One On One Session With Atiku Abubakar

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PEDULUM By Dele Momodu, Email: dele.momodu@thisdaylive.com

Fellow Nigerians, I’ve always wondered what drives or propels the man, former Vice President of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. For real, I have never seen a man so fastidious about his dream and so obstinate about achieving a lifelong ambition to be the number one Nigerian Citizen. I’ve followed his trajectory with keen interest since 1993 when he took on both Chief Moshood Abiola and Baba Gana Kingibe, in an epic Presidential primary, that Chief Abiola ultimately won. His formidability we were told was a result of the influence of his godfather and political colossus, Major General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, now of blessed memory. Chief Abiola actually reached out to the General, as he was fondly called, to prevail on Atiku to pull out of the race and support him. A deal was subsequently struck, between Abiola and Yar’Adua, for Atiku to be Abiola’s running-mate. Everything looked good on paper until the powerful and influential Social Democratic Party (SDP) Governors threw spanners in the works, forcing Abiola to renege on his word. Whilst Abiola wanted Atiku, the Governors led by the irrepressible Olusegun Osoba, from Abiola’s home State of Ogun, insisted on Abiola picking Kingibe. They convinced Abiola that it was dangerous to pick Atiku who would have been more loyal and too submissive to his godfather.

I have no doubt that from that moment onwards, the June 12 Presidential election was already threatened and endangered. According to insiders, the General was so miffed and enraged that he swore Abiola would not be President for dumping his godson. Efforts were made by different personages to settle the matter, but it seemed the camaraderie was over between Abiola and Yar’Adua who, once upon a time, were successful business partners at African Ocean Lines.

Anyway, Atiku was kicked out of the race to fight another day. Abiola won the Presidential election eventually but was never allowed to assume power. The June 12 election fallout led to a cataclysmic eruption that consumed many of the big players, including Abiola, his wife, Alhaja Kudirat, Major-General Yar’Adua and General Sani Abacha. The boss of bosses, General Olusegun Obasanjo, escaped only by the whiskers. He was jailed but came back to be President. Ironically, the same Atiku who was not allowed to be the Vice-Presidential candidate in 1993 became the substantive Vice President in 1999, when he ran, and won, with Obasanjo. Whilst Obasanjo emerged, in a bid to assuage the betrayed and wounded Yoruba, Atiku’s choice appears to have been predicated on the sense of injustice that he had suffered as a result of being dumped by Abiola.

Everything initially ran smoothly between Obasanjo and Atiku in their first term in office, from 1999 to 2003. However, the relationship collapsed when Atiku started showing interest in the number one position. I will not bore you with the rest of that fiasco, including the anecdotal humbling of Obasanjo who allegedly had to beg his deputy, Atiku, to allow him a second term. My mission was to provide some background to Atiku’s uncommon trajectory. He has pursued his dream since 1993 and has never given up. That was 24 years ago. Indeed, Atiku has been in partisan politics for 28 years but only served in government for eight years. He has criss-crossed different political parties in search of that magic wand that could give him his heart’s desire. It has been a painful journey. He’s been dissed and lampooned as a serial “decampee” famed for wandering endlessly in the wilderness of Nigerian politics. That, for many people, is a major weakness which signals integrity issues. There are other minuses weighing on him like an albatross. How does he deal with these very serious issues of perception or misperception?

The opportunity came for me to engage him very critically, and very privately, yesterday afternoon in Lagos. A mutual friend had called to arrange the meeting at Atiku’s behest. I gladly accepted not only as I was anxious to bombard him with many nagging questions, but also because by some quirk of fate, the political gladiators for the number one hot seat in Nigeria seem to feel that a session with me is a sine qua non for their aspiration. I’m deeply humbled by that trust.

The meeting was arranged for Lagos. Atiku had arrived on Thursday. I arrived in Lagos yesterday afternoon from Abuja where I had been the Chief Presenter of Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi’s book, On a Platter of Gold, chronicling President Goodluck Jonathan’s twilight days as President. I checked into my hotel just before 12 noon and put a call through to his room. He told me to give him a short time to freshen up and invite me over. He’s obviously been doing a lot of consultations and was working well into the early mornings. I dozed off. Suddenly, I was awoken from my slumber by banging on my door. I stood up to look through the peephole and was pleasantly surprised to see the most-talked about politician of the moment at my door. I opened the door and Atiku immediately apologised for the intrusion. He came without any aide, so we were both comfortable to talk frankly.

I thanked him for the honour of actually coming to me and asked if he won’t mind me asking some tough questions. He said that was fine and I should feel free. My first shot was about his moving from Party to Party. Does this not make him look desperate and unserious? He must have answered this question a thousand times because he wasted no time in answering very calmly and confidently:

“There is nothing wrong with it. Ours is a fledgling democracy of barely two decades since the end of the last military regime. What it means is that the political parties are yet to mature and are going through constant transformations and changes. That is why even President Buhari has been able to move from party to party, including ANPP, CPC and now APC. And for those who read about world history and political books like I do, they will know that Abraham Lincoln, Sir Winston Churchill and others went through so much before achieving their dreams…”

He went further: “I’m not different. I know what I want for my country. I’ve served Nigeria in different capacities and I am one of the most experienced leaders around today. There is no part of Nigeria I’m not familiar with. I have friends everywhere. They know me and I know them. The benefit of being around for so long is that they have come to know me for certain principles and know that I have a rich knowledge of Nigeria and what it would take to move us to the height of greatness. They can also trust me that I’m not coming to government to steal their money. God has blessed me with business acumen. How can you run a nation if you cannot run your own business? I run my businesses to international standards. Let any of those who want to compete with me show what they have managed successfully. I’ve lifted over 45,000 families out of joblessness and poverty through my microfinance company in my State Adamawa and we’ve have empowered mostly women. The good news is these women have been very honest. Returns on our loans have been about 98 percent. They have not disappeared with the loans given then. We plan to replicate this nationwide…”

I asked if he was obsessed with being President at all costs. His answer was an emphatic, No! He asked rhetorically why he should not give back some of his experience and exposure to a country that has given him so much? Why should he allow incompetent people to run down the country when God has given him the talent and wherewithal to lift up Nigeria?

I told him the belief out there is that he is a corrupt man and that the stain won’t be easy to remove. His former boss, General Olusegun Obasanjo, has sold us that line, and would stop at nothing to regale the world that Atiku is a thief who nobody should vote for. Atiku’s response was very concise and assertive: “I have the highest regards for my boss. He gave me eight years to serve Nigeria under him. We had our differences but we both tried our best. But on the issue of corruption, I have challenged anyone, anywhere, who has any evidence of corruption against me to come forward. I’m sure they would have combed everywhere trying to find anything incriminating against me, but they have not found it, or they are still searching. Dele, I’m throwing that challenge again, let them bring out whatever they have on me…”

I followed with a bazooka and asked him “how come you are running away from the United States of America? What offence have you committed to warrant not being able to visit, since all this time?” Atiku fired back at me: “It is the sole prerogative of America to determine who they want in their country or not. I’m not running away from America. I applied, but wasn’t issued a visa. However, they did not decline me categorically either. They’ve only said my application is going through administrative process. This is not peculiar to me. For about 15 years, Buhari could not enter America on account of religious considerations. The current Indian Prime Minister, Modi, suffered the same fate for years. Today, he is being treated to red carpet treatment in America.. I fly to different parts of the world, including Europe, if America wanted me, it would be so easy for them to reach out to their allies…”

We soon dovetailed to the nitty-gritty of politics. Why did he not wait to contest the primaries in APC first and see the outcome before running away? I felt this was defeatist! His response: “After Buhari won the election, he was no longer interested in the Party that made him President. Every activity stopped and not even the Party Chairman, Chief John Oyegun, could take any decision. I called Chief Oyegun a few times to tell him our Party was dying slowly but he told me he would not do anything unless he got clearance from the President. At a stage, I gathered about 18 prominent members and began to meet in the hope that we can re-energise Party activities, but some people lied to the President that I wanted to use the forum to launch my Presidential campaign. That forum became simply dead on arrival. No BOT, no NEC meetings, as stipulated in our Constitution. The Party became a one-man property. Everyone grumbles behind the President’s back but they are too timid to raise a voice against the illegalities being perpetuated. I should be bold enough to know what I want, and can do so at my age, so I decided to leave…”

So, where is he going from here? He says he hasn’t formally declared for any Party, but is sure PDP is waiting to welcome him back into the Party he co-founded with others at the end of military rule. I asked if he has any guarantee of getting the PDP ticket. He told me why he should get it: “Nothing is absolutely certain in this life, but PDP needs a candidate with the brightest chance and that can only come from someone who has major experience, exposure, knowledge about running an economy, who is a Nationalist and not a sectionalist and whose brand cannot be intimidated in anyway by that of the current President. If PDP picks a weak candidate, then the Party is doomed. Some of those whose names are being touted and bandied about have not grown beyond their immediate domains.”

If he gets the PDP ticket, is he confident he can beat a sitting President and Buhari for that matter? “I will definitely beat him this time. He has wasted a lot of his massive goodwill. A lot of people are disgruntled but keeping quiet and lying low. Our youths are suffering terribly and now they are being sold into slavery. Everyone knows my track record of inviting and attracting a good team and giving them the opportunity to work professionally. Nigerians are tired of leaders who cannot think big and work big. Dele, I will be ready from day one…”

Is he not afraid of Buhari? “No, definitely not. Buhari is free to contest and I’m free to contest. And Nigerians will make their choice.” I could see that glow in his eyes. He sounded determined and more prepared at this time, than at any other time.

Will Atiku play a joker as his last card in 2019? Time will tell.

  • Hakeem Adedokun

    It is unfortunate that Nigerians either by default or the stifling economic environment have become so gullible or puppets in the hand of the politicians in Nigeria.

    It is a no-brainer that Atiku is a better candidate than Buhari when judged using a comprehensive and balanced scorecard. Before the Buhari cult followers jump on my neck, I will try and highlight my reasons using the competencies below.

    Leadership- Atiku is surely a liberal Leader and not conservative like Buhari. Nigeria is such a complex country that you want a leader who inspires confidence and not a sectional leader. You have to be the president of the Ibos, Yorubas, Middle belt and all other 250 something other tribes in Nigeria. What we have now surely is Nepotism.

    Economy- You can only compare the period Atiku was in charge of the Economy between 1999 and 2003 when Nigeria economy was liberalised and there was a compounded economic growth rate of over 25%. What Buhari has done is to take us into recession with his ill thought out policies and lack of preparedness. A re-election is always a referendum on a sitting president anywhere in the world and a situation where APC controls majority states and workers are been owed 6 to 11-month salaries in these states, any sane country would never return such a party to power. Forget about the propaganda, the question is, are Nigerians better of now than four years ago and the answer is a resounding NO.

    Human Capital development and management- Obama once said that the reason he was so successful was that he chose the right team and he allowed them to work. Asiwaju Tinubu would also attest to this fact as a reason for his success in his governorship years.
    Atiku by far has a tenacity for harnessing talents together. His vociferous critic today, Mallam El Rufai, worked for him when he was at BPE and it was Atiku that assembled the team together. Besides Atiku is one of the biggest employers of Labour in Nigeria today with various successful businesses, and it takes good human capital management to do that. Buhari has not been able to do that and he’s also limited by his lack of exposure.

    Restructuring- I will surely place my bet with Atiku on this as he has come out openly in support of restructuring. Buhari position and antecedents are known on this matter.

    Corruption- This is the only area they have tried to taint Atiku and I am not buying that, Most Nigerians politicians are corrupt and allegations, innuendos and gossips do not constitute been guilty in the court of law. If we are, to be honest, i would rather say Buhari might be a better EFCC Chairman than a president, that is even debatable given is penchant for being selective.

    On a final note, given these two candidates and based on the above competencies, I will vote for Atiku all day and I sincerely believe in a free and fair election, Atiku will defeat Buhari.

    Patriots for Atiku.

  • Ak

    i wish we had a ‘better’ pool of candidates but as it stands today atiku, sure is better than the clown there at the moment as he certainly has the brains to run a modern day economy and grow it..

    while all politicians in Nigeria have HUGE skeletons in their cupboard, especially, the ‘clown of the moment ‘ ( U know who) but take a look at some of what atikus’ done as a private citizen, education , micro finance, these lift people out of poverty etc.

  • Salmon Omokanye

    Dele didn’t score highly for the interview with Atiku.
    The pertinent questions to give him a chance to clear the air about corruption would be :
    Was it right for him to engage in haulage business at the ports where he was a Supervisory Customs officer?
    Where was the millions of dollars wired to his wife in the USA from?
    On competence and personal aptitudes?
    Why is Nigeria always having O/L grade 3; F9 mathematics as future presidential candidates. Would it not be right to try more gifted citizens. And Atiku appeared to have got university admission through the back door. He didn’t meet entry requirements. The honorary doctorates were farce and he did not look the part in academic robes.
    After the opportunities in high public office why don’t older citizens have succession plans for younger ones.
    And on the matter of personal comportment, why did he need 5 wives and 15 children?
    Muhammadu Buhari has been a disappointment, with ill health as mitigating factor but his plan unravelling for a second term betrays him as a very selfish man feathering his nest and no iota of truth that he cares about Nigeria. That is a betrayal of the APC voters. Shame!!

  • ychukwuka

    Another bed room interview for 2019 done for a league of 70 by a hypocrite that wants youth to step up and take over the reigns of their country. An experienced claimed ‘journalist’ caught up with a big whip like Atiku and all he can ask is just four questions that can only be written in essay form. Shameful, is it not? I know Atiku must have provided money in an envelope for izal. I can see ‘Afonja’ journalists rushing and sweating to clean him up. If only all we have to present to the country is either Atiku or Buhari. let the country go up in flames. Rubbish!

  • Muhammad Jamil Abdulhamid

    I don’t know why Dele chose to write the article in a reported form rather that a Q&A format free from commentary. Perhaps this is a pre-arranged post.

  • austin

    “… Everyone knows my track record of inviting and attracting a good team and giving them the opportunity to work professionally. Nigerians are tired of leaders who cannot think big and work big. Dele, I will be ready from day one…”
    _______________________________________________________
    On this alone, Atiku carry go.
    If he can form a shadow cabinet before the elections and they can tell us how they intend to move the nation forward, it would be a welcome difference from the fellow who took 6 months to find ministers that were standing right next to him and were even following him about on his victory travels.

  • Babawale ige

    Tomorroyt?w Dele will tell us, we need youth, next week, he will say new breed,he keep playing Nigerians with his weekly column. Atiku contested the Apc primaries with buhari and he was beaten hands down. This will happen again but let him contest, that’s the beauty of democracy. Buhari will use two years to clean Nigeria abi. We better start thinking right. Buhari is our local government councillor, chairman, governor abi. Those that can’t manage business, can’t manage Nigeria. What business did Obama manage, c’mon. They said you can’t enter America and you are saying for regilion reasons, buhari didn’t enter for fifteen years. So you know the another man’s reason but you don’t know your own.

    • MIke Oke

      Whenever I come across a Buhari supporter I usually think quietly inside me that the person is a masochist and is naturally wicked. I’m always looking behind my shoulder when I pass him because I think the guy might stab me in the back. I don’t know it’s just a funny feeling I have. Only a sick, demented person would want to elongate the present day suffering by wishing Buhari more years in office.

  • Chris Arukwe

    We really need a true leader in Nigeria with ultimate notion on the global development.
    2. We do not need questions like why are you not visiting USA I am surprise that Atiku had to answer that question because for me a true leader stays more at home and not excited travelling to the US. The battle of election and true development is not achieved by Buhari, Atiku, Obasanjo or Jonathan travelling to the USA. We need fix our own nation and put Nigeria first making decisions that will consider Nigeria and Nigerians first.

    4. I expected questions like why did Fmr President Jonathan say Atiku should make peace with Obasanjo in order to contest the 2019 election.

    5. I will also challenge Atiku to be able to appreciate that it’s no longer time to recycle leaders who have been there since 70s. Alhaji Atiku please how many youths have u trained to take up the rule and to bridge leadership. How many youths have u trained from other geo political zones UPI mentioning Adamawa only make me cry for this growing ethnicity that is killing Nigeria.
    5. Atiku should have sold himself as a unifying figure and a mega thinker that will improve the status of Nigeria.
    In a nutshell Atiku needs to improve and show more to Nigerians that he can strengthen institutions like what Jonathan tried achieving and stop making Nigeria synonymous to their names.

  • Taiwo Babatunde Hakeem

    Bob Dee the pertinent question is has ever left PDP, so it’s not decamping it’s total deceit from pit of hell from this man no wonder Obj never trusted him trust him at your own peril.

  • chyke

    I may vote for Atiku in the absence of a winnable candidate. Definitely not Buhari. I wasted my vote in 2011

  • Bisi Abiola

    A no nonsense interview, frank and bull’s eye. Atiku also answered directly , no rigmarolling. I admire his resilience, determination, and unrelenting pursuit of power to do right for the people. If moving from one party to the other will help him achieve that, why not? It’s his prerogative and right. Lastly, God gives power to whom he pleases. His ways are not ours . I pray Nigeria gets it right for the sake of millions of people suffering from lack of basic needs.

  • Mystic mallam

    Dele Momodu is a court jester, he cannot be serious…. His Joker questions to Mr Atiku was a studied avoidance of the one JOKER that could make all the difference in the 2019 election – restructuring the country back to a truly federal Republic of Nigeria. That’s the one thing that stands Atiku out among the other possible candidates and makes him appear interesting in the evolving contest. All these other stuff about party hopping, corruption and desperation for power are simply pedestrian. I do not know in which planet Dele will find the Nigerian politician that has not hopped parties, that is not corrupt, and if he has the guts is not obsessed with power. What is in dire shortage is the Nigerian politician who truly believes in something – like restructuring!! I have heard Atiku several times claiming to believe in restructuring as the way forward, the way out of Nigeria’s state of virtual collapse. I believe that about restructuring too, but I have no cause to believe Mr Atiku’s sincerity of belief yet. If Dele and his genre of journalists wish to do Nigeria and its citizens a favour, regarding how to choose who rules over them from May 2019, avoiding questions on the politicians’ core beliefs and stance on restructuring is callous and unpatriotic. Dele could have helped us probe into Atiku’s mindset, but he chose not to, he is simply irredeemable.

    • Country man

      Dear mystic mallam,

      You just took the words out of my mouth.
      That this passes as journalism in our country showed that we are in trouble as a people. How do we move in the right direction if the fourth estate does not understand fundamental issues?

      A good opportunity to find out HOW the man plans to go about his restructuring is wasted asking irrelevant questions.
      Nigerian journalists are definitely part of the reason why our charade will continue for some time

    • austin

      They wanted to get somethings that are already in public discussion out of the way. These include:
      1) Jumping between parties
      2) Obsession with being President
      3) USA self imposed embargo
      4) Corruption taint
      This is obviously a starting point. No need going to full election mode yet with all manners of manifesto that would be denied when they get into power, APC stylee.

  • Fowad

    The truth is that Atiku is one of those Nigerians who created this seamless political boundaries in the country where anything goes and ethics is challenged. He cannot use a different logic to pigeon-hole the APC, which happened to beat him in his own game. He sees the rot in the party and this further strengthened his resolve to contest, knowing the system is truly corrupt. He takes his encouragement from a system he knows has no saint which truly frees him to run on his conscience.
    His feeling is, if everyone is corrupt why should he be taken to the slaughter house and be denied of becoming Nigeria’s president? He is right, but he must sincerely align his thoughts with those of the Nigerian voters who are wondering, what is this all about?

  • Don Gratias

    Atiku by every standard is a million times better than Buhari. We shall no longer be fooled by any unverified news of corruption this time around.

    • Sir Demo

      Who are the we?

  • Wikileaks

    If we have to choose between Buhari and Atiku in 2019, then I might as well sit down at home and not vote.

    • Cheta God

      Rethink. Gone are days that the SW press is allowed to decide our preferences. For now Atiku is the guy to beat

  • He sought and walked up to Dele for the interview, sign of desperation. Under the B1/B2 category visa process, the US embassy gives an instant no or yes answer except if Atiku wants to immigrate. Lol.

    • Cheta God

      Time for the north to redeem it’s image that Buhari has messed up. The country has never been this divided. The fight against corruption is not achieving any dividend. Recovered loot is being reloted right under our eyes. Corruption in the presidency is being swept under the carpet. The entire nation is being recolonised by the Fulani, check out the hardship of all uniformed services. Nigeria needs an enlightened president devoid of parochial and religious sentiments. That’s where Buhari failed woefully. Daura is just a small Hamlet. Our country is too big to be governed by the decisions made in Daura or Otueke You can’t give what you don’t have.

      • Huh? Every democratic country in the world has its FAULT LINES. America has never been more divided than in the advent of president Barack Obama. So it is now more than divided. At the pick of the clamour for resource control in the Niger Delta, where did you think an Eleme man and an Okrika man allegiance lies, both from the ND?Did you know that an Okrika man can only access his hometown from PH through the waterways? On corruption, if in your warped mind you think the fight is Buhari’s alone, then so be it. Visit the Mainagate hearing on Google at the NASS, and read what EFCC acting chairman said about re-looted loot before you come on here displaying ignorance. Nonsense.

    • Truth is bitter

      Don’t mind Atiku, he was expecting the question and had rehearsed his answer to fool the gullible Nigerians forgetting that not all Nigerians are easily fooled.

  • KWOY

    From Obasanjo to Tinubu & now to Dele Momodu…. Yorubas are everywhere beating their chests – for dictating the tune in the nigerian ruin!. But if they are HUMBLE enough, they will admit it is out of their helplesness & choicelessness that they now have to chose between LESSER evils!

  • Zirem

    Hmmm…. interesting point, we want someone who can think big and work big. Atiku has always been consistent with his democratic and political beliefs, it is the political parties in Nigeria that has always failed us, so his movements not a problem at all. What matters is he preparedness and he is, more than any presidential candidate that has come out.

  • RumuPHC

    Atiku Abubakar again!

    I have vowed not to comment or participate in any discussion on politics in Nigeria as long as the presidential contest in 2019 is between Buhari and Atiku.

    Apparently we Nigerians have sold our hearts to the devil and have given up on the future of the country.

    Seriously in a country of 180m people it is these uneducated , incompetent but connected feudal northern geriatrics that qualifies to be president and lead Nigeria into the next decade of the digital millennium?

    It is rather sad and quite a big shame that the prospect of an Atiku presidency is even under contemplation following the spectacular failure of a Buhari administration.

    Have Nigerians not had enough of the same old people dancing between PDP and APC and ruling the country to ruins? Where are the successful youthful middle class and where are the new political parties to take the country out of the doldrums and quagmire of incompetent and poor political leadership since 1999?

  • Akin Malaolu

    The Man that will never be President.
    Unhappy people are DANGEROUS PEOPLE.
    NIGERIA BELONGS TO US TOO AND NOT TO THEM.
    TODAY, GOD HAS GIVEN BACK TO US NIGERIA WHICH ATIKU AND OTHERS STOLE.
    GOD CAN GIVE THEM ‘HELL’ IF HE SO WISH.

  • Sarah

    Warts and all, Atiku is the best prepared for the Presidency at this time. Even better prepared than Buhari.
    His key asset is being able to identify talented professionals and bringing them into government to help develop Nigeria.
    How to persuade OBJ not to oppose his candidacy, should now be top of Atiku’s agenda. Atiku, please do not think you can be President of Nigeria with an active adversary like OBJ working against you.
    A word is enough for the wise.

    • Grelia O

      I agree with you on Atiku’s qualifications but disagree with you on the sole ability of OBJ to stop him. Short of Buhari, on his own or through OBJ’s advise, to fraudulently use INEC or some government instrument of coercion to deny Atiku the chance, Atiku will beat Buhari handily in 2019 should Atiku be fortunate to secure nomination. I am assuming a free and fair election, which might be asking too much of Buhari given how he staffed INEC with people loyal to him, a clear statement of intent and an obvious red flag.

      Devolution of power is front and center among Yorubas now. If all the positive noise on restructuring coming out of the SW now is as genuine as I think it is, while Atiku might not be a Mandela, he is head and shoulders ahead of Buhari in many areas of interest to the SW. If he takes that zone, it’s over.

      While Buhari will carry the North, he cannot sweep it because Atiku will take some states in the NE and NC. It will be easier for him to sweep the South than it will be for Buhari to sweep the North. Unlike GEJ, Atiku owns the North with Buhari, yet the South ideologically agrees more with him than with Buhari.

      As I have said somewhere else, voters have seen a lot of Buhari’s vulnerabilities that were not obvious before his exposure to democratic governance. Neither Tinubu nor the intelligentsia can masquerade him any more. Voters now have the benefit of his performance so far, and it has not been up to expectation. On the other hand, Atiku will have the advantage of the opposition, which Buhari enjoyed ahead of the last election. Unfortunately for the incumbent, there’s a lot of angst and restlessness in the country now, a situation that usually benefits the opposition.

      The next election will be the opposition’s to lose. The big question is whether Buhari and his handlers will be courageous and patriotic enough to allow the elections to be free and fair.

      • Sarah

        I hear you but it is not a simple case of Buhari will lose because he has disappointed the electorate.
        Note that for a long time Buhari was un-electable till that all went to appeal to IBB to “not oppose” him.
        The so called God-fathers of Nigeria are very influential and OBJ is their head. GEJ recently called him boss of bosses whom they can only ignore to their loss.
        All Atiku has to do is visit OBJ in company of OBJ boys like Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Una Danni, Charles Soludo and give undertaking to put national interest first. Then get OBJ not to oppose his candidacy.
        Everyone knows now that Buhari should go home after 2019.
        The question is who next?

        • Grelia O

          OBJ is opposed to leveling the playing field, hence his objection to restructuring. I have a feeling that he will lose this time if he continues to side with ultra-conservatives, who are opposed to the yearnings of his SW people. Something has happened under Buhari’s watch. The call for serious restructuring was neither coordinated nor focused before he became president.

          The slump in oil price exposed the vulnerabilities and flaws of the pro-consumption structure. Every zone, especially Southern zones, has woken up from slumber. This sudden need for survival has opened their eyes to the solution that has been staring them in the face – correction of the flawed structure to increase bakers of the national cake. There are more takers now than bakers.

          Buhari’s selective and vindictive governing style sealed the deal for the South. When Igbos and the SS adopt a Yoruba agenda, you know that Latin has gone beyond Mensa. It has taken Buhari to do what common sense could not do, and it’s good for the nation.

          Atiku, if he is the one, and his Northern constituency have nothing to love by adopting the Ibadan Declaration because it is not anti any zone. It is pro-every zone and therefore, pro- Nigeria. With plenty of arable and fertile land and lots of untapped mineral resources, the North has a viable future. All the millions of almajiris roaming the streets and often instructions of senseless crises, and potential bakers of national cake with proper training. Inform the people properly and they will see that Atiku and not Buhari will be better for them.

          I still maintain that if Yorubas vote their interest, a million OBJs, IBBs and other pro-status quo agents will not be able to stop the train of progress. That interest, which is synonymous with Igbo and SS interest is also Nigerian interest. Atiku in the discussion only to the extent that he is closer to that ideology than Buhari is. If any other Northerner can do better in that respect then Atiku, then Atiku becomes secondary. It’s all about interest.

          OBJ will have to face reality or get out of the way. Otherwise, he risks embarrassment. Atiku needs Yoruba people more than he needs OBJ. If he has to make a deal, it should be with the Yoruba nation, and with its support, OBJ will be run over if doesn’t get out of the way.

        • Sir Demo

          Obj Olagunsoye Mark etc will never abandon a fellow military man.

          • Arabakpura

            This is not Zimbabwe where power is sexually transmitted!

            We need good leadership and we must all open our eyes and attempt to identify one! Enough of this old-fashioned gangsterism! We all ought to resist it!

          • Sarah

            Mind you OBJ singlehandedly made Jonathan PDP flag bearer for 2011 elections and campaigned for him, leading to the defeat of Buhari (Military man).
            OBJ has made it publicly known that he does not think Buhari should get a second term. The point now is to get someone with a nationalist disposition.
            Atiku is still the best in the field. He just has to speak with the “…gate keepers or Watch men…”. He needs to get off his high horse. If Buhari could go and visit IBB and give necessary assurances, why can Atiku not do the needful and visit OBJ to give necessary assurances?

          • Sir Demo

            PMB will be the strongest incumbent President in the world come 2019 to lose the election. Mark my word. The geopolitics virtually impossible to defeat him. He will clear the north east, NW, NC and win hands down SW. and Majority votes in Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers, Edo and Delta, mark my words.

            A clever very strategic and well advise incumbent will easily win a re-election. His parley with governors of Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Anambra is not an happenstance bru. Wike to get a second term will sell Rivers.

          • Chym

            Fool just like an illiterate Buhari

          • Shehu Monguno

            2019 is not 2011

        • Grelia O

          I gave you a detailed response but Thisday must have found it politically incorrect. One must be politically correct to play on this forum.

      • Sir Demo

        Yoruba will vote for Atiku with an Igbo deputy? That must be news. And if he wants to choose a Yoruba deputy, who is that person to split our votes while NOT losing Igbos votes

    • Taiwo Babatunde Hakeem

      We can NEVER be fool twice, we tot Buhari was a messiah not again. Let someone like Olisa Agbakoba come please

      • Grelia O

        I think we need a credible candidate from the North acceptable in the South, who will split the Northern vote.

        • Sir Demo

          Mention one of such. Kwankwasor will not commit a political suicide.

    • Sir Demo

      Like he did for 8 yrs he spent in office?

    • FrNinja

      He is also a talented thief.

      • Sarah

        We do not have the luxury of saints in the Nigerian political class.
        We are left to choose the best of those available that has the most realistic chance of winning.
        Atiku is the best choice for Nigeria for 2019.

  • Arabakpura

    I didn’t know that America at some point declared Buhari a terrorist and a religious bigot! This America self!

    • Truth is bitter

      Atiku was able to know Buhari was denied visa but his own visa is still pending because U.S embassy cannot make a decision yet. Not all Nigerians are gullible o!. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, you have to “pull another wool over our eyes”. This one has not worked.

      • Shehu Monguno

        In Nigeria truth is the first casualty. My take, if Atiku has actually been charged for a crime, there will be a request for extradition out for him.

        Atiku would have been given the James Ibori Dubai – London treatment by now

        • Truth is bitter

          My friend, the U.S.A government wrote to Obasanjo to investigate Atiku when he was his vice president on corruption / money laundry offences. Don’t be easily fooled by what politicians say. Do you know how many Nigerians even with American passports that are wanted in U.S.A. ? You can read my earlier posts for that information.

          • Shehu Monguno

            Truth Is Bitter, So OBJ claimed in 2005 a claim no one can prove and a letter no one else apart from OBJ has seen.

            Punch Newspaper in November 2016 sent an email to the USA authorities in November 2016 and they denied having any issues with Atiku. Several Newspapers carried it

            November 20, 2016
            The United States Department of Justice has denied having any criminal charges against former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.

            Kaduna State governor, Nasir El Rufai had in a recent statement dared the Turakin Adamawa to tell the world why he is avoiding the United States of America.

            El-Rufai said: “Can Alhaji Atiku explain the findings in the report of the United States Senate Permanent Sub-Committee on Investigations which detailed a pattern of wire transfers of more than USD 40m from offshore companies like Siemens into bank accounts controlled by him and one of his wives.

            “The report detailing the US Senate findings is online, as one of four case histories of foreign corruption in the USA. Alhaji Atiku should tell a better tale of why he is avoiding the United States of America”.

            However, responding to an inquiry by Punch Newspaper, a spokesperson for the US DOJ, Peter Carr said, “Thank you for reaching out to us. I have checked the public court records, and they do not show cases filed against a defendant named Atiku Abubakar.”

            On whether Abubakar has been banned from entering the US and if there is any court case against him concerning the Halliburton scandal which resulted in the conviction of a US lawmaker, William Jefferson, the spokesman said, “Visa issues are confidential under section 222(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. If your question is specifically about entry – not about visas per se – I would refer you to the US Customs and Border Protection.”

          • Truth is bitter

            Culled from United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security

            https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/

            Abubakar Case History. From 2000 to 2008, Jennifer Douglas, a U.S. citizen and the
            fourth wife of Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President and former candidate for President of
            Nigeria, helped her husband bring over $40 million in suspect funds into the United States
            through wire transfers sent by offshore corporations to U.S. bank accounts. In a 2008 civil
            complaint, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that Ms. Douglas received
            over $2 million in bribe payments in 2001 and 2002, from Siemens AG, a major German
            corporation. While Ms. Douglas denies wrongdoing, Siemens has already pled guilty to U.S.
            criminal charges and settled civil charges related to bribery and told the Subcommittee that it
            sent the payments to one of her U.S. accounts. In 2007, Mr. Abubakar was the subject of
            corruption allegations in Nigeria related to the Petroleum Technology Development Fund.
            Of the $40 million in suspect funds, $25 million was wire transferred by offshore
            corporations into more than 30 U.S. bank accounts opened by Ms. Douglas, primarily by
            Guernsey Trust Company Nigeria Ltd., LetsGo Ltd. Inc., and Sima Holding Ltd. The U.S. banks
            maintaining those accounts were, at times, unaware of her PEP status, and they allowed multiple,
            large offshore wire transfers into her accounts. As each bank began to question the offshore wire
            transfers, Ms. Douglas indicated that all of the funds came from her husband and professed little
            familiarity with the offshore corporations actually sending her money. When one bank closed
            her account due to the offshore wire transfers, her lawyer helped convince other banks to provide
            a new account.
            In addition, two of the offshore corporations wire transferred about $14 million over five
            years to American University in Washington, D.C., to pay for consulting services related to the
            development of a Nigerian university founded by Mr. Abubakar. American University accepted
            the wire transfers without asking about the identity of the offshore corporations or the source of
            their funds, because under current law, the University had no legal obligation to inquire.

          • Shehu Monguno

            Truth Is Bitter,

            please can you show where it was concluded the suspect funds US$40million was the proceed of fraud

            Have USA government investigated the source of the suspected fund ?
            Have anyone been indicted or charged to court?

            The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that Ms. Douglas received over $2 million in bribe payments in 2001 and 2002, from Siemens AG – HAS MS DOUGLAS BEEN INDICTED AND CHARGED TO COURT?

            IS THERE ANYWHERE WHERE IT IS STATED THE BRIBE COLLECTED WAS TRACED TO HER HUSBAND?

            In 2007, Mr. Abubakar was the subject of corruption allegations in Nigeria related to the Petroleum Technology Development Fund.

            STILL WONDERING WHY GOVERNMENTS OF NIGERIA HAVE NOT CONCLUDED OR PICKED UP THE PTDF FRAUD CASE. MORE THAN 10 YEARS AFTER THE ALLEGATIONS WERE MADE

          • Lami T

            What information? the one that Jefferson is making allegations, saying he was going to bribe Atiku, even though money was found in the senator’s freezer, not that he actually bribed Atiku. Did Atiku collect money from Jefferson? And even when his home was raided what did they find? Where in the statement does it confirm that Atiku committed a crime. Where is our sense of reasoning for God’s sake. So when US asked OBJ to investigated his VP, what did he find? Where is the evidence? Why is Atiku a free man? We’ve got brains let us it.

    • Truth is bitter

      Culled from Newyork Times

      WASHINGTON, June 6 — The Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the Maryland home of the vice president of Nigeria last summer in search of bribe money that the bureau believed had been paid to him by Representative William Jefferson, according to documents released on Tuesday.

      The documents included an affidavit signed by an F.B.I. agent who said that the Nigerian vice president, Atiku Abubakar, now a candidate for president of that oil-rich West African nation, asked for at least half of the profits of a technology company controlled by Mr. Jefferson that was seeking to do business in Nigeria.

      About the same time last year, the documents said, Mr. Jefferson told colleagues of his plans to bribe Nigerian officials, including Mr. Abubakar, in exchange for their help in winning business in Nigeria, and that Mr. Abubakar would be paid as much as $500,000 in cash.

      The F.B.I. affidavit, which was dated Aug. 2, and other documents were made public over the objections of Mr. Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat who is the target of a wide-ranging corruption investigation. He has denied wrongdoing and has said the information in the court papers would unfairly damage his reputation.

      In the affidavit, an F.B.I. agent, Edward S. Cooper, said cellphone records suggested that Mr. Jefferson visited a home owned by Mr. Abubakar and his wife in Potomac, Md., an affluent suburb of Washington, around midnight last July 31 with the intention of delivering money to the Nigerian leader while he was on a visit to the United States. The next day, the F.B.I. said, Mr. Jefferson told a confidential informant that he had delivered “African art” — which the agent described as code for a cash payment — and that Mr. Abubakar “was very pleased.”

      Continue reading the main story
      RELATED COVERAGE

      The documents, which were released by a federal court in Greenbelt, Md., do not show what was seized by F.B.I. in the search of the Maryland home, nor do they show if the Nigerian leader ever received any money from Mr. Jefferson. A separate search of Mr. Jefferson’s home in Washington in August turned up $90,000 in cash that, F.B.I. documents suggest, had been intended for the Nigerian leader. A bureau affidavit stated that the money had been hidden by Mr. Jefferson in his home freezer.

      The Nigerian Embassy in Washington had no comment Tuesday on the disclosures in the documents about Mr. Abubakar, whose name had emerged previously in news reports about the investigation of Mr. Jefferson. The Associated Press quoted a spokesman for Mr. Abubakar in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, as declining comment Tuesday “until we have seen these reports or allegations.” Mr. Jefferson’s Congressional office referred questions to his lawyer, who has not returned repeated phone calls seeking comment.

      Bush administration officials have been reluctant to speculate publicly about the effect of the investigation of Mr. Jefferson on American relations with Nigeria, which is one of largest exporters of oil to the United States.

      Mr. Jefferson, an eight-term House member whose district includes most of New Orleans, has refused to discuss the detailed accusations against him in earlier court filings, including why so much money was in his home freezer.

      The documents suggest that Mr. Jefferson was aggressive in seeking to lobby officials in Nigeria and other West African nations to promote business for a small technology company in which his family had a stake. A former top aide and the founder of the technology company have already pleaded guilty to criminal charges.

      “With regard to the Nigerian business venture, Jefferson has discussed the making of payments to high-ranking government officials there, including the vice president of Nigeria,” Mr. Cooper wrote in the affidavit last August intended to persuade a judge to allow the search of Mr. Abubakar’s Maryland home.

      “The vice president agreed to help secure the necessary approvals for the participants in the Nigerian business venture” in exchange for “at least 50 percent of the profits,” it continued, adding that Mr. Jefferson had also discussed “the payment of a substantial monetary sum” to Mr. Abubakar “in the range of up to $500,000.”

      New York Times

      • Arabakpura

        Thank you! I have archived the information and I am waiting for the one on Buhari that will come from his supporters before taking an opinion!

  • austin

    So ….
    1. Abiola reneged on an agreement that solely got him the party nomination. Hmmm, and he is supposedly a man of his words. Karma or Good riddance, I don’t know which to vote for.
    2. Buhari could not enter the USA for 15 years based on religious considerations. Kai. Terrorism?
    3. APC has not held any meetings (BOT, NEC, Conventions, or even Get togethers) since coming into power. Is that one a party? (as social media comments go these days).

  • Truth is bitter

    “I followed with a bazooka and asked him “how come you are running away from the United States of America? What offence have you committed to warrant not being able to visit, since all this time?” Atiku fired back at me: “It is the sole prerogative of America to determine who they want in their country or not. I’m not running away from America. I applied, but wasn’t issued a visa. However, they did not decline me categorically either. They’ve only said my application is going through administrative process. This is not peculiar to me.” The biggest lie of the century. When did you apply for visa? You are either given or refused a visa. The U.S. Embassy will not keep you in limbo for ever. Until you travel to America to prove you are not wanted, your statement is just gibberish.

    • austin

      Are they still with his passport while the administrative process is on? Hahaha, as long as they gave you back your passport then you have been refused. Unless of course if you never applied, your passport remains with you.
      To the Marines, shout it loud, Turaki.

      • Johnpaul Ugwuegbu

        A country will not refuse to issue an applicant a visa without a reason,Atiku should tell us the reason.

    • Zirem

      Ignorance is not lack of information, but the inability to comprehend. Be that is it may the US can spin their immigrations law however they want n give their Visa to whomever they want, it’s their business, they have bigger problems on their plate at the moment-that’s still their business. FYI, Americans go for those who are on their wanted list, they don’t wait for them to come in.

      • Truth is bitter

        Your inability to comprehend is so obvious. Unless you are a terrorist, American cannot chase everyone it wants for trial. Do you know how many Nigerians are wanted in U.S.A. that even have American passport. Akeem Dikson (former chairman of Surulere local government is an example). Have you heard of Senator Buruju Kashamu as another fugitive from U.S.A. If you believe every statement from a politician, you may as well believe the moon is made of cheese. That American embassy cannot decide whether to grant or refuse anyone a visa and just keep you in limbo indefinitely is hogwash for gullible people like you. You may think you are intelligent but you are definitely gullible and easily fooled.

        • Zirem

          Do you know about extradition?

    • FrNinja

      Two words why he was denied a visa – money laundering. He was implicated in a deal with an American congressman caught in a bribery sting.

  • Toby

    The joker….Restruture not anti corruption this time.

    • share Idea

      lol

  • Darcy

    Please does anybody have any idea on how I can profit from the amount of bleach that will be used to turn Atiku and Buhari white in the coming years?

    • Magnus0071mg

      Call toll free magnus5843

    • Daniel Obior

      Good Lord! Why would you want to bleach or paint two black men white? Are you suggesting white is better than black? For me o, “Am black and am proud”.
      Say it loud …………

      • Darcy

        Bleach as in stain removal…because soon you’ll have people declaiming from the hills that both Men are the best thing since Fried Turkey.

        • Daniel Obior

          I know what bleach means and what you were getting after.
          I was just adding a little laugh to the conversation.

          • Darcy

            Ohh, me wan fear.