2015:More Questions For Buhari
• N25bn PTF Fund: PDP Accuses OBJ Of Cover-up
• Buhari Free Of Cancer, says APC Campaign
• Northern Forum Urges Candidate To Show Certificate
• We Are United Behind Buhari, Says Opposition
THE presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gen Muhammadu Buhari, came under intense attack Saturday from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Northern Youth Forum (NYF). They renewed the call on the former military head of state to come out clean on the certificate controversy and the alleged missing N25 billion from the Petroleum Tax Fund (PTF), which he supervised during the administration of the late Gen. Sani Abacha.
This came as the APC Presidential Campaign Organisation claimed that it was privy to a report from the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH) that cleared Buhari of prostrate cancer, as opposed to the stories making the wave on the social media that the candidate is stricken with cancer.
The opposition party, in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, also warned religious leaders across Nigeria to stop using religion as a tool to divide the people, especially in the name of politics.
The PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation disagreed with the clean bill of health given to Buhari by former President Olusegun Obasanjo over what it called the N25 billion-fraud that took place in the administration of the PTF by Buhari as executive chairman. The ruling party said many leaders of the APC do not believe in the personality of Buhari, resulting in flip-flops and double standards that have been the fate of his presidential campaign.
The Campaign Organisation, in a statement in which it subtly queried the health status of General Buhari, said that, by saying nothing was amiss in the PTF’s financial transactions, Obasanjo was only trying to cover up the presidential candidate of the APC.
The statement issued by the Director of Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, reads: “We believe that one of the cardinal principles of democracy, good governance and decency is to always set the record straight and let the Nigerian people know the truth. This has been the hallmark of President Goodluck Jonathan and his government for the last four years and we intend to ensure that this continues. We do not believe that anything ought to be hidden and we believe that, in the contest for the Presidency, the record of public office of each and every one of the presidential candidates is relevant and must be subjected to scrutiny and public debate.
“It is to this end that we make reference to the findings of the Dr Haroun Adamu-led Interim Management Committee probe of Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), where General Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the APC, presided as executive Chairman for a number of years while General Sani Abacha was in power.”
According to the PDP “ The final report of that probe exposed nothing but monumental sleaze and the most pervasive and insidious type of corruption in PTF while General Buhari held sway there. The report concluded its findings by recommending that the PTF under General Buhari and his entire team be asked to explain the circumstances in which N25, 758,532,448:00 disappeared and could not be accounted for. As the chief executive officer of PTF at the time, Buhari, and no one else, must be held responsible for this.
“The fact that the recommendation of the Dr Haroun Adamu-led Interim Management Committee was never acted upon by the Olusegun Obasanjo government is rather curious and gives us some cause for concern. This is especially so, given the fact that the same General Buhari that was so badly indicted by the report is now vying for the exalted office of President of Nigeria. This is more worrisome given the fact that the Army General has consistently held himself out as ‘Mr. Integrity’ while he consistently accuses President Goodluck Jonathan of monumental corruption.
The truth is that not only has the PTF report put a lie to the suggestion that General Buhari is “Mr. Clean,” but it has also indicated that he has a case to answer.
“Worse still, one of the directors of Afri-Project Consortium, who were contracted by the PTF as Management Consultants and Project Consultants, a man by the name of Ahmad Salihijo and the one person that could have nailed Buhari and that was in a position to indict him and tell the world all that he knew about the graft that took place at PTF, died under very mysterious circumstances shortly after the Dr Haroun Adamu report was submitted to the Federal Government when Obasanjo was in power. Many people are asking whether this was a mere coincidence or whether there was more to it.
“Finally it is curious that former President Olusegun Obasanjo, an elder statesman that we hold in the highest esteem and under whose watch the Haroun Adamu probe of the PTF was conceived, commissioned and concluded, would come out and attempt to clear Buhari of all the charges made and issues raised in the report and give him a clean bill of health almost fourteen years later. The Adamu report not only conflicts with Obasanjo’s newfound position but it also proves that the position taken by the former president has no basis in reality.
“Not only did the report indict Buhari and his entire team but it also made specific recommendations as to the amount of money recoverable, to wit: amount recoverable from Afri-Project Consortium is N2,057,550,062:00; amount recoverable from contractors is N3,543,192,774:00; amount recoverable from expiry of drugs is N2,414,807,332:00; and amount recoverable from various banks is N3,642,982,280:00, bringing the total of amount recoverable where verification reports have been finalised to N11,658,532,448:00.
“Total estimated amount of N14,100,000,000:00 recoverable is broken down as follows: Highway and Urban Roads Rehabilitation Programme is N10,000,000,000:00; Rural Water Supply Programme is N1,000,000,000:00; National Health and Educational Institutions Rehabilitation Programme is N600,000,000:00; National Educational Materials Programmes is N900,000,000:00; and Rural Telecommunication Programmes is N1,600,000,000:00.
“Most importantly 14 years ago, when the report was submitted in April 2000, former President Obasanjo endorsed the report and believed very much in it. One wonders what has suddenly changed? When we consider former President Obasanjo’s newfound position about Buhari’s activities at PTF, we can only conclude that he was simply attempting to be generous, charitable and kind to Buhari. Sadly, he was also attempting to cover up the fact that Buhari has a case to answer when it comes to PTF.
“We believe that no one, no matter how highly-placed, must ever attempt to sweep the truth under the carpet. Every single former and serving public officer, including General Buhari, must be ready to account for his or her actions while in office and any attempt to hide the truth from the people will surely fail.
“Finally it is pertinent and important for us to urge General Buhari to make full disclosure about a number of issues. Whether it has to do with his record at the PTF, his educational qualifications, his school certificates or his health, it is time for General Buhari to tell the Nigerian people the truth no matter how ugly that truth may be. Our people have a right to know.”
A press statement released and signed by the National President of the Northern Youth Forum, Bello Gambo Bichi, in Kano, insisted that, “…General Buhari should do what is required of him by presenting his certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as other presidential candidates have done, instead of hiding behind the fig leaf of constitutionalism.”
According to the statement, “it is true that the relevant section 131(d) of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria does not require Buhari to physically present his certificates but to only show that he ‘has been educated up to at least secondary level or its equivalent.”
It added that the ‘spirit of the relevant provision demands that he should present Certified True copies of his original certificates because that is the only way that INEC will determine that he has been educated up to secondary school level.’
While dismissing Buhari’s attestation that the original copies of his certificates were with the Military authorities, the group reminded him that such claim was not enough to fulfill the constitutional requirement.
“Clearly, Buhari contested the 2011 and two previous elections without presenting his certificates to INEC,” stated the group.
Part of the release stated, “This time around, INEC, civil society organisations and the international community should mount pressure on Buhari to comply with this simple demand, by retrieving his certificates from the Army authorities and submiting them to the electoral commission, otherwise he should not be allowed to contest the 2015 election.”
But a statement by the Directorate of Media and Publicity of the APC Campaign, Garba Shehu, in Abuja, described as disdainful, distractive, mischievous, fake and fallacious the trending news report of an alleged prostate cancer condition of its presidential flag bearer, Buhari being credited to a source from the renowned Teaching Hospital.
“It (report of cancer) is untrue and condescending of its exponents. I have it on good authority that GMB has not visited the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital in the last five years. So, how can anyone say that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer last October, barely three months ago?” Shehu said.
Notwithstanding the APC’s position, a source, yesterday, said Buhari completed an online Visa form to the United States for medical scrutiny. He would leave Nigeria on or before January 26. Close associates said the strain of campaigns has added to his health failing, so far concealed and managed by his Nigerian medical team assembled by two former governors.
“To further conceal the real reason for the trip, other APC chieftains are programmed to go to France, United Kingdom and other countries,” the source said.
“But the question is: Why travel in the high days of the campaign? This confirms the claims of Governor Ayodele Fayose that a sinister intent, similar to the 2007 Yar’Adua/Jonathan “marriage” has equally been packaged in 2015 by some politicians.”
The APC campaign organisation also asked the general public to ponder on a statement posted on Facebook by an official of the Presidency saying their “government will rather hand over power to the military rather than to General Muhammadu Buhari in the event that the APC candidate wins the election.
It said “the Blackberry Messenger (BBM) statement by Deji Adeyanju, an official in the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe said” ‘Buhari can never be President of Nigeria. Quote me any day any time. Instead of Buhari to become President of Nigeria, Nigeria would rather break. A military coup will even be allowed than for Buhari to become the president of a democratic Nigeria quote me any day, any time.”
“This statement is still to be denied or retracted by the official who handles Dr Okupe’s Twitter handle,” the APC said.
The APC Presidential Campaign Organization also dismissed, as utterly false and ridiculous, allegations by the ruling PDP that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and other former APC presidential aspirants, Sam Nda-Isaiah and Rabiu Kwankwaso have abandoned the APC Presidential Campaign.
The statement, signed by Shehu, explained that there was no iota of truth whatsoever that Atiku or other party stalwarts have distanced themselves from the campaign.
According to the statement, contrary to the deliberate falsehood being peddled by PDP, the former Vice President is currently out of the country for medical examination, and that he would be actively involved in the campaign once he is back to the country from next week.
Garba Shehu emphasized that Atiku’s commitment to the campaign in his native state, Adamawa and the nation “is total” and that “no amount of PDP’s desperate tactics of deliberate falsehoods would break the unity of the APC leaders.”