The presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu, has described his counterpart in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, as law breaker who admitted cheating the system for decades.
Atiku had during an interview on Arise TV on Friday, claimed he fell out with Tinubu in 2007 because he (Atiku) was opposed to a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket.
“My fundamental disagreement with Asiwaju since 2007 was on the issue of Muslim-Muslim ticket. That was my fundamental disagreement and departure from Asiwaju.
“Together with Asiwaju, we formed ACN and I was given a ticket in Lagos and he insisted to be my running mate and I said no, I am not going to have a Muslim-Muslim ticket and because of that he switched his support to the late Umaru Yar`Adua and that was the departing point and of course, it is also a fact that when Buhari emerged in Lagos in 2015 that I also opposed a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“I opposed it and my opposition actually reinforced the decision of President Buhari to pick a Christian running mate. So, I have all along opposed that. I don’t believe in that. I don’t believe it is right for a country like Nigeria that is multi-ethnic, multi religious that there should be balancing of interests, whether religious or otherwise,” he had said.
Reacting through his campaign organisation in a statement on Saturday, Tinubu faulted most of the claims made by the former vice president.
The APC candidate described his opponent as a lawbreaker.
“In the interview, Alhaji Atiku exposed himself as a man who is not prepared for the job he is applying for and a man who cannot be entrusted with our commonwealth. He was flippant in his response to important questions about his record of service and how he made money while serving in Customs. He muddled up facts and exhibited befuddling absence of mind”, Tinubu said through the Director, Media and Communication of his campaign organisation, Bayo Onanuga.
“The PDP candidate is a law breaker: It was most shocking Atiku admitted that he cheated the system for decades and engaged in gross misconduct as a government worker. As a customs officer at the Idi-Iroko border, Atiku revealed that he ran a commercial taxi service, claiming ‘there is no law stopping public officers from doing business in Nigeria.
“We found this to be untrue. Every officer in the civil service is expected to comply with a code of conduct and service rules which bar civil and public servants from engaging in private business while in government employment to the detriment of the service he/she is employed to render to the public. The 1999 constitution further codifies this in Part I, Fifth Schedule, Section of 2 (b).
“It says a public officer shall not, except where he is not employed on full-time basis engage or participate in the management or running of any private business, profession or trade. The rules however allow a public officer to engage in farming.
“We wonder which rule or which law Atiku was relying upon for his gross misconduct as a public officer. It is our considered view that Atiku gamed the system all through his career in public service, culminating in his founding of the Intel Logistics along with Late Shehu Yar’Adua and some Italians, even while he was still in the employment of the Nigeria Customs Service.
Speaking further, the campaign organization said, “Political Credentials: Most reprehensible was Atiku’s lies about how many times he ran to become the governor of Adamawa or old Gongola state.
“Mr. Presidential candidate, in case you don’t know due to your limited education, you run for an office, only, when you are on the ballot in an election. Your signifying interest in an office does not mean the same as running for the office. From available records, the first time you contested the governorship election in your state was in 1999. Your name entered the ballot for the first time and you won.
“Poor grasp of history: Atiku Abubakar also exhibited poor Knowledge of history when he claimed that Abraham Lincoln, one of America’s famous leaders contested the presidency five to six times before he eventually won.
“This is a beer parlour tale that has been recycled over time. Lincoln contested U.S. presidency twice. He ran in 1860 and 1864 and won both, before he was assassinated on 15 April, 1865.
“The false story about Lincoln’s failed presidential bids sprang from his previous failed state and national elections, from his state of Illinois. They were not the same as America’s presidential election.
“According to historians, Lincoln lost his first election in 1832 for Illinois state legislature. In 1834, he ran again and won.
“In 1843 he ran for Congress. He lost. Three years after in 1846, Lincoln ran for Congress again – this time he won and went to Washington. From established history, in 1848, Lincoln ran for re-election to Congress and lost. In 1854, he ran for Senate of the United States. He lost. Lincoln also made another failed bid for U.S. Senate from Illinois in 1858. He lost to Democrat Steven Douglas.
“Our conclusion is that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is ill-prepared to be President of Nigeria if he could bungle a Television interview that was planned well ahead of the day and time the duo of Dr. Reuben Abati and Ms. Tundun Abiola conducted it. We expected the PDP presidential candidate to be well informed on any issue before coming on national television to expose himself to avoidable ridicule.”