2019: Atiku Visits Jonathan, Expresses Optimism on PDP’s Chances


Says he never diverted public funds
Ernest Chinwo
Forner President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar have expressed optimism that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has what it takes to return to power in 2019, stressing that the main opposition party which lost the presidential election in 2015, is getting stronger. Both leaders stated this yesterday while speaking with journalists as the ex-president welcomed Atiku to his house in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

The former vice president has also declared that he has never diverted public funds to invest in his private business, and challenged anybody with evidence to make it public.
Speaking on the chances of PDP returning to power at the federal level, Jonathan noted that the party is getting stronger, affirming that PDP is now better poised to win the 2019 presidential election.

He said further: “Yes, we had some issues in 2015. But as you know, politics is a very dynamic business. I believe PDP is coming back and getting stronger. Even though we are in the opposition with fewer governors, PDP is still the strongest and largest party.”
Jonathan said he was pleased that the former vice president who came to Bayelsa to inaugurate state government projects, was able to pay him a visit. He added that he had enjoyed a long relationship with Atiku, beginning from when he was a Deputy Governor in Bayelsa State.

In the same vein, Atiku insisted that only the PDP has the strength and structure to win the presidential election and return to Aso Rock in 2019. His words: “It is actually the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that has the strength and structure to get back

to Aso Rock. There is no other party that has the structure and strength like the PDP. Without PDP, All Progressives Congress (APC) should not have been in Aso Rock.”
While expressing his disappointment with the state of affairs in the country Atiku raised several posers, saying: “Have we ever had this rate of unemployment and poverty in Nigeria? Have we ever had five sets of exchange rate before in this country? Have we ever had so much insecurity like this before? No! Have we ever been this divided before in this country? No!”

Atiku pointed out that his presence in President Jonathan’s house had nothing to do with the forthcoming 2019 elections, adding that he only came to pay his respects to the former President while on a visit to Bayelsa State. “I cannot visit Yenagoa in Bayelsa State without coming to see the former president,” he said.
Atiku has also declared that he has never diverted public funds to invest in his private business and challenged anybody with evidence to make it public.
He further stated that he performed excellently as vice president, explaining that by the letters of the Nigerian Constitution, that he was limited in his official powers to execute projects of his own initiative.

Speaking to journalists last Tuesday on arrival at the Port Harcourt International Airport in continuation of his consultations to Bayelsa and Rivers States for his 2019 presidential bid, Atiku said he was piqued by insinuations and allegations that he used public funds to establish the American University in Nigeria (AUN).
He said allegations that funds meant for road projects in his native Adamawa State were diverted to build the American University of Nigeria in Yola was being unfair to him, and that “it shows lack of understanding of how government runs on the part of the people making such allegations. “Government does not run on such pedestrian level, it is a process,” he said.

He maintained that all the money used for setting up the first development university in Africa came from private sources.
“To set the records straight, no public funds were involved in all my investments in several sectors that have continued to provide jobs and enhance educational and socio-economic wellbeing of Nigerians. I have always been contented with what God has given to me in all its ramifications and I thank Him for using me to better the lot of the people. Without being immodest, I was a successful businessman before going into politics and subsequently becoming the Vice President by Allah’s Grace. I was not desperate to be in government in order to make money but to serve the people in my own little way and contribute my quota to its overall development,” he said.