Tag Archives: Atiku Abubakar

Former Vice President of Nigeria

APC issues 6 queries to INEC, denies calling for staggered elections, in Nigeria”:


The ruling All Progressives Congress APC has issued six queries to the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC following the postponement of the general elections by the electoral umpire.

From left: Mr. Remi Ibirogba, 

Commissioner, Information and Strategy, Gov. Babatunde Fashola of Lagos and Mr. Lateef Raji, Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, during the Governor’s Press briefing on Ebola Virus, at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos. Photo: Bunmi Azeez

This was as the party denied allegations by the Peoples Democratic Party PDP that it was pressuring the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC into staggering the general elections.

The position of the party was disclosed during a news conference addressed by its Director of Election Planning and Monitoring, Babatunde Raji Fashola and that of Contact and Mobilization, Hadiza Bala-Usman Sunday evening in Abuja

Both directorates had met at the Buhari Campaign Council headquarters to fine-tune its strategies in the face of the postponement of the polls by INEC.

Addressing the media, Fashola threw several posers at the electoral umpire.

“As a result of the common pain shared by us all, we, the Directorate of Election Planning and Monitoring, and Contact and Mobilization on behalf of APC Campaign Council, demand greater openness and transparency in the Commission’s preparations ahead of Saturday 23rdFebruary 2019.

“We believe that members of the public should know what steps INEC have taken with CBN to assess, take inventory of materials and brief the public about what their condition is;

“The status of INEC’s plans to procure and provide materials for election and in particular let Nigerians know if all materials required are in country and if not what plans the commission has to ensure that they are.

“INEC’s plans to re-deploy and distribute materials ahead of Saturday 23rd 2019.

“The specific problems INEC encountered in the failed attempt of Saturday 16thFebruary 2019 and measures it has taken to overcome them?

“What transport logistics and further materials INEC require in terms of vehicles, boats, trucks, airplanes, helicopters, manpower and funding INEC requires to execute the elections of February 23rd and March 9th.

“Confirmation that the configuration of the card readers will be completed in readiness of Saturday 23rd 2019.

“In addition to all of these, we believe that INEC should brief Nigerians daily on an ongoing basis until this process is concluded. This is one way to elicit the buy-in of Nigerians that INEC is serious and this will replace disappointment with enthusiasm”, he stated.

Fashola added that APC’s “disappointment is doubled due to the fact that unlike some who were apparently privy to this postponement in advance, we found out alongside the public a few hours before the polls opened.

“To the stranded youth corpers we empathise with you. To the voters and volunteers who have travelled at great cost to cast their votes, we empathise with you. To party agents and our party faithful we empathise with you.

“Our sympathies go to all those people and we urge them not to despair. However, we Nigerians are a determined and resilient people and we will not let the shortcomings of INEC deter us from exercising our franchise”.

Tackles PDP

On allegations that the APC was coercing INEC to stagger the elections, Fashola said; “I think that is not a responsible and credible allegation to make. APC does not conduct elections. We go by the rules as set by the electoral umpire”.

On his part, Chief Press Secretary to the National Chairman of APC, Simon Egbebulem said the ruling party would wait to punish the PDP at the polls.

“That is the height of irresponsibility and desperation on the part of the PDP to make such stupid allegation. The entire world was at the venue where the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole expressed his disappointment very sincerely before the chairman of the INEC over the postponement of the election. President Muhammadu Buhari did the same.

But we will not dissipate energy in responding to the PDP allegation because we await them at the polls. We all were in this country when under the PDP government the then President ordered the Chairman of the INEC to postpone the election. But in this case we saw a situation where the INEC decided to postpone election on their own based on the excuses they enumerated.

APC can never be like the fraudulent PDP which is the root of the problems which the APC led administration is cleaning up”, he said.

Nigeria election 2019: Appeal for calm after shock delay”:


Electoral commission chairman Mahmood Yakubu announces the move Nigeria’s president and leading opposition candidate have appealed for calm after the shock move to delay elections for a week. President Muhammadu Buhari said he was “deeply disappointed” but urged people to refrain from “civil disorder”. Main rival Atiku Abubakar called for patience but accused the administration of “anti-democratic acts”. Election officials cited “logistical” reasons for the 11th-hour delay in presidential and parliamentary polls. ▪ Atiku Accuses Buhari of Stoking Violence, in Nigeria”:Buhari Mourns Ejoor, Describes Ex-Army Chief as Man of Positive Character”: in Abuja: In a press conference on Saturday, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec), Mahmood Yakubu, said the decision to delay had “nothing to do with political influence”.

How have the political parties reacted?

The two main groups, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), both condemned the move and accused each other of trying to manipulate the vote. President Buhari, of the APC party, urged Nigerians to “refrain from civil disorder and remain peaceful, patriotic and united to ensure that no force or conspiracy derail our democratic development”.
REUTERS
Atiku Abubakar was disappointed but appealed for patience His main rival, Atiku Abubakar, called for calm over the next seven days saying: “I’m appealing to Nigerians to please come out and vote and I’m asking them to be patient about it.” In a tweet he said the administration was trying to disenfranchise the electorate. The chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondu, said the delay was “dangerous to our democracy”, accusing Mr Buhari of trying to “cling on to power even when it’s obvious to him that Nigerians want him out”.

And the voters?

In many cases they reacted with disappointment, frustration and anger. In the northern town of Daura, Musa Abubakar, who had travelled 550km (342 miles) from Abuja to take part in the election, told the BBC that he “couldn’t believe” what had happened. Hajiya Sa’adatu said she was “greatly disappointed” to learn of the delay when she came out to cast her vote in the northern city of Kano.
Nigerians like Hajiya Sa’adatu learned of the news only when they woke up “We spent all night without sleeping hoping to vote today,” Auwolu Usman, a voter in Maiduguri, told Reuters. Oyi Adamezie, in the city of Warri, told Agence France-Presse: “I see this postponement of the election as a ploy to rig.” Yusuf Ibrahim, in Abuja, told Associated Press: “I came all the way from my home to cast my vote this morning… I am not happy, I’m very, very angry.” Election officials bore the brunt of the anger:

So why was voting postponed?

The electoral chief, Mr Yakubu, said: “Our decision was entirely taken by the commission. It has nothing to do with security, nothing to do with political influence.” He said the delay was down to problems with the transportation of electoral materials – ballot papers and results sheets – to some parts of the country. He had earlier said the decision was made because of a “determination to conduct free, fair and credible elections”.

In the past two weeks several Inec offices have been set alight, with thousands of electronic smart card readers and voter cards destroyed. Nigeria has seen violence in the run-up to the elections and on Saturday 11 people were killed in an attack by Boko Haram militants south of Maiduguri.
Presentational grey line

Recriminations mixed with patience

By Fergal Keane, BBC Africa editor, Abuja Suspicions of skulduggery, rampant rumour-mongering – and a pre-disposition to suspect the worst based on past experience – are hallmarks of Nigeria’s election season. It is not surprising that some voters expressed their fears that a fix was being organised. The election commission chairman has denied this, citing bad weather and the challenge of getting the necessary resources to the right areas. But as recently as last Wednesday he was assuring Nigerians that the commission was ready for the elections. Recriminations began soon after the announcement. The opposition claimed there was a government plan to create a low turnout that would harm its candidate. But there have been no calls for street protests from the opposition, which is prepared to wait for the polls next Saturday. Importantly, the two main contenders have appealed to their supporters to remain calm.

What happens next?

The presidential and parliamentary votes have been rescheduled for Saturday 23 February. Governorship, state assembly and federal area council elections have been rescheduled until Saturday 9 March. The contest between the two main presidential contenders is expected to be tight. Presidential elections in 2011 and 2015 were also delayed.

How important is this poll?

The future of Africa’s most populous nation and largest economy is at stake.
Nigeria election 2019: Father and daughter discuss the poll Whoever wins will have to address power shortages, corruption, security problems and a sluggish economy. There are 73 registered candidates in the presidential election, but campaigning has been dominated by President Buhari, 76, and Atiku Abubakar, 72. Mr Buhari says he has built a strong foundation for prosperity, but his rival says Nigeria is not functioning. Both men are from the mainly Muslim north of the country. While both are in their 70s, more than half of Nigeria’s 84 million registered voters are under 35.

Nigeria stampede: Deaths at Buhari rally in Port Harcourt”:


Tens of thousands of people attended the rally at Port Harcourt’s stadium

At least 15 people have been killed in a stampede at a campaign rally for Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, a hospital spokesman says.

The incident happened at a stadium in the southern city of Port Harcourt when the crowd surged towards a gate after President Buhari’s speech.

Mr Buhari is running for a second term in tightly contested elections due to be held on Saturday.

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar is seen as his main contender.

The two leaders have signed an agreement in the capital, Abuja, pledging to promote peace and follow the legal process if there is a dispute after the vote.

What happened at the rally?

The incident happened after President Buhari delivered his speech shortly after 15:00 local time (14:00 GMT) on Tuesday at the Adokiye Amiesimaka stadium.

Most of the victims are reported to have fallen and been trampled as the crowd tried to force its way through a partially locked gate to follow Mr Buhari as he left the arena.

The bodies of 12 women and three men were taken to the mortuary at the University of Port of Harcourt Teaching Hospital, spokesman Ken Daniel Elebiga said.

Twelve people were admitted for treatment but three have since been discharged, he added.

Mr Buhari’s office said the president had been informed about “the tragic deaths of several members of his All Progressives Congress [APC] party in a stampede”.

Main presidential candidates

MUHAMMADU BUHARI (APC)Embattled and determined leader


Born in 1942 to a Muslim family in northern Katsina state
Former soldier, led military regime in 1980s, remembered for strictness
Tardy civil servants had to perform frog jumps in public
Won 2015 presidential election, the first opposition candidate to defeat an incumbent, with promise to beat corruption and Boko Haram insurgents
Told wife she belonged in kitchen after she complained in a BBC interview about his government
After long absence from illness, had to deny rumours that he had been replaced in public by a lookalike

ATIKU ABUBAKAR (PDP)Tycoon and veteran power-broker

Born in 1946 in northern state of Adamawa
Co-owner of multinational oil services company that started life in a Lagos shipping container
Oversaw privatisations during two terms as vice-president.
Fought against corruption charges, describing them as politically motivated
Founded American University which gave scholarships to some of the “Chibok girls” that survived Boko Haram kidnapping
His father, a devout Muslim, was briefly jailed for trying to stop him from attending a Western-style school

Atiku Accuses Buhari of Stoking Violence, in Nigeria”:


Nigeria must return to path of development, says Jonathan

By Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) of stoking the embers of violence in his campaigns.

This is as he urged Nigerians to reject any leader who tries to pit Nigerians against each other.

This comes as the former President Goodluck Jonathan also urged Nigerians to vote the PDP to return the country to the path of development.

Addressing a mammoth crowd of supporters at the PDP mega rally at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt Monday, Atiku said it was worrisome that a president would be inciting the citizens to violence when he should be preaching peace.

He accused Buhari of encouraging the people of Zamfara to violence when he visited them on Sunday.

He said: “Do you know what the president said yesterday (Sunday) in Zamfara? He told the people: Let us pray for rainfall; let us pray we grow food; let us pray we eat well; then we can make trouble. Is that what a president should say? Buhari, I am addressing you.

“This is a president who is preaching violence. And this is not the first time he has done so in this country. We are not going to allow any person to knock our heads together and make us fight.

“We want peace. We want development. We want prosperity. We want jobs. These are the things we want for this country. We are not ready to fight each other again. So, any leader who has come to instigate us to fight against each other, we will use our ballot paper to throw him out. Buhari must go.”

He also assured the people that he would protect the constitution if elected.

“I assure you that I will protect the constitution. Nobody has gone to court more than me to protect the constitution. I will protect separation of powers. I will not interfere with the National Assembly because I believe in checks and balances. I will not interfere with the judiciary because it is part and parcel of our checks and balances. I will uphold the rule of law. I will not allow rule of law to be trampled by anybody,” he said.

Atiku also assured the people of Rivers State and the Niger Delta that he would pursue restructuring of the country to ensure the development of all parts of the country.

“I am the author of restructuring. I will give it to Rivers State. I will give it to Niger Delta. We must restructure,” he said.

He also noted that it was under the Olusegun Obasanjo/Atiku presidency that the East-west Road was initied and vowed to ensure its speedy completion.

“The ports in Port Harcourt and Onne are dead under the APC. We will reactivate them so that we can create jobs for thousands of youths in Rivers State,” he said.

He accused the APC of not executing any projects in Rivers State or the Niger Delta region in the past four years and promised to reverse the trend when elected.

Also addressing the rally, former President Jonathan lamented that all indices of development had recorded negative growth since the APC came to power and called on the people to return the PDP to power if the country would be on the path of development again.

“The only person that can lead the country out of the woods now is Atiku. He will not discriminate between 95 and five per cent. He will treat all parts of the country equally. He has been tested and can be trusted. A vote for Atiku, PDP, is a vote for progress,” he said.

Atiku’s running mate, Mr. Peter Obi, also said it is only the PDP that can restore Rivers State and the entire Niger Delta to what it should be through restructuring and creation of jobs.

The National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, stated that the APC was now in disarray with the collapse of the North-west earlier considered a stronghold of the party.

“You saw what happened in Kano yesterday. It was a tsunami. The North-west is now for PDP. The APC is now in disarray, desperate and confused. They cannot gather the people again; that was why (Governor) el-Rufai will talk about ‘body bags’, the language of a terrorist,” he said.

The Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike assured the campaign team that Rivers State would vote massively for the PDP as that is the only party that the people of the state believe in.

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Atiku’s Kano Rally Throws Open Buhari’s Northern Strongholds”:


  • Massive crowds at Bauchi, Jigawa, Katsina, Kaduna show PDP candidate has altered equation

By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano

The mammoth crowd of supporters that attended yesterday’s rally of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano has further strengthened the growing forecast that the main opposition party’s flag bearer is in strong contention in areas hitherto believed to be strongholds of President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Buhari had won convincingly the massive voting North-west states of Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina, Jigawa and Kano in the 2015 general election that saw him squaring up with the incumbent, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, making bookmakers to declare them his strongholds.

But with the advent of Atiku and his campaign, the large numbers of enthusiastic supporters that subscribed to his rallies have got analysts rethinking their permutations and giving the PDP standard bearer a winning chance in some of the states.

Atiku’s rallies in Jigawa, Kaduna and Katsina, the home state of the president, drew such an unprecedented crowd that some leading lights of the APC, THISDAY learnt, have expressed fears privately that Buhari might have shed a heavy weight.The situation is not markedly different in the North-east states of Bauchi and Bornu that were thought to be Buhari’s impregnable fortresses. If anyone had any doubt that that was no longer the case, said one analyst, Atiku’s last week’s rallies in those states must have cleared such doubt.

Perhaps encouraged by the massive crowd, Atiku spoke glowingly of the failure of Buhari’s government, saying that it has brought the nation’s economy to its knees and must be punished for it.

The punishment, he said, should come in form of votes that would send its President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration out of office.

With all available spaces occupied by PDP’s followers at the stadium, 28 persons were said to have slumped at the event, while the huge crowd that flooded the stadium made it difficult for movement within the Kano metropolis, especially around the stadium.

People were seen lined up the streets, as early as 9am to welcome Atiku to the ancient town. As soon as he arrived in the city, the presidential candidate headed to the palace of the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi.

For a journey of less than 20 minutes, it took Atiku-led campaign team over four hours to get to the palace and another three hours to get to the stadium because of the human/vehicular traffic created by Atiku’s visit.

He was accompanied by the Director-General of the presidential campaign, Senate President Bukola Saraki; the National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus; and former governor of Kano, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso; among other key party’s leaders.

Until recently, Kano was a Buhari stronghold, securing his highest number of votes, nearly two million, in 2015. Kwankwaso, who was the governor of the state when this happened, is now in PDP.

Speaking to PDP supporters, Atiku disclosed that if given the mandate on Saturday, he would support the renewal of agriculture and the economy, which according to him, are in shambles.

He said: “Are you going to vote for PDP? If you vote for PDP, the government will revitalize business and the moribund industries in Kano. We will also boost agriculture.

“I will ensure that among my priorities would be the revitalization of agriculture, industries and commercial activities so as to boost the economy, which has been killed by the APC government.”

Atiku noted that Kano, which used to be the centre of commercial activities in the North, is experiencing backwardness in business and commerce.

Also speaking at the rally, the PDP national chairman told the overwhelmed crowd that the Kano rally represents a revolution and a pointer that Kano people have reembraced PDP.

Saraki said there is hunger in Nigeria, accusing the APC government of bringing hardship on the people, saying there is need for Nigerians to vote out the government.

Atiku’s Kano Rally Throws Open Buhari’s Northern Strongholds":
AFP
Atiku Abubakar

“Today, Kano people have spoken; and what we have seen in this unprecedented crowd today is that PDP has taken over Kano. People have agreed to vote for PDP. A vote for PDP and a vote for Atiku will put food on our table,” the Senate president added.

In his address, former governor of the state, Kwankwaso said the mammoth crowd had sent a message to Aso Rock that PDP has already taken over Kano.

’Today, Kano people and particularly, the youths have shown that Kano is for PDP and Kwankwasiyya,” he said.

Atiku, who was visibly overjoyed over the mammoth crowd, was clad on Kwankwasiyya red cap and white Babarriga to match.

Meanwhile, with six days to the presidential election, PDP has called on its members and supporters to use every legitimate means available to them in a democracy to defend themselves and resist all acts of intimidation by the ruling APC.

The main opposition party said it has resolved to use, in full measure, all defence machinery legitimately available, including its numerical strength, in marching with millions of Nigerians across the nation to defend its votes, with the stiffest resistance, ever, against any infraction by the APC and the Buhari presidency.

The Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, made the call yesterday while addressing a press conference in Abuja.

He said: “You will particularly recall that on February 4, 2019, the PDP handed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) a 48-hour ultimatum to make public the list of all officials and ad-hoc staff that will play any form of role in the February 16 Presidential election at all levels, for verification by stakeholders.

“That demand was predicated on our findings that the INEC leadership in deferring to directives by Buhari Presidency and the APC had collected lists of APC loyalists from APC state governors and candidates, across the federation to serve as electoral officials, including ad-hoc staff and returning officers at the polling units.

“You will recall that upon our demand the APC openly directed INEC to ignore the PDP and go ahead with its compromised list. Shockingly INEC leadership appeared to have obeyed the APC, ostensibly because of threats by the party to give its leadership the Onnoghen treatment if it fails to comply.”

Ologbondiyan noted that this was in addition to how the presidency has been importing mercenaries from Chad and Niger Republic to vote for Buhari and to unleash violence in the country upon his eventual defeat.

He said the party had also alerted of plots to manipulate the smart card readers so as to substitute biometric accreditation with manual verification and pave way for mass rigging and allocation of fictitious votes for Buhari.

Ologbondiyan stated: “From the foregoing, it is clear to all that the Buhari presidency and the APC are out to rig the election and that INEC is in clear deficit of the required will to conduct a credible, free and fair election.

“In this regard, the PDP charges all its members and supporters, in their millions, to politically occupy and become extra vigilant by closely monitoring all electoral activities around their polling centres.

“In this determination, the PDP is ready to confront the Buhari-controlled security forces and APC thugs, head to head, at all levels. For this, we charge our members and supporters to use every means available to them legitimately in a democracy to defend themselves and resist all acts of intimidation by the APC.”

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PDP flays Buhari’s assault on Atiku’s Campaign”:


…Describes FG’s action as last kicks of a dying horse

By Dirisu Yakubu

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has described the last minute denial of the use of the Old Parade Ground, Abuja for its Presidential mega rally allegedly by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration as the last kicks of a dying horse, saying regardless of the position of government, the rally would take place before Saturday February 16 election.

PDP flays Buhari’s assault on Atiku’s Campaign":
President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar

The party said having paid for the venue; it was shocking that government could resort to play petty by prevailing on the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA to grant the use of the same facility to the All Progressives Congress, APC, Federal Capital Territory chapter on the same day.

Addressing newsmen in Abuja yesterday, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan described government’s action as a sign of what he called the growing frustration in the camp of President Buhari ahead of the election.

He said, “For us in the PDP Presidential campaign organization, this is part of the last kicks of a dying horse, which the Buhari Presidency now represents. It is part of the plot by the frustrated President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC to drag the PDP and the people’s candidate to their low level of frustration in order to enmesh the coming election into crisis so as to achieve their self-succession bid.”

We’re sorry for joining APC, says defected Chieftains, supporters in A-Ibom

BREAKING: Helicopter carrying Osinbajo crash lands in Kogi state (photos)

It also called on the global community to note that “this latest assault against the people’s candidate is also borne out of direct ill-will and hatred against him by President Muhammadu Buhari as well as his handlers, who have sought all ways to drag him down, since they realized that Nigerians have reached a consensus on Atiku Abubakar, as the next President of our country.

“Atiku Abubakar, being a true democrat and statesman has decided to go with the people in their collective quest to rescue our nation from the vengeful, divisive, violent prone, insensitive, completely incompetent and inherently corrupt Buhari administration.”

The party however vowed to resist moves to clamp down on its activities, saying “any further attack on our campaign will therefore attract very dire response from Nigerians who look up to Atiku Abubakar to salvage our dear nation from the social, economic and political despondency, which President Buhari has plunged her into.”

The statement continued: “From reports reaching us, it is not also out of place for the Presidency and the APC to use this measure to test the will of Nigerians as precursor to their rigging plots.

“We want to place on record, once again that any attempt to rig the February 16 election will be vehemently resisted by Nigerians, across board, who have reached a consensus to rescue their nation from the stranglehold of the Buhari Presidency.

“In any case, let it be known to President Buhari and the APC that the PDP and the people’s candidate will definitely hold our Presidential mega rally in Abuja irrespective of any further encumbrance they may attempt to foist.”

Fielding questions on the sideline of the press conference, the publicity scribe said the erection of a broom statue at the entrance into the Abuja city centre is an indication of how low incumbent administration thinks.

“That broom statue is all the Buhari government has been able to achieve in the past three and a half years,” he noted, adding however that the PDP government would have to spend money again to bring down the structure upon its assumption in power.

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Myths, realities of Buhari, Atiku clash in Bauchi, 2019:


the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium in Bauchi witnessed an unprecedented crowd of supporters who thronged the overstretched stadium in support of the candidature of Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar

Bauchi State was, before now, what many would call a ‘Buhari territory’. But that perception seems to have waned in the last three and half years of the Buhari presidency. Many have attributed the decline of Buhari’s popularity in Bauchi to a number of issues bothering on the increased level of poverty, high level of unemployment, insecurity amongst others.

Also, there are concerns in some quarters about the health of the President, especially his mental capacity to effectively lead the nation for the next four years. Obviously, part of what have exacerbated these concerns are his slurred speeches in and out of campaign arenas and his inability to recognize people sometimes, especially those in his own party.

Buhari arrives Kano for re-election campaign‎

Breaking: Asaba shuts down as Atiku campaign team arrives Delta

Unlike in 2015 when Buhari, on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), ran against Jonathan, a Southerner, he will now be running against an opposition candidate with the same ethnoreligious background as him – and that counts for much for an average Bauchi voter.

Corruption, which President Buhari is perceived to be fighting, seems to be an albatross on the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar. The perception of some voters is that he is corrupt and would ‘steal’ the country’s resources if voted into office. But there are also those who say they are tired of hunger and joblessness and would care less about corruption as long as they are able to feed and cater for their family needs.

Uche Secondus, the National Chairman of PDP, during the campaign for his party’s presidential candidate said “We are convinced that with this crowd, Bauchi state is for PDP. They can not rig elections in Bauchi state, if they try it, whatever they see, they will have to take it. We have the best presidential candidate in the country today because he is competent and has the capacity to lead the nation.

“Buhari is tired, weak and can not go further anymore. But Atiku has been tested and proved. He will provide food, security and employment. He will not cede his power to cabal because he will be the Commander-in-Chief that will work for the people”.

Atiku on his part, said “Three years have passed, what has APC done for you; except hunger, poverty and lies? When I was Vice president in 2003, a memo was brought to me by Hon. Shira for the restoration of Steyr company and I approved 500 hundred million naira. But APC has driven the company into comatose. If you vote me, I bring back your Steyr company to create jobs for our teeming youths.

Atiku to Buhari: World watching you

“We even commissioned rail lines running from Bauchi across Gombe to Maiduguri but APC has spoilt it. Also, we commissioned dry port to boost businesses in Bauchi, but it is closed today because of the nonchalance of the APC. But I will revive it if you vote for me”

Atiku and Secondus may have spoken from their perspective as leaders of the opposition, but much of what they said is being discussed daily by ordinary people at ‘Mai shai’ (tea shops) joints and elsewhere around the state.

No election without our candidates —Rivers APC…

But a week, they say, is enough for things to change in politics. However, many pundits say the presidential election will be 60/40 in Bauchi, in favour of Buhari.

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Atiku Abubakar – the Nigerian operator who knows how to make money


The man aiming to wrest the Nigerian presidency from Muhammadu Buhari has built a career circling the summits of public life.

Atiku Abubakar has been a top civil servant, a vice-president, and a prominent businessman and philanthropist, making his fortune in the oil sector and giving some of it away to charity.

The highest office in the land has, however, eluded him. On three occasions, he has tried for the presidency and fallen short. On 16 February, the 72-year-old tries again, offering his credentials as a seasoned political operator and serial entrepreneur as the remedy for Nigeria’s ills.

However, his critics point to accusations of financial impropriety against him which they say make him unsuitable for top office in a country where corruption is a huge challenge.

He denies any wrongdoing and says the charges are politically motivated.

If elected, Mr Abubakar will be confronted by soaring unemployment, chronic poverty, a legislature gridlocked by regional rivalries, and a sluggish economy heavily dependent on fluctuating oil revenues.

His campaign is exploiting the contrast between his image and that of an incumbent who has become a target for much of the frustration over the economy.

Mr Buhari’s critics say his personality – austere, aloof and inflexible – has proven ill-suited to the demands of governing Nigeria, even if it helped him win the last election, lending credibility to his pledge to fight corruption.

Mr Abubakar, by contrast, is an affable, enterprising figure, moving adroitly between the worlds of commerce and politics – qualities that, his supporters say, will help him unite the country and revive the economy.

Oil facilities in Lagos harbour
Nigeria’s economy relies heavily on its oil reserves – the largest in Africa

Both candidates are from the mainly Muslim north of the country, and have tried to reach beyond their power base by choosing running mates from the mostly Christian south.

According to Cheta Nwanze, head of research at Lagos-based risk advisory SBM Intelligence, Mr Abubakar’s campaign will hope to attract some of the people who voted for Mr Buhari in the last election – particularly “the educated youth that live in cities and have seen their incomes fall in the last few years”.

Political insider

Mr Abubakar is the candidate for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the dominant force in Nigerian politics for the last two decades. He was with the PDP when it was formed at the end of a military dictatorship, and has served as vice-president in two of its administrations. However, he has had a tempestuous relationship with the party he helped create, twice having left it for opposition groups.

His first exit, in 2006, coincided with an investigation into his record as vice-president, when he was accused of having diverted $125m (£95m) worth of public funds towards his business interests. Similar charges appeared in a 2010 US Senate report, which accused Mr Abubakar of having transferred $40m (£30.55m) of “suspect funds” to the US, using his American wife’s bank account.

Atiku Abubakar says his age is not an issue

The charges have never been tried in court, and Mr Abubakar has rejected the allegations of corruption as politically motivated. In January 2019, he visited Washington DC, ending speculation that he was avoiding travel to the US because he might face arrest there.

According to Olly Owen, a lecturer in African studies at Oxford University, Mr Abubakar is the ultimate political insider.

“Back in the 1990s, when they were getting rid of military rule, he was in at the ground floor,” he says. “He is a long-term power-broker, switching allegiances and dictating the nature of elite alliances.”

Both candidates in the election are over 70, but Mr Abubakar’s relative youth – contrasted with Mr Buhari’s rumoured ill-health – is viewed as an asset in a country where most of the electorate is under 40.

Mr Owen says the two men appeal to two distinct tendencies among Nigerian voters – a yearning for clean government and a desire for economic opportunity.

“People are sick of corruption,” he says, but on the other hand they are also “very entrepreneurial”.

Presentational grey line

Tycoon and veteran power-broker

Atiku Abubakar
AFP

  • Born in 1946 in northern state of Adamawa
  • Co-owner of multinational oil services company that started life in a Lagos shipping container
  • Oversaw privatisations during two terms as vice-president
  • Fought against corruption charges, describing them as politically motivated
  • Founded American University which gave scholarships to some of the “Chibok girls” who survived Boko Haram kidnapping
  • His father, a devout Muslim, was briefly jailed for trying to stop him from attending a Western-style school
  • An Arsenal football supporter, he has four wives and 28 children

Presentational grey line

Mr Abubakar’s reputation in business is linked to the spectacular rise of Intels, the oilfield logistics firm that he co-founded in 1982. From its original office in a shipping container, the company has grown into a multi-national, multi-billion naira operation, employing more than 10,000 people.

‘Making money’

He has diverted part of his wealth to charitable causes, most notably establishing the prestigious American University in Adamawa state, northern Nigeria. The university recently offered scholarships to some of the “Chibok girls” – survivors of a high-profile kidnapping by Islamist Boko Haram militants.

American University, Yola, Adamawa state
The American University granted scholarships to some of the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram

Mr Abubakar regards himself as a lucky beneficiary of the Western-style education offered at the university and fiercely opposed by Boko Haram. He was born in Adamawa to a devout Muslim family, and his father, a Fulani tradesman and herder, was briefly jailed for preventing him from attending school.

“Father was responding typically with fear and anxiety to the onslaught of change in Nigeria,” Mr Abubakar writes sympathetically in his autobiography.

After finishing his studies, he joined the customs service, serving at Lagos port and airport. “Corruption was rife in Customs but I was not part of it,” he writes. “I saw Customs… as a way of making money for the government.”

While still a civil servant, Mr Abubakar began buying property and farmland for commercial purposes, eventually moving into the emerging market for oil and gas services. “I recognised very early in life that I have a good nose for business,” he writes in a chapter of his autobiography entitled, Making Money.

Posters for Atiku Abubakar
Mr Abubakar is hoping to win over voters dissatisfied with the economy

His career in customs brought him into contact with the military and political elite, two categories that have been interchangeable for much of Nigeria’s recent history. Mr Abubakar grew close to the former army major, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, regarding him as a political mentor.

Against a backdrop of coups and crackdowns, the two men began networking with other regional leaders, hoping to form a credible government-in-waiting.

Privatisation drive

In 1989, Mr Abubakar quit the civil service to dedicate himself to politics. He made his first presidential run in 1991, as a candidate for the faction that had gathered around Shehu Yar’Adua. He would step down after coming third in the first round, and the election itself was later cancelled by the military government.

The repression intensified in the 1990s under the dictatorship of Gen Sani Abacha. Mr Abubakar was briefly exiled in London, while his mentor, Shehu Yar’Adua, was sent to prison and would eventually die there.

Mr Abubakar returned to Nigeria in 1997 as Gen Abacha relaxed his grip on power. He became vice-president after the elections in 1999 installed the PDP candidate, Olusegun Obasanjo, in the presidency.

Muhammadu Buhari (L) and Atiku Abubakar (R)
Mr Abubakar (R) temporarily left the PDP to join the same party as incumbent President Buhari (L)

During two terms in office, he oversaw a series of privatisations, earning praise as a liberaliser in some quarters, and criticism elsewhere as a crony capitalist.

In his autobiography, he takes credit for reforms of the banking sector, the auction of mobile phone licenses, as well as for an economic boom that enabled Nigeria to pay off much of its debt.

Mr Abubakar says he will bring back the good times if elected president in 2019. However, his ability to keep that promise will be subject to powerful forces outside his control.

“It’s hard to predict what he could achieve,” says the BBC’s Nigeria editor, Aliyu Tanko, “with an economy that depends so heavily on the price of oil.”

Mr Abubakar has four wives and 28 children.

Contact Email, (BBCNEWS.CO.UK@bbcnewslight.co.uk) or (adekunlebest@post.com)

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Breaking: Asaba shuts down as Atiku campaign team arrives Delta


ASABA, the Delta State capital has been shutdown as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar campaign team arrived the State for campaign rally.

: Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democrtic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar acknowledging cheers from hin teeming supporters as he was warmly received from the trip to the United States of America at the General Aviation Terminal, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida

There was serious traffic grid at Nnembisi road, which leads to the Stephen Keshi Stadium, venue of the rally, even as men of the Federal Road Safety Corps, the police and other security agents were seen trying to control vehicular movement.

Atiku to Buhari: World watching you

Meanwhile, the Stephen Keshi Stadium was full to capacity as thousands of Deltans thronged the venue to catch a glimpse of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Tsio Tsio musical band led by the Governor of Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria, PMAN, Mr Quincy Tebite, Davido,  Timaya, among other musicians and comedians,  were on ground to entertain the people.

When did the PDP start loving and respecting debates….?

Also, PDP women and youths cladded in customized wrappers and T-shirts danced round the stadium in solidarity for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa and the PDP. The State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, his Deputy, Mr Kingsley Otuaro, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori and some other top government functionaries led Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, his running mate, Mr Peter Obi among other top PDP chieftains from the Asaba international airport, where he landed to the campaign rally venue at exactly 1:10pm in an open roof luxurious bus. He waved at the crowd beaming smiles of satisfaction.

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When did the PDP start loving and respecting debates….?


By Sharon Faliya Cham
VIEWPOINT IN BRIEF
Performance over talking

For the 1999 presidential election, General Olusegun Obasanjo of the PDP refused to debate with Chief Olu Falae of the APP/AD coalition – Obasanjo won the election!

When did the PDP start loving and respecting debates....?
Presidential debate

For the 2003 presidential election, President Olusegun Obasanjo of the PDP refused to debate with General Muhammadu Buhari of the ANPP – Obasanjo won the election!

For the 2007 presidential election, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua of the PDP refused to debate with General Muhammadu Buhari of the ANPP – Yar’Adua won the election!

For the 2011 presidential election, President Goodluck Ebele Nnamdi Azikiwe Jonathan of the PDP refused to debate with General Muhammadu Buhari of the CPC – Goodluck Jonathan won the election!

Atiku to Buhari: World watching you

For the 2015 presidential election, General Muhammadu Buhari of the APC refused to debate with President Goodluck Ebele Nnamdi Azikiwe Jonathan of the PDP after it emerged that the organizers of the debate have carefully leaked all the debate questions to President Jonathan – General Buhari won the election!

FILE: President Goodluck Jonathan and other presidential candidates at the 2015 Presidential Election Debate

By the way, what is even a debate? The fact that the PDP left 27 states broke to the point that they owed workers’ salaries for upwards of 14 months despite selling crude oil at $142 per barrel and Buhari came and bailed them out with oil selling at $27 per barrel has made the PDP lose whatever debate they want!

How about the pensions and gratuities of workers of the Nigerian Airways, Nigerian Railways Corporation, NITEL, M-TEL, NEPA and other public outfits which the PDP killed and refused to pay during their 16 years of ruinous rule but which Buhari is now settling in spite of not earning even half of what PDP earned in revenues? Hasn’t this won the debate and election for President Buhari already? In all honesty, can the PDP have answers for such questions in any debate?

We are capable of hosting Buhari rally’

And can the PDP even answer debate questions on why it took the coming of Buhari as President for the roads they neglected to begin to be rebuilt? If the debate moderator asks Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to say something to President Buhari on the road Buhari is building to Jada, Atiku’s village, what will he say? Will he thank Buhari or will he say ‘’the PDP initiated the road and forgot to implement it’’? And can Atiku Abubakar explain in any debate what the PDP did with the $16 billion they purportedly spent on giving Nigerians electricity between 1999 and 2007 alone but which only megawatts of darkness was given to Nigerians?

In just 3 years out of PDP’s 16 years ruinous rule, the PDP under the presidency of Goodluck Ebele Nnamdi Azikiwe Jonathan purportedly spent about 700 billion naira on their so called SURE-P Programme, which is almost the annual budgets of about 10 states in Nigeria, but no one has seen the fruit or results of this monumental ‘’investment’’ in our economy – no industries were built by any of ‘’the beneficiaries’’ and neither has it translated into the diversification of the country’s economy through agriculture and other production sectors, just as it has not resulted in the revamping of the textile factories and other industries that were alive and productive when the PDP took over from the military. In the end, PDP’s unexplained use of such humongous sums of our country’s finances over time resulted in Nigeria now becoming the poverty capital of the world!

Borno people’ve confirmed Boko Haram fully decimated – Buhari

How can anyone or any country spend such humongous sums on social investment, and yet the country ends up being the world’s poverty capital? Where are the beneficiaries and who are they? What did they do with with such large sums that they received from the federal government? Even if they drank beer or smoked weed with the monies, shouldn’t it have still boosted the country’s economy? Now, can the PDP or Alhaji Atiku Abubakar answer such queries at any debate?

Very poignantly, just today, the day of the so called presidential debate, President Buhari commissioned a water port at Baro, Niger State, which is the first of its kind in northern Nigeria, a successful programme that will ease the movement of heavy industrial goods and equipment to the northern part of the country through ships, which then boosts the local economy of the north and hence that of Nigeria in general. Why did the PDP fail to do this noble project throughout their 16 years of ruinous rule? Equally important is, while the PDP is polluting Nigeria’s healthy airspace with hypocritical noises about a debate, work on the Second Niger Bridge in Southeastern Nigeria is in full progress under the leadership of President Buhari. Wasn’t this the very same project that the PDP converted to a mere campaign promise for the Igbo?

So many questions over the 16 wasted years of the PDP at any debate but serious Nigerians are more focused on fixing and clearing the pungent rot they created and left behind than wasting more precious time in debating  on live TV!

President Buhari’s superlative performance in just three years has defeated PDP’s 16 years absence at debates and their grossly poor performance for Nigerians!

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