In a veiled reference to past activities of some powerful persons purportedly wielding strong influence in the Buhari presidency, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has vowed not to condone any form of cabal under his watch, Leadership reports.
He said if elected the next president of Nigeria, his government will not be manipulated by any group of persons intent on controlling the affairs of state.
The VOA Hausa, on its website, defined ‘cabal’ as “an English word frequently used in Nigeria to indicate that a coterie of politicians, and not the president, dictate the affairs of government.”
Recalls that wife of the president, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, had openly alleged that a cabal was controlling state affairs in Aso Rock, an allegation the president debunked in an interview with the VOA in 2019.
Vowing not to allow any cabal to detect the tune in the corridor of power if elected president, Atiku told the VoA Hausa service in an interview that he would run the show all through.
“You won’t find any cabal in my government. It is me: Waziri (Atiku) that will run the administration,” Atiku stating while fielding questions from Aliyu Mustapha Sokoto, the head of the Hausa Service of the VOA during an exclusive interview at the station in Washington on Tuesday.
Atiku, according to the station, is visiting America to hold discussions with government officials on the the issues of insecurity, economic drawbacks and the 2023 elections confronting the country.
Atiku told the VOA that in order to tackle the problem of insecurity, the overhaul of the constitution is imperative.
“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 a rejig 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.
The former vice oresident stated that his administration would work closely with the judiciary to ensure speedy trial of offenders, pointing out that he would support the imposition of death penalty for terrorism related offenses.
Although Atiku didn’t talk elaborately on his current relationship with his erstwhile boss, Olusegun Obasanjo, he, however, said his disagreements with Obasanjo back then when they were in office is one of the factors that cost him victory in his bid for the presidency in 2011.
On the printing of new currency by the Central Bank of Nigeria under the current administration, Atiku said he knows nothing about it.
But on the issue of Nigerian oil refineries, the ex-VP 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.”
He added that private investors have the capacity to overhaul the refineries and making them functional at all times.
Turning to 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.
On the internal squabbles rocking the PDP, Atiku 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. We leave the dislocations to the dust bin of history,” he explained.
He further explained that he doesn’t support the removal of the party chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, as this 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 elections season,” Atiku said, while expressing confidence that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would be preside over free and fair elections in February next year.
“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 Buhari has assured us that he would allow a transparent, free and fair elections to be conducted in 2023,” Atiku told the VOA.
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