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The Answers Atiku Gave



Rivers Govt Seals Off Atiku Campaign Office

By Sam Akpe
Sunday night, I wasn’t quite interested in watching the television; until I received a compelling message from a politically-minded friend. It came as a directive: Atiku is on Channels television. Watch and give me your opinion.

Reluctantly, I grabbed the television remote control, tuned away from the sports channel and moved to Channels TV. I simply needed to fulfil all righteousness. I had a beautiful book I needed to read that night.

There sat Atiku Abubakar, the Waziri Adamawa and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party. On his left was Ifeanyi Okowa, a former senator and serving governor of Delta State; and of course, Atiku’s running mate.

I sat down, hoping to walk away soon. But after a few minutes, it looked as though I was getting interested in the conversation. Good penetrating questions flowed from the audience followed by what sounded like frank answers from Atiku and Okowa.

Atiku looked tired. Intermittently, what looked like a smile walked across his lips. At other times, he became too serious, perhaps in anticipation of another tough question.

I could excuse him. The heat in Abuja is unbearable. The city is undergoing intense rehearsal for a competition with hell. That alone is enough to melt any political rock in the mould of Atiku.

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One of the comments I kept hearing from Atiku was: as captured in my Covenant with Nigerians. Another question and the answer was: we have already dealt with that in my Covenant with Nigerians. I kept thinking: what is this Covenant with Nigerians about?

From my observation, throughout the session, Atiku did not mention any of his political opponents in the race to the Villa. He concentrated on the questions asked. No abuse directed at anyone. He kept his answers short, and did not outsource any question.

One interesting aspect of that interview was when he answered a question on Wike. The man who sent the question was straight to the point: why have you not engaged Nyesom Wike one-on-one on this issue that is affecting your chances in 2023?

Atiku’s response was short and quite presidential. Recall that since Wike, the Rivers State governor, lost the bid for presidency to Atiku at the party primary, he has dissociated himself from the winner.

Beyond that, he has campaigned and gathered loyalists across four other states to fight Atiku’s candidature on the excuse that the party’s chairman, Senator Iyorcha Ayu, must resign because the party cannot have both the candidate and the chairman from the north.

His argument makes a lot of sense, except for two reasons. First, he has become so personal and seemingly arrogant about the issue that he wants Nigerians to know that without him, Atiku can’t be president. He is already dangling Rivers State’s two million votes as a personal property.

Of course, Wike looks like a bad loser who must be compensated. His eyes were on the vice-presidential ticket, as of right. That did not happen. For unknown reasons, those who screened candidates for that office disqualified him.

These two reasons have made Wike’s otherwise good case look like a personal mission for personal benefits. Under normal circumstances, he should have been applauded for fighting for the rule of law and moral equity, but this has not happened.

One aggressive politician mentioned to me the other day that if not for Wike’s grandstanding, PDP’s victory at the polls would have been an easy ride. As he put it, by now, Atiku should have picked his cabinet-in-waiting and made his swearing-in attire.

So, when the Wike question came up during the Channels’ Television Town Hall engagement of presidential candidates, Atiku gave a short answer which I expect Wike to respond to soon, after celebrating his birthday.

Atiku noted that he had engaged Wike twice in Rivers State, twice in Abuja and once in the United Kingdom. He did not disclose whether he bought Wike’s flight ticket to the UK or they flew in his private jet.

What Atiku said in effect was that as a person, he has initiated five peace-making moves, Wike has remained stubborn, unyielding, almost playing god. But all the same, he is still waiting for Wike to get back to him with a response. Will he?

I was interested when questions on economy were asked because that’s the bedrock of development. When the economy works, everything other aspect of national development falls into line.

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This was what he said about the dead refineries across the country: “for the four refineries that do not work, please let’s give them to the private sector. I mean in every great country in this (world), you find that private sector is the driver of the economy.”

He continued: “They provide the jobs, they provide the prosperity, and they do everything. Why should we be different?” Atiku’s belief is that these refineries would function optimally if managed by private investors. I think it makes a little sense.

Can Atiku ensure one exchange rate for naira if elected as president? He said he would. I am not an economist. I don’t know how that sector works. But the man made it look so simple when the question was put to him on how he would stop shortage of foreign exchange.

His answer, “I will direct the Central Bank to stop multiple exchanges so that we close the gap.” Just like that?

Then came another controversial issue which the present government has been playing politics with: the removal of subsidy on petroleum product. Atiku said he would get it done by negotiating with relevant stakeholders on the palliatives. I don’t ever like that word.

He declared that by the Petroleum Industry Act, whether government removes subsidy or not, by June 2023, subsidy will remove itself based on the law which has been passed by the National Assembly.

As a north easterner, it is believed that Atiku should be worried by the deadly menace posed by Boko Haram. So, when the question came up, I became more attentive. His response did not disclose practically how he would deal with the situation beyond providing good governance.Atiku, just like other Nigerians expressed shock that with all the human and material resources committed into fighting Boko Haram, the bloody, religiously-motivated rebel group is yet to be defeated. “I am puzzled,” he noted, as could be seen from his face.

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He continued: “So maybe when I get there, I will understand. But honestly, I cannot understand the Boko Haram phenomenon.” He said it was not a mere terror act. A lot of politics and business could be traced to it, but that with the right leadership, it could be handled.

By this time in 2014, Candidate Buhari had promised to end Boko Haram within three months on assumption of office. Atiku is saying: let me get there first, study the dynamics before making a commitment. Should we trust him?

Two sectors of the nation’s development which have suffered in the hands of successive government also received serious interrogation during the Town Hall. These were education and health. As always, analyses followed by promises were made.

Well, the Town Hall engagement turned out to be quite rewarding as I listened to Atiku’s responses to questions on various issues. Okowa was quite articulate on the issues of militancy, health and education.

One question Atiku did not give a satisfactory answer to, in my subjective opinion, was on the public assassination of Deborah by a gang of religious fundamentalists.

Yes, he condemned the act in a public statement, but why did he delete his initial tweets which condemned that killing? His answer was that the tweet did not have his approval though the content was acceptable to him. That’s not cool.

As the engagement came to an end, my mind went back to the publication called Covenant with Nigerians. At daybreak, I was able to get a copy; plus, another one called Restructuring as A pathway to Unity and Development. I’m still studying them.

The Covenant deals with what Atiku calls: Five Point Development Agenda, comprising: unity, security, economic prosperity, education and restructuring. A review of these documents is quite necessary and will be done soon.

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BREAKING: Obi Speaks On Joining Tinubu’s Unity Government



VIDEO: What Peter Obi Said In Port Harcourt About Other Presidential Candidates
Peter Obi

Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, has given insight into what his position will be if he is invited to join Bola Tinubu’s Government of National Unity.

Tinubu, the president-elect and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) have been taken to court by Obi over the outcome of the February 25 election.

The camp of the APC candidate had hinted that the former Lagos Governor would form an all-inclusive government to carry all his opponents along in his government.

While featuring on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Thursday, Obi was asked what he would do if he was called upon to be a member of Tinubu’s Government of National Unity.

In his response, Obi said he was still challenging the process of the election and the declaration.

According to him, the process of the election should be put right first before anyone could talk of the Government of National Unity.

“The first thing I want to see is that the process is right. The process through which you achieve anything is far more fundamental than what you do thereafter. Let us go back first, I am challenging the process and the declaration.

“Until we get it right, then we can talk about a government of national unity. Otherwise, we would go and sit down and say that those who stopped a train and kidnapped people can call us to discuss peace when they have people in captivity. Until things are done rightly, we will be encouraging what we don’t need to encourage,” he said.

When he was asked whether or not he would accept the outcome if it is not in his favour, Obi said he would be shocked if the court upholds Tinubu’s election.

His words: “Issues about the election will be sorted out in court. I will be shocked if this country goes on with that situation. It will then stand that it is a corporate criminalised country. We can’t allow it. We need to start unbundling this criminality.

“When people were talking about structure, it is this fraud and criminality that we witnessed that they were talking about, and we want to unbundle it for the sake of our children.”

The former Anambra State governor said he believes the judiciary would do the right thing.

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LP Chieftain Flays Return Of 1999 PDP as Ibori, Henchmen Seek Political Relevance In Delta APC



BREAKING: FG Returned £4.2m Ibori Loot To Delta Govt – Accountant General
James Ibori

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State is gradually taking on the colouration of 1999 PDP with all of former Governor James Ibori’s ‘boys’ now leaving the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in droves and finding a new home in APC to swell its ranks ahead of the guber elections on Saturday, March 18, 2023, according to a chieftain of Labour Party (LP), Chief Delly Ajufo.

Ajufo described the development as “a gathering of vultures to consume the soul of Delta State,” noting that Ibori, who has suffered a pariah status under Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s 8-year administration, now has a chance to reclaim his “godfather or grand commander” position over his godson, guber candidate of APC and Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.

According to him, Ibori looks to resume his godfather position as Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Lagos State, a position that slipped out of his hands since his stint in the UK prison.

Ajufo said Deltans needed to be wary of Senator Omo-Agege’s governorship bid, and see it as a backdoor for Ibori to re-take control of the management of the state’s resources in a manner likely to be worse than the 1999 – 2007 era when he was governor. He warned that Deltans could not have forgotten how Ibori raped the fortunes of the state in his eight-year administration by corruptly enriching himself and his cronies (including Sen. Omo-Agege) that earned him a UK prison sentence. He described the APC as PDP-2 trying to upstage Okowa’s PDP-1 from power, saying Deltans should reward both of them with electoral defeat since both parties have run the country (APC – 8 years) and Delta State (PDP – 24 years) badly.

He argued that none of them deserves to occupy the seat of power in Asaba come May 29, 2023.

The Labour Party chieftain also said the gathering of Ibori’s political family under APC is dark and ominous for the state, and urged the electorate to reject both ‘PDAPC’ at the polls on Saturday, and vote for Labour Party (LP) as the only political breath of fresh air that Delta people need now.

“We must sever our links with the people from both parties that have collectively ruined the fortunes of this oil-rich state by running it aground since 1999,” he noted.

Ajulo added that Ibori trying to reclaim his faded godfather position, using APC as his new launch pad was tantamount to vultures gathering to feast on the carcass of a dying animal, a situation that Deltans should not wait to see but to halt it in its tracks outright.

“This is a gathering of vultures and it does not augur well for our beloved Delta State,” said Ajufo.

“Ibori wants to use the APC backdoor to reclaim his faded godfather status since all his allies are dumping PDP in droves and moving over to APC. The signs are not good for Deltans who have been pauperised for so many years in spite of the huge oil wealth that comes to the state monthly. I urge Deltans to see through the evil that’s about to befall them if they elect Ovie Omo-Agege. Of course, PDP is dead, going by February 25, 2023 election. There is no need to bother about it. Deltans will bury whatever remains of it in the guber elections.

“The nightmare we must all now resist is APC taking over. Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege was SSG and Commissioner under Ibori’s eight-year reign of wasted resources in Delta from 1999 – 2007. A vote for Omo-Agege is a vote for the return of Ibori into Delta’s mainstream, with his baggage of corruption and mismanagement of state resources. Delta is tired of another Tinubu returning to pillage the coffers of the state for his selfish interests. We cannot afford to ‘carry last’ on this matter.”

The chief urged Deltans to do for Labour Party what they did on February 25 when they massively voted for Labour Party and Peter Obi, saying they should do the same for the party’s governorship candidate, Deacon Ken Pela and all House of Assembly candidates. He called on all women to look the way of Labour Party’s candidate, Dcn Ken Pela for the governorship election, adding, “We also call on women to rally their own fellow woman, an educationist and erudite scholar, Prof. Nwabogo-Umukoro, to represent and champion women’s causes in government at the highest decision-making level.”

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Fayose Quits PDP, Reveals How Ayu Led Atiku To Golgotha



PDP Crisis To Get Messier - Fayose

A former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, has disclosed how the national chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party ( PDP) Iyorchia Ayu led the presidential candidate of the party Atiku Abubakar to what he called Golgotha.

Fayose spoke while announcing his resignation from the main opposition party, PDP.

Fayose announced his resignation from the PDP yesterday while appearing as a guest on a programme on ARISE News. Fayose served as Governor of Ekiti State from 2003 to 2007 and 2011 to 2015 on PDP’s ticket.

However, his decision to quit the party appears to be connected with perceived irreconcilable differences in the PDP, which according to him, has fractured the party.

He said: “Let me say this, from today(yesterday) I stay off PDP. In party politics there are certain facts you must be able to speak. I am 62 and I can’t, at this age, begin lying. When something is wrong with your family, confess.”

The former governor, who claimed to have fought for the interest of the party over the years, blamed the loss of the PDP in the presidential election on the leadership of the party.

According to him, PDP was already fractured before the election, with so many aggrieved aspirants whom were allegedly swindled by the leadership of the party on one hand and the inability of the presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar to reach an agreement with the G-5 governors.

Fayose traced the problem of the PDP to the North-west zonal congress which he said was rigged against Rabiu Kwankwaso in favour of Aminu Tambuwal that led to the latter leaving theparty.

“I warned Atiku that the problem will consume PDP. I told him there was danger ahead,” he said, adding that the G-5 governors demanded that Atiku make a official announcement to run for only one term and hand over to any member in the south but “Ayu was leading Atiku to Golgotha.”

Fayose warned Labour Party’s candidate and second runner up in the presidential polls, Peter Obi to “run away from the PDP” as the current ovation for the opposition has nothing to do with the PDP.

According to him, if the PDP had believed in Obi, they should have given him the party’s ticket.

He saluted Obi’s courage for being able to defeat the likes of Tinubu in Lagos, describing him as “A phenomenon” and “the man of the moment”, stressing that Obi’s victory in Lagos has proved that things are no longer the same.

He argued that for Obi to win in Lagos shows the process was so transparent and as such the outcome of the election should be accepted by all.

Fayose attributed the credibility of the polls to the use of the BVAS which, according to him, is responsible for a realistic number of voters compared to the past when over a million votes were churned out from some states in the Northern part of the country.

He, however, faulted some of the protesters, calling for the cancellation of the polls, describing them as paid agents of the PDP.

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