Thursday, September 7, 2017 9:57 am
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar said yesterday that though he was instrumental to the 2015 emergence of the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, he has no relationship with the government.
Speaking in an interview aired on the Hausa Service of the Voice of America (VOA), on Wednesday, the former Vice President lamented that he has not been contacted by the Buhari government to comment on anything since it was elected in 2015 and as such, he has also kept his distance.
The former Vice President said, “Honestly speaking, I’m still a member of the APC; I was part of all the processes, including campaigns until success was achieved.
“But sadly, soon after the formation of government; I was side-lined, I have no any relationship with the government, I’ve 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’re but three years down the lane, this is where we are,” Atiku said.
Atiku was also restrained in his comments on the successes that has been achieved by the Buhari administration in the fight against Boko Haram and the anti-corruption war.
“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 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’re, fighting an endless battle with the Boko Haram and there’s no end in sight,” he said.
On the fight against corruption, Atiku said not much has been achieved by the Buhari government and even rated the Olusegun Obasanjo administration he served as the Vice President better: “How many people were arrested, prosecuted and jailed? How much was recovered from the looters?” he asked.
“When we came on board in 1999, I remember we recovered between $4.5 and $4.7 billion from those that looted under (Late Sani) Abacha.”
The interview was published on the day one of the ministers in the cabinet of Buhari told the BBC that she is ready to resign her appointment to support Atiku against the incumbent President in 2019.
“Firstly, what I hoped for even when I was working as a civil servant – when I didn’t even join politics – because His Excellency Atiku has been my godfather even before I ventured into politics.
“After I joined politics, he continued being my godfather. You know everybody has a reason for a political relationship with somebody. Secondly, Baba Buhari hasn’t told us that he wants to recontest in 2019.
“I can assure you that if Baba Buhari tells us today that he wants to re-contest, I swear to God I will go to him and tell him that ‘Baba, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to work under you as a minister. But Baba as you know, Atiku is my godfather.’ That’s if Atiku wants to contest, but as we speak, he (Atiku) hasn’t told us he wants to contest,” she said.
“We hope he (Atiku) will contest in 2019, that’s why I said so. But he’s yet to say so himself. Once he declares, I’ll do just what I said. If Atiku comes out to contest and I remain part of Baba Buhari’s cabinet at the same time, then I become a hypocrite. I’m not known for hypocrisy, ungratefulness and betrayal.
“If today I say I have nothing to do with Atiku, even Baba Buhari himself will doubt me. He’ll say I’m a betrayal and I’m not like that,” she added.
“This thing I said was when we paid him (Atiku) sallah visit. Is it in his presence that I’ll go and campaign? The issue of campaign hasn’t come up. Even me that people have been calling to come and contest, I told them that it’s not yet time, but it’s now time to work for the people.
“This is the work of those opposing me. They’re saying I should be sacked as minister. In the first place, I never expected the ministerial position. It is God that gave me, and if today I’m asked to leave, it is God’s time that has come to an end. I have fate and I believe that whatever happens to me is destined by God,” the Minister said Buhari would not sack her because of the issue said.
“Do they think Baba is also mad like them? They’re busy sending all sorts of things via phones that once Baba sees them, he’ll sack me. He won’t sack me as minister because of this issue, except if I commit an offence.
“Besides, I’ve been doing my job as minister to the best of my knowledge. I also defend the APC government, my political party. Baba is my leader and the president of my country. I have been respecting him and I’ll continue to respect him as a good man and someone with integrity.
“So, those saying I’ll be sacked will be put to shame. Even if I’m sacked, it’s because my time is over and nothing else. I didn’t seek for it in the first place; it’s God that gave me.”