The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, on Thursday, took a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari, saying the President was fighting the opposition, not corruption.
Atiku, in a statement by his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, said it was shocking that Buhari had not condemned the action of the Kano State Governor, Umar Ganduje, for allegedly taking a bribe from a contractor.
The President, at a town hall meeting anchored by a journalist, Kadaria Ahmed, on the Nigerian Television Authority, on Wednesday, spoke on the allegations against Ganduje and a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal.
When asked to comment on the allegation against Ganduje, Buhari had said, “The state assembly is investigating and they have the mandate to deal with it and they have also gone to court, so I decided not to talk about it.
The President, who admitted he had seen the videos, asked, “Does Ganduje have to take the money himself? The system has given me some relief, it is in the court and the Assembly.”
On Lawal, the President challenged anybody with evidence against the ex-SGF to provide it.
But the Senate had indicted Lawal in May last year.
On Lawal, Buhari had stated, “I don’t think that anybody that is being booted out is corrupt. I told you why I have to be careful. If there are strong allegations, people should come out with strong evidence like names of companies looted, contracts awarded, then, we take them before the court and the ICPC and we have to trust the system and allow them to complete investigations.”
But on Thursday, Atiku said he found the excuse on Ganduje untenable because the President had not shown that level of restraint when condemning the alleged corruption of others who were not members of the APC.
According to him, such cases are too numerous to mention but include Buhari’s utterances on an ex-National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, and a former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose.
Atiku said, “This partiality of the President is most disturbing, as it is proved positive that he is fighting the opposition and not corruption. Perhaps this is why Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perception Index has established that Nigeria is more corrupt today, under President Buhari, than before he was sworn in on May 29, 2015 (and not May 19, 2015, as he claimed in Kogi).
“Quite strangely, President Buhari, however, did not allow Ganduje’s pending court case stop him from praising his crony, the Kano governor when he went to Paris in November of last year.
“Even further damaging was the President’s defence of another of his cronies, Babachir Lawal, whom he said could not be charged because of a lack of evidence. We are embarrassed by the President that he could make such a public faux pas.”