The All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council (APC-PCC) has accused the presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, of allegedly using “Special Purpose Vehicles” (SPVs) to divert the public fund between 1999 and 2007.
The APC campaign council called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of Atiku.
It also demanded the withdrawal of Atiku from the presidential race.
The party made the call while addressing a press conference organised by all the media directorates of the APC Presidential Campaign Council in Abuja on Monday.
It cited an audio clip released by one Michael Achimugu, who claimed to have worked with Atiku as a media aide.
In the audio that has now gone viral, Achimugu claimed that between 1999 and 2007, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Atiku used some private companies to siphon public funds.
The party said that going by the allegations, the former Vice President has violated certain provisions of the Code of Conduct Bureau which spell out offences against the code of conduct for public officers.
The Campaign Council listed the breach of the code of conduct for public officers and alleged that Atiku has committed the offences of conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and money laundering.
It further argued that the ex-VP does not currently enjoy any immunity as a presidential candidate, and called on the security agencies to swing into action and recover all monies allegedly fleeced from the marine float account by Obasanjo, Atiku and several other collaborators mentioned in the voice note by the whistleblower.
The campaign council said: “The issue of the Marine Float Account is not new to Nigerians. In the voice note, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar can be heard boasting that the issue of that account was thoroughly investigated by EFCC, yet then he was smart enough to escape.
“However, we note that in 2006, at the height of his public quarrel with Obasanjo over the sharing of money, the same PDP officially asked Atiku Abubakar to refund N500 million taken from that account.
“In the circumstance, since the nation now knows that the Marine Float Account and other similar accounts were ‘SPV’ accounts, it follows that all payments made into that account were monies stolen from the public coffers.
“Therefore, we call on all security agencies to recover all monies withdrawn from that account by anyone for that matter,” the press conference statement released on Monday indicated.
The statement was signed by Mr Dele Alake, Special Adviser, Media, Communications and Public Affairs; Festus Keyamo, SAN Director, Public Affairs and Chief Spokesperson; Bayo Onanuga, Director, Media and Publicity; Femi Fani-Kayode, Director, Special Media Projects/New Media; and Alhaji Idris Mohammed, Director, Strategic Communications.
The council called on Atiku to tender an apology to Nigerians and step down from the Presidential race.
“In the light of these very grave revelations, we call on Atiku Abubakar to immediately tender an unreserved apology to the Nigerian people and step down from the Presidential race forthwith, whilst handing himself over to the law enforcement agencies.
“What is now clear to the Nigerian people is that between 1999 and 2007, President Obasanjo and Atiku ran a criminal enterprise and an empire of fraud in Abuja at the same time Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was toiling very hard, dutifully and meticulously laying the foundation to rebuild Lagos state.
“Following these revelations, it becomes clear that Atiku Abubakar has absolutely nothing to campaign on again as the period of 1999 – 2007 that he always relies on can now be described by Nigerians as the ‘SPV years’ when they ran Nigeria aground.
“That whilst President Obasanjo and Atiku deprived the good people of Lagos State of their Local Government monthly allocations even after the Supreme Court ordered the release of the funds; they were busy stealing the nation’s resources by stealth in Abuja.
“That the real, dark reason for the seemingly irreconcilable quarrel between President Obasanjo and Atiku Abubakar is disagreement over monies they both stole in the ‘SPV’ accounts at that time.”
It also called on all well-meaning Nigerians and law enforcement agencies to protect Achimugu, saying no harm should befall him or members of his family for making the revelation.
“We suspect that some goons of Atiku Abubakar are planning to eliminate him and harm members of his family. We shall hold Atiku Abubakar responsible if anything befalls this patriotic Nigerian or members of his family.
“We also encourage him to reveal to Nigerians those ‘earth-shaking’ revelations he is withholding for the sake of this nation and the future of our children,” the council added.
You deserve to withdraw from the presidential race, not Atiku, PDP tells Tinubu
Reacting, the PDP dismissed the allegations, saying they are an “irresponsible attempt” by the APC and its presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to divert the attention of Nigerians from alleged “Tinubu’s atrocious record and the vexatious misrule of the APC.”
In a statement signed by PDP National Publicity Secretary, Hon. Debo Ologunagba, released on Monday, the party said it is “ironic” that Tinubu, who is battling with cases of scandals should “attempt to impugn” Atiku.
Ologunagba said: “For clarity and for the interest of Nigerians, it is on record that Atiku Abubakar is one of the most investigated public officials in this country. It is also on record that in all the investigations undertaken over him and his affairs, Atiku Abubakar was never found culpable in any of the allegations.
“In contrast, however, the APC Presidential Candidate has a litany of confirmed legal impediments on very grave issues including those that boarders on international crime, namely; trafficking in narcotics and taking proceeds of narcotics.
“In the recent case revealed in the United States of America, it is on record that the APC Presidential Candidate forfeited the sum of $460,000 which was confirmed and found to be proceeds of trafficking in narcotic; an international crime for which Nigeria, being a signatory to International Convention on trafficking in narcotic is obliged to enforce.
“The effect of the conviction and forfeiture of the sum of $460,000 by Asiwaju Tinubu confirms that he is ineligible and not qualified to contest for the Office of the President of Nigeria as required by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
“For clarity, Section 137 (1) (d) of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides that:(1) “A person shall not be qualified for election to the office of President if… (d) He is under a sentence of death imposed by any competent court of law or tribunal in Nigeria or a sentence of imprisonment or fine for any offence involving dishonesty or fraud (by whatever name called) or for any other offence, imposed on him by ANY COURT or tribunal or substituted by a competent authority for any other sentence imposed on him by such a court or tribunal.
“Having been convicted, sentenced and fined for narcotic trafficking in a criminal suit filed under the United States Criminal Code, Asiwaju Tinubu cannot by section 137 (1)(d) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) seek office as President of Nigeria.”
“The APC Presidential Candidate has not come out to deny the conviction and forfeiture or show evidence of any attempt by him to challenge or appeal the judgment, apparently believing that it will slide with time. Asiwaju Tinubu ought to know that time does not run against the State in a criminal matter!
“He should therefore withdraw from the Presidential race having been found ineligible and not qualified to run or to contest for the Office of the President of Nigeria under the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution,” Ologunagba stated.
Both Atiku and Tinubu should step down. Obi is the next President of Nigeria. Even if these evil men and criminals insist, we shall vote them out.