The All Progressives Congress has said the real choice before Nigerians as they head to the polls in 2019 is a choice between a candidate who passes the integrity test and another who is a “racketeer”, who is ready to mortgage the nation’s future for personal gain.
This was contained in a statement signed by the acting National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Yekini Nabena, in Abuja, on Thursday.
He was reacting to a statement issued by his Peoples Democratic Party counterpart, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Wednesday.
Ologbondiyan had in the statement alleged that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration was compiling lies and falsehoods which it intended to use to impugn the character of its Presidential candidate, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.
The PDP spokesperson said, “The PDP is aware of how the intimidated Buhari Presidency has unleashed its officials, spin doctors and hack writers with billions of naira, siphoned from our national treasury, to fabricate lies, spurious allegations and smear campaign against our Presidential candidate.
“While it is understandable that President Muhammadu Buhari is discomfited and afraid to face a popular candidate in any election due to his incompetence, for which Nigerians earnestly seek his replacement, engaging in a smear campaign, as a means of survival, is completely reprehensible and cowardly.”
In his response, Nabena said allegations against the APC-led administration as contained in the PDP statement accusing senior officials of the APC-led administration of “deliberate efforts to impugn on the character” of the PDP Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar was laughable.
Nabena said, “The PDP’s assertion particularly coming from its spokesperson is ironic and laughable, given the fact that Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, as an editor with one of the national newspapers, in fact unearthed the Special Audit/Forensic Investigation of Petroleum Technology Development Fund; which indicted Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, then Vice President, for the mismanagement of the Fund.
“The PDP spokesperson in his published report disclosed that from 1999 to 2006, Atiku’s approval for the release of $20m from the treasury and subsequent placement in Trans International Bank without appropriation and approval by the Federal Executive Council was illegal and amounted to an abuse of office.
“There are no lies here. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar grapples with several other corruption indictments. This is a fact and reality he needs to deal with and come clean about.
The APC insisted that when the choose was to be made, the electorate had the option to chose between a proven and decent presidential candidate “who is putting the people first” and on the other hand, “a racketeer who will readily mortgage” the country’s commonwealth to personal coffers and cronies.
Meanwhile, Atiku has asked President Buhari to explain to Nigerians those behind the grass-cutting scandal at the Internally Displaced Peoples’ camp in the northern part of the country.
He also asked the President to tell Nigerians those behind the alleged siphoning of funds from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Central Bank of Nigeria under the guise of payment of subsidy.
Atiku, who spoke through the Head of his Media Campaign Organisation, Mr Segun Sowumi, said, “We don’t want to be involved in talking about trivial issues with the President and his team. We want to talk and debate with them on how to create jobs and how to solve many problems facing the country.
“We want them to tell Nigerians how the Buhari Presidency has been able to create jobs and how he has succeeded in making states not to be able to pay salaries of their workers.
“But if he wants to talk about racketeering, they should tell us about the grass-cutting contract, they should tell us about those involved in racketeering at the NNPC, the CBN and so forth.