Posted by By Emmanuel Aziken on
THE political camp of Vice President Atiku Abubakar wants the presidency to explain to Nigerians how President Olusegun Obasanjo was able to turn around his business empire with only N20,000 in 1998 after his release from jail into “a vast empire” across the country.
ABUJA—THE political camp of Vice President Atiku Abubakar wants the presidency to explain to Nigerians how President Olusegun Obasanjo was able to turn around his business empire with only N20,000 in 1998 after his release from jail into “a vast empire” across the country.
The embattled Vice President was absent yesterday at the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council with his party — Action Congress (AC) — asking the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to disregard the PDP petition seeking his disqualification from the April presidential election.
Responding to Tuesday’s declaration by Presidential Special Assistant, Mallam Uba Sani, that the Vice President impoverished the North by diverting funds meant for the development of the North to his ABTI empire, the Vice President said the President was himself susceptible to charges of impropriety in his dealings since 1999.
“It is public knowledge that in 1999 when Atiku and Obasanjo ran for their joint ticket, the President was broke, and it was Atiku that raised the N100 million needed to pull him out of bankruptcy in order to qualify to run as candidate of the PDP. According to Minister Nasir el-Rufai, the President had only N20,000 in his account when he came into office,” the Vice President said in a statement released by his campaign office.
“Perhaps, Uba Sani would care to explain to Nigerians the following public facts and allegations that have been made against his principal:
•How and by what means did one man who had a failed farm in 1999 come to acquire six extensive, flourishing commercial farms in all the political zones of the country? The farms are located in Oyo (2), Ogun, Taraba, Cross River, and Ondo states. The President is getting set to commission one of these farms at Olokoda, which is reportedly capable of producing 10,000 broilers per day.
•How and where did President Obasanjo get the N700 million which he paid back into the Mofas Account, after overdrawing this account long after the 2003 elections?
•Up to now, the Presidency has not denied that Bodunde Adeyanju, the President’s Personal Assistant, collected huge sums of money from the Mofas Account, on behalf of his principal. Who was this money given to, and for what purpose?
•Is it possible for the President to purchase 200 million shares of Transcorp from his salary and allowances when, according to the account of Minister Nasir el-Rufai, the President had only N20,000 in his account in 1999?
•Save for the ABTI University, all the ABTI institutions that Uba Sani mentioned in his tirade were there before 1999. The source of funding for ABTI University is common knowledge. In contrast, could Uba Sani explain the source of funding for the Bells Technology University which is linked with his principal?
•How and by what means did a retired military officer with no more than N20,000 in his account in 1999 come to allegedly acquire major shareholdings in commercial banks, insurance firms and airlines in Nigeria , as a weekly medium, Leadership, exposed two weeks ago?
•Uba Sani is yet to deny the magazine cover story that his principal contributed to the collapse of Hallmark Bank by overdrawing a campaign account which he (the principal) solely managed, to the tune of billions of Naira, long after the campaign ended."
However, the Action Congress (AC) on whose platform the VP wants to govern the country, yesterday, asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to disregard the petition sent by the PDP to the commission seeking his disqualification from contesting April’s presidential election.
National Publicity Secretary of the AC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a statement in Abuja said the PDP’s petition was of no consequence since it did not comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
According to AC, the power to file petition against any candidate is contained only in Section 32(4) of the Act, which provides that “any person who has reasonable grounds to believe that any information given by candidates in the affidavit is false may file a suit at the federal high court or state high court against such person seeking a declaration that the information contained in the affidavit is false.
“Any petition outside that quoted above is not grounded in law and, therefore, of no effect whatsoever,” the party said.
“However, we are not surprised that a lawless, garrison party like the PDP will resort to cheap and illegal tactics in its growing desperation to erect road blocks on the VP’s path to the presidency,” it added.
Meanwhile, AC has described as “a gross disregard for the judiciary and the height of lawlessness,” the presidency’s refusal to restore all the rights and privileges of the VP in accordance with the pronouncement of the Court of Appeal.
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