair contest. We need to live up to our appellation as a democratic party.

“We are already working on a unity list because we do not want to play into the hands of the ruling party. Certainly, there will be more horse-trading in the days ahead but we will survive it.

“We urge the judiciary not to entertain any frivolous application to stop the convention from holding.”

How US Congressman Jefferson was jailed, freed over bribe saga in Nigeria

William Jefferson, the New Orleans, US congressman convicted in 2009 on bribery charges after he was famously caught with $90,000 cash stashed in his freezer, is now a free man.

A federal judge had reduced his 13-year sentence to the time he has already served: five years and five months.

The reduced sentence came on the joint recommendation of prosecutors and defence attorneys after a Supreme Court ruling in an unrelated case made it more difficult to convict public officials on bribery charges. Jefferson was freed from prison in October, when Judge T.S. Ellis III tossed out seven of his 10 conviction counts.

Jefferson, 70, did not address the court during the hearing but told reporters afterward he was grateful to his attorneys, family and friends for their support and that he wanted to be active in the community.

Patriarch of a family that once wielded considerable political influence in New Orleans, he exchanged hugs with relatives and friends who congratulated him on his freedom.

As for his plans, Jefferson said, “I’m going to go back home and get a Christmas dinner.”

Asked whether he was angry to have served five years in prison, only to have the law on which he was convicted change, he said, “I don’t have time to be angry with anything.” Asked whether he feels he did anything wrong, he would not comment.

A Democrat, Jefferson spent 18 years in the House of Representatives. He was convicted of accepting more than $400,000 in bribes and seeking millions more in exchange for brokering business deals in Africa. The 2005 raid of his Washington home, which turned up cash stuffed in frozen food boxes, made him fodder for late-night comedians.

At his 2009 trial, Jefferson argued he was acting as a private business consultant in brokering the deals and that his actions did not constitute bribery under federal law. The $90,000 was actually part of a government sting initiated after a one-time business associate of Jefferson told the FBI she thought she was getting scammed.

Jefferson’s investigation was sparked by an allegation began in mid-2005 by an investor who claimed that $400,000 in bribes were paid through a company maintained in the name of Jefferson’s spouse and children.

The money was traced to a tech company named iGate, Inc., of Louisville, Kentucky,USA and in return, it is alleged, Jefferson would persuade the U.S. Army to test iGate’s broadband two-way technology and other iGate products; use his efforts to influence high-ranking officials in Nigeria, Ghana, and Cameroon; and meet with personnel of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, in order to facilitate potential financing for iGate business deals in those countries.

On 30 July 2005, Jefferson was videotaped by the FBI receiving $100,000 worth of $100 bills in a leather briefcase at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Arlington, Virginia.

Jefferson told an investor, Lori Mody, who was wearing a wire, that he would need to give Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar $500,000 “as a motivating factor” to make sure they obtained contracts for iGate and Mody’s company in Nigeria.

A few days later, on 3 August 2005, FBI agents raided Jefferson’s home in Northeast Washington and, as noted in an 83-page affidavit filed to support a subsequent raid on his Congressional office, “found $90,000 of the cash in the freezer, in $10,000 increments wrapped in aluminum foil and stuffed inside frozen-food containers”. Serial numbers found on the currency in the freezer matched serial numbers of funds given by the FBI to their informant.

Late on the night of May 20, 2006, FBI agents executed a search warrant at Jefferson’s office.

The affidavit used to support these raids alleged:

The FBI videotaped Jefferson receiving a stock certificate from Mody for a company set up in Nigeria to promote iGate’s technology. Jefferson predicted the deal would generate $200 million annually after five years.

Jefferson told Mody that he wanted a similar financial stake in the business in Ghana.

Jefferson sought $10 million in financing from Mody to take over iGate and install “confidants” on the new board. In two payments, Mody wired $89,225 to the ANJ Group LLC, a company controlled by Jefferson’s family.

Jefferson lent $4,800 of the money Mody gave him to an unnamed congressional aide. Another $4,900 was given back to the FBI by one of Jefferson’s attorneys.

The FBI claims it has uncovered “at least seven other schemes in which Jefferson sought things of value in return for his official acts”.

On June 4, 2007 Jefferson was indicted on 16 charges of corruption by a federal grand jury.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges and declared: “I am absolutely innocent of the charges that have been levelled against me. I’m going to fight my heart out to clear my name.

“The $90,000 was the FBI’s money. The FBI gave it to me as part of its plan — part of their plan — that I would give it to the Nigerian vice president, but I did not do that. When all the facts are understood, I trust that I will be vindicated.”

The FBI denied working with Jefferson.

There is no evidence that Atiku was indicted in the US on the matter.

Atiku lied, Buhari was never banned from USA

President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman has described as ‘fictive concoction’, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar’s claim that Buhari was banned from entering the United States for 15 years, before he became president.

Atiku was said to have made the allegation in an interview published Saturday.

He was quoted to have said the Nigerian leader could not enter the US “on account of religious considerations.”

Mr. Femi Adesina, President Buhari’s media adviser debunked the allegation as mere fiction.

“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.”

President Buhari is at present in Jordan to compare notes with other world leaders on the war against terrorism.

Atiku gave the interview to The Boss newspaper published by Dele Momodu.

“For about 15 years, Buhari could not enter America on account of religious considerations,” Mr. Abubakar said in the interview.

Mr. Momodu had asked Mr. Abubakar why he had not been able to visit the United States for many years, amid speculations that he is wanted in that country over some financial transactions.

Atiku, who is nursing a presidential ambition, said the U.S. authorities had nothing against him.

He said he was able to visit Europe regularly without being arrested for onward extradition to the U.S.

Then he dragged Buhari into his response when he said he would be allowed into the United States just like Buhari and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after becoming leaders of their respective countries.

(NAN)