By EMMANUEL MOGBEDE
ABUJA- The Tinubu Campaign Organisation (TCO) has said that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) 2023 presidential candidate is not prepared for the job.
Mr Bayo Onanuga, TCO Director, Media and Communications, said this in a statement on Saturday in Abuja while reacting to comments made by Atiku in a television interview.
“We have watched Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s interview on a national television and were extremely shocked by the many lies and ignorance displayed by the PDP presidential candidate.
“In the interview, Atiku exposed himself as a man who is not prepared for the job he is applying for and a man who cannot be entrusted with our commonwealth.
“He was flippant in his response to important questions about his record of service and how he made money while serving in Customs.
“He muddled up facts and exhibited befudling absence of mind during the interview,” Onanuga said.
He said It was most shocking that Atiku in the interview, admitted that he cheated the system for decades and engaged in gross misconduct as a government worker.
Onanuga said as a customs officer at the Idi-Iroko border, Atiku revealed that he ran a commercial taxi service, claiming there was no law stopping public officers from doing business in Nigeria.
“He punched harder, claiming there is no conflict of interest in doing so, but we found this to be untrue.
“Every officer in the civil service is expected to comply with a code of conduct and service rules.
“The rules bar civil and public servants from engaging in private business while in government employment to the detriment of the service he is employed to render to the public.
“The 1999 Constitution further codifies this in part one, fifth schedule section of 2 (b),” Onanuga said.
He explained that the section said a public officer shall not, except where he is not employed on full-time basis, engage or participate in the management or running of any private business, profession or trade.
The TSO DG noted that the rule, however, allowed a public officer to engage in farming activities.
He therefore wondered which rule or law Atiku was relying upon for his gross misconduct as a public officer.
“It is our considered view that Atiku gamed the system all through his career in public service, culminating in his founding of the Intel Logistics along with Late Shehu Yar’Adua and some Italians.
This, he said, was even while he was still in the employment of the Nigeria Customs Service.
He added that Atiku while trying to impress his audience with his supposed knowledge of international affairs, ended up embarrassing himself with false data he cited from Egypt.
Onanuga said the TCO found Atiku’s claim that Egypt had two million police officers on the streets to be untrue.
This, he said, was especially as various sources put the number at about 500,000 for a population of 104 million and not 80 million as Atiku claimed.
He said the PDP presidential candidate also displayed poor knowledge of key sectors of the country’s economy.
Onanuga added that it was surprising that Atiku does not know the contribution of oil and gas industry to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“He claimed the sector represents 20 per cent of our national GDP whereas it is below 10 per cent.
“And it is still falling, owing to the growth of non-oil sector under the current President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress(APC) administration.
“Our conclusion is that Atiku is ill-prepared to be president of Nigeria, if he could bungle a television interview that was planned well ahead of the day and time.
“We expected the PDP presidential candidate to be well informed on any issue before coming on national television to expose himself to avoidable ridicule,” Onanuga said.
He added that it was unfortunate that while criticising APC’s 2023 Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket, Atiku didn’t see seeking to be president on PDP’s ticket after eight years of a president from his part of the country as politics of exclusion.
According to him, Atiku during the interview, provided several contradictory answers, adding that in one breath, he said power rotation is not in the Constitution.
“In another breath, he said the PDP has never micro zoned any position, then he admitted that the party has always rotated power between the North and South.
Atiku’s justification as to why he became PDP’s presidential candidate, instead of a southerner is a perfect example in ellipsis,” Onanuga said(NAN)