Atiku and Nigerian politics
Again, why have successive administrations been unable to prosecute Atiku if there are really corrupt charges against him? Even Buhari’s government that mouths anti-corruption crusade has not been able to pin him down on any corruption charges. The Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate for this year’s general elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is most accused politician of being allegedly very corrupt. It could be recalled that even Chief Olusegun Obasanjo had made effort to smear Atiku’s image in order to stop him from succeeding him in 2007. Since they left office in that year, he has been without immunity and the question is why has he not been prosecuted before any competent court of jurisdiction?
Besides, it is also instructive to observe that a man is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of competent jurisdiction; nobody therefore has the right to label another as guilty until the court does so.
Again, it is important to note that, if indeed, the Vice President had been corrupt, this will have glaringly manifested since 1999. Why wait for these years before trying very hard to nail him at all cost, to prevent him from vying for the presidency in the election?
Much efforts were done, but no success was made to pin him down to any case of financial impropriety or financial scandal, in spite of the fact that the lemon-squeezing and fault-finding gambit go on to no end.
No matter what happens now, no matter what some few characters at the corridors of power do to cover their misdeeds and mudsling the integrity and credibility of others, the day of reckoning, when all those who are in power today will give an account of their stewardship, is just around the corner.
During his active service in the Nigerian Customs Service, when one issue arose at Murtala Muhammad Airport Lagos, former finance minister, Mr. Onaolapo Soleye, who supervised the Department of Customs and Excise, said he acted on the basis of the facts before him, adding that it would be unfair to punish him for doing his job and for standing by his officers.
He was also swayed by his impeccable service record. No queries. No sanctions. His file was filled with commendations for meeting and exceeding revenue targets at the different posts he had headed.
Let the people of the nation know that the only constitutional role assigned to the office of the Vice President is the chairmanship of the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting made up of the 36 governors of the federation, CBN Governor, and minister of finance among others.
The National Economic Council plays an advisory role just like National Council of States forum as its decisions or resolutions are not binding on the President who is the chief executive of the country.
Much more importantly is the fact that even as the former Vice President, he never awarded contracts and has no direct access to public funds. He has lost more money in government than when he was in private business.
Some have gone to the extent of saying that he made his money through dubious means or by fraudulent practices, and his response has always been that if anybody, anywhere has any evidence that he was engaged in any unwholesome dealings, at any stage of his life, they should go to court. And, he has repeatedly subjected himself to public scrutiny at all times, exuding uncommon confidence that his track records are impeccable.
Some have even argued that, he made so much money from the privatization exercise because he is the chairman of National Economic Council; even if asking the people that make the frivolous statements to mention in specific terms, the companies he has cornered personally or through proxies, they are usually unable to substantiate their spurious claims.
It is imperative to underscore the fact that Atiku is one politician who, before he became the Vice President, never held any political appointment. He had all a long been a civil servant and when he retired, he went into private business, which was very successful.
The heaters accused him of being rich but the money he has is the money he made in private business before he became the Vice President. In today’s Nigeria, how many people amongst the politicians can come out and tell the public how they truly made their money?
Much more importantly is the fact that even as the Vice President, he never awarded contracts and has no direct access to public funds. He has lost more money in government than when he was in private business.
The money he has is the money he made in private business before he became the Vice President. But Atiku made his money from real estate, farming, trading and oil servicing. According to his biography, Atiku’s foray into the real estate began in 1974. So, it is totally out of place and unthinkable for people to make innuendoes about the source of wealth of the former number two citizen of the nation, in any case, if really he has any skeleton in his cupboard.
Dukawa can be reached at [email protected] .