By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA — Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, denied ever betraying the political interests of President Muhammadu Buhari even as he vowed to steadfastly remain loyal to him.
The former vice president made the claim against the backdrop of insinuations that Atiku collaborated with Senate President Bukola Saraki to undermine the interest of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the National Assembly leadership elections.
In a statement by his media office in Abuja, yesterday, and signed by Mazi Paul Ibe, Atiku while acknowledging the diverse political aspirations of stakeholders in the APC, nevertheless called for a sense of unity in order not to rock the collective goal of advancing the nation’s democracy.
He particularly called on party members presently at odds with one another to emulate the sense of unity and camaraderie spirit demonstrated by the presidential aspirants in the party at last year’s national convention.
“Anything to the contrary may jeopardise our hard-earned democracy and constitute a clog in the wheel of the new administration,” Atiku said.
Vows to remain loyal
Affirming his unalloyed loyalty to the Buhari administration, the statement said: “Not only did Atiku Abubakar congratulate Buhari after his emergence as the presidential candidate of the APC at the party’s national convention in Lagos, he also handed over his best assets to the Buhari Presidential Campaign.
“The former Vice President enthusiastically handled the diplomatic assignment of seeking endorsement for Dr. Adesina as the President of the African Development Bank on behalf of President Buhari and would be available for any other assignments as the President pleases.
“Make no mistake about it, Atiku Abubakar holds Buhari in the highest esteem, and would always remain loyal to him, and support him in every endeavour to succeed as president.”
The APC chieftain also called on Nigerians with members of the President’s party taking a lead in their undiluted support of his administration, saying: “We, the members of the President’s own family, need to lead in this direction for others to follow for the good of our nation and its peoples.”
Atiku denounced the increasing determination of some people to draw a wedge between President Buhari and himself, noting: “It has become crystal clear even to the blind that the motives of these hatchet men who are desperate to take every available newspaper space is to insult, vilify and calumniate the former vice president.
“We cannot allow liars, denigrators and blackmailers and their sponsors to use Atiku as platform to ingratiate themselves with President Buhari and hijack his presidency under the pretext of loving him more than anyone else. These political ventriloquists are hiding behind the cover of anonymity to achieve their sinister agenda of making Atiku the fall guy in the unfolding political developments.”