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Buhari, Atiku war over alleged vote-buying

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•Looters threatening election with vote-buying — Buhari
•PDP plotting to launch fake news campaign —APC
•Buhari’s comment self-indicting – Atiku
•His Presidency reeks of graft – PDP

By Clifford Ndujihe & Johnbosco Agbakwuru

ABUJA —AHEAD of the February 16 presidential election, President Muhammadu Buhari has raised the alarm of alleged fresh threats to the election through vote-buying by those he said looted the treasury in the past.

President M Buhari and Atiku

Feb. 16 Poll: Make Sure You Vote, Saraki to Nigerians

The general election in the country is starting on Saturday February 16 with the presidential and National Assembly elections.

But President Buhari said reliable evidence gathered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, revealed that those who had looted Nigeria’s treasury, now with huge resources at their disposal, were planning to undermine the credibility of the election through vote buying.

The president also said it has not been easy journey for over three years Nigerians gave him the mandate to pilot the affairs of the country.

However, the Campaign team of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, said President Buhari’s alarm of vote-buying amounted to self-indictment because only those in power now have the capacity to buy votes.

Also the PDP said the Buhari Presidency reeked of corruption and could not be said to be fighting graft.

In a statement he personally signed yesterday, the President urged Nigerians to participate massively in the forthcoming presidential election.

What Buhari said

Buhari said: “By way of their looting, the corrupt have powerful resources at their disposal, and they will use them. For when you fight corruption, you can be sure it will fight back.

“It even threatens to undermine February’s poll and – by extension – our democracy. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has raised concerns over laundered money being funneled into vote-buying.”

The President promised to end corruption in the country if given another mandate of four years and also promised to follow due process in ensuring that the fight against corruption was fought to the end, despite the resistance from those involved in graft.

He explained that following due process in the fight against corruption was necessary to ensure that allegations never took the place of evidence

President Buhari, who noted that a policy that does not have fighting corruption at its core was destined to fail, said:  Victory over corruption is difficult but not impossible. We must not flounder in our resolve.

‘’I know many Nigerians would like to see faster action. So do I. But so too must we follow due process and exercise restraint, ensuring allegation never takes the place of evidence.”

President Buhari noted that those who have criticised his administration’s anti-corruption drive were  those who opposed its mission.

“There is no doubt that this administration has changed the way we tackle corruption. Concrete progress has been made, but there is still much to do.

“The battle against graft must be the base on which we secure the country, build our economy, provide decent infrastructure and educate the next generation,’’ he said.

He said in the last three and a half years, he has tried to judiciously exercise the trust vested in him to combat the problems of corruption, insecurity and an inequitable economy, with corruption standing above the other two programmes.

The President further said that while the government pursues the anti-corruption war, those involved in it continue to device new means of evading the law.

He said:  “Once the enablers are let in – as they have been in the past – the greed of those they collude with grows. But as I have intensified our war on corruption, so we have found that corruption innovates to resist the law.

“This is not the sole domain of those Nigerians, but the international corruption industry, the unsavoury fellow-traveler of globalisation.

“Corruption corrodes the trust on which the idea of community is founded, because one rule for the few and another for everyone else is unacceptable to anyone working honestly.”

Doors closed against corruption — Buhari

President Buhari also said the government has succeeded in closing the doors at fraudulent persons who were yet desperate to open the gates of corruption with the intention of looting the national treasury.

“We have repatriated hundreds of millions of dollars stashed away in foreign banks. These funds have been transparently deployed on infrastructural projects and used to directly empower the poorest in the society.

“More is still to come from our international partners in France, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Yet the hundreds of billions taken out of the country for the best part of this century promise more.

“We have secured high profile convictions, but greater cases remain. Lawyers table endless objections to obstruct court proceedings, whilst their clients hope it lasts until a ‘friendly’ President is voted into office.

“We must continue to tighten the legal framework and ensure the authorities have the investigative powers at their disposal to secure sentences. Only then will we begin to neutralise the advantages the corrupt have.”

It hasn’t been easy journey for me—Buhari

President Buhari has said that it has not been easy journey for over threes Nigerians gave him the mandate to pilot the affairs of the country.

He said he has not taken the support for granted and has promised to continue to protect the interest of the people and deliver on his mandate.

In a video message to Nigerians titled, “We will continue to work to protect your interest and deliver our mandate”, he requested for more support in the February 16 presidential election.

He said: “It’s been over three years since you gave me the mandate to oversee the affairs of our dear country.

“It’s not been an easy journey but with sincerity of purpose, perseverance, dedication and most importantly support from individuals like you, we have made great progress.

“Some of these achievements are visible for everyone to see, some are still in the works.

“I hereby humbly ask for your support again in the coming election to enable us to move to the next level and consolidate on the successes recorded in making our country a better place.

“I don’t take your support for granted. We will continue to work to protect your interest and deliver our mandate.”

Buhari’s comment self-indicting – Atiku Campaign

Reacting to President Buhari’s allegation of threats to the polls via vote-buying by looters, Mr. Akin Osuntokun, spokesman of the Atiku Abubakar Campaign, said: “Unless it is another moment of his characteristic cognitive failure, then that statement has to amount to a case of self-indictment.

“Realistically speaking, who are those in the vantage position in Nigeria today to commit the malfeasance he is alluding to?

“If this President has any self-awareness, he would not have accepted Adams Oshiomhole as the leader of his campaign for re-election. If any decent person is accused with the kind of weighty and corroborative allegations levelled against Oshiomhole, he would have sued the accuser for defamation of character-rather than hiding and wishing away the allegations.

“There is even a monument to corruption visible from any part of Nigeria erected by this man in his village. Yet this is the company in which our anti-corruption President revels in.

“Is this not the same President who went to Kano to raise the hands of Ganduje in solidarity? And you remember the laughable cover-up the President was pushing for an alleged crime caught on video.

“He was actually suggesting that the video recording was manipulated by ‘technology’. Only God knows whether this is another signpost of another evil scheme they are planning to unleash.

“I hope he saw the Atiku campaign rally in Kano today (yesterday) in Buhari’s supposed stronghold? Does that suggest a candidate or party in need of buying votes? On the contrary, you witnessed the fiasco of Buhari’s campaign rally in Lagos yesterday (Saturday). That should tell you who will find the need to purchase votes.”

Your Presidency reeks of corruption, PDP tells Buhari

The PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said President Buhari has failed his integrity test and has no moral rectitude to pontificate on corruption, his administration having been entangled in corruption.

The party said if there is any person whose activities of corruption have become a threat to the coming election, it is President Buhari, who it alleged is financing his campaign with looted funds, while surrounding himself with politicians indicted for corruption.

The statement read in part: “The PDP, out of respect for the Office of the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, had severally refrained from calling out President Buhari on his various indictments for corruption even during his era as a military ruler.

“A clear reading of Mr. President’s statement today (yesterday) shows that he is not yet aware that Nigerians have decoded his mastery of concealment of corruption in his Presidency and are no longer interested in his failed self-acclaimed fight against corruption.

“President Buhari presides over the most corrupt and incompetent administration in the history of our nation, for which Nigerians are very eager to go to the polls on Saturday to vote him out of office.

“If Mr. President were to be aware, he would have discovered that his entire surrounding reeks of moral, institutional and integrity corruption. But since he has consistently claimed not to be aware of anything around him, it is imperative to let him know that the fish in his pond is rotten from the head.

“Clinical examples can be drawn from his campaign council. Nigerians are aware that not a few members of this council have been indicted on malfeasance bordering on corruption

“Is it not strange therefore that President Buhari who wants Nigerians to perceive his administration as fighting corruption, will cast a net into the ocean and bring out only corrupt people to run his campaign?

‘’The truth is that Nigerians have seen more than enough of the fake fight against corruption and have come to a conclusion that President Buhari is merely paying lip service to this fight. He has no intention to do it and even if he had the opportunity to govern perpetually, he will never fight corruption.’’

FG saves $550m from eliminating ghost workers

Buhari speaking on ghost workers said: “More ghost workers must be removed from government payroll (almost $550 million has been saved from identifying phantom employees). More can be recovered through our whistle-blower policy ($370 million has been returned since its launch in 2016). More is still to come. But, together, we shall prevail over corruption.

“This is the problem of corruption writ large. It illustrates how it lurks in all and every crevice of public life, manipulating due process in pursuit of self-preservation and perpetuation; protecting personal political and economic interests at the expense of the common good.

“Indeed, those who have criticised my administration’s anti-corruption drive are those who oppose its mission.  And though their lawyers may craft expensive alibis, they cannot escape that which binds them together: a raft of documents and barely legal (some clearly illegal) mechanisms – whether that be the Panama Papers, US Congress reports, shell companies or offshore bank accounts,’’ the President stated.

He said the choice before voters on Saturday would be whether to continue on the path of his government which has laid the foundation for fighting corruption or revert to the past old days.

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