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EXCLUSIVE: Ribadu has begged me, says Atiku

EXCLUSIVE: Ribadu has begged me, says Atiku
November 10
08:31 2014

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar says Nuhu Ribadu, former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has apologised to him for the allegations of corruption the anti-graft agency levelled against him in 2006.

He said when Ribadu was running for president in 2011, he came and asked him for forgiveness over the episode which damaged the former VP politically.

“Nuhu (Ribadu) came to my house to apologise because he was running for president. I asked him, ‘Nuhu, I forgive everyone, and I forgive you, but will you go back to the public and apologise about all the lies you told about me?’ He was then concerned about his reputation.

“Of course, I was wondering if he cared about my own reputation when he was bearing false witness against me and illegally locking my friends up trying to force them to generate evidence of corruption against me,” he told TheCable at the weekend.

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In 2006, the EFCC had accused Atiku of abusing his office by directing the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) to place millions of dollars in two banks in order to funnel the money to businesses he allegedly had interests in.

The anti-graft agency further asked that Atiku be barred from contesting in the 2007 presidential election based on its indictment.

Obasanjo then set up the Ignatius Ayua administrative panel of inquiry which accepted EFCC’s indictment and barred Atiku from contesting, although Atiku got the indictment quashed in the court and eventually contested in the election.

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However, Atiku came out of the PDTF affair with the public image that he was a corrupt politician ─ a perception that many see as his albatross till today.

But speaking to TheCable at the weekend, Atiku maintained that the corruption allegations against him were politically motivated because of his face-off with Obasanjo.

Asked what wrong impression people have about him that he would love to correct, he responded: “It would definitely be the perception that I corruptly enriched myself during my tenure as vice-president. This is especially because I’m the most investigated politician in Nigeria’s history.

“At the height of my rift with my former boss, several investigations were ordered against me, yet none came up with anything.”

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Atiku, who is contesting for the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the 2015 elections, also spoke on Nasir el-Rufai, former director-general of the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE).

Atiku, as the chairman of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), supervised el-Rufai and BPE from 1999 to 2003.

El-Rufai had appeared before a senate committee to testify that Atiku never interfered in his work at BPE ─ to counter claims that the former VP enriched himself through the privatisation programme.

Atiku said: “He went under oath at the national assembly to testify that I had never made any requests or acquired anything during his tenure at the BPE. Yet, after my disagreements with my boss (Obasanjo), he went and wrote a book that I was corrupt.”

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Atiku spoke at length on the allegations of corruption against him, insisting that having become a successful businessman before he joined politics, he did not enrich himself as vice-president “because I had no such powers”.

“Long before politics, I was a successful businessman. I first declared my assets in 1993. I was a multimillionaire in dollars. My company, NICOTES, was already the top oil services company in Nigeria far back as then. I was not a poor person because I worked hard and took risks. I had enough money to buy as many pairs of shoes as I wanted,” he said.

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He also said he played a key role in the funding of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) when it was founded in 1998 and nobody accused him of being corrupt then.

“In 1998, I helped register the PDP. I spent over N500m getting the party sorted out. I rented the party secretariat and later bought it for the party. I was already a co-founder of one of the most profitable companies in Nigeria before 1999. I was never accused of corruption before my disagreement with my boss (Obasanjo),” he said.

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He also spoke at length on the case of American congressman William Jefferson who was caught in a sting operation for attempting to bribe him for a project in Nigeria.

Atiku spoke on his chances in the APC presidential primary, explaining his position on whether or not to step down for Muhammadu Buhari, a retired major general and former head of state, who is also seeking the party’s nomination.

The full text of the interview will be published on Wednesday.

9 Comments

  1. sirOscie.
    sirOscie. November 10, 13:52

    Atiku2015. #ANigeriaForAll.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Olusola
    Olusola November 10, 13:55

    I believe Atiku is not corrupt. He hasn’t patronized any government since he left government. If he was corrupt, they would have silenced him since with allegations and the threat to embarrass him with arrest. We have seen the PDP do this to Vincent Ogbulafor and even the Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido. So why exempt Atiku if truly there is any case against him?

    Reply to this comment
  3. Zirem
    Zirem November 10, 15:23

    I have always said it, if Atiku was as corrupt as the put him to be? if those allegation were true? Atiku would have been behind bars ,because that’s is why they want him. Is it any wonder that the govt shakes where ever Atiku is mentioned? If only this govt paid as much attention to the problems we are facing as a country as much as they did in their propaganda against Atiku? Nigeria wont be in such bad shape. Atiku 2015, #ANigeriaForAll.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Zirem
    Zirem November 10, 15:48

    I have always said it, if Atiku was as corrupt as the put him to be? if those allegation were true? Atiku would have been behind bars, because that’s why they want him. Is it any wonder that the govt shakes where ever Atiku is mentioned? If only this govt paid as much attention to the problems we are facing as a country as much as they do their propaganda against Atiku? Nigeria won’t be in such bad shape. Atiku 2015, #ANigeriaForAll.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Abucheadams
    Abucheadams November 10, 15:54

    Atiku greatest crime was stopping OBJ third term ambition, that was the main reason behind the corruption allegation levelled against. It was meant to tarnish his image and prevent him for seeking public office. Even with all the trials and tribulations he has gone through he has never gave up. He is a true democrat.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Abucheadams
    Abucheadams November 10, 16:15

    Atiku’s greatest crime was stopping OBJ third term ambition, that was the main reason behind the corruption allegation levelled against him. It was meant to tarnish his image and prevent him from seeking public office. Even with all the trials and tribulations he has gone through he has never gave up. He is a true democrat.

    Reply to this comment
  7. flosode
    flosode November 10, 21:08

    Atiku is the rejected stone that has now turned out to be the corner stone. He is a man whose time has come.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Barr. G.K Abdulsalam
    Barr. G.K Abdulsalam November 10, 22:40

    Ribadu and El rufai were used to embarrass atiku who brought them govt merely to be relevant in d govt. every objective mind knew they were marcenaries.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Adoki
    Adoki November 11, 05:39

    All these Atiku media people have poluted this space.

    Reply to this comment

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