The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential campaign organization has declared that Nigeria’s president and candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari, no longer has the moral standing to seek re-election until he directly responds to corruption allegations by its candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
The PDP presidential candidate had demanded a probe into the ownership of Etisalat Nigeria and Keystone Bank.
Mr Abubakar in a statement by a spokesperson, Phrank Shaibu, said the call was necessary, “in view of reports that members of Mr Buhari’s family now own substantial share in Etisalat Nigeria, which has an estimated $2 billion (about N727 billion at 360 per dollar) of its estimated $20 billion global net worth.”
The PDP campaign council, in a statement signed by its director, media and publicity, Kola Ologbondiyan, said that Mr Buhari should perish the thought of going ahead with his re-election campaign without clearing what he described as a pertinent issue, because it directly bothers on his integrity, both as a person and the exalted office of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The PDP Presidential Campaign challenges President Buhari to explain how his family members came about the sum of N1.032 trillion for this scandalous acquisition,” Mr Ologbondiyan said in a statement.
He said Nigerians are not interested in “mere rhetoric or attempts by the Buhari Presidency to divert public attention from the issue at hand, but demand that President Buhari, who hitherto, prides himself as Mr. Integrity, squarely addresses these grave issues in person.”
“This is not an issue for President Buhari’s aides to howl about in the media, it touches directly on his person, particularly his perception as a symbol of the Talakawas. He must therefore address them on this issue.”
“It is a norm that he who comes to equity must come with clean hands. President Buhari and his family members have entangled themselves in corruption. Mr. President’s hands can no longer be said to be clean, until he proves otherwise.”
The campaign organization said it wants Nigerians and the whole world to note that Mr Buhari’s refusal to personally address the matter means consent.
Mr Ologbondiyan dared Mr Buhari to put forth a denial on the disclosure by Mr Abubakar, adding that the party will spare no thoughts in furnishing the public with details of his corrupt activities, within and outside Nigeria.
“Our party has full details of how persons related to President Buhari, by consanguinity and affinity, have been paved the way to loot trillions of naira from government agencies for corrupt acquisition of shares in major companies, purchase expensive property within and outside Nigeria, as well as to finance their very luxury lifestyles, under Mr. President’s cover.”
“In fact, no Nigerian has made more money in the last three and half years than relations of President Buhari, many of whom have found themselves controlling stupendous wealth frittered from our economy, yet our President is asking Nigerians to get ready for more hardship in the coming year.”
He also stated that his party is privy to facts of how the relations of the president have been hounding government agencies, major business concerns and intending foreign investors over kickbacks as well as strangulating companies that refuse to accede to their demands.
“Nigerians will also recall how the Buhari Presidency muted the case of the Aide of the First Lady, Mr. Baba-Inna, who was arrested in September this year, over accusations of receiving N2.5 billion from politicians, businessmen and women on behalf of the First Lady.”
“Nigerians can also recall how the Buhari Presidency gagged the confession of one Amina Mohammed, paraded by the Department of State Services (DSS), who stated in public that persons close to President Muhammadu Buhari were involved in serial fraud and looting of public resources under the official cover of the Buhari Presidency.
“In fact, there is incontrovertible evidence, as provided by the Governor of Kaduna state, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, that President Buhari is not as clean as his handlers want Nigerians to believe.
“In October 4, 2010, el-Rufai accused Buhari of corruption in allowing 53 suitcases, belonging to his ADC’s father, to enter Nigeria, unchecked, at a time the country was exchanging old currency for new in 1984.”
He further stated that the president should not continue to dress himself in what he described as borrowed garb of integrity until he cleans himself of the “stinking corruption of his acolytes, family and friends, under his cover.”
Responding to the allegations by the PDP campaign organization, spokesperson of the Buhari Presidential Campaign Organization, Festus Keyamo, in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES accused the PDP of a plot to release a series of wild, unsubstantiated allegations against the president and vice president, Mr Osinbajo, including their friends and family members, in the next few weeks.
“With the latest revelation,” he said, “the said shares are rather linked to relatives of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, it has become a case of the thief calling the farm owner the thief, as the Yorubas would say, in a popular proverb.
“These impending wild allegations would naturally border on corrupt practices, without any evidential basis.”
Mr Keyamo said the purpose is to attempt to dent the greatest forte of the president and vice president, which, according to him, is their personal integrity, ahead of the 2019 elections.
He said the latest tactics of the main opposition is premised on the following grounds:
“Since their stuttering campaigns started, they have felt the pulse of Nigerians and realized Nigerians have not forgotten their misdeeds of 16 years whilst in office.
“They have decided to run a campaign of “we-are-all-corrupt” rather than defend their sordid records of merciless looting of the public purse, which has brought us to where we are today.
“The aim is to push Nigerians to equate an Alhaji Atiku Abubakar with President Muhammadu Buhari on matters of corruption. They want to deceive Nigerians to think that the 2019 elections is really a choice between two “corrupt” persons.
“By repeating the lies a million times, they aim to get Nigerians to begin to give some serious thought to the lies. This is how the “Jubrin from Sudan” story started, before even some well-exposed and educated Nigerians were nearly converted on that issue.
“Their latest desperate diversionary tactics is because even the most uneducated Nigerian has now understood that all the issues upon which the main opposition is campaigning are self-indicting issues, especially on the Economy and Security.”
He said the foundation for the challenges in these sectors, are firmly rooted in what he termed as “16 years of disastrous governance which he said President Buhari has just started re-building.
Mr Keyamo said Nigerians should brace up for six weeks of despicable lies from the pit of hell against the president and vice president, to try to suggest to Nigerians that the president and his deputy are part of the league of looters to which the PDP belongs.
“But Nigerians should understand that the choices before them have never been this clear: It is between a fugitive from the law in America and a President who has never been accused of stealing anything in his entire life and is respected both locally and internationally;”
“It is between a man who claims he wants to ‘get Nigeria working again’ yet has always refused to pay his taxes AS AT WHEN DUE and a man who has NEVER cheated the Nigerian State.”
He said the PDP presidential candidate has since kept an ominous silence over this damaging allegation of irresponsible and deliberate tax evasion that is now before a court of law.
He added that whilst the president and his vice are prepared and willing to answer any genuine inquiry raised about their stewardship, Nigerians should always ask the critical questions as to “where”, “when”, “how”, names, dates, addresses, etc in respect of any allegation raised by the opposition, before giving any credence to it.
“This is because, as the Atiku Campaign continues to fall apart on a daily basis, we may hear such desperate allegation from them that President Buhari has sold the buildings in Aso Rock to the Israelis or Americans.”