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APC neglected me after 2015 election victory, says Atiku

By Terhemba Daka, Matthew Ogune and Deborah Onyenankeya (Abuja)
08 September 2017   |   4:30 am
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar yesterday alleged being sidelined by President Muhammadu Buhari’s government which he said he helped into power in 2015.

Atiku Abubakar

• Flays corruption, terrorism fight
• Ex-VP’s supporter, Alhassan, visits Aso Rock

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar yesterday alleged being sidelined by President Muhammadu Buhari’s government which he said he helped into power in 2015.

In an interview on the Hausa Service of the Voice of America, (VOA), Atiku said such treatment was being meted out to him despite his efforts in making sure that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was defeated in 2015.

The former vice president spoke from Yola in Adamawa State where he celebrated the Eid-el- Kabir: “Honestly speaking, I’m still a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC); I was part of all the processes, including campaigns until success was achieved.

“But sadly, soon after the formation of government, I was sidelined, I have no relationship with the government. I have not been contacted even once to comment on anything and in turn, I maintained my distance. They used our money and influence to get to where they are but three years down the lane, this is where we are.”

Atiku, however, applauded the president on the successes recorded so far in the fight against Boko Haram, but said it was not yet time to celebrate because a lot was yet to be done.

“The ruling government has failed on many fronts. Yes, there were successes but not comprehensive success because the Boko Haram miscreants are still very active, killing our people, and many local government councils in Borno and Yobe states are under their firm grip. People cannot dare go back to their dwellings.

“This thing baffles me; I never imagined that Nigeria will fight a protracted battle with Boko Haram for five years. At a time, we fought the Biafra war, which was more complicated because of the terrain in the south but the Biafran soldiers were roundly subdued in 30 months. But here we are, fighting an endless battle with the Boko Haram and there’s no end in sight,” he said.

On anti-corruption crusade, Atiku said little was achieved, asking: “How many people were arrested, prosecuted and jailed? How much was recovered from the looters?”
The APC chieftain also made reference to the achievement of the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, during which he was vice president, in recovering stolen funds.

“When we came on board in 1999, I remember we recovered between $4.5 and $4.7 billion from those that looted under (the late Gen. Sani) Abacha,” he said.

Meanwhile, one of Atiku’s supporters and Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Aisha Alhassan yesterday visited the Presidential Villa, Abuja despite stirring the hornet’s nest on Wednesday when she reportedly declared she would rather align with Atiku if President Buhari re-contests in 2019.

It could not be confirmed if she was summoned or she was there on her own to clear herself.

The minister told the BBC Hausa Service Wednesday that she would support the former vice president even if Buhari would seek reelection because Atiku had been her godfather. She, however, said she was not in any way campaigning for Atiku at the time she spoke.

The minister had equally said that President Buhari would not sack her because of her pledge to support Atiku during the 2019 presidential election.

She told State House correspondents on her way out of the villa yesterday that she was not afraid of anyone when it bordered on baring her mind on issues.

Alhassan explained that she was sure that President Buhari was not naive to jump into the conclusion of relieving her of her job because of the recent interview.

Asked to shed more light on the interview, the minister said: “No, I have no comment. What will I say now, I have said all in BBC Hausa, get someone who speaks Hausa very well to translate it for you.”

On whether her recent comment has affected her relationship with the president, the minister said: “How will I know? I have not seen the president but I don’t think the president is a naive person. ”

On how confident she was in retaining her job, the Women Affairs minister said “God gives and God takes. That is all and I have said it all in Hausa. You know that there is an end to everything. Let the will of God be done.”