Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in a recent interview with Dele Momodu’s The Boss Newspaper said that, he will definitely defeat President Muhammadu Buhari if he contests against him in 2019.
“I will definitely beat him this time. He has wasted a lot of his massive goodwill,” Atiku said.
According Mr. Atiku, Buhari has become politically weak after squandering the goodwill Nigerians gave him during the 2015 presidential election, adding that many of the president’s associates are furious, but are silently waiting for the for the right moment to express their disapproval.
“A lot of people are disgruntled but keeping quiet and lying low,” he said. “Our youths are suffering terribly and now they are being sold into slavery,” he added.
“Everyone knows my track record of inviting and attracting a good team and giving them the opportunity to work professionally. Nigerians are tired of leaders who cannot think big and work big,” he noted.
The spokesman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) while told Premium Times that should President Buhari decide to contest the 2019 elections, he (Buhari) will beat Atiku.
“I believe that the reasons Nigerians voted for President Buhari in 2015 are still pertinent. They voted President Buhari because they needed a leader who has integrity, strong on corruption and capable of defeating Boko Haram.
“If he stands for election in 2019, we believe Nigerians would still vote for him,” He said
The former Vice President who is currently without a party resigned from the APC last week, citing failure of the APC led President Muhammadu Buhari government’s inability to deliver the change Nigerians needed as his reason among others. Adding that he was eager to put a speedy end to the sufferings of Nigerians but fell for a mirage.
But more importantly, the party we put in place has failed and continues to fail our people, especially our young people. How can we have a federal cabinet without even one single youth, he said
I admit that I and others who accepted the invitation to join the APC were eager to make positive changes for our country that we fell for a mirage. Can you blame us for wanting to put a speedy end to the sufferings of the masses of our people?
Mr. Atiku also explained why he has not visited the United States of America in the past few years since the Williams Jefferson scandal.
According to the former VP, he had made attempt to visit US but was denied visa on administrative grounds.
“I applied, but wasn’t issued a visa. However, they did not decline me categorically either. They’ve only said my application is going through administrative process,” he said
“It is the sole prerogative of America to determine who they want in their country or not. I’m not running away from America,” he added
Atiku however noted that such administrative denials were not to him alone as President Buhari could not also visit the US for 15 years due to his religious views.
“For about 15 years, Buhari could not enter America on account of religious considerations,” Atiku said
Sometime in 2016 we published a report where Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State alleged that Mr. Atiku was wanted in the US over corruption involving about $40million.
“Can Alhaji Atiku explain the findings in the report of the United States Senate Permanent Sub-Committee on Investigations which detailed a pattern of wire transfers of more than USD 40 million from offshore companies like Siemens into bank accounts controlled by him and one of his wives.
“The report detailing the US Senate findings is online, as one of four case histories of foreign corruption in the USA. Alhaji Atiku should tell a better tale of why he is avoiding the United States of America.
“Someone as obsessed with Nigeria’s presidency as he is, should clear up such matters conclusively. We wait to see how well he does with that,” Mr. El-Rufai said.
The US Department of Justice however denied Governor El-Rufai’s claim, saying that there was no criminal case against Atiku in the US court records.
“Thank you for reaching out to us. I have checked the public court records, and they do not show cases filed against a defendant named Atiku Abubakar.” Peter Carr, an official of the United States Department of Justice stated.
Regarding alleged corruption, Mr. Atiku challenged anyone with evidence of him being a corrupt person to come forward.
“On the issue of corruption, I have challenged anyone, anywhere, who has any evidence of corruption against me to come forward. I’m sure they would have combed everywhere trying to find anything incriminating against me, but they have not found it, or they are still searching,” Atiku said.
Presidency denies Atiku’s claim, saying Buhari has never been forbidden from entering any country in the world
The presidency in its response regarding President Buhari’s alleged administrative ban to visit the US for 15 years, described Atiku’s claim as a fictive concoction.
“This fictive concoction being passed off as truth is mind boggling, coming from a former Number Two man of Nigeria, who should know the truth. Mr. Femi Adesina, the president’s spokesman, said.
“At no time was President Buhari, as a private person, ever forbidden from entering any country in the world.
“Rather, the rest of the world has always held Muhammadu Buhari as a man of sterling qualities, strong on integrity, transparency and accountability. The same testimony is still borne of the Nigerian President by many world leaders today.
“It is curious that former VP Abubakar had been asked why he had not visited America for over a decade, something that had been a stubborn fact dogging his footsteps.
“Instead of answering directly, he begged the question, saying Buhari also had been disallowed from entering the same country for 15 years, before becoming President.
“We hereby make it resoundingly clear that what the former Vice President said only exists in the realm of his imagination. If he has issues to settle with American authorities, he should do so, rather than clutch at a straw.”