• Says he is not corrupt
Shola Oyeyepo in Lagos, Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has reiterated that restructuring the country is a necessity and not an option, saying Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo’s approbation and reprobation would not help the country.
The former vice president has also dispelled the widespread allegation that he was corrupt while serving with former President Olusegun Obasanjo
Atiku, a presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), while reacting to a statement credited to Osinbajo, who was quoted to have said that Atiku’s concept of restructuring “is understandably vague, because he seeks to cover every aspect of human existence in that definition,” described his statement as most unfortunate.
According to a statement issued yesterday in Abuja by Atiku Campaign Organisation, Osinbajo had written to Premium Times in response to an essay on restructuring authored by Atiku.
Osinbajo had also recently stated that “the problem with our country is not a matter of restructuring,” but Atiku argued that “if the vice president has changed his stance, I welcome it, but we should not use one finger to hide behind semantics.”
The former vice president said he had been at the forefront of the discourse on restructuring since the 1995 Abacha Constitutional Conference, stressing that to the best of his knowledge, there has not been any term like ‘geographic restructuring’.
“It is a strange concept, not only because it is not what the restructuring debate is all about, but also because the words of the vice president, which prompted my response, were clear, unambiguous and unequivocal.
“It is understandable that the Vice President, Osinbajo has written to Premium Times to douse the tension his comments created. However, in doing so, the vice president should not attempt to revise history by saying he spoke against ‘geographic restructuring,” Atiku said.
The former vice president stressed that he has been very clear, detailed, and unambiguous about his ideas of restructuring, adding that at several occasions, including, but not limited to his speeches at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) and at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, he gave very clear and concise ideas about administrative, political and economic restructuring.
According to Atiku, “My advice to the vice president is that he should choose whether he is for restructuring or whether he is against it and stick to his choice. This continuous prevarication, this approbation and reprobation help no one, least of all true progressives who know that Nigeria needs to be restructured and restructured soon.”
Meanwhile, Atiku has dispelled the widespread allegation that he was corrupt while serving as the vice president to former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Speaking in Ado Ekiti yesterday during his consultative visit on his presidential ambition, Atiku appealed to gladiators in the party to be united ahead of the 2019 general election, saying the party has a good prognosis to win the presidential poll if leaders exhibit extraordinary commitments.
The former vice president reiterated that allegations of corruption against him were false
“ I have always said that if they have any evidence of corruption against Atiku, please come forward. But nobody has been able to come forward,” he said
Atiku added that he had well packaged and distinct programmes contained in his blueprint to develop the country if elected to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.
Addressing Governor Ayo Fayose, Atiku described the governor as “brutally frank,” saying: “I like the way you do things. You’re brutally frank. You say your mind, it’s a very rare quality. So, I commend you for who you are. We will stand by you and the party in Ekiti State until you retrieves your stolen mandate.”
Fayose called for unity of the members of the party, saying Atiku has “the shoulder, you have the height, you have thenwherewithal. Our prayer is that it will not be an effort in futility.”