Kaduna State Governor, Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai has accused former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of a plot to destabilise President Muhammadu Buhari because of his 2019 presidential ambition.
On Monday, Atiku, in an interview with Zero Tolerance, an in-house magazine of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), accused el-Rufai and former EFCC boss, Nuhu Ribadu, of betrayal, even though he took them into former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government.
But, el-Rufai, who was former Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and former minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, said Atiku has a record of “spewing outright lies” and that he has been involved in acts capable of destabilising Buhari’s government.
Besides, el-Rufai claimed Atiku is desperate for power and as he is already thinking of running for Presidency in 2019. “This statement is issued in response to the latest falsehoods to emerge from Atiku. He 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…
“Therefore, I am constrained to provide a response to the fake news and irresponsible revision of recent history by Atiku.”
In a direct response to Atiku’s claim that he offered the former VP shares in Transcorp, a company set up in the twillight days of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, which bought the presitigious Nicon Hilton Hoyel in Abuja, el-Rufai said:
“I never had anything to do with the incorporation of Transcorp. Those who 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 Atiku any shares in Transcorp. I declined the shares that were offered to me. Having done that, how could I have offered anyone shares?
“In fact, I advised president Obasanjo, Atiku and then Finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, not to accept the shares that were then being 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 privatisation assets…”
On his clearance at the Senate as minister, after money was offered, the Kaduna governor distanced himself from the bribe. “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 Atiku has just done is confirm that he paid the Senators, as I revealed in Page 139 of my book. When I published The Accidental Public Servant, in 2013, Atiku 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…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.
“People like 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. 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. 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 Buhari as he leads our country through tough times.
“Like everyone else, Atiku is entitled to rehabilitation. But, that often requires coming clean with the people. Can 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 40m from offshore companies like Siemens into bank accounts controlled by him andone of his wives. The report detailing the US Senate findings is online, as one of four case histories of foreign corruption in the USA. Atiku should tell a better tale of why he is avoiding the USA. 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.”
In the Zero Tolerance interview, the former VP said even though he helpee el-Rufai into government, he betrayed him by aligning with forces bent on crippling him politically but he was vindcated. “This is the same el-Rufai whom I was instrumental in bringing into government and making him BPE DG and eventually, a minister. You also forgot that it was the same el-Rufai and Nuhu that my boss used in cooking up the indictment that was eventually thrown out. So, where is the evidence of corruption? It’s just not fair for you to say somebody is corrupt without substantiation. This is the same el-Rufai who testified on television that he worked with me as DG of BPE for four years and there was never a time I asked him or instructed him to do anything unethical in those years. So, how am I a corrupt person? This is the same el-Rufai and others who incorporated Transcorp during my time as VP and offered me shares and I declined. I wrote them officially to say it was unethical of me to have accepted those offers. So, where is the corruption toga coming from?”