The campaign organisations of the two main candidates in next year’s presidential election on Sunday accused each other’s candidate of corruption.
The campaign organisation of President Muhammadu Buhari accused Atiku Abubakar of the PDP of not just being corrupt but also being so recognised internationally.
Festus Keyamo, the Director, Strategic Communications of the president’s campaign organisation, said any allegations by Mr Abubakar’s campaign was a deliberate attempt to divert attention from the record of corruption and abuse of office of their own candidate.
In the statement titled “WHEN THE THIEF IS SHOUTING “THIEF”:THE CASE OF ALHAJI ATIKU ABUBAKAR”, Mr Keyamo reeled out some allegations, which he described as “indisputable facts regarding Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.”
He said the U.S Congress in a report featured the PDP presidential candidate as one of the four notorious cases of money laundering in the world.
He quoted the report as saying “Jennifer Douglas Abubakar, a U.S. citizen, is the fourth wife of Atiku Abubakar, the former Vice President of Nigeria and a former candidate for the Presidency of Nigeria…… from 2000 to 2008, Ms. Douglas helped her husband bring over $40 million in suspect funds into the United States, including at least $1.7 million in bribe payments from Siemens AG, a German corporation, and over $38 million from little known offshore corporations, primarily LetsGo Ltd. Inc., Guernsey Trust Company Nigeria Ltd., and Sima Holding Ltd”.
He said Mr Abubakar’s alleged co-conspirators in the scandal, Williams Jefferson and Siemens were convicted and the former went to jail, adding that by running for President of Nigeria, Mr Abubakar intends to get some immunity from prosecution.
“Already he is hoping to obtain a visa to visit the US, as a guest of the State Department, a concession that the US will grant to a Presidential candidate of Africa’s biggest Nation.”
“Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has a sealed indictment waiting for him in the U.S. The day he visits the U.S, not as a candidate in an election, he will face charges,” he said.
On the alleged fraud at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) which a House of Representatives indicted the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Mr. Keyamo challenged the PDP to publish sections accusing the Vice President of embezzlement.
He also challenged the PDP to provide evidence of their TraderMoni vote-buying allegations and shares of President Buhari’s relatives in Etisalat and Keystone Bank.
“We also challenge the PDP to publish a single line in the sub-committee recommendation of the House of Reps on the NEMA Emergency purchases where the report accused the Vice President of embezzlement of funds.”
“They either do this within 24 hours or keep quiet forever.”
“We also challenge them to show any proof whatsoever of their allegations regarding the TraderMoni.”
“After three days of publicly announcing that they have hard proof that the President’s relations bought shares in Etisalat and Keystone Bank, the PDP has not produced a single piece of paper, a document of any sort to buttress the grave allegations it made.”
Mr Keyamo also challenged Mr Abubakar to produce his tax receipts for 2015, 2016 and 2017.
“It is shocking that a man who has not been paying his Personal Income Taxes now says he wants to “get Nigerians working again” – whatever that means. He is only deceiving himself and not the intelligent Nigerians that we know.”
In its reaction, a spokesperson of Mr Abubakar said Mr Buhari has a history of funnelling looted funds.
Paul Ibe said he was reacting to ‘allegation’ from Mr Buhari’s camp that Mr Abubakar was planning to smuggle in looted funds into the country just before the February 2019 elections.
“This new accusation, like their previous allegations, is another infantile outburst that tells more about the accuser than Atiku Abubakar,” the release noted. “For the avoidance of doubt, history shows that rather than smuggle in looted cash, Waziri Atiku Abubakar has a record of preventing looted funds from being smuggled into Nigeria.”
Mr Ibe narrated some historical occurrences to buttress his point against Mr Buhari.
“In 1984, it was Atiku Abubakar, as head of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Command of the Nigerian Customs and Excise Department, that stopped the ADC of the then Military Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, from smuggling in 53 suitcases of looted money into the country.
“Young Nigerians and Millennials who may not be aware of this incident will do well to google it. Only the guilty are afraid. It is President Muhammadu Buhari who has a history of smuggling in looted funds and not Waziri Atiku Abubakar.”
The statement said Kaduna governor, Nasir El-Rufai, “a favourite of the President and a chieftain of the APC” also mentioned Mr Buhari on October 4, 2010.
It quoted the governor as saying: “In 1984, Buhari allowed 53 suitcases belonging to his ADC’s father to enter Nigeria unchecked at a time the country was exchanging old currency for new.”
Mr Ibe in the statement recalled that Mr Abubakar’s plane was recently searched, his accounts perused and his businesses thoroughly investigated and nothing remotely corrupt or illegal was found.
“In desperation, the Buhari administration released this statement to cover their shame on a day that the US-based International Strategic Studies Association reported that it is the unprecedented corruption around President Buhari that has led to the recent setbacks in the war on terrorism in the Northeast and the heavy loss of lives amongst the military rank and file.
“We, therefore, urge Nigerians to note that it is Muhammadu Buhari who has a history and a record of smuggling in looted funds and it is Waziri Atiku Abubakar who has a history of preventing such from happening.”
“And while they are at it, we urge them to tell Nigerians those behind Etisalat, now 9Mobile and Keystone Bank, now Polaris and how they suddenly possessed such wealth overnight.”