By Moh’d Almin Bala
The man Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria’s foremost seasonal political migrant and former Vice President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007 under President Olusegun Obasanjo administration, married to Fatimah Abubakar, Princess Rukayat, Amina Titi Abubakar and many more, betrayed President Olusegun Obasanjo twice.
He did those things by trying to destroy Obasanjo’s government and working tirelessly to undermine the authority of OBJ.
Atiku marginalized the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, that brought him to power, left the party when his services were direly needed to work with the opposition and severally denied the South access to the presidency including informing President Good-luck Ebele Jonathan to step aside and relinquish mandate to him when the then President wanted to seek his support and endorsement in the United Kingdom.
Atiku is known as a core northern irredentist, ethnic bigot and Islamic fanatic who will do anything to undermine or work against the South in order to cling to power. This is shown in the several years he had aspired to rule the country as president even when it did fit the permutation or it didn’t suit the North to produce the president. He would work from the backdoor to do whatever it took to emerge as the presidential flag bearer. A case in view, in the recent PDP presidential election, when even the APC governors decided that power must shift to the south and they did everything in their power to make sure they cast their votes for a southern candidate but the PDP was the reverse as Atiku Abubakar worked behind the scene to truncate the PDP’s move to also have a southern presidential candidate by betraying the trust reposed on him once more to block the votes of the South in order to produce himself as the presidential flag bearer.
At a time, Nigerians believed that after eight years of the North headed by President Buhari it is now time that power naturally should shift to the South but Atiku Abubakar single-handedly with his cronies rocked the boat and worked against it just to produce himself.
Atiku Abubakar is a businessman that has failed in all endeavours, in all the business ventures he had headed or controlled over the years or had started/initiated, there is none today that is alive or still in operation due to his penchant for profligacy, ostentatious life-style and not having the required business acumen and leadership to run his companies unlike the APC presidential flag bearer Bola Ahmed Tinubu whose businesses and companies for the past decades are waxing stronger on daily basis and employing the teeming Nigerian youths across the country.
Most of the companies started by Atiku are either insolvent, owing loans from banks and government institutions or they are grounded due to inefficient daily running of the companies. One wonders, if he couldn’t manage these few companies under him, how can he manage and direct the affairs of the country knowing full well the antecedents of his companies being grounded under his leadership, which has become his trademark and albatross.
As a tyrant, bigot and a mean personality who bullies women and the girl-children consistently, it is on record, that most of the women married by Atiku Abubakar were forcefully converted to Islam, not taking their views or rights into consideration. It is also on record that he is a great bully who will always have his way with the women under him not matter what. Most of his wives are either disgruntled or unhappy with him but are just playing along in the marriage due to the pecks attached to being his wife.
Indeed, Atiku Abubakar has nothing new to offer Nigerians. When he served under OBJ he made sure that as a leader in charge of the economic council he sold almost all the national assets to his friends and cronies and till date he promises to sell all other properties of government when he emerges president. A major campaign message used consistently whenever given the opportunity to speak to Nigerians about his avowed passion to sell our common wealth and national assets across the country. He does not have the capacity, competence and managerial dexterity to manage resources and people, so how can he manage a country like Nigeria with about 250 million people and one of the largest economies in Africa.
In his infamous book, ‘Under My Watch’ by former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Atiku Abubakar, rather than positive words for his former lieutenant, OBJ believes Atiku is “not trustworthy.” He wrote: “What I did not know, which came out glaringly later, was Atiku’s parental background which was somewhat shadowy, his propensity to corruption, his tendency to disloyalty, his inability to say and stick to the truth all the time, a propensity for poor judgment, his belief and reliance on marabouts, his lack of transparency, his trust in money to buy his way out on all issues and his readiness to sacrifice morality, integrity, propriety, truth and national interest for self and self-interest.”
As stated by OBJ it is a damning evidence of the true Atiku Abubakar. If it’s in developed clime people like Atiku should be in jail for having sold Nigerians’ assets to his friends and cronies including fleecing the economy till date. During the privatization process as chairman of the National Council on Privatization, NCP, he allegedly influenced the sales of government enterprises to his cronies and he recently callously said again, if given the chance to be Nigeria’s president he would sell Nigeria’s public companies again. What a balderdash and impunity carried too far for uttering such to Nigerians at this precarious moment!
It was simply because of Atiku’s penchant for corruption that the liberalization process failed woefully and never to be resuscitated. Nigerians will not forget the Halliburton scandal that led to the imprisonment of an American congressman, Wiliam Jefferson. Atiku had also allegedly used state funds to build a private university, the American University of Nigeria in his native Adamawa, when most of public universities were collapsing; it is, however, unclear where Atiku got the $25 million he used to build the university and the $8 million with which he allegedly paid to the American university in Washington D.C. for the licensing.
A public servant whose salary could not have built the university or started any of the companies in his name even adding his personal assets. He is corruption personified of the first order and should not be roaming freely around in the political space. Our great country is already lagging behind and miles behind of the consequences of endemic corruption and we shouldn’t be condoning such people like Atiku Abubakar in public offices, not to talk of the presidency, the highest office in the land.
Atiku’s kleptomania for assets and fleecing anything within his reach can be recollected when his estranged wife complained bitterly of how Atiku requested to collect their Asokoro matrimonial home which, according to her the former Vice President had gifted her but when she asked for divorce, he asked for the documents to the house to be returned to him.
What a shame! And when she asked him where he wanted her to stay, he responded that since she was the one that asked for a divorce she should find a place to stay. It goes to show the heartless nature of Atiku Abubakar for a woman who put her life on the line for him and who also bore children for him, thereby displaying his lack of maturity as a man, and also baring his raw callousness, with no dignity and respect for a woman at all. A most disloyal human being according to OBJ and he was once quoted as saying that “God will not forgive him if he supports Atiku.”
For more than 13 years Atiku Abubakar kept away from the United States and on several occasions his visa requests were turned down due to corruption cases hanging over his head. He has a moral burden hanging on his neck as some years ago, there was a US Senate committee report detailing alleged money laundering activities against him including being a recipient of a bribe by Siemens.
The committee known as Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation was chaired then by Senator Carl Levin. The probe was motivated by the US government concern about corruption in the Third World countries and its corrosive effects on the development of honest governments, democratic principles and rule of law. Atiku Abubakar was one of the Politically Exposed Persons, PEP, probed by the committee and the committee submitted its reports on 4th February, 2010, three years after Abubakar left office as Nigeria’s Vice President. The report unveiled violations of US laws by Atiku Abubakar and his fourth wife, Jennifer. It also included revelation about Siemens’ bribe paid into one of the accounts and it possibly provided the basis for Abubakar being barred from entering the United States at that time.
Accordingly, the report from 2000 to 2008, Jennifer Douglas, a US citizen and forth wife of the Vice President, helped her husband to bring over 40 million USD in suspect funds into the US through wire transfers sent by off-shore operations from corporations to US bank accounts. In a 2008 civil complaint, the US Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that Mrs. Douglas received over two million USD in bribe payments in 2001 and 2002 from Siemens AG, a major German corporation. Siemens had already pleaded guilty to US criminal charges and settled civil charges related to bribery and told the subcommittee that it sent the payments to one of Douglar’s US accounts.
Nevertheless, in 2007, Mr. Abubakar was also the subject of corruption allegations in Nigeria related to the Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF, and many others. In addition, there was the case of Congressman William Jefferson who was jailed for accepting a bribe from a would-be Nigerian investor, Lori Mody. Mr. Jefferson told the investor that he would need to give the then Nigerian Vice President, Atiku Abubakar the sum of $500,000 as a very motivating factor to make sure the company obtained contracts for Igate and Mody’s company in Nigeria. A clear case of corruption at the highest level by Atiku Abubakar, which case put his Potomac mansion, Maryland in bad light, that was searched by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, in 2005, which resulted in the property being sold later by Abubakar.
Consequently, to his critics, pundits and political opponents alike, Atiku is one man who should never be allowed to get near the corridors of power one more time because of his too much baggage of immorality, corruption charges and split personalities hanging on his head. People see him as a corrupt, dishonest and disloyal politician, whose only aim at the top political cherry in the country is to further enrich himself and milk the country dry by plundering its resources and nothing more. Nigerians are quick to point accusation of financial impropriety against him which everyone agrees makes him unsuitable for the top office in a country where corruption is a huge challenge.
To some, he is corruption personified, to others, he is a serial defector, jumping from one party to the other and does not seem to have the capability to maintain one position for too long if he does not get his way. His serial defection is well known and legendary having gallivanted between the People Democratic Party, PDP, to the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, to the All Progressives Congress, APC, and back to the PDP with such regularity that Nigerians often wonder ‘what next?’ he has in stock as far as party loyalty is concerned.
Atiku’s controversies stem from one to another, bumbling from one storm to another, mostly on issues bordering on alleged corruption, embezzlement of public funds, allegation of bribery, selling of public utilities to friends and cronies in the name of privatization as the Vice President and to the most recent one of allegedly not being a Nigerian by nationality.
Atiku Abubakar is believed to have leveraged his appointment at the Customs to build a business empire linked to Nigerian ports. His most important business more reportedly came while he was a Customs officer at the Apapa ports. Mr. Gabrielle Volpi, an Italian businessman in Nigeria, was said to have invited him to set up the Nigeria Container Services, NICOTES, a logistics company operating within the ports. NICOTES would later go on to become Intels Nigeria Limited, an oil servicing business with extensive operations in Nigeria and abroad, which provided immense wealth then to Atiku Abubakar and the rest is history.
Today, he is a northern irredentist and that is why they have serious issues in the PDP, a man that could not allow other regions to produce the presidential candidate, a man that worked tirelessly to betray the trust reposed on him by the party including other regions. He has over the years balkanized the party along ethic and religious lines as he would not allow the other regions have their way in the affairs of the party just as he wants the North to dominate and this has readily affected the party that made the G5 governors to leave, and promising until things change at the hierarchy of the party they won’t come back and won’t canvass votes for Atiku Abubakar for having split the party along ethnic dominance which is worse than the Muslim/Muslim ticket.
The Waziri Adamawa, has used his ill-gotten wealth to buy highbrow sky scrapers and mansions across the Arab world of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and spread also across Europe, especially the United kingdom. He has continuously lived outside the country and comes back home only during election seasons on the presidential ticket.
How can a man, who does not have control over his family and household, over resources and men, over managing businesses and companies, which under him, have become grounded or insolvent and all of a sudden, wants to be president of Nigeria? A bully of the first order, who will do anything to malign, blackmail for power, no matter the cost; he should therefore, go and hide his head in shame for having served the country dishonorably.