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Tinubu, Atiku fight dirty as Obi shines at Chatham House

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The camps of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu and that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, on Monday, returned to the trenches, throwing allegations and counter-allegations against each other.

The camp of former Lagos State governor stirred the hot verbal exchange when the APC presidential campaign council (APCPCC) demanded that Atiku should be disqualified from the February 25 presidential election and prosecuted following recent allegations leveled against him.

However, PDP berated the ruling party for making such demands on the account of “simulated allegations by the APC.”

According to PDP, “For clarity and for the interest of Nigerians, it is on record that Atiku Abubakar is one of the most investigated public officials in this country. It is also on record that in all the in- vestigations undertaken over him and his affairs, Atiku Abu- bakar was never found culpa- ble in any of the allegations.

“In contrast however, the APC Presidential Candidate has litany of confirmed legal impediments on very grave is- sues including those that border on international crime, namely; trafficking in narcotic and taking proceeds of narcotic.

Members of the media team of the APC candidate, who made the call at a world press conference in Abuja and led by Dele Alake, Special Adviser, Media, Communications and Public Affairs, the APC PCC, said the demands were sequel to the allegations by a perceived whistleblower, Michael Achimugu.

The whistleblower, who swore to an affidavit that he worked with the PDP presidential candidate as media consultant while the latter was vice president under the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo claimed in a trending video, alleging that both Tinubu and Atiku were involved in what was termed Special Purpose Vehicles” (SPVs), while Atiku was vice president.

The APC PCC alleged that companies were registered by the former vice president, using a “trusted allies” as shareholders and Directors.

“The purpose was to divert government contracts to these companies as “consultants” and then paid monies into these companies and used those monies to fund the PDP and their private businesses and family activities,“ it further alleged.

Director, Public Affairs and Chief Spokesperson, Mr Festus Keyamo, who read the prepared statement on be- half of his other colleagues, accused Atiku of what he called “possible infractions of the law.”

Citing provisions of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers, The Money Laundering (Prevention And Prohibition Act), 2022), the APC PCC tasked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti- corruption agencies to initiate prosecution of the PDP candidate.

“We understand that the law enforcement agencies may be reluctant to act simply because of the perception of persecution of a Presidential candidate that this may evoke.

“However, facts are sacred. The facts so far presented to the world clearly indicate that Atiku Abubakar has a case to answer. In other climes when such serious allegations arose in the middle of campaigns, the law enforcement agencies acted decisively.

“You may recall that, in 2016, in the middle of campaigns for the exalted office of the Presidency of the United States, the FBI opened investigation into allegation of misuse of private emails against Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State.

“In fact, the case was referred to the Justice Department for likely prosecution few weeks to actual voting. Though, she was later cleared, it bears restating that a sane and dispassionate system never allowed such side talks to dissuade or distract them from initiating a process of investigation. It is the minimum expected in a constitutional democracy. That is what we call on the authorities to do in the case of Alhaji Atiku Abu-They equally asked that the PDP candidate be disqualified from contesting next month’s election.

“In the light of these very grave revelations, we call on Atiku Abubakar to IMMEDIATELY tender an unreserved apology to the Nigerian people and step down from the Presidential race forthwith, whilst handing himself over to the law enforcement agencies.”

In its reaction, PDP observed that the effect of the conviction and forfeiture of the sum of $460,000 by APC candidate, Tinubu, confirmed that he was ineligible to run for the office of the Nigerian president.

The main opposition party also accused the ruling party of engaging in an ”irresponsible attempt” to divert public attention from the issues affecting Nigerians, APC’s “atrocious record” and its “vexatious misrule” by demanding that Atiku should withdraw from the presidential race on account of “simulated allegations by the APC.”

In a statement issued by Debo Ologunagba, National Publicity Secretary, the PDP added: “It is indeed ironic that an embattled Tinubu, who is beleaguered by uncountable cases of fraudulent activities, including perjury, forgery, treasury looting, corruption and narcotic-related conviction can attempt to impugn on the unimpeachable integrity of the PDP Presidential Candidate.

“For clarity and for the interest of Nigerians, it is on record that Atiku Abubakar is one of the most investigated public officials in this country. It is also on record that in all the investigations undertaken over him and his affairs, Atiku Abubakar was never found culpable in any of the allegations.

“In contrast however, the APC Presidential Candidate has litany of confirmed legal impediments on very grave issues including those that border on international crime, namely; trafficking in narcotic and taking proceeds of narcotic.

“In the recent case revealed in the United States of America, it is on record that the APC Presidential Candidate forfeited the sum of $460,000 which was confirmed and found to be proceed of trafficking in narcotic; an international crime for which Nigeria, being a signatory to International Convention on trafficking in narcotic is obliged to enforce.

“The effect of the conviction and forfeiture of the sum of $460,000 by Asiwaju Tinubu confirms that he is ineligible and not qualified to contest for the Office of the President of Nigeria as required by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

“For clarity, Section 137 (1) (d) of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides that:(1) “A person shall not be qualified for election to the office of President if… (d) He is under a sentence of death imposed by any competent court of law or tribunal in Nigeria or a sentence of imprisonment or fine for any offence involving dishonesty or fraud (by whatever name called) or for any other of fence, imposed on him by ANY court or tribunal or sub- stituted by a competent au- thority for any other sentence imposed on him by such a court or tribunal”.

“Having been convicted, sentenced and fined for nar- cotic trafficking in a criminal suit filed pursuant to the United States Criminal Code, Asiwaju Tinubu cannot by virtue of Section 137 (1)(d) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) seek office as President of Nigeria.

“The APC Presidential Candidate has not come out to deny the conviction and forfeiture or show evidence of any attempt by him to chal- lenge or appeal the judgment, apparently believing that it will slide with time. Asiwaju Tinubu ought to know that time does not run against the State in a criminal matter!

“He should therefore withdraw from the Presidential race having been found ineligible and not qualified to run or to contest for the Office of the President of Nigeria under the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution.”

Meanwhile, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi who was at the Chatham House in the United Kingdom, thrilled his audience after he took time to discuss exhaustively his vision for policy and governance reforms in Nigeria, including the priorities for tackling deep-rooted insecurity and corruption, and measures to promote social and political mobility for Nigerian citizens.

His outstanding outing yesterday at the international think-tank organization, has been applauded by millions of Nigerians.

Obi unlike his APC counterpart who delegated questions that was directed to him to his team when he was a guest at Chatham House, answered all the questions that was posed to him.

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