Saraki: Atiku Didn’t Travel to US as My Aide

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Bukola Saraki

Hamid Adedeji

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has debunked insinuation by the All Progressives Congress (APC) that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, travelled to the United States as an aide to the Senate president, describing the claim as false.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s media aide, Ms. Lauretta Onochie, had claimed that Atiku travelled to the US, as ‘office boy’ of Saraki.

Onochie, who is a presidential aide on social media, had said this while responding to a comment by a Twitter user.

She had claimed that Atiku was finally allowed to travel to the US because he posed as an aide to Saraki.

But speaking yesterday on AIT’s Kakaaki programme, Saraki, who is the Director-General, Presidential Campaign Council, described the allegation as nonsensical.

He said, “These are desperate claims. When you are campaigning and you see that you have suffered a setback, just move on and don’t make a fool of yourself. To say the candidate travelled on my merit is not true.

“He applied for his visa; was given the visa; and he was invited to attend functions. How do you do that? How do you travel as an aide? That is ridiculous! They know it. It is very difficult for them to respond because they have sold a lot of propaganda and lies to Nigerians.

“I remember when we sat a lot of young people down, when we started, and introduced him (Atiku) as our candidate, and they said they would support him because he has a good agenda for the youth and knows how to create jobs. But the concern was that the government said Atiku could not travel to America, and how can we have a president that cannot travel to America?

“And he (Atiku) always said it was not a problem but it was important for us to address the problem and put it behind us. And because the other party was using it as propaganda, we decided to go to America and instead of them to keep quiet and move on, they say he went as my aide.”

Saraki also lambasted the Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government for operating an opaque fuel subsidy regime.

He admitted that corruption thrived under former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s subsidy regime but argued that Buhari’s own was worse because his government was giving money to marketers with funds that were not approved by the National Assembly.