Posted by By Rotimi Ajayi, Victor Ahiuma-Young & Emma Ulayi on
ABUJA—VICE President Atiku Abubakar alleged yesterday, a plot by those he did not mention....
ABUJA—VICE President Atiku Abubakar alleged yesterday, a plot by those he did not mention, to bar him and former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida from the 2007 presidential race.
He cited Sunday’s arrest and subsequent detention by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of business mogul, Otunba Mike Adenuga (jnr).
Otunba Adenuga was released early yesterday.
The EFCC which has declined to say anything official on the businessman’s arrest dismissed, yesterday, as corrupt all past Nigerian leaders.
It also alleged that most public office holders, including governors in the Niger Delta, are corrupt.
Atiku alleges plot
Chief spokesman for the Vice President, Mallam Garba Shehu in a statement in Abuja dismissed speculations about a financial deal between Vice President Atiku and Otunba Adenuga, saying: "Mike Adenuga is one of the several friends of the Vice President all over Nigeria. The Vice President does not deny that he and some of his friends, including General Ibrahim Babangida, have of late come under an intense searchlight intended to uncover faults that can be used to bar them from higher public office.
"In a further bid to nail the Vice President and General Ibrahim Babangida, the construction giant, Julius Berger, has equally been directed to produce information on their 40-year existence in the country, showing a list of their directors and shareholders, a litany of all the contracts they did for the Federal Government, states, local governments, businesses and private individuals.
"But our belief is that such ‘lemon squeezing’ fault-finding, aimed at the disqualification of the Vice President will not succeed nor will it deter the Vice President.
"Any talk of such disqualification is a wishful thinking, without a basis in law. Nobody has the right to disqualify any candidate seeking a political office and anyone in doubt about this should check the Nigerian Constitution and the new electoral law.
"As for the basic requirements for running for any political office including the Presidency, the Constitution is very clear about the requirements of aspirants."
On alleged financial link between the Vice President and Otunba Adenuga, Mallam Garba said: "The Vice President categorically denies that there have been any financial dealings between himself and the Globacom Chairman, and challenges whoever has records of any such dealings to make them public.
"He insists that there has absolutely never been any financial transaction between himself and the businessman.
"As for his supervisory responsibility over the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), the Vice President confirms that he had such responsibility at some point in time, through Permanent Secretary, Petroleum Resources but as is usual with him, whatever approvals he gave were cleared by the President."
We're ready to publish names—EFCC
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu vowed yesterday to publish the names of ‘corrupt’ past leaders, governors and other politicians for Nigerians to reject them at the polls.
Ribadu’s threat came just as the President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, vowed that Labour and its Civil Society allies would declare a national strike and unprecedented national protest should the 2007 elections be rigged.
Speaking at a summit organised by NLC on the challenges of transition in Nigeria, Mallam Ribadu said the commission did to say it would screen politicians but that it would expose all corrupt politicians especially past leaders who corruptly enriched themselves to the detriment of the nation.
He asked the National Assembly to review the electoral act to make it impossible for corrupt persons to stand for election in 2007, saying most of the past leaders who put Nigeria in the current mess now want to come back to squander the $36 billion in the nation’s foreign reserve.
The EFCC chairman vowed that the commission was ready for such corrupt leaders and politicians. His words: "All past Nigerian leaders are corrupt because they have all stolen the nation’s wealth. We shall remove all corrupt leaders from contesting elections because our past leaders have turned this country into a tokunbo state.
"It is not possible to have free and fair elections where corrupt people are allowed to contest, because with their stolen wealth they can influence INEC, the electoral tribunals etc. I will not stop at any thing but to expose them. I have lost friends, made enemies, lost confidants. People have lost confidence in me, but the job must be done. When I saw the list of persons invited for this event and who have stolen the nation’s money in the past, I was happy because I will have the opportunity to meet them.
"Such people should not be clapped for. When we were fighting 419ers, nobody said it was selective but now that it is affecting them (politicians), they are now complaining that it is selective. It doesn’t make sense fighting 419ers when treasury looters are walking about.
Blames N-Delta woes on govs of the zone
"The governors in the Niger Delta zone should be blamed for the woes of the region. The least you can find in the account of a local government chairman in the zone is N200 million. We can’t have free and fair elections in the country if we allow such corrupt leaders to continue to walk about the street, because they will use the corrupt money to influence INEC, the electoral tribunal etc.
"The time for talking is over. It is now time to publish the names of all the corrupt leaders in the country and we are going to do that soon.
"We have had our fair share of bad leaders, that is why we have been turned to what we are today, a country that cannot solve basic problems. A country that cannot solve its fundamental problems and requirements. The country was reduced to a debtor country. A country that was made into a tokunbo country. It is a shame we can’t even afford to buy simple things: cars and refrigerators and so on. We were turned into the dust bin of the world. We have taken the number one position in the world of corrupt countries.When we are talking of corrupt leaders, they give our own former leaders as examples.
"We do not deserve it. It is not fair. It is not right, but it is election time and it is transition process and I agree with what you said.
"If you see what is happening in Niger Delta,you will weep for the zone. Leaders there, every local government chairman, every governor there and we got one already in our custody with over 20 billion. Why are we fooling ourselves? Why are we not just being honest? How can we ever solve this problem?
"We are talking about Niger Delta alone. It is across. I gave an example of Niger Delta because it is an example of our failure where the resources of the country are coming from and there is nothing to show for it and people are there feeling injustice, feeling ill treated. But it is not by any other person but by all of us collectively.
"And indeed by those who are in control of the affairs now. When we talk of elections today, we are talking about politicians and free and fair elections. Who is the engineer? Who is going to present himself? We talk about the political party, we talk about officials of government who conduct elections like INEC, Police, SSS. We talk about the court who hangs on when there is injustice and unfairness. These are the people you are talking about. Are they playing the roles? Are they doing what is right?"