The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described as laughable, threats by the Federal Government to question its Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, over alleged involvement in a N156 million financial scam.
Addressing an emergency press conference in Abuja yesterday, the party said the threat was borne out of fear that he (Atiku) is already coasting home to victory in the February 16 Presidential election.
The press conference presided over by PDP spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, noted that: “While we understand that President Buhari and his dysfunctional All Progressives Congress (APC) are jittery over Atiku Abubakar’s soaring popularity ahead of the elections, it is reprehensible that Mr. President would descend abysmally low to fabricate outright lies and falsehood in a bid to discredit a more qualified and acceptable Presidential candidate.”
The PDP stated that Atiku Abubakar has nothing to do with the alleged issues leading to the collapse of Bank PHB, adding that, “he is an honest and hard-working Nigerian who has no skeleton of any sort in his cupboard, unlike President Buhari, who is now entangled in series of corruption allegations.”
The PDP further stated that, “even the Chairman of President Buhari’s Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay, had since told the world that the Buhari Presidency has searched everywhere and could not find anything incriminating on Atiku Abubakar.”
The opposition party said: “The world already knows that this attempt to mudsling our Presidential candidate is coming out of President Buhari’s frustration over Atiku Abubakar’s successful outing in the United States, for which the Buhari Presidency has gone into full hallucination.”
“This is in addition to their frenzied face-saving effort to divert public attention from President Buhari’s humiliating appearances in the respective rallies and Television shows he has had,” the party added.
The PDP challenged the President “to open the books and provide explanation for the N9 trillion stolen under his watch as Minister of Petroleum Resources as detailed in the leaked NNPC memo.”
The party continued: “President Buhari should as well allow an open inquest into the alleged involvement of his relations in the N1.032 trillion alleged corrupt acquisitions in 9Mobile and Keystone Bank PLC.”
The Federal Government had earlier yesterday said that it would subject Atiku to serious questioning when he returns from his current trip to the United States, pointing out that it was investigating his alleged role in the collapse of former Bank PHB.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who said this while briefing State House correspondents stated that the decision to question Atiku had to do with “fresh evidence that he benefitted from slush funds that led to the collapse of Bank PHB.”
The government spokesperson said the government has in its position “paper trail which shows that he benefitted from N156 million.”
“It started from an internal memo dated 13 January 2009 asking that a draft in favour of Atiku Abubakar of 156 million should be raised,” he said.
He said the government has proof of the account mandate, cheque and account statement showing Atiku as the signatory to the account that received the money.
“We want him to stay in the US for as long as he wants but he has to explain to Nigerians when he returns,” he said.