The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in the upcoming 2019 general elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is the most accused Nigerian politician of being very corrupt. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo smeared Atiku’s imagein order to stop him from succeeding him in 2007. But since 2007 when they left office the former vice president has been without immunity, yet he has not been prosecuted before any competent court of law. Many former governors and ministers have been successfully charged, prosecuted and convicted since 2007, why have successive administrations been unable to prosecute Atiku if there are corruption charges against him? Even the Muhammadu Buhari government that mouths anti-corruption platitudes has not been able to pin Atiku down on any corruption charges.
President Obasanjo even tried to use various courts against Atiku but was not successful as all the courts discharged and acquitted Atiku, thus giving the former vice president a clean bill of health. The question is why Chief Obasanjo had any fears about Atiku’s presidential ambition then? If the Musa Yar’Adua, Goodkluck Jonathan and Buhari governments could not probe Atiku it, therefore, implies the Waziri of Adamawa is innocent in the eye of the law.
At this juncture it is apt to quote the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof Itse Sagay: “What is really delaying or suspending any action is a question of proof. I don’t think that is certain.’’ Yes, there is no concrete proof. Usually this kind of thing which is called ‘bad belle’ in local Nigerian parlance is sheepishly done by Atiku’s political detractors that want to pull him down at all cost.
Besides, it is also instructive to observe that, a man is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction; nobody therefore has the right to label another as guilty until the court does so. Again, it is important to note that, if indeed, the former vice president had been corrupt this will have glaringly manifested since 1999. Why wait all these years before trying very hard to nail him at all cost, to prevent him from vying for the presidency in next year’s election? In today’s Nigeria, how many people amongst the political gladiators can come out and tell the public how they truly made their money?
Let right thinking Nigerians know that the only constitutional role assigned to the office of the Vice President is the chairmanship of the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting. The NEC, which is composed of the 36 governors of the federation, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and minister of finance, etc, plays an advisory role just like National Council of States. forum as Its decisions or resolutions are not binding on Mr President who is the chief executive of the country.
The haters of the PDP presidential candidate accuse him of being rich but the money he has is the money he made in private business before he became the vice president. Much more important is the fact that even as the vice president Atiku never awarded contracts and had no direct access to public funds. He had lost more money in government than when he was in private business. Some have gone to the extent of saying that he made his money through dubious means or by fraudulent practices. But the response of the former vice president has always been that if anybody anywhere has any evidence that he was engaged in any unwholesome dealings, at any stage of his life, they should go to court. And Atiku has repeatedly subjected himself to public scrutiny at all times, exuding uncommon confidence that his track records are impeccable.
Some have even argued that, he made so much money from the privatization exercise because he was the chairman of the National Economic Council; even people that make the frivolous statements are asked to mention in specific terms, the companies he has cornered personally or through proxies, but they are usually unable to substantiate their spurious claims.
It is imperative to underscore the fact that Atiku is one politician who, before he became the vice president, never held any political appointment. He had all along been a civil servant and when he retired he went into private business, which has been very successful by the grace of God and dint of hard work. Much more importantly is the fact that even as the vice president he never awarded contracts and has no direct access to public funds, he has lost more money in government than when he was in private business. The money he has is the money he made in private business before he became the vice president.
Despite the campaign to smear Atiku’s image the Waziri remains the most dreaded politician in the country. Many Nigerians never knew Waziri Adamawa is a man of principles and an incorruptible Customs officer while in active service. The PDP presidential hopeful is ready to expunge previous avenues for wastages through transparent and accountable administration as well as implement his agenda for robust self-reliance policy that will enable the incoming administration to create multi-faceted job opportunities for the masses, especially the teeming youth population in the country via massive local and foreign direct investments.
In all fairness, the flag bearer the PDP in the upcoming 2019 presidential election is an experienced leader going by his exploits being a former vice president. The general consensus is that he is indeed a man of high grade intelligence fully prepared for the task ahead.
Many Nigerians are anxious to get a glimpse on how the elections will look like unlike in 2015, when change battled continuity. 2019 is most likely going to be maintaining a change versus changing the change. Nigerians are overwhelmingly awaiting the February 2019 presidential polls to vote for a far-reaching departure from politics of subservience to snobbish overloads paying lip service to religious piety and crass insensitivity towards the people’s material and spiritual wellbeing.
Dukawa, a media practitioner, writes from Kano via [email protected]