ABUJA — Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2019 election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and the PDP, yesterday, questioned the motive for the inclusion of two billionaire businessmen, Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola in the All Progressives Congress, APC, Presidential Campaign Council. They described the move as an act of desperation on the part of the president and the APC.
Atiku spoke through one of the PDP Presidential Campaign image makers, Kassim Afegbua. Atiku said as businessmen, the President ought to have included the duo in his economic management team to avail him their wealth of knowledge on how to create jobs, adding that listing them as campaign members shows that President Buhari is out to blackmail the successful entrepreneurs. He said: “These people are businessmen, not politicians. These are the kind of people Nigerians expect to see in the economic management team because of what they have done for this country.
“He (Buhari) is simply out to blackmail them because by the time they fund his campaign, he will turn around and call them corrupt businessmen. “Nigerians can now see for themselves what we have been talking about all this while and we call on them to vote out this grossly incompetent administration, whose stock in trade is blackmail of perceived enemies.”
A statement signed by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina had the billionaires listed as members of a Special Advisory Committee to Mr. President. Speaking in like manner, the PDP campaign, added that the inclusion of serving ministers, heads of ministries, parastatals in Buhari’s Campaign Council, was to serve as conduit pipes to divert public funds to fund Buhari’s reelection campaigns. The PDP Presidential Campaign Organization, PPCO, also accused the Presidency and the APC of secretly drawing over N478 million from the coffers of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to rent a crowd and offset bills in President Muhammadu Buhari’s, re-election campaign rally in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State.
In a statement issued yesterday by Kola Ologbondiyan, Director, Media and Publicity of PPCO, the party said it was aware of the protests by some eminent Nigerians, including foremost businessmen (Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola) who were named as members of the APC Campaign Council without their consent, in a desperate bid to showcase an impression that they are supporting Mr. President’s re-election bid.
“The N478 million NDDC fund which was originally budgeted for development projects in the Niger Delta was diverted to renting and transportation of crowd from other parts of the country to the rally to create an impression of popularity for President Buhari in the region.
“Further information at our party’s disposal, shows that the said N478 million is part of the wholesome sum of N1.2 billion allegedly siphoned in tranches from the NDDC treasury by the cabal at the Presidency and APC leaders, who have been stealing money from various government agencies to finance President Buhari’s campaign.
“Our party also has it on good authority that this ignoble scheme of siphoning NDDC development fund to finance his campaign was the main reason President Buhari foisted an unpopular leadership at the management of the NDDC despite the protests by critical stakeholders in all the states of the Niger Delta.”
“Furthermore, the PPCO is aware of the dissention by some APC leaders over President Buhari’s unilateral listing of individuals into his campaign council as announced by his media aide, without recourse to the selection process of the APC leadership.
“This further shows the dictatorial tendencies of the Buhari Presidency and his arrogant disdain for constituted authority,” the statement read in part.