Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC), has described as fugitive, the trip embarked upon by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to the United States of America.
The ruling party maintained that despite the failed trip, Atiku still remains somebody with questionable character ready to compromise the system to favour his few privileged friends.
Addressing newsmen during a media parley in Abuja yesterday, APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, said: “I know the issue of Atiku going to America came up while I was away but the visit was dead on arrival because he went like a fugitive and ran back like a fugitive. Everything lasted barely 36 hours and it was not the kind of trip anyone would like to make.
“They have not been able to present to us that video clip as evidence of any meeting with any government official of note and even to speak to any international media throughout his stay in America. He only went to VOA Hausa Service. He should have done that in Nigeria instead of going to America.
“There was supposed to be a debate put up on Saturday, but I understand that Atiku cowardly ran away, even though he was at the venue of the debate. It was actually a pointer to the fact that the man who has been going about in the country seeking for mandate to be our president has absolutely nothing to offer.
“Again, the most important of the issues on ground is the one Atiku actually defined himself to be where he told us that even if he would be killed, he would sell our national assets, just the way he did when he was the vice president for eight years.
“He did not put us in any doubt as to how he was going to going to enrich his friends. So, for him, our national asset is up for grabs and the buyers are already known. They are going to be Atiku’s friends. It will be more if the same thing we witnessed for eight years.
“For once, Atiku has come up to agree with his former principal, Olusrgun Obasanjo, who on several pages in his book told Nigerians that Atiku is a corrupt person. He is somebody that compromises the system to favour himself. He is somebody that manipulates the system for personal gains and his understanding of governance is how rich he and friends have become.
“For this party, his position on the sale of our national asset is something we all need to reflect on. It is a sad situation that someone we all know lacks integrity, credibility for all the years of his public service both as a Customs officer and as vice president has not learnt any lesson and not even remorseful, is actually telling us to our face that our national asset will be sold to enrich his friends.
“We have seen it before and it is the responsibility of all voters in this country and as a nation to ensure that Atiku does not have the opportunity of appropriating our common wealth to himself and his friends.
“He has opportunity to appear on a platform presented to him and he badly needed to give account of his past misdeeds, show remorse and apologise to the nation. He had the opportunity to tell us that he is a new person and no longer a corruption person and that he now means well for us in this country.
“But his understanding of that opportunity was to see the president physically standing beside him so that he can attack him not his policies and programmes. He left when he said he would not be able to do that if the president was not there physically. That was scandalous and the height of it.
“You do know that in the past, just four years ago, when this opportunity was presented to President Buhari as a candidate seeking the mandate of Nigerians, he confidently and courageously came up, seized the momentum and spoke to us about his vision and mission for this country. He made promises and even though the sitting president at that time did not come, President Buhari did not run away like a coward that Atiku is,” he noted.
Speaking further, the party spokesperson said: “It is very disappointing and arrogant for Atiku to take the other candidates at the debate as people that did not matter. For him, it was only President Buhari that matters. We thought that even if that was the case, it ought to be about the policies and programmes of the president.
“The president’s absence would have given him the opportunity to tear the policies and programmes into pieces. He would have told Nigerians why it is bad for Mr President to commission Baro Port earlier that day which was a pipedream for 16 years under the PDP.
“He would have told Nigerians why all the abandoned projects now completed by the APC is not the way to go. He should have told us why the market women that are the new queens don’t deserve it because they are not his friends and that they are not supposed to be rich,” he said.