Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar has confessed that his former boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo punished him and his people because of the misunderstanding the two of them had even as he was limited by the nation’s constitution to do what he would have liked to do.
Atiku regretted that apart from constitutional constraints, which limited his powers as Vice President, the politics and political intrigues of that era also harmed the larger interest of the people of his home State, Adamawa, as some of its share of federal infrastructure including roads were deliberately discontinued on account of some political differences among several key players.
The former Vice President dropped these hints today, Tuesday, while answering reporters’ questions on his arrival at the Port Harcourt International Airport in continuation of his consultations to Bayelsa and Rivers States for his 2019 presidential bid.
He complained that the road that should have been constructed to link Mambilla in Taraba State and thereby making it the shortest cut to Mambilla were delayed and later truncated by his boss, Obasanjo, on the altar of politics.
Atiku said that allegations that funds meant for road projects in the state were diverted to build the American University of Nigeria (AUN) in Yola was unfair to him, saying: “it shows lack of understanding of how government runs on the part of the people making such allegations. Government does not run on such pedestrian level, it is a process.”
He complained that as Vice President, he did not have the powers to initiate and execute projects of his own choice, but to engage the process, adding that it is on record that he creditably discharged tasks assigned to him as Vice President.
The PDP presidential hopeful said that the administration of Obasanjo in which he served as Vice President awarded contracts for the Mayo Belwa-Jada-Ganye-Tongo and Yola-Mubi-Maiduguri roads in Adamawa State in its first term.
He explained that all the money used for setting up the first development university in Africa came from private sources.
“To set the records straight, no public funds were involved in all my investments in several sectors that have continued to provide jobs and enhance educational and socio-economic well being of Nigerians. I have always been contented with what God has given to me in all its ramifications and I thank Him for using me to better the lot of the people”.
“Without being immodest, I was a successful businessman before going into politics and subsequently becoming the Vice President by Allah’s Grace. I was not desperate to be in government in order to make money but to serve the people in my own little way and contribute my quota to its overall development.”
Atiku said that he had turned out to be the most investigated Vice President in Nigeria, and challenged “anybody with evidence linking public funds to the AUN or any of his private investment to come forward to prove that.”
He lamented that some people do not appreciate individuals who create wealth by their personal initiative and resourcefulness but rather hold contrary views with the stigma of such possessing ill gotten wealth.
He said that it is wrong to assume that one cannot succeed without stealing public funds, adding that it is well documented that he (Atiku) had made a success of his businesses before he was tapped as Vice President.
“If money was my motivation for seeking elective office, I would not have joined the presidential race at any point in time in my political career. My ability to make money through my businesses was established long before I was chosen as Vice President.”
He stressed that passion for service, and the desire to bring efficiency in the management of government affairs are the main reasons he wants to run for President.
He however affirmed that better days are ahead not only for Adamawa State but for all of Nigeria when he gets the mandate of Nigerians to serve as President in 2019.