The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has reacted to fresh corruption allegations made by the federal government.
Mr Abubakar in a statement on Friday dismissed as ‘cock and bull story’, the allegation by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed on Friday, that he (Atiku) has a case to answer over the collapse of Platinum Habib Bank, Bank PHB.
PREMIUM TIMES reported the allegation by Mr Mohammed, who said Mr Abubakar would be questioned by anti-corruption agencies when he returns to the country.
Mr Abubakar, however, 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. 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 Bank PHB 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,” Mr Abubakar said.
The opposition candidate also said with or without a trip to the U.S., he will defeat the President Muhammadu Buhari at next month’s election.
Mr Abubakar visited the U.S. on Thursday after 12 years of ‘avoiding’ the nation over perceived graft issues.
He had not visited the U.S. since 2007 when he left as Nigeria’s vice-president. He served under former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Mr Obasanjo accused Mr Abubakar of fraud while in office, and he was also linked to corruption charges filed in the U.S. The politician denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
For the over 12 years that Mr Abubakar was unable to visit the U.S., American authorities had declined to issue him entry visa and there were speculations that a secret indictment had been entered against him by that country’s authorities.
In the statement issued in Abuja on Friday, by his Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, Mr Abubakar said the federal government should bury its head in shame ”having failed to stop him from travelling to the US”.
The APC-led government had consistently taunted Mr Abubakar over his inability to visit the U.S.
Mr Shuaibu 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.
The information minister, Mr Mohammed, had cautioned the U.S. not to grant a visa to Mr Abubakar, saying it might give the impression that the foreign power is supportive of the opposition party’s candidate.
Mr Abubakar said the APC was jittery knowing that its government has failed. He said Mr Buhari’s days as president of Nigeria were numbered, ”which explains why members of the ruling party have been running from pillar to post”.
According to him, Nigerians have already made up their minds to send President Buhari packing on February 16, 2019.
“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.
Mr Abubakar further taunted his main opponent next month.
”It was a mark of the idleness of the folks in charge of the APC that they resorted to lobbying the US to deny him (Atiku) visa, when they should be busy strategising on how to save their party from an imminent defeat.
“I am shocked that the minders of the governing APC can be lobbying the US to deny me a visa, when no other party is in a bigger mess than the APC following the confusion arising from its unprecedented record of non-performance,” the statement said.
The statement said three and a half years into the Buhari administration, ”no appreciable progress has been made in any sector, whether in the area of the economy, infrastructure, health, education, security or employment”.
It said the prevailing situation in the country is due to the lack of initiative of the ruling party.
It said the party lacked the wisdom needed to tackle the massive unemployment level and mindless violence, including kidnapping, armed robbery, killings by herdsmen that are ravaging the country.
“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,” the statement added.