By Andrew Essien and Jonathan Nda- Isaiah
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has thrown a challenge to President Muhammadu Buhari, declaring that unlike what happened in 2015, he would defeat the president in the coming presidential election.
The Wazirin Adamawa hinged his assertion on his claim that many of the president’s men were unhappy with his handling of issues even though they would not tell him, but would rather wait to take their own pound of flesh during the coming elections.
The former vice president added that President Buhari had squandered the goodwill that helped him to win the 2015 election, a fact that had weakened his political base.
The governing All Progressives Congress (APC) has, however, faulted Atiku’s position, saying Nigerians will overwhelmingly vote for President Buhari because of the sterling qualities they saw in him in 2015.
LEADERSHIP Sunday recalls that Atiku had, last Friday, resigned from the APC, citing alleged failure by the current administration to improve the quality of life of Nigerians and neglect of the youth by the administration.
In an interview with Mr Dele Momodu for his column which was published yesterday, Atiku said he would get government working from day one if Nigerians vote for him in 2019.
“I will definitely beat him this time,” Atiku said. “He has wasted a lot of his massive goodwill. A lot of people are disgruntled but (are) keeping quiet and lying low.
“Our youths are suffering terribly and now they are being sold into slavery.”
While stating his leadership credentials, Atiku said: “Everyone knows my track record of inviting and attracting a good team and giving them the opportunity to work professionally. Nigerians are tired of leaders who cannot think big and work big.”
But speaking for the ruling party, the APC national publicity secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi said President Buhari would easily defeat the former vice president should he stand for re-election.
“I believe that the reasons Nigerians voted for President Buhari in 2015 are still pertinent. They voted President Buhari because they needed a leader who has integrity, strong on corruption and capable of defeating Boko Haram.
“If he stands for election in 2019, we believe Nigerians would still vote for him,” Bolaji said.
On his part, an APC chieftain, Alhaji Umar Duhu said it was ‘absolutely preposterous’ for Atiku’s to think that he could ever defeat Buhari in any political contest.
Duhu also declared that Atiku had not an important figure even in Adamawa politics, hence he could not be a stumbling block to President Buhari should he decide to contest the presidential election.
Duh said, “The president has defeated him in so many instances and they are there in public domain. He (Atiku) is not a factor in the Adamawa politics, much less to pose a serious threat to the president.
“He can never defeat the president in any election and that is sufficiently clear.”
PMB Was Never Banned From Entering America – Presidency
The Presidency has described as fictitious the claims by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar that President Muhammadu Buhari could not enter America for about 15 years on account of religious considerations.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar made this claim in an interview published yesterday.
However, a statement by the special adviser on media to the president, Femi Adesina, said President Buhari was at no time ever prohibited from entering any country in the world.
Adesina said: “This fictional concoction being passed off as truth is mind boggling, coming from a former Number Two man of Nigeria, who should know the truth. At no time was President Buhari, as a private person, ever forbidden from entering any country in the world.
“Rather, the rest of the world has always held Muhammadu Buhari as a man of sterling qualities, strong on integrity, transparency and accountability. The same testimony is still borne of the Nigerian president by many world leaders today.”
The presidential spokesman observed that the former VP Abubakar had been asked why he had not visited America for over a decade, something that had been a stubborn fact dogging his footsteps, but that instead of answering directly, he said that Buhari also had been disallowed from entering the same country for 15 years before becoming president.
US Ban: Atiku’s Claim Baseless, Unfounded – Buhari Media Group
The Buhari Media Support Group has dismissed as baseless and unfounded the allegations by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar that President Muhammadu Buhari was banned from entering the United States because of his purported extremist religious views.
Reacting to the allegation in a statement in Abuja yesterday, the Buhari Media Support Group said it was shocked by Atiku’s curious and spurious allegations, explaining that there was no time Buhari was ever banned from entering the US or any Western country because of any alleged or perceived extreme religious views.
According to the BMSG, “the former Vice President appears to have his facts or information mixed up somewhere” and that “he must be confusing someone else with Buhari.”
The group said Buhari has enjoyed, and continues to enjoy, enormous international goodwill, explaining that he had no reason to be in the United States after he finished from the War College.
It added that in 2016 Buhari was invited to deliver a lecture at the Woodrow Wilson Centre in the United States and that he was also at the Chatam House in London.
According to the statement, Buhari could not have visited a country where he was officially banned because of any so-called extreme religious views. It, however, challenged Atiku to publish any such record if he had any.
The BMSG advised the former vice president to play fair politics and avoid dragging the president’s name in the mud for political advantage.
It said political leaders should lead by example by being truthful and avoiding the spread of unfair and unfounded rumours against perceived opponents.
The BMSG explained that President Buhari bears no ill will towards Atiku in the pursuit of his ambition, but requested the former vice president to reciprocate that gesture by stopping the spread misnformation against the president.
Convention: S’West PDP Leadership Crisis Resurfaces
Less than seven days to the national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the party’s leadership tussle in the South-West appears to have resurfaced.
This is as Chief Makanjuola Ogundipe-led South-West Zonal Executive has asked for an adjournment of the hearing of an application seeking the stay of execution of the order of the Federal High Court, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.
The Ogundipe leadership stated this in a letter to the presiding justice of the Court of Appeal, Ado Ekiti Division.
The Eddy Olafeso-led faction of the party in the zone had appealed a November 8 ruling by the Federal High Court, Ado-Ekiti, which declared the Ogundipe-led executive as the authentic leadership of the party in the zone.
It also asked the Olafeso-led group to desist from parading itself as members of the South-West zonal exco and for it not to participate in the forthcoming national convention as representatives of the zonal exco.
But, in a letter dated 30th November 30, 2017 and addressed to the presiding justice of the Court of Appeal, Ado Ekiti Division, the Ogundipe-led executive said it was seeking a postponement of the hearing of the motion brought by the Olafeso faction on Monday, December 4, 2017.
Ogundipe added that at no time were they or their counsel served with a notice of appeal before the records were compiled and transmitted from the trial court to the appellate court.
The letter reads in part, “As the matter stands, the 1st to 5th respondents (Ogundipe, Pegba Otemolu, Lanre Orimoloye, Supo Ijabadeniyi and Femi Carenna) have not been served with the Notice of Appeal and I have been advised that the notice of appeal, being an originating process, ought to be served on us personally.
“Secondly, the implication of fixing the case for Monday 4th of December, 2017 (having served its former counsel at about 4pm on Thursday, 30th November, 2017) is that the 1st to 5th respondents would be unable to brief a lawyer to file any response to the two motions before they come up for hearing before this honourable court.”
The letter added that it was public knowledge that the 1st of December, 2017, was a public holiday in Nigeria, while the 2nd and 3rd of December, 2017, are non-working days, being Saturday and Sunday respectively.
It, therefore, submitted that the hearing of the Appellants’ motions on the 4th of December, 2017, in the present circumstances would definitely violate the 1st and 5th respondents’ right to fair hearing.
“It is in the light of the foregoing that I humbly request that you use your good offices to have the hearing adjourned to another date to enable the 1st to 5th respondents instruct counsel and be prepared for the hearing,” it said.
LEADERSHIP Sunday recalls that the Federal High Court had ordered the Olafeso faction to stop parading itself as executive members of the party in the South-West.
The order of the Ado-Ekiti Division of the Federal High Court was based on the fact that the Lagos Division of the court had in June 2016 nullified the congress that produced the Olafeso group, having been held in violation of subsisting orders of the court.
The court had also held that the four-year tenure of the Ogundipe-led zonal exco expires in 2018, having been elected in October 2014.
The order and judgement are yet to be set aside on appeal, yet the Olafeso group want a stay of execution of the consequential orders.
It is also praying the appellate court to halt further proceedings in Suit No. FHC/AD/CS/18/2017.
It filed processes at the Court of Appeal, Ado Ekiti Division on the November 29 and the hearing has been fixed for December 4 (today).