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I doubt Atiku’s loyalty – Obasanjo

Posted by Semiu Okanlawon, Kunle Awosiyan and Atser Godwin on 2005/08/29 | Views: 420 |

I doubt Atiku’s loyalty – Obasanjo

Speculations that all is not well between President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice-President Atiku Abubakar was confirmed on Sunday when the President said that his deputy's loyalty was doubtful.

Speculations that all is not well between President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice-President Atiku Abubakar was confirmed on Sunday when the President said that his deputy's loyalty was doubtful.

Obasanjo spoke in reaction to a caller’s question during the August edition of the Presidential Media Chat, that he swore to Abubakar to quit in 2007.

He said, "The idea of swearing, I think the vice-president got it wrong there. For what reason would I swear?

"Even when I discovered that there were proven cases of doubtful loyalty on his part, I think because I wanted to resolve it between me and him, I brought out a Bible and a Quran. And I said, between us, let us swear because we should not have a divided house. He refused to. Why? Because he obviously knew that the cases are proven and they were bad enough.

"I read the interview, the one that came out last Sunday. And I think he has made a couple of statements elsewhere. All I would say is that, one, there was mis-presentation; two, misrepresentation; and three, there was misinformation.

"For instance, I do not swear. The only swearing I have done publicly was that of defending the Nigerian constitution.

“If I give you my words, you either believe them or not.”

Obasanjo also stridently defended the decision of his government to increase the pump prices of petroleum products.

He said the government could no longer cope with subisidising fuel at N25 per litre.

Government, according to him, subsidises fuel at N200billion annually.

He described the subsidy as a development that was politically unacceptable.

The President said the revenue from the hike would be used for the development of infrastructure, education, health and food security.

Obasanjo described the high prices of crude as an aberration, citing that in 1980, oil prices rose as high as $42 per barrel, but later came down in 1998 to $9 per barrel.

He said that the present government's policy in the oil industry was aimed at sustaining the flow of products to end-users.

He argued that the government was building structures for the welfare of Nigerians today, tomorrow and forever.

"A good father will not say that let us eat all that we have today and forget the future," he said.

Obasanjo added that his government was committed to ensuring food security.

He also said that the ban on the importation of rice had paid off as import dropped from N2billion to N1.2billion over 18 months.

The President vowed that his administration would continue to provide enabling environment for the participation of the private sector.

"Our economic reform is for the government to provide the enabling environment while the private sector is the 'doer' and provider of jobs," he said.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works, Alhaji Hakeem Baba Ahmed, said the government spent N450billion in the last four years to improve infrastructure in the country.

The PUNCH, Monday, August 29, 2005

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