PDP: SPV Fraud Allegations against Atiku Diversionary
•Says Tinubu should apologise to former VP
•Atiku to Nigerians: APC has failed, don’t return them to power
•Win your polling unit to get benefits, Atiku tells PDP members
•Ruling party worried it will lose power, says Ayu
Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and James Sowole in Abeokuta
The allegations and counter allegations between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV) saga continued yesterday as the main opposition party described the allegation against its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar as diversionary.
This was just as Atiku, speaking in Ogun during a rally yesterday, said the APC-led federal government has failed Nigerians and as such they must not be returned to power.
Atiku charged members of the party to work hard to ensure its victory at the forthcoming election, saying winning one’s polling unit was a pre-condition to benefit from his administration.
Also, the PDP PCC insisted that the allegations against Atiku was a plot by the presidential candidate of the ruling party, Bola Tinubu to divert attention from his litany of atrocities with unfounded controversy of corruption.
A whistleblower, Mr. Michael Achimugu recently alleged that both the former Vice President and former President Olusegun Obasanjo used SPVs to siphon public funds during their tenure.
It was based on his allegations that the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) of APC had called for the arrest and prosecution of Atiku and also demanded that he immediately withdraw from the presidential race.
But addressing a press conference yesterday in Abuja, the spokesperson of the Atiku/Okowa Campaign Organisation, Kola Ologbondiyan, said no matter how much falsehood appears to thrive, the truth would always prevail at the end of the day.
He stressed that Tinubu has not only failed in this mission to tarnish the clean image of Atiku, but in the process also exposed himself as the real “Mr. SPV.”
Ologbondiyan stressed that Nigerians now know of how Tinubu has been desperately trying to divert attention from his alleged use of Alpha Beta Consulting Limited and Alpha Beta LPP, companies he reportedly owned by proxy, to allegedly divert tax money belonging to Lagos State.
He said: “Like the age-long aphorism states, those who dig pits for the innocent always fall into them. This is the case in the vexatious plots by Asiwaju Tinubu to divert attention from his litany of atrocities by seeking to impugn on the impeccable character of our Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, with unfounded controversy of corruption.”
Ologbondiyan challenged Tinubu to explain to Nigerians how billions of naira belonging to Lagos State and meant for the welfare of the people, reportedly found its way into Soft Alliance and allegedly ended in bits and pieces in foreign currencies into domiciliary accounts allegedly owned by him in commercial banks.
He stressed that the APC presidential candidate should come out clean and speak to the damning money laundering allegations against him.
Ologbondiyan added: “In the days ahead, our campaign will not hesitate to furnish Nigerians with a compendium of corrupt practices as well as the list of SPVs used by the APC candidate to loot public funds in key government agencies thereby depriving Nigerians the benefit of our national patrimony.
“Now that Tinubu’s evil diversionary scheme against Atiku Abubakar has failed and Nigerians have seen that there is no iota of truth in his allegation against Atiku Abubakar, our campaign demands that Tinubu should tender an unreserved apology to Atiku Abubakar, he should listen to the voice within and withdraw from the Presidential race.”
Ologbondiyan stated categorically that If anyone was to be arrested and disqualified from the presidential race on account of corruption, certainly, that person ought not to be Atiku, but Tinubu.
He assured Nigerians that the PDP campaign council would not be distracted in this task of rescuing the nation from misrule, but would continue to rally with Nigerians in its collective desire to restore the nation to the path of purposeful leadership and prosperity for all.
Atiku to Nigerians: APC Has Failed, Don’t Return them to Power
Meanwhile, Atiku has said the APC-led federal government has failed Nigerians and as such they must not be returned to power.
The former Vice President stated this yesterday during the presidential rally of the party in Abeokuta, Ogun state.
He said: “We want to appeal to you to come out and vote and make sure that your votes are counted and also protect your vote. The APC government has failed us and therefore, it is our responsibility to make sure that we don’t return them to power.”
Atiku promised to devolved more powers to states and to the local governments if elected president.
According to him, “we have promised to ensure the industrialisation of Ogun State because Ogun State is endowed with so many mineral resources and in order to create jobs and prosperity, the federal government under the PDP government make sure that the exploitation of those mineral resources and industrialisation of Ogun is made a priority.”
The PDP presidential candidate also charged members of the party to work hard to ensure its victory at the forthcoming election, saying winning one’s polling unit, was a pre-condition to benefit from his administration.
Atiku said nothing would get to any party member if their candidates, either presidential, governorship, senatorial, House of Representatives or House of Assembly, do not win election.
He said member of the party interested in joining his cabinet or getting a contract in his administration must win his or her polling booth at the February 25 election.
In Atiku’s entourage were: the National Chairman of PDP, Iyiocha Ayu; former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; former Vice President, Namadi Sambo; former governor of Osun state, Olagunsoye Oyinlola; Osun state governor, Ademola Adeleke.
Others were: Sokoto state governor, Aminu Tambuwal; Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel; former governor of Cross River State, Liyel Imoke; former governor of Jigawa state, Sule Lamido; governorship candidate of Ogun state, Hon. Ladi Adebutu and the governorship candidate of Lagos state, Jide Adeniran (Jandol).
The former Vice President said, if members of the party want PDP to return to power in May 29, they must all go back to their constituencies and work for the party to win the election.
Atiku said, “The fact that you (party members) are following the gubernatorial candidate or the Senatorial candidate or the House of Representatives candidate or the presidential candidate to campaigns is no qualification that you will get an appointment, it is not qualification that you will get a contract whether at the local government level, state or the federal level.
“The only way, as far as I’m concerned, if I am president, if you come and say you want a job or you want a contract, I will ask you let me have the result of your polling booth and that is what I’m going to direct to everybody because unless we do that, we will not win the elections.
“You are all members of the PDP and supporters of the PDP, you want PDP to return to power, please I beg of you make sure you win your polling booths.
“You cannot be following the governor all the place or the senator all the place and then you don’t win your polling booth and you come and say you want to be a Minister or you want to get this contract.
“So please, as members of our party let us make sure that we go back to our constituencies and make sure that we deliver our polling units.”
Speaking at the rally, Tambuwal said Atiku was the only candidate that has identified and proffered ways and means through which he was going to restructure Nigeria.
He added, “There will be more powers to the state, there will be more powers to local government, there will be more resources, there will be more devolution of powers and devolution of resources for the development of our country.”
According to Tambuwal, if Nigerians elect Atiku, they are would be guaranteed of a Chief Executive Officer that would drive their interests and engender good governance in Nigeria.
On his part, Ayu said in most of the states where they have been for campaign, they were denied venues. This, he said showed that the ruling party was afraid.
He said, “Anywhere we go and they don’t give us a venue, it shows that APC is afraid. They were afraid of us in Osun state, they refused to give us the stadium, we did our rally on the road and we won. Anywhere we go and it is an APC controlled government, they make sure that we don’t get a venue.
“They are worried that they are going to lose power. We were in Ekiti, they refused to give us the appropriate venue, they closed all filling stations, there were no buses, that is to tell you that PDP is bouncing back. We are stronger than ever and because of that, nobody should worry about whatever obstacle they put in our way.”