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Obasanjo'll dump you soon Atiku tells el-Rufai

Posted by By Emmanuel Ulayi on 2006/10/18 | Views: 888 |

Obasanjo'll dump you soon Atiku tells el-Rufai


THE political camp of Vice President Atiku Abubakar has warned the Minister in charge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir El-Rufai to be prepared to be dumped by the Presidency the way Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State was dumped.

THE political camp of Vice President Atiku Abubakar has warned the Minister in charge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir El-Rufai to be prepared to be dumped by the Presidency the way Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State was dumped.

The camp gave the warning in its reaction to weekend statement by the Minister about additional evidence on alleged abuse of office by the Vice President while overseeing the administration of the Petroleum Training and Development Fund (PTDF) and the sequence of events that led to the break down of the peace initiative between President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Vice president.

The camp is also threatening to provide evidence before the Senate Hearing on the PTDF fund linking the Minister to the alleged misuse of money belonging to the Fund.
In a statement Dr Adeolu Akande stated the Ministerís revelation of how the peace initiative broke down was not a true reflection of the situation of things.

He said, "the contact group working for settlement between the President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice President Atiku Abubakar before its abortion, was made up of Minsiter of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nasir El-Rufai; Chairman of the EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu, on one hand; and Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Usman Bugaje and former Special Assistant to the President and Vice president at different times, Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim, on the other.
"This group is composed of common friends, who along with others had operated as a political contact group prior to 1999, precisely since the regime of General Abdulsalami Abubakar. The group had been variously tagged, "the Young Turks", as they sought to deliberately influence policy direction from outside government from the transition to democracy days of Abdulsalami through the formation of the PDP and the emergence of the Obasanjo/Atiku Presidency.

"They were part of the process that brought the PDP to power and they were invited to serve in various capacities as a consequence. The President and Vice President knew of the existence of the group and both had used it to enhance interpersonal relationships and as a resource base for ideas and policy direction.

"Sometime last month, after the administrative Panel Report was submitted to the Senate, it was brought to the attention of the group by persons around the President, that Chief Obasanjo has explicitly said that he harboured no personal enmity or animosity against Vice President Atiku Abubakar but he also made it clear he did not want his deputy to succeed him.

"The group saw an opening in this, to enhance channels of communication between their Principals, so that the two could arrive at a political solution to the crisis at hand. They therefore sought the mandate of their Principals to try and arrest the trend of events that may precipitate a political catastrophe for the nation.

"The question of whether it was the President or the Vice President who in the first instance asked for the peace meeting is neither here nor there.
"The President was hesitant at first, but he came back about three days after to upgrade his team from two, made up of Nuhu Ribadu and Nasir El Rufai, to five, with the addition of Minister of Justice, Bayo Ojo; Minister of Culture, Femi Fani-Kayode and Minister of Information, Frank Nweke Junior.

"The President on that Thursday asked for a report by the following day and to underscore the urgency with which he considers the matter, made repeated calls from East Africa, to ask after the progress of the talks, when they got underway.
"The Vice President on his part asked for assurances as to the good faith and sincerity of the Presidentís team, as he has reasons to doubt the President based on his previous experience. This concern was conveyed to the Presidentís side. In mandating his team to the talks, the overriding concern of the Vice President was the sustenance of democracy, the rule of law, due process and the right of Nigerians to at all times have the right to determine who leads them.

"During the talks, the Presidentís group wanted to know the Vice Presidentís minimum expectations from the talks but the group as a whole finally broke up on the note that each side should seek and obtain clear guidance from their Principals in this regard.
"Before then however, the group reached a consensus that the crux of the matter might be related to the need for post transition assurances to be given by both sides, in the event of Nigerians exercising their right to freely choose a candidate to lead the nation.
"Yes, we agree that during discussions on the need for post transition assurances, Yomi Edu did speak out of sync with members of his delegation but it was no less true that Nasir also spoke in like manner and both of them were censured by participants. In the case of Nasir, he even offered an apology and withdrew unkind remarks against the former minister and the Vice President.

"It was a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) member of the team who raised the issue of deescalating tension and adopting confidence-building measures when initiatives like the on-going talks begin. He said it was not good that fireworks were being exchanged.
"The meeting agreed that the press war needs to cease and the Senate hearing be slowed down until an amicable political solution is reached, that is in the best interest of the countryís future and of the two sides in discussion.

"The impression created by the Ministerís statements to the media that these measures were suggested for the convenience of the Vice President alone is a misrepresentation of the facts. Similarly there was never any demand for "soft landing" for the VP.
"The Ministerís side should stop deluding themselves that there are no cheques implicating them in the on-going Senate probe.

"The Minister of the FCT in fact should be prepared to personally appear as matters will arise that will link him with PTDF funds along with some ministers and other spokespersons of the President. The veracity of claims in respect of cheques will be established at the public hearing.

"For instance, when El Rufai cited a N250m cheque allegedly going in the Vice Presidentís personal account, may be he meant a N250m PTDF cheque going into the Presidentís personal lawyerís (name withheld) account. Nasiru has a duty to the nation and his conscience to provide this evidence or resign.

"However let us add a caveat: Nigerians should be wary of the wild allegations often emanating from Nasir El Rufai. For all we know, he will end up calling upon God as his witness, when pressed to prove same.
"Finally, El-Rufai made the point about himself and Ribadu, that they would have acted in the same way and manner if some others, even if it were their fathers, that were involved.

"We note this as we intend to hold them to this commitment as we prepare to bare all before the Senate. It suffices to warn that in a system that used and dumped Sunday Afolabi, Otunba Fasawe, Mobolaji Osomo, Governors Fayose and Dariye and above all Atiku Abubakar, nothing is there to suggest that a better fate awaits El-Rufai and Ribadu.

Mallam el-Rufai had on Saturday while briefing newsmen on the aborted initiative to resolve the stand-off between the president and the vice-president said: "And, personally, I am extremely disappointed in the Vice President in the way good faith discussions initiated by people that care about him have become something that will be used for personal gains, I am quite disappointed. Where I come from, leaders take responsibility. The way the whole story was put up in the media, and in a distorted manner, is dishonourable. I am just really disappointed.

I just want to tell you that this is what happened, even though since then, we have seen all kinds of stories, but this is what really happened. For any body to think that there is anything to worry about on the side of the president during the PTDF investigations, is just trying to score cheap political points. Like I said, when the hearings open and all the facts come out, you will see. It is unfortunate that some people think that, because these hearings are not taking place today and Nigerians will forget. The big facts will come out. We know all those that got monies from MOFAS, from Marine Float, from PTDF, we know. I go to sleep every night with the knowledge that when these things are done, it is other people, other than the presidentís people, that will be put to shame. But that is not the point. The point is not about the Vice President, about Atiku Abubakar as a person."



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