• PDP urges president to speak out on his indictment by finance minister
•Obasanjo, Atiku can’t match Buhari on integrity test, APC insists
Adedayo Akinwale and Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo of speaking discordant tunes on restructuring, saying that Osinbajo, in particular, is being economical with the truth when he said the former vice president was against restructuring while in office between 1999 and 2007.
The main opposition party has also challenged President Buhari to speak out on the declaration by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, that the policies of his administration were hurting the country and destroying investors- confidence in the economy.
This is coming as the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Yekini Nabena, has said that neither former President Olusegun Obasanjo nor his deputy, Abubakar, can beat President Buhari in an integrity contest.
Osibanjo, had while delivering a lecture titled: ‘Developing the Nation through Youth Empowerment’, as part of activities marking the 68th anniversary of the Sigma Club, University of Ibadan, said that: “All this time, this was 2000, some of those people, including the presidential candidate of PDP, who is talking about restructuring, was the vice president then; they opposed every step that we took. Of course, we were taking the federal government to court then. They opposed every step.”
But Atiku , in a statement issued yesterday by his campaign organisation, said Osinbajo needs to be reminded that there are well documented accounts in the Nigerian media chronicling his support and struggle for restructuring.
According to him, “Given that restructuring has become the major issue in the 2019 elections and given that Prof Osinbajo and his boss have been speaking discordant tunes on restructuring, we can understand their desperation to revise history, however, it is impossible to revise documented history.”
The former vice president said it was also common knowledge that the six geopolitical zones structure which all parts of Nigeria benefit from today was the fruit of the collaborative efforts of himself, the late Alex Ekwueme and other patriots.
He stated: “To set the records straight, we recommend to Professor Osinbajo the article ‘Nigeria: 6-1 Onshore-Offshore Jurisdiction Verdict’ written by Jide Ajani, then the Political Editor of Vanguard Newspapers and published on July 13, 2001.
“In that piece, which is still available online (see linkhttps://allafrica.com/
“Their efforts at restructuring Nigeria are captured in the Hansard of the 1995 Constitutional Conference, which is a public document and is still available at the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. Professor Osinbajo may want to familiarise himself with that document.
“The question we want to ask Professor Osinbajo is this – why do he and his boss constantly resort to rewriting history? Why can they not campaign on their achievements? Is it that they are forced to campaign on subterfuge because they have no achievements to campaign on?” the statement queried.
Meanwhile, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of APC, Mr. Yekini Nabena, has said that neither former President Obasanjo nor his deputy, Abubakar, can beat President Buhari in an integrity contest.
He said the fact that Obasanjo had once described Abubakar as a corrupt, disloyal and unpatriotic leader who was not fit and proper to handle the mantle of Nigeria’s leadership was enough to rubbish any sudden endorsement from him.
In a statement issued yesterday, Nabena argued that Obasanjo contradicted himself when he made a volte-face to tell Nigerians that he has forgiven Abubakar.
“Throughout their second tenure in office, (2003-2007) and until last fortnight, former Obasanjo, had described Abubakar as a corrupt, disloyal and unpatriotic leader who was not fit and proper to handle the mantle of Nigerian leadership. Only recently, Obasanjo vowed that God would not forgive him if he supported the Presidential aspiration of Atiku as ‘it would amount to handing Nigeria over to sharks and looters,” Nabena said.
The APC deputy spokesman stated that soon after his declaration, Obasanjo made a volte-face and announced he had forgiven Atiku and that he had decided to also support his presidential aspiration.
According to him, “Obasanjo’s message to Nigerians therefore, was that his former deputy, whom he had accused of various acts of corruption had suddenly become clean, credible and prepared to lead Nigeria. What a contradiction!”
He said it was surprising that Obasanjo who had accused Atiku of corrupt tendencies, suddenly turned around and declare the sinner forgiven and eminently qualified to govern Nigeria.
“It is this tendency towards indecision, insincerity, double talk and deception that has made Nigeria ridiculed in the eyes of the international community. A statesman is known for his principles and his statements are based on the strength of his convictions.
“When a supposed national leader makes declarations that are subject to change at any time based on his mood, such a leader loses his integrity and reliability,” he said.
Nabena also faulted the integrity and nationalistic image being brandied by the PDP’s 2019 vice presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, describing him as double-faced and pretentious
He said that many world-class shopping malls owned by Obi has been springing up in various cities in Nigeria soon after he left office as Anambra State Governor.
“Nigerians cannot be deceived, we have seen them all – Presidential Library, Bells and American University of Nigeria, Breweries and Shopping Malls, all established with largely public funds but privately owned by public officers.
In the case of President Buhari, Nabena said that as a former Military Head of State and Petroleum Minister he made no attempt to acquire an oil well, private jet or estates in Nigeria and abroad.
“Muhammadu Buhari is definitely different from the double-faced candidates seeking election,” he added.
Meanwhile, the PDP has challenged President Buhari to speak out on the declaration by the Finance Minister, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, that the policies of his administration were hurting the country and destroying investor- confidence in the economy.
The opposition party in a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan said that the declaration by the minister was a vindication of the party’s stand that the Buhari administration was responsible for the country’s economic woes.
The party expressed dismay that Buhari has kept mum on the issue since the minister made her declaration last week.
PDP noted that investors in key sectors are pulling out of their interests, with foreign revenue dwindling by the day, while the economy has continued to dip under President Buhari, with no hope in sight.
Ologbondiyan said, “Though the minister particularly alluded to the administration of the colossal fines imposed on MTN Nigeria and four banks, available data showed that the APC-led government has been subjecting businesses to very harsh and punitive policies.”
This, the PDP said has led to the dearth of both domestic and foreign direct investments and its attendant economic hardship on the citizenry.”
“Only last month, the same Minister of Finance alerted that the nation was facing revenue challenges; a development that stems directly from the harsh policies of the Buhari administration, coupled with its incompetence and lack of creative ability to engage in the global market and run a productive economy,” Ologbondiyan noted.