By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – THE Buhari/Osinbajo Campaign organization yesterday said that President Muhammadu Buhari was not a cunning and deceitful character when it comes to the issue of restructuring like other candidate that knows he does not have the powers to single handedly restructure the country.
This is in an apparent reference to the Presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and former Vice President of the country, Atiku Abubakar.
The campaign group also said that the President does not oppose any move by the National Assembly to carry out constitutional amendments for true federalism.
In the Campaign manual that serves as a basic guide for the 2019 elections released in Abuja, the group said, “The President himself is not a cunning and deceitful character like some other candidate, who knows he does not have the powers to singlehandedly restructure the country through constitutional amendments and would engage in giving a time-frame within which the country would be restructured.
“Sometimes in 2017, the APC set up a committee headed by Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna state to make far reaching recommendations on restructuring.
“That Committee submitted its report early in 2018. In all his public outings throughout the years, the Vice President has advocated for restructuring and true federalism.
“The President has never indicated he would oppose any move by the National Assembly to carry out constitutional amendments to fully reflect true federalism.”
In what was titled the history of the main opposition and popular views about its candidate, the group said, “As President and Vice President, President (Olusegun) Obasanjo and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar granted themselves university licences and were building their universities whilst ASUU (Academic Staff Union of Universities) was on strike severally at that period.
“The privatisation programme of the OBJ/Atiku Government was fraught with fraud as most of the deals ended in fiasco. Some of them were NITEL, ALSCON, etc.
“The OBJ/Atiku Government denied Lagos State of its funds for more than two years until it left power in 2007 because of political differences. And this was done despite an order of Supreme Court compelling the Federal Government to release the said funds.
“The OBJ/Atiku Government conducted some of the worst elections in our history which was the 2003 and 2007 elections where results were simply written. Hence, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on the 3rd of September, 2018, publicly expressed his regret for not taking Lagos from Tinubu in 2003 because Tinubu was his friend.
“Despite all the recent grandstanding on restructuring, the candidate of the main opposition as Vice President never for once used his position to push for restructuring.
“There is no record of any Public lecture or open or secret memo he wrote to his boss or anyone, advocating for restructuring in any form. Instead, he was busy trying to restructure PDP throughout that period to take it over.”
The group debunked the allegation that President Buhari condones corruption around him.
It said, “At one time or the other the President has had cause to order the investigation of close aides accused of corrupt practices. Those that were found wanting have been removed from office. The criticism that some of them have not been charged to court simply has two answers:
“The President does not interfere in the work of law enforcement agencies. In many cases, it takes time for people to be investigated and charged to court.
“No one has ever provided any verifiable evidence of corruption against the President or Vice President unlike in previous governments. The integrity of the President is not in doubt as expressed by various individuals, including heads of other governments, who have spoken on the character of the President.”
On the allegation that President Buhari said he was going to discriminate against Nigerians on the basis of 97 percent-five percent, the group said that the President’s comments at the United States Institute of Peace in July 2015 were taken and interpreted out of context.
According to the campaign group, “He never claimed or said he would discriminate against anyone or made any argument in support of discrimination. That part of the dialogue where they were asked a question and he answered lasted three minutes twenty two seconds. To get the full import of the speech, one has to listen to the three minutes twenty two seconds.
“The summary of the entire answer of that session is that it is part of ‘political realities’ for those who gave as high as 97 percent to be shown some gratitude. He however never said the ‘gratitude’ would be in terms of development and appointments.”