•Advises President to stop campaigns of calumny against opposition, judiciary
Chuks Okocha in Abuja
Former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to address concrete issues of misgovernment and devastation his administration has caused Nigerians. Atiku asked Buhari to stop intimidation and campaign of calumny against the judiciary and opposition elements.
Reiterating his resolve to continue “to stand up and speak for millions of countrymen and women who have become victims of his (Buhari’s) misrule and grand cluelessness”
The former vice president’s comments were in response to allegations by the Presidency on Saturday that he was playing up negative developments in the country and raising harmful sentiments in pursuit of his ulterior motives.
The Presidency had described Atiku’s swift reaction to the allegation of secret burial of 1,000 Nigerian soldiers in hollow graves by Wall Street Journal as a ploy to influence judicial decision in his ongoing challenge of Buhari’s election, “because he’s blinded by unbridled ambition.”
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, in a statement titled, “Atiku’s Unrelenting Appeal to Emotion: A Gambit Doomed to Fail,” accused the former vice president of merely appealing to emotion in a bid to whip up sentiment and influence the decision of the judiciary on his petition before the Presidential Appeal Tribunal.
But reacting, in a statement by his media aide, Paul Ibe, Atiku said his sustained interventions on the state of the body politic were to provide a voice for millions of victims of Buhari’s misrule. He said Nigerians were reawakened by the United Nations to the brutal reality of how poorly the president had managed the country’s economy with a damning verdict that 98 million Nigerians live in multi-dimensional poverty.
Atiku said, “Like it is typical of General Buhari and his handlers, they didn’t make any comment about the scary statistics coming from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Perhaps, one reason they didn’t want to comment on the report is because it is factual – Nigerians in the past four years indeed live in multi-dimensional poverty.
“Quite regrettably, too, the administration has been groping in the dark since 2015, the reason majority of Nigerians decided not to reward their failures during the February 23 presidential poll, consequently, leading to the heist that characterised the conduct of that poll.
“The other plausible reason they didn’t deem it fit to respond to the report is because Atiku Abubakar has yet to make a remark on the report.”
The statement also said, “If the only reason why the Buhari administration will react to the affliction it has brought on Nigerians is for Atiku to call the nation’s attention to how bad things have gone in the country under the slumber of General Buhari, Atiku will more than always be ready to stand and speak up for the millions of countrymen and women, who have become victims of his (Buhari’s) misrule and grand cluelessness.
“A Commander-in-Chief, who fits the bill, will not act unconstrained about reports from a reputable media organisation on welfare and wellbeing of troops at the frontline of combat. Shamefully, however, up till this moment, the Buhari administration won’t cause even a blinker on the damning report.”
According to Atiku, “Like is the case with other dysfunctional aspects of the system, his (Buhari’s) administration prefers to live in denial, relying on propaganda – the only machine that they know how to operate without a glitch.
“We need to restate that Atiku Abubakar respects the practical purpose of the judiciary as an arm of government saddled with the responsibility of dispensing justice.
“Therefore, for the Buhari administration to call out the judiciary on how they might choose to do their job is not only an emotional blackmail to the bench, it is also very disrespectful to the integrity of the honourable justices of the court of law.”