Atiku working for foreign interests – Oshiomhole
Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye , Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki
President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that in all the positions he held in the country, he had never been convicted of corruption.
He made the declaration at Abakaliki township stadium in Ebonyi State, during the All Progressives Congress (APC), presidential campaign.
Buhari was former military head of state (1983-85), governor of the defunct North Eastern State
(1975–1976), and chairman Petroleum Trust Fund (1994-95).
He said: “I can assure you that I, as the president, today have never been in a position of abusing trust. As a governor of the whole six north eastern states, as minister of petroleum for over three years and as a former head of state. I was arrested, detained, investigated but they never found anything against me.”
The president thanked Ebonyi people for turning out in their large numbers for the rally, saying that they demonstrated that they cannot be bought; he urged them to hold him by his words.
Buhari recalled that when he came for campaign in 2015, he promised three things: to tackle the security situation in the country that time in 17 local governments in the North East were under the control of Boko Haram but as at today, there is no local government under the control of the terrorists.
He said: “The important thing is that, please try and hold us by our promise. When we came here the last time, we told you there are three fundamental things the country is facing. First we had to secure the country because part of the country was under threat in the North East, at least 17 local governments were in the hands of Boko Haram; second was the economy. The able-bodied unemployed persons in Nigeria are too many. The thirdly was to fight corruption.”
The president congratulated the military and other law- enforcement agencies that today none of the local governments in the North East is under the control of Boko Haram.
“They have resulted in indoctrinating young men and abducting young girls below the ages of 15, wrap them with explosives and send them to soft targets – churches, mosques, market places and motor parks. Even that is becoming rear now.”
Buhari also said that with a favourable weather, Nigeria had achieved food security and no longer imports rice, adding that the money saved from importation was now being used for infrastructural development.
He added that the money is now being channelled to building roads, rails among other infrastructural development.
According to him, “we thank God that Nigeria prayed very hard and the three previous rainy seasons were good. The government realised it and asked the Central Bank and the Ministry of Agriculture to give soft loans and make fertiliser available to farmers at half the price it used to be. And every able-bodied person who does not feel too big to earn a living went back to the farm and nobody regretted it. We have now virtually achieved food security; we no longer import rice as we used to and the money we have saved are for infrastructure. We are doing the roads, the rails and we are doing the new standard gauge and we are improving on power.”
He added that “the last thing is about fighting corruption and bribery. Fighting corruption is a very difficult process, but we are doing our best by trying to reorganise the Nigeria police and the judiciary itself. Because, we appointed people that went into public office without their own houses, without even maybe good cars, but within three years they build houses in Abuja, opened accounts in Europe or America and we cannot touch them. But when we discover what they have, we take them to court and when we take them to the court, we hope they will be prosecuted and then we will punish them.
“I can assure you that I, as the president today, have never been in a position of abusing trust. As a governor of the whole six north eastern states, as Minister of Petroleum for over three years and as a former head of state. I was arrested, detained, investigated but they never found anything against me. So I went through all the rigmarole that is against our development as a nation. God has given us people; he has given us resources.
President Buhari, therefore, urged the people to vote for him to continue with the good work his administration had started.
According to him, “what this administration is doing and what it will continue to do, if you vote me is to make sure we realise the potential of our people and the resources God has given us to make life better for this country, for our future generations.”
Also speaking, the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, who received 25 leaders from other parties, who have resolved to work for the APC, accused the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar of working for foreign interest.
According to him, Atiku who wrote letters to United Kingdom (UK), Unites States (US) and European Union (EU), was appealing to western sentiments angling to take over Nigeria’s economy.
“The right to defend Nigeria’s sovereignty is not negotiable,” the APC party chairman said.
Oshiomhole maintained that Atiku referring to western interest would only injure Nigerian economy and pauperised the people, calling on the voters never to vote for him.
He described the forthcoming election as a class war between the elite and the poor, just as he insisted that Buhari’s policies including TraderMoni were pro-poor despite the complains of the likes of former President, Olusegun Obasanjo.
He asserted that no external force can impose leaders on Nigeria.
The APC state chairman, Eze Nwachukwu Eze, described Governor David Umahi’s administration as a total failure, urging the president to resist the temptation of believing the governor’s sweet talks, that he would support his re-election.
The Ebonyi APC party boss said, the civil servants in the state had been short changed by the PDP administration. He said that the governor pays only what he feels like paying at the end of every month.
He alleged that that Umahi met 5,200 workforce when he resumed in 2015, which has been depleted to 3,200 in 2019 with the governor not employing anyone to replace the dead and the retired.
He also alleged that the governor had refused to appoint permanent secretaries who are supposed to be accounting officers or ministries. He requested the president to order the audit of the state so as exposed alleged corruption in the management of the state resources by Umahi.
He assured the president that APC had grown in Ebonyi exponentially to be able to deliver at least 25 percent to ensure Buhari’s victory in the presidential election.
Senator Sonni Ogbuoji, APC governorship candidate on his part, assured that Ebonyi would deliver block vote to APC.
He said: “We have resolved to lead the state to prosperity and advancement. It has been in the wrong hands since 2015.”