Former vice president says Obasanjo’s claim that he cannot travel to the US is untrue.
A former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has reacted angrily to a statement credited to former President Olusegun Obasanjo in which he (Obasanjo) alleged that Atiku risked jail if he travelled to the United States.
Atiku served as deputy to Mr Obasanjo between 1999 and 2007.
Garba Shehu, Media Adviser to Atiku issued a strong statement Wednesday from Abuja defending his principal, following corruption charges made by Mr Obasanjo in an EFCC magazine, Zero Tolerance.
“The former President is wrong,” Mr Shehu said. “It is widely known that Atiku didn’t enter government broke. He declared his assets at the commencement of his Vice Presidency and did so at the end of his term as required by the constitution, which is a sacred document to Atiku.”
According to him, “Atiku, who is currently returning from China after leading a private economic trade mission at the invitation of the Chinese government, travels often and has a well-documented record of building industries and putting thousands of Nigerians to work. And this record, quite frankly, has been thoroughly investigated.”
While reiterating that Mr Atiku had no case against him by any arm of the law in any country in the world, including the United States, Mr Shehu observed that “President Obasanjo’s repeated ‘jokes’ about Turaki not being able to go to America have become cliché, tiresome and not true.”
The media adviser recalled that in 2006, former Mr Obasanjo sent his National Security Adviser, NSA, to stop Atiku from travelling to the US, saying that the Vice President risked arrest on arrival.
He said that Turaki spurned that advice, left Nigeria to land at the Andrews Air Force Base, the official airport of the US government, to receive the best reception ever on a visit to America.
“So, we are used to those taunts,” he said.
He noted that when Atiku left office shortly before late Musa Yar’Adua was inaugurated as President, the former vice president spent three months in the US, adding that if they (US authorities) wanted him for anything, they would have met him.
“It is time to start dealing in facts. Specifically, the fact is that Atiku’s visa to visit the United States has been recently renewed.
“Another fact is Atiku is one of the most investigated politicians in Nigerian history. And every investigation, whether politically motivated here at home or by the FBI abroad, has yielded the same result every time: not guilty.
“If Atiku is guilty of anything, it is crushing persistent attempts at re-writing our constitution.
“Atiku has chosen the path of optimism and hope. Moving forward, he will continue working to fuel Nigeria’s economy through investment and job creation, while also passionately and persistently defending our young democracy,” Mr Shehu said.
culled from Premium Times