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BUHARI UNFOLDS PLANS FOR BITUMEN PROJECT, NIGER, DELTA

By NBF News
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Nigerians abroad criticise Ribadu over Babangida
THE presidential campaign train of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) hit Ondo State yesterday with the party's candidate, Gen. Mohamodu Buhari  (rtd), assuring of his determination to execute the Irele/Agbabu bitumen project in the state, if elected as president in the forthcoming elections.

But by courting former military dictator, Ibrahim Babangida, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) presidential candidate, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, may have isolated many of his admirers abroad, according to the Nigeria Democratic Liberty Forum (NDLF).

Calling the effort a desperate move, and noting that Buhari had also courted Babangida earlier, the United States (U.S.)-based Nigerians warned that the link of both Ribadu and Buhari to Babangida  'would not only jeopardise their presidential ambitions, but also destroy their integrity.'

Buhari also blamed successive administrations at the federal level for their nonchalant attitude towards the exploration of the multi-billion naira project.

While addressing a crowd at Adegbenle Hall in Akure, the Ondo State capital, yesterday as part of Buhari's presidential campaign tour, Bakare assured the people of the state of Buhari's determination to make the project a reality, if voted into power.

He said that it was unfortunate that the project, which was initiated in 1907, had not been given the required attention by previous and existing administrations despite its economic value.

Buhari, who was represented by his running-mate, Pastor Tunde Bakare, said the project, which had over 42 billion barrels of bitumen deposits, was rated the second largest in the world, adding that its economic importance and the level of unemployment in the country called for the exploration.  Noting that it had expected Ribadu would  learn and adopt a people-based campaign and mobilisation template similar to the one developed by President Obama, the NDLF noted that the former EFCC chairman was  instead  using 'an Adedibu template which is designed around seeking the support and sponsorship of the moneybags that are the architects of the ruin and destruction of the country.'

According to a statement released yesterday in New York, the U.S.-based NDLF said its members 'read with disbelief, the reported visit to the Ibrahim Babangida hilltop mansion by Mallam Nuhu Ribadu where his presidential ambition was endorsed by the former military dictator!'

Although the NDLF is a pro-democratic movement, it is also composed of U.S.-based Nigerian professionals like doctors, lawyers and accountants,  who are engaged actively in Nigeria's public affairs at home and abroad and honoured Ribadu in New York in  the past.