The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, on Sunday alleged that his counterpart in the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, would acquire federal government properties across the country if he gets the country’s top job later this month.
Also, the Director of Communications, PDP Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), Dele Momodu, has expressed confidence over the party’s victory at the forthcoming general election, stating that the party would record a resounding success especially at the presidential polls.
In a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, Atiku stated that Lagos State where Tinubu had been “ruling directly and indirectly” since 1999 had become his personal fiefdom and property.
The statement was in reaction to Tinubu’s claim in a number of his rallies that Atiku sold off government properties and diverted the proceeds.
Atiku noted that Tinubu in an interview with The News Magazine some 10 years ago, said he returned to Nigeria after the June 12 struggle with nothing.
“They dispossessed me of the house, as well as my office on Saka Tinubu Street. My vehicles and everything else I owned. They claimed they found bombs in it and dispossessed me of it. I was totally cleaned out. I had only five shirts, £2000 pounds and jackets,” he quoted Tinubu to have said in the then interview.
However, Atiku maintained that Tinubu had become stupendously wealthy by taking over critical government properties.
“Tinubu converted the land where Lagos Polytechnic (LASPOTECH) was located at Ikosi near the old toll gate. He chased away the students in 2006 and went ahead to locate the choice plots to himself, his cronies and political associates. The headquarters of Television Continental (TVC), which is owned by him, is located there. We dare him to deny this,” Atiku added.
He further stated that Tinubu became the first governor in history to sign an obnoxious pension law that guaranteed lifetime benefits for himself and his family.
The obnoxious pension law, he argued, provides that a former governor of Lagos gets a residential house at any location of his choice in Lagos State and one residential house in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for the governor on two consecutive terms.
“Tinubu’s law also stated that he will get six brand new cars every three years, 100 per cent of the basic salary of the serving governor, free health care for himself and members of his family; furniture allowance, which is 300 percent of their annual basic salary house maintenance allowance, which is 10 per cent of basic salary utility allowance, which is 20 per cent of the salary and car maintenance allowance, which is 30 per cent of the annual basic salary.
“Other benefits include entertainment allowance, which is 10 per cent of the basic salary and a personal assistant, who will earn 25 per cent of the governor’s annual basic salary. Even former presidents of Nigeria do not enjoy such largesse. This is the state-sanctioned profligacy that Tinubu entrenched as a former governor,” the former vice president stressed.
He added that Tinubu’s residence at 26 Bourdillon Road, Ikoyi was initially falsely presented as the Guest House of an oil company which he purportedly bought and used public funds to rebuild and renovate.
“The Lagos State government bought the property and paid an undisclosed sum to him and thereafter gave the property back to him under the bogus Pension Bill he signed into law shortly before he left office in 2007.
“The annex of the Lagos State Guest House in Asokoro, Abuja was bought by the State Government in 2006 for N450 million, purportedly to protect the main house from security breach. Shortly after Tinubu left office, the property was transferred to him under the pension plan he signed into law before leaving office,” Atiku alleged.
He added that the tollgates along the Lekki-Epe Expressway, the Alpha Beta Consulting which has exclusive rights to collect taxes on behalf of the Lagos State Government as well as many other revenue generating firms in Lagos were under the control of Tinubu.
“What Tinubu has done in Lagos is state capture. He appropriated everything to himself including but not limited to cemeteries. He has pocketed the sources of the state and that is why he claims to be wealthier than Osun State,” he said.
According to the former vice president, while in office, Tinubu allocated to himself the former Strabag yard beside the Lagos State Secretariat at Alausa, Ikeja which has now been converted to the Ikeja City Mall.
“If Tinubu becomes president, he will take ownership of the federal secretariat, Ikoyi; the Tafawa Balewa Square and every other federal property in Ikoyi to the detriment of Nigeria.
“Already, his wife is a senator, his daughter is market woman leader and she extorts levies from traders across the state. His sister-in-law is a commissioner; his son enjoys advertisement monopoly in Lagos.
“His godson, MC Oluomo, is the transport kingpin who extorts billions of naira monthly from bus drivers. If Tinubu takes over as president, the entire country will become the property of his family. Nigerians will become second class citizens in their own country,” he added.
Atiku said it was curious that Tinubu had continued to divert state owned properties despite the huge housing deficit in Lagos State which is one of the highest in the world.
“The World Bank says two out of every three Lagosians live in a slum. But how can Lagos tackle its housing deficit when its godfather has been diverting properties that could have been used in constructing affordable homes?
“In just four years, Lateef Jakande built over 30,000 housing units. Jakande lived in Ilupeju all his life. Can the same be said of the self-acclaimed architect of modern Lagos who has spent more time allocating properties to himself and his family?” he queried.
Atiku’s Media Adviser Tackles Tinubu
In a related development, the Media Adviser to Atiku, Mr. Paul Ibe has faulted a publication stating that Adamawa State Governor, RT Hon Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri was in silent war with the former vice president.
Ibe faulted the publication in a statement signed by him and made it available to journalists in Yola, yesterday.
According to the statement: “We have read with bemusement a certain story published in the Saturday, 4 February edition of The Nation newspapers captioned: Atiku, Fintiri in silent war.
“Without so much ado, it is necessary that we put it on record that every aspect of the so-called story in all material particular is a figment of the writer’s imagination.”
The release state that for the avoidance of doubt, the relationship between the presidential candidate of the PDP and his home governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Fintiri was cordial.
It further explained that it was also not surprising that the APC, “in reading the handwriting of their impending defeat on the wall in bold reliefs, have resorted to sponsoring propaganda, the only thing they are good at doing, to blackmail and tell outright lies about the presidential campaign of the PDP and its presidential candidate.”
Atiku Condemns Bakori Killings
Also, Atiku has condemned the gruesome killing of 41 people in the Bakori area of Katsina State, saying the incident was one too many.
Terrorists had last Friday attacked Bakori where 41 people were reportedly killed.
But Atiku in a statement issued on Sunday by his Media Adviser, Ibe, described the incident as another ugly episode of senseless killing.
He said: “The confirmation of the incident by the Nigeria Police on Saturday, was a foreboding moment. Another ugly episode of the senseless killings of Nigerians on account of terror attacks,” Atiku said.
“While terrorism is a serious problem affecting most countries of the world, the solution to the problem must differ among countries. Therefore, a multi-sectoral initiative that will evaluate how to decimate the capacity of these terrorists should be on the table. We must be ready to do all that it takes to put a stop to these attacks.”
The former Vice President, however, condoled with families of the deceased and called for a holistic, multi-dimensional strategy that would put a stop to act of terrorism in the country.
Momodu Predicts PDP’s Victory, Says It Will Triumph in 25 States
The Director of Communications, PDP PCC, Dele Momodu, has expressed confidence over the party’s victory at the forthcoming general elections, stating that the party would record a resounding success especially at the presidential polls.
He also predicted the party’s triumph in 24 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
Momodu, who disclosed this during a courtesy call to Arise Play Office, a sister company of THISDAY Newspaper, said a critical analysis of the presidential election revealed that the Labour Party’s (LP) presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, would win some parts in the south-east, but not the entire region, adding that voters should not assume that because he is Igbo, he would take everything. He argued that the PDP was still very strong in the south-east.
He predicted that wherever Obi comes first, the PDP presidential candidate would definitely come second, ahead of the All Progressive Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu in any part of Igbo land.
He explained that in the South-south, it would be Atiku, and Obi, saying Tinubu was not going to take much votes in the region.
According to him, the tragedy for Tinubu was that he was the only one without a base, describing south-west voters as the most enlightened in Nigeria.
Momodu forecasted that Lagos would be split among Tinubu, Atiku, and Obi, stating that the traditional voters who had always voted for PDP, many of them would vote for both Atiku and Obi.
According to him, in Ogun State, the votes would be split between Tinubu and Atiku, while in Oyo State, the votes would be shared between Tinubu and Atiku, pointing out that Obi may not have enough votes in the rest of the south-west.
“I don’t know why Tinubu picked a Kanuri man from Borno State to be his running mate, just like Abiola picked Babagana Kingibe. I don’t think whether this time the north would favour Tinubu because if you look at the population in the north, between the north-east and the north- west; the east prefers to have number one, which they have been asking for, for so long than to have number two in the person of Kashim Shettima.
“So Atiku is favoured to lead in the north-east. In the north-west, where you have the preponderance of the Hausa-Fulani voters, of course Atiku will lead the way and that is where you have majority of the voters in Nigeria and they go out to vote unlike those of us who will sit in Lagos and speak so much grammar and at the end of the day, we will not vote.
“In the north-central, it is going to be a split between Atiku and Peter Obi to some extent and maybe Tinubu because of the Muslim-Muslim ticket and that might be a problem because of the people in the North-central are likely Christians are likely to vote between Obi and Atiku.
“So, if you look at it, you need 25 per cent in minimum of 24 states plus the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja. The first person to cross that line will be Atiku,” he said.
The PDP PCC Director of Communication said since 1993, Atiku had been contesting, and he had been able to build a formidable network, adding that the party had been existing now for 34 years and had entrenched itself in the north.
When asked what would be the fate of Atiku, if he loses this time and he decides to run in 2027, Momodu noted that it would be the decision of the party.
Commenting on the issue of rotation of the presidency, the PDP media chief said: “So between President Olusegun Obasanjo’s eight years and Jonathan’s five years that is 13 years.
Since the return to democracy, we have had 24years as today. So out of that PDP has given the south 13 years, while the north has 11 years and if Jonathan did not lose his election, it would have been 17 years,” he added.
Speaking on why he was not supporting Tinubu, Momodu said since Tinubu became governor in 1999, he had never been a member of his party.
“I have never been to Alausa to ask for political patronage. I say this with every sense of pride and responsibility. I have no apologies whatsoever for not supporting him. His wife saw me in church, at Mrs. Kemi Nelson’s funeral, and said are you saying you are not going to campaign for my husband?
“I said I am in PDP. I learn from history. In 1993, when some people were attacking your chairman, Prince Nduka Obaigbena for not supporting MKO Abiola and for going on CNN and other issues, Nduka told us that he was in the National Republican Convention (NRC) and he had to defend the interest of his party. I am in PDP and what if I am the candidate, contesting against Tinubu, will I withdraw? Definitely I will defend the interest of the party.
“Secondly, I’m very convinced that Atiku Abubakar is far ahead of any other candidates in terms of experience, exposure, competence, comportment, and composure. I believe this is the kind of man Nigeria needs right now.
“Tinubu is too volatile. You see the way he was attacking the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel the other day in Akwa Ibom. You will not see a presidential candidate talk like that. It is almost similar to what Donald Trump was doing in America where he was insulting everybody until he was kicked out of office. So, we don’t want a repeat of dictatorship in the civilian garb. It doesn’t make sense to me.”
Daji Sani in Yola