There Will Be No Room For Cabal In My Government —Atiku
WITH the general election just four months away, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has assured Nigerians that there would be no room for any cabal in his government if he is elected president.
The former vice president, who made the commitment during an interview on the Hausa Service of the Voice of America (VOA) in Washington D.C., United States, promised to be fully in charge of his administration, rather than allowing any clique to hijack the machinery of government.
The programme was anchored by the Head of the Hausa service of VOA, Aliyu Mustapha Sokoto.
The promise by the PDP standard-bearer for the February 25 presidential election is coming against the backdrop of the belief in most quarters in the country that some powerful individuals tend to constitute themselves into clique that determine the policy and programmes of whoever becomes president, many times against the core promises to the electorate.
Atiku, who served as the vice president to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, was also the candidate of the PDP in 2019 general election.
The Waziri Adamawa said he would not subject himself to any form of manipulation by any clique in running the affairs of the country if elected president.
“You won’t find any cabal in my government. It is me: Waziri (Atiku) that will run the administration,” Atiku said during the interview.
Many people, including the wife of the incumbent president, Aisha Buhari, have openly stated that President Muhammadu Buhari has ceded the control of state matters to a clique.
The president, however, debunked the claim in an interview with the VOA in 2019.
Atiku, according to the VOA, visited the United States to hold discussions with government officials on wide-ranging issues, including insecurity, economic crisis and the 2023 general election in Nigeria.
Atiku used the opportunity of the interview to expatiate on his plan to rescue and rebuild Nigeria, stressing that it would be imperative to overhaul the 1999 Constitution in order to tackle the menace of insecurity.
“We would confront this issue by convoking a constitutional review so that states and local governments, to whom we intend to give the imprimatur to run their security affairs, would be able to do so. But this requires amendment of constitution.
“Before we embark on this, we intend to employ more boots on ground, especially in the area of policing and civil defence, all of which we want to equip properly,” Atiku said.
He promised that his administration would work closely with the judiciary to ensure the speedy trial of offenders, just as he pledged to support the imposition of the death penalty for terrorism-related offences.
According to the VOA Hausa Service, while Atiku did not talk elaborately on his current relationship with his former boss, Obasanjo, he, however, said his disagreements with the ex-Nigerian leader when they were in office was one of the factors that cost him victory in his bid for the presidency in 2011. On the ongoing plan by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to redesign three denominations of the national currency (Naira), Atiku said he knows nothing about it.
But on the issue of Nigerian oil refineries, the former vice president said: “My position on this is not new. I have told you some years ago that I will privatise them. The reason is simple. If you allow investors to own them, they’d be better managed.”
The PDP candidate added that private investors had the capacity to overhaul the refineries and make them functional at all times.
On his plan to fight corruption, he said the rule of law would be applied in making sure that those found guilty are not left off the hook.
“This would demonstrate to Nigerians that our government means business,” Atiku said.
The ex-vice president also spoke on the internal squabbles rocking the PDP, saying he concurred that there was no reconciliation in sight yet.
“We are yet to resolve the matter. But we have moved ahead. Our train has moved..,” he explained.
He further said he does not support the removal of the national chairman of the party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, as it is not a clever move as the elections are approaching.
“It is not proper, at this time, to contemplate a change of leadership of our party, whereas we are approaching the election season,” Atiku said while expressing confidence that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would preside over free and fair election in February 2023.
“This is because we have seen how they conducted two elections in Ekiti and Osun. In both cases, we have praised them for good outings. In addition to this, President Muhammadu Buhari has assured us that he would allow a transparent, free and fair election to be conducted in 2023,” Atiku said.