Since he emerged from a heavily monetized PDP primary election, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar had been trying to fend off a noxious image of a super corrupt and shady politician that he symbolizes, to affirm his legitimacy to wrestle power from APC.
Knowing his heavy baggage, his supporters and those of PDP tried to wrap his emergence as PDP candidate in one noisome euphoria that will substitute the ensuing campaigns and allow Atiku walk away with his many scruples. ‘Atikulate’ and such other warped coinages became their sing-song meant to evade the critical and important questions about Atiku and most importantly, his worm-ridden conduct in public service as Vice President for eight years.
They told us how the Atiku we know has become one instant talisman to solve the many problems he ironically contributed so much in creating, how he is coming with a magical wand to fling away the many problems of statehood he superintended as Vice President for eight whole years.
He was garbed in the dubious cloth of an instant performer, a job creator of unmatched expertise with ludicrous claims of employing as many as 300,000 Nigerians without even a single industry. We were fed with how suddenly he became Nigeria’s biggest employer, credited to have employed more Nigerians than all the major industrialists in Nigeria combined! He has become a born-again Muslim, a born-again Fulani, a born-again old man, a born-again ruler; in contrast to all his promoters have ranted and invested their energies to discredit before his quixotic emergence as PDP presidential candidate.
What is even more curious is that most of Atiku’s employees remain anonymous and the work they do remain huge mystery to a country that knows very well the sham that clothes Atiku as well as his many indiscretions.
But even in these borrowed clothes, Atiku and his supporters know there is no way he will escape the inquest about his personality, the probe of the many corruption and sleaze cases dogging him at every corner, the question of how Atiku, whose known designation before he went into politics, was a retired senior customs officer, happened on his fabled wealth. They all know that Atiku has so much questions to answer Nigerians who have come to associate him with every giant corruption case since 1999
His name featured prominently in the FBI investigation of a bribery scandal involving him and William Jefferson, former US congressman, in 2004. He was accused of demanding a bribe of $500,000 to facilitate the award of contracts to two American telecommunication firms in Nigeria.
The FBI investigators videotaped Jefferson, who was the congressman representing Louisiana, receiving $100,000 worth of $100 bills which he claimed was meant for Atiku.
In another case, US senate investigators had alleged in 2010 that one of Atiku’s wives allegedly helped him transfer more than $40 million in “suspect funds” into the United States from offshore shell companies. At least $1.7 million of that money was bribes paid by German technology company Siemens AG, according to the US senate investigators.
The company pleaded guilty to bribery charges in 2008 and agreed to pay a $1.6 billion fine.
Seven years after a Senate Report detailed money laundering activities against him, including being a recipient of a bribe by Siemens, his political opponents had challenged him and even taunted him several times to go to the U.S. on a visit, to test whether he is wanted for any financial crime. He is yet to take up the challenge as he brews another controversy.
What is known is that Abubakar was the subject of a probe 16 years ago, by a U.S. Senate Permanent sub-committee on Investigations, chaired by Senator Carl Levin.
The probe was motivated by U.S. government concern about corruption in the Third World and its corrosive effects on the development of honest government, democratic principles, and the rule of law.
The fuller understanding of this allusion provided by his ex-boss served as a timely reminder as contained in the book he wrote, ‘My Watch’
He was emphatic in the book that what Atiku stole when he was his vice is enough to feed “300 million people for 400 years” when several of his mind-boggling financial improprieties were revealed to him before the elapse of their tenure.
Obasanjo wrote that it would have been an unpardonable mistake ‘and a sin against God to foist him on Nigeria.’ Obasanjo still believes so till tomorrow.
Obasanjo still rues till today making Atiku his vice president in 1999, only to discover later, his shadowy parentage, 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 selfish interest.
As February 2023 presidential election came close, his party warned APC to stop calling him a thief, but he has not explained to Nigerians where and when he suddenly met Midas who invested him with the magic wealth he is indecently flaunting around.
Till he does this, Atiku remains another benevolent armed robber; a moral cripple, an ethical tragedy and a light-fingered crook who should not be allowed anywhere near our treasury again.