Since the emergence of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the PDP flag bearer for the upcoming National election in 2019, he has received congratulatory messages from many quarters. One of the good will messenger is the Spokesperson of the President Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation; Festus Keyamo. Keyamo did not only congratulate the emergence of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the PDP flag bearer but he tried to question the credibility of Atiku election process that brought about the victory of Atiku and also his integrity as a leader in a public office.
Below is an excerpt from Keyamo Statement;
There were also media reports in the 2014 APC National Convention that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar freely used the same method of massive vote-buying in foreign currency, but he came a distant third. Till date, he has not denied those media reports. The claim therefore that the process that produce him now as a candidate of the PDP was free, fair and transparent is suspect.
It is therefore clear that going into this election the issues that will agitate the minds of Nigerians most would be centered around the credibility of the candidate of the opposition and the kind of values he brings into our politics.
Nigerians would ask themselves whether he can be trusted with our national resources with this proclivity for “dollarising” the political arena, thereby taking us back to the warped values from which President Buhari is trying to extricate the nation. One wonders what such a candidate would do with public funds.
Nigerians would also note with interest the verdict of Atiku’s former boss when he was Vice President on his credibility and integrity, calling him unprintable names at different occasions. Nigerians would note that in all of these occasions, Atiku Abubakar had never defended these allegations against him by his former boss, but continues to court his support and cooperation.
Nigerians would want to know how candidate Atiku Abubakar intends to inspire a nation to believe in his ability to fight corruption in the face of very damning reports both locally and internationally concerning his records on corruption whilst he was in public service as a Customs Officer and later when he was Vice President of Nigeria.
We note with amusement that on many occasions Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has tried to claim some credit for certain “achievements” during the tenure of President Obasanjo when he was Vice President because, according to him, he was “part of that Government”. We also wish to remind Nigerians that as much as he claims the credit, he must be prepared to accept joint liability for all that happened in that Government. He cannot blow hot and cold. In due time we shall talk about all these.
Taking all the above into considerations, Nigerians would rightly ask whether a leopard can indeed change its skin despite all the sweet talk they expect to hear from the opposition candidate during the election.
Though I am not campaigning for Atiku but have Keyamo not heard that “those who live in glass house do not throw stones”. What has the present administration achieved with their slogan of Integrity? How many times have President Buhari disobeyed the rule of law? Does Mr. President federal appointments show a man with integrity? Human life is so cheap in this dispensation, and how many times has “Mr. Integrity” acts on the killings of his countrymen by his tribe men. How many corrupt officials have been brought to book? A person with integrity will not allow his campaign to be championed with money obtained by corrupt practices. To be fair to Atiku, where were all these integrity questions against him when he supported Buhari in 2015?
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If Mr. President has any evidence to convict Atiku, then he should do so instead of throwing cheap shot. Finally Mr Keyamo, if you want to sell Buhari to us for second term, it should not be on the platform of Integrity because old things have passed away and this is not 2014. We have tasted how far Buhari can fight corruption and we are not pleased.
Adedoyin Shittu is a contributor to The African Progressive Economist and the opinions expressed here are her own.