The Presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has called on the appropriate authorities to urgently institute a probe to unravel the hidden faces behind the new ownership structure of multi billion naira telecoms giant, Etisalat Nigeria, as well as Keystone Bank.
But the APC in a swift reaction to the allegation last night, said Atiku Abubakar was suffering from early signs of depression.
However, in a statement in Abuja, yesterday, Special Assistant to Atiku on Public Communication, Mr. Phrank Shaibu, said such a probe was necessary in view of reports that members of President Muhammadu Buhari’s family now own substantial share in Etisalat Nigeria, which has an estimated $2 billion (about N727 billion at 360 per dollar) of its estimated $20 billion global net worth. Atiku also expressed shock at reports from unimpeachable sources that the first family now plays big in the nation’s financial sector after acquiring mouthwatering shares in Keystone Bank, with total assets of $1.916 billion (equivalent to N307.5billion) as well as purchasing about N3 billion worth of shares in the new Pakistani Islamic Bank.
“I know that last week was turbulent for President Buhari and I apologise for adding to his woes, but as he is insistent on the myth that he is spotless and anti corrupt, if this is found to be true, this scandal would break every rule of corporate and public governance, since this will be the first time members of the first family will be openly involved in a once-in-a-lifetime deal that would make them all richer beyond their wildest dreams,” the statement said. Anchor Borrowers Programme The accusation is coming amid reported allegations in the media that the the Federal Government, led by All Progressives Congress, APC, plans to use billions of naira from Anchor Borrowers Programme allocated by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, for farmers, using imaginary donations from 12 million farmers as a façade.
But the presidential candidate of the PDP advised President Buhari to shun the use of state resources and machinery for the upcoming 2019 presidential poll. Specifically, Atiku said no farmer contributed any N1.7billion for Buhari’s re-election campaign, warning that APC’s decision to use monies meant for farmers to run his campaign was not tidy at all.
He said: “The other day, a man who scored 15,424,921 votes to win the 2015 general election was reported to have been nominated by 14 million APC members at the presidential primaries for 2019. Now, over 12 million farmers have donated to his campaign.
“Are they indirectly spewing out outrageous figures of people they intend to claim voted for them in the coming elections? Could that be why the President was flashing an occult double four hand signal that has gone viral? What did the hand signal mean? “Does it mean that the President has jettisoned the idea of a free and fair election and telling Nigerians that no matter how they vote, he will return for a second term of four years? In any case, if the farmers who just took a loan through the Borrowers Anchor programme and have not liquidated the facility can donate this huge sum or any sum for that matter, it means the ‘Association of widows and children of all those slain by Boko Haram and herdsmen will donate N5 billion to the Buhari campaign.
‘’In fact, the 23.1 million youth who lost their jobs between 2016 till date will donate about N12 billion to the Buhari campaign. “Assuming but not even conceding that such a huge sum of money was donated to President Buhari by Nigerian farmers as his handlers would want Nigerians to believe, wouldn’t such donation be in contravention of Section 91 (9)of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) which says no individual or other entity shall donate more than N1 million to an aspirant or a candidate?”
Atiku suffering from early signs of depression —APC
Meanwhile, APC has said Atiku Abubakar was suffering from early signs of depression. The APC in a late statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Nallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, said Atiku was now unable to focus on his own campaign due to frustration. He said: “The PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is exhibiting early signs of depression, resulting from obvious frustration.
“Consequently, he is unable to focus on his campaign. Otherwise, he should tell Nigerians why a discredited person like him should be elected as President instead of raising puerile allegations on a daily basis. ‘’President Buhari and APC, not his programmes for the country, appear to be his main campaign issues. Nigerians are desirous of campaign that focuses on issues that matter to them. For Atiku and his PDP co-travellers, the only interest is to grab power and continue where they stopped in their avarice.”
The APC said the Buhari administration “is eager to showcase the impressive achievements we have recorded in the last three and half years. This is the campaign that matters to us and this is what Nigerians are interested in. “The trajectory is exciting as we see a brighter future shaping up. We won’t yield to the PDP’s shenanigans. The obvious strategy of the PDP is to truncate the country’s journey towards economic buoyancy and social stability. We will not play the PDP’s game”.
APC accused the PDP of acting out a script that was anti-people, saying the President remained unshaken by the efforts of Atiku and the PDP to demonize his administration. “PDP is acting an anti-people’s script. President Buhari remains unshaken by the desperate efforts being made by Atiku and the PDP to blackmail the APC government. Everyone who was involved in corrupt practices would be brought to justice. ‘’PDP is not offering any alternative to the progressive course this government is pursuing.
It is actually apparent that the party is not contesting the 2019 elections to redeem itself, least of doing any good for the country, but simply to seize power to escape justice for the grievous crimes committed against the people of this country. Nigerians won’t be fooled by the rapacious PDP gang. Never.”