I never bribed lawmakers – Atiku
Vice President Atiku Abubakar has denied claims that he bribed federal legislators to impeach President Olusegun Obasanjo as well as engaging in speculations about the death of the president.
This is coming at a time the Action Congress (AC) also dismissed Obasanjo’s allegation as ‘tales by the moonlight,’ saying that it was a deliberate ploy to distract the attention from the real issue of the moment, which is the failure of the 2007 general elections.
Reacting to President Obasanjo’s allegations against him on a national television programme on Sunday, Atiku accused Obasanjo of being economical with the truth as well as consistently distorting facts and events to suit his selfish motive.
"I have never bribed any lawmaker either to impeach the president or any of the presiding officers of the National Assembly.
I challenge Obasanjo to name the lawmaker who allegedly confessed to him that I had paid him to impeach the president and former Senate President Evans Enwerem. I also challenge the president to produce the minister who claims that I had speculated his death," Atiku said.
Atiku said unlike Obasanjo, who uses Christianity as a smokescreen, he was a devout muslim who had always tried to live in accordance with the teachings of Islam. He said the next occupant of the State House would need to spiritually cleanse the Presidential Lodge to make it habitable for normal people.
The vice president said he did not believe in resorting to marabouts and has never wished the president dead. According to him, it was the president who had been hell bent on eliminating him politically and physically. He accused the president of plotting to rope him in a coup, and that by making public accusations of fetish acts against him, the president had exposed his own mindset as one covered by the cobwebs of juju or occultism.
"It is on record that the president had never, in the past, denied his association with deadly secret societies," he said.
The vice president asked Obasanjo to seek genuine redemption and forgiveness to avoid being sent to the harshest place in hell for his crimes against humanity.
Calling the president a hypocrite, Atiku said that Obasanjo had always bribed legislators to get whatever he wanted. He accused Obasanjo of always denying an action he had initiated, promoted and funded when it had gone awry or to walk away slyly from a failed venture and blame everyone else except himself.
"How else could one react to the president’s denial of being interested in a third term? The third term agenda was conceived, promoted and funded by Obasanjo and a clique around him, using the entire government machinery to prosecute it. Now that it has failed, Obasanjo has characteristically dissociated himself from it. I am sure his response would have been different if he had had his way," Atiku said.
He described Obasanjo as a man who thrives in rumour and hearsay and a deeply insecure person.
"For Obasanjo to be discussing marabout on national television shows that he has brought governance to an all time low and the presidency into disrepute. After eight years as president, it is sad that Obasanjo has failed to imbibe the rudiments of the ethics of the presidency," Atiku said.
The vice president agrees with playwright, Wole Soyinka that the nation must subject future candidates for the Presidency to a psychiatric test. He said it was a sure way of avoiding having "a petty, quarrelsome and insecure old man presiding over the affairs of a complex entity as Nigeria."
Atiku denied insinuations that he had run away from Nigeria with his family, saying he would return to the country after his medical treatment to join his family members, who, he said, are in Nigeria .
He accused Obasanjo of squandering a rare opportunity to transform Nigeria from Third World to First World because of his small-mindedness, greed, selfishness and an irrational instinct to settle scores with real and perceived opponents.
Atiku concluded that Obasanjo’s frenzy of activities and disclosures in recent weeks, at a time he was supposed to be winding down as outgoing president, confirmed that he was undergoing serious disengagement trauma over his imminent vacation of office.
"I sympathise with him. He never thought this day will come. Let him go quietly with whatever is left of his reputation instead of making wild and unfounded allegations against innocent people. Like many Nigerians are now saying to him: ‘Go, Obasanjo, just go’."
In a related development, the AC, in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the president knew that no right-thinking person would believe the unsubstantiated allegations that the VP wished him dead so he could take over the reins of power, or that the highly-respected representatives of the people could be bought for a mere 5,000 dollars by anyone.
"This president, who is merely shooting the breeze, has acted like the proverbial white man who defecated on his seat before his departure," the AC said, adding:"The real issue is that he (Obasanjo) presided over what has been adjudged as the worst elections anywhere in the world."
"It is unfortunate that a president who should have used his last days in office to seek forgiveness for the poverty he inflicted on his compatriots in the past eight years has descended to the level of making unsubstantiated allegations before the whole world. These claims will definitely add no value to his administration," the party added.
AC said the nation was too concerned about the deliberately bungled April general elections to engage in the type of frivolity which Obasanjo has now made his pastime.
It said that after his third term campaign failed, President Obasanjo colluded with INEC to create conditions that would make it possible for him to hang onto power, adding that it was only when that failed again that the president and his cohorts decided to allocate votes to whoever caught their fancy.
"With voter turnout at the polls at a mere 15 per cent, INEC unconscionably declared total votes of nearly 60 percent of all registered voters. What sort of voodoo computation is that?" the party queried.
AC said it was necessary to recall that over 70 per cent of the ballot papers printed for the presidential poll were left in a Johannesburg warehouse in a deliberate attempt to starve the polling booths of valid electoral materials.
"May we also recall that INEC’s technical adviser for the past four years, International Federation of Election Systems (IFES), gave up on the elections when it said, in its report: ‘Even our team, which has been embedded in the INEC for the better part of four years, did not know who would be on the ballot and which version of the voter list would be used until after the polls opened,’" AC added.