Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has reacted to yesterday’s town hall meeting hosted by Kadaria Ahmed and broadcast on the Nigerian Television Authority, whereby President Muhammadu Buhari, when confronted with the fact that he has not spoken to condemn the alleged corruption of his crony, the Kano State Governor, Umar Ganduje, defended himself by saying that he was bound by law to maintain his silence.
His actual words were: “The State Assembly is investigating and they have the mandate to deal with it and they have also gone to court, so I decided not to talk about it.”
In a statement signed by his media adviser, Paul Ibe, Atiku said, “We find this excuse untenable because the President has not shown this level of restraint when condemning the alleged corruption of others who happen not to be members of his party, the APC.
“On many occasions, President Buhari has pre-judicially commented on the cases of non APC members and even acted as judge and jury by convicting them with his utterances in Nigeria and abroad. These cases are too numerous to mention but include his utterances on Sambo Dasuki, former Governor Ayo Fayose and a former head of state, whom he said ‘did not steal’ despite several court convictions that established that he did.
“This partiality of the President is most disturbing, as it is proof positive that he is fighting the opposition and not corruption. Perhaps this is why Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perception Index has established that Nigeria is more corrupt today, under President Buhari, than before he was sworn in on May 29, 2015 (and not May 19, 2015, as he claimed in Kogi).
“Quite strangely, President Buhari, however, did not allow Ganduje’s pending court case stop him from praising his crony, the Kano Governor when he went to Paris in November of last year.
“Even further damaging was the President’s defence of another of his cronies, Babachir Lawal, whom he said cannot be charged because of a lack of evidence. We are embarrassed for the President that he could make such a public faux pas.
“Mr. Babachir Lawal was caught red-handed. Monies meant for Internally Displaced Persons were traced to his bank accounts after he awarded his company an inflated contract. His hand was literally caught in the cookie jar. He was investigated by the Senate and indicted for his misdemeanour. We are thus nonplussed by the President’s comments requesting for evidence before he can move against Mr. Lawal.
“The question is this: does being members of the All Progressive Congress confer the President’s cronies with immunity for their crimes?
“Both the money that Governor Umar Ganduje was shown on camera receiving as bribes and the funds siphoned by Mr. Babachir Lawal, could have been used to create jobs for Nigerians or in providing educational and health infrastructure to address the world record poverty now affecting Nigeria.
“For these monies to be collected and used to create jobs, we urge Nigerians to vote for the PDP candidate, because Atiku means JOBS. Atiku would fight corruption whether in his party or in the opposition and ensure that Nigeria’s wealth is used for the benefit of the many rather than the few cronies of Mr. President as is the case today.”