Tuesday 15 November 2016

War in APC as Gov El Rufai and former vice president Atiku reveal shocking secrets

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said that he has not visited the United States since 2007 on personal grounds. He said his not travelling to the US had nothing to do with either alleged laundering of $40million or the $100,000 bribe allegation over which a Congressman, William Jefferson, was convicted.

Atiku said the $40million was his legitimate cash which he transferred to the United States.
He said since his wife, Jennifer, was no longer living in the US, he had no reason to go there.
Atiku is said to own a mansion in Potomac which he has not been to in the last nine years.
He cleared the air also on the rumour that former President Olusegun Obasanjo knelt down for him to get the second term ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2003.
Atiku, who opened up on the allegations against him, said he was not corrupt, contrary to some perception created around him.
He bared his mind in an interview with Zero Tolerance, the in-house magazine of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC).
He reacted to a 2010 United States Senate report which accused him of laundering over $40million in suspicious funds into the U.S. between 2000 and 2008 with his wife, Jennifer.
Atiku said: “It(the $40m) was an allegation which wasn’t proved. It was my legitimate money which I transferred to the U.S.; there was nothing about it.
“More so, I was not indicted in that report. They only said suspicious funds but I proved before the Senate committee that they were not suspect.”
On the alleged $100,000 bribe in which he was implicated with Jefferson, he denied any relationship with the jailed ex-lawmaker.
The encounter is as follows:
Your friend, the Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson…?
He was not my friend
He was said to be close to you?
Never! He was not close to me.
Okay, what was the relationship between you and William Jefferson?
There was no relationship whatsoever.
Then tell us why he was linked to you?
“The man wrote a letter to my office on a communications project, and for God’s sake, I was not the minister of Communications; so I endorsed the letter to the minister of Communication to address as his purview.
“After that, I travelled to the United States and he came to see me to bring the same copy of the letter. I told him, ‘well, I got a copy of this letter and have forwarded it to the ministry of Communication to get in touch with you’, and he left.
“That was all we discussed. Apparently, I didn’t know he had duped a lady and collected “marked money” from her in my name; unknown to him the FBI was on his trail.
“But, of course, there was no way he could give me money because, what was $100,000 to me? Eventually, my wife’s residence was searched and nothing was found there, but when his residence was searched, of course the money was found there; and he was convicted. I was not even called as a witness.”
The former VP said he was never under any travel restriction to the U.S..
He said: “There is no travel restriction on me to the United States. After leaving office, I’ve been to the U.S. several times to visit my family, which has eventually relocated.
Asked of the last time he visited the U.S., and why he doesn’t go, he simply replied: “The reason why I always visited the U.S. was because of my wife. She is no more in the U.S. So, I don’t have compelling reason to visit the U.S. now.”
Atiku dismissed the insinuations that he is corrupt.
He said: “Well, if Atiku Abubakar was corrupt, he would have been found guilty of corruption by all the panels and probes and cases that were brought before the courts.
“I remember the only corruption indictment against me was a white paper which was cooked up by our own administration overnight, including the very EFCC that I helped found, and other cabinet ministers, which I challenged in court.
“The court rightly dismissed all those indictment as being mere political; and till today nobody has ever indicted me of corruption.”
Atiku debunked insinuations that Obasanjo knelt down for him in 2003.
He added: “It is not true that he knelt for me. Of course, he came to my house and I refused to see him. He started it.
How can you go and declare your candidacyand refuse to declare that you will run with your running mate?
“So I had to fight back to remain on the ticket. Eventually he declared that he was running with me and then came to my house and we made up.”
On whether he suggested the “Mandela option”, to succeed Obasanjo, the ex-Vice President said there was nothing like that..
He said: “Absolutely not true. Rather, he accused one of my aides of promoting the ‘Mandela option’.
Atiku spoke of his respect for Obasanjo, irrespective of the disagreement he had with the ex-President in office.
He said: “I still thank God and him for nominating me as his Vice President which gave me the opportunity to experience governance at the highest level. We had political disagreement quite rightly so. I never shied away from political disagreement; we quarrelled and where we couldn’t make up, it became public knowledge.
“But still, I respect him as my former boss. The fact that we disagreed politically is no reason why we should be at loggerheads all our lifetime. In any case, as far as politics is concerned I don’t have any enemy; I could have an opponent. Enmity is too strong a word to use in a relationship that is purely political.”
On whether or not it was morally appropriate of him to have established a university as a vice president, Atiku said: “You need to have studied the structure of the university.
“ More than 20 years ago, I started with a nursery school, then a primary school before I established the university. The whole institution is a trust and non-profit foundation.
“Till date, I still don’t make any profit, and I have continued to subsidise the education being offered in that place. It is a complete educational community from kindergarten to the university based on the American system in one place which doesn’t belong to me or the family.”
Meanwhile Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has responded to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s allegations.
In a statement he personally signed Tuesday, Mr. El Rufai accused the former VP of falsehood.
He said Mr. Abubakar “has a record of spewing outright lies and innuendo against my person”.
“As we struggle to build a law-abiding society and secure progressive outcomes for our people, we cannot allow the triumph on these shores of those who will have us move to a post-factual world,” he said.
The Kaduna governor said not even Mr. Abubakar’s expertise “in the dark arts of damaging other people through a campaign of lies from him and his media machine” is capable of returning the country to its past.
Mr. El-Rufai said contrary to the postulation by Mr. Abubakar, he never had anything to do with the incorporation of Transcorp.
“Those that established that company and fronted it like Festus Odimegwu, Tony Elumelu, Otunba Lawal Solarin and Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke are still around and alive.
“As such I could not have and did not offer Alhaji Atiku any shares in Transcorp. I declined the shares that were offered to me. Having done that, how could I have offered anyone shares?,” he said.
The governor said he even advised the then President Olusegun Obasanjo, Mr. Abubakar, and then finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, not to accept the shares they were offered by the promoters of Transcorp.
“My counsel to them was based on the grounds that they would face conflicts of interest when Transcorp bids for privatization assets.
“At the time Alhaji Atiku and Ngozi were chair and vice-chair of the National Council on Privatization, and were particularly directly involved in approving the sales of state-owned enterprises and assets.
“It is too late in the day to try to pretend that the fiasco concerning the attempt by then Senators Ibrahim Mantu and Jonathan Zwingina to extort money from me for Senate clearance never happened.
“All Alhaji Atiku has just done is confirm that he paid the Senators, as I revealed in Page 139 of my book,” he said.
He also said when he published The Accidental Public Servant in 2013, Mr. Abubakar unleashed his media team in a campaign of vilification.
“Despite the viciousness of the attacks, they did not contest or explain away his shenanigans that were detailed in the book, from the Ericsson manoeuvre, to the Abuja water treatment plant contract and his obsession with marabouts and their assurances of the political big prize.
“He might also consider a full reckoning for what he and his acolytes did with public funds in the PTDF imbroglio, rather than indulging the usual bold face of the Nigerian big-man.
“As a federal public servant, my oath of allegiance appropriately stood with the Federal Republic of Nigeria, not the big men whose conduct I was privileged to witness at close quarters.
“People like Alhaji Atiku think that loyalty to them should be the goal of a public officer, and that it should trump the oath of allegiance to the country.
Although Mr. El-Rufai and the former vice president are both members of the APC, Nigeria’s ruling party, the Kaduna governor hinted that their public spat may be a battle for the party’s presidential ticket in 2019.
“Alhaji Atiku is already running for 2019, and he thinks that he can make people like us collateral damage in his attempt to rejuvenate his image,” the governor said.
“This obsession for power inclined him to support the rebellion against the party that manifested in the National Assembly, and is continuing with obvious disrespect for the incumbent president.
“Everyone knows that I support and will continue to work for the success of President Muhammadu Buhari as he leads our country through tough times,” he said.
While Mr. Abubakar has not publicly indicated any interest to run for president in 2019, several Nigerians believe he would be Mr. Buhari’s main opponent should the president seek a second term in office.
However, there have also been reports that Mr. El-Rufai is scheming to be the party’s presidential candidate in 2019 should Mr. Buhari decide not to seek re-election. Mr. El-Rufai did not comment on that rumour in his Friday statement.
The governor also accused Mr. Abubakar of corruption saying the former vice president has not gone to the U.S. for fear of being arrested.
“Can Alhaji Atiku explain the findings in the report of the United States Senate Permanent Sub-Committee on Investigations which detailed a pattern of wire transfers of more than USD 40 million from offshore companies like Siemens into bank accounts controlled by him and one of his wives.
“The report detailing the US Senate findings is online, as one of four case histories of foreign corruption in the USA. Alhaji Atiku should tell a better tale of why he is avoiding the United States of America.
“Someone as obsessed with Nigeria’s presidency as he is, should clear up such matters conclusively. We wait to see how well he does with that,” Mr. El-Rufai said.

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