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General News of Wednesday, 11 January 2023


Come clean on your health status, new corruption allegations — APC tells Atiku

Atiku Abubakar Atiku Abubakar

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has challenged Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to come clean on his health status and speak on issues of corruption surrounding him.

The campaign specifically asked the PDP and the former Vice President to react to the allegations of corruption made by a former aide, Michael Achimugu.

Director of Media and Publicity of the APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), Bayo Onanuga, threw the challenge in a statement he issued on Wednesday in Abuja.

Mr Achimugu recently made some

claims on social media that Mr Atiku used the Special Purpose Vehicle scheme to collect funds from a former governor of Plateau State, Joshua Dariye, who was convicted for misappropriation of Ecological Fund. Mr Dariye has since been pardoned by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr Atiku served as vice president between 1999 and 2007, the same period Mr Dariye served as governor.

Furthermore, Mr Achimugu also released a voice record—purportedly to be a recorded conversation between him and the former Vice President. PREMIUM TIMES is yet to verify the authenticity of the audio.

Dino Melaye, the spokesperson of the Atiku campaign, in a video posted on Twitter, dismissed the allegations. He asked Mr Achimugu to provide evidence of ever working directly with Mr Atiku.

There have also been speculations on Atiku’s state of health, prompting the PDP to make some clarifications on the issue on Monday.

PDP speaks on Atiku’s health

This, he added, was especially because of the release of his audio clip where he “provided a vivid explanation into the modus operandi of his legendary corruption’.”

Mr Onanuga noted that so far, there had been no notable response from Atiku’s camp about the disturbing revelation, except for a futile attempt to disown whistle-blower, Michael Achimugu, an erstwhile media consultant to Atiku.

The APC PCC Director of Media and Publicity noted also that Nigerians were appalled that Atiku and the PDP merely shrugged off the bombshell.

He implored Nigerians to hold Atiku to account over the shocking revelation of rejecting him at the polls in February.

“Atiku is also not talking about his health status even when his hirelings daily make futile attempts to divert public attention to his main rival by cooking up lies upon lies.

“Whereas Atiku is the candidate that Nigerians should be sorely worried about, the lies of several years and the various diversionary tactics are no longer sustainable.

“Atiku’s edifice of lies is about to crash on him; the PDP presidential candidate is certainly not okay, the papering efforts notwithstanding,” Mr Onanuga stressed.

He stated that eyebrows were raised when Atiku did not return to Nigeria after the December holidays to continue his campaign for the country’s presidency having left the country on 21 December 2022.

“From the field of electioneering campaign, came a story by an online platform that Atiku was flown to London for treatment from his usual home in Dubai.

“The story has not been vigorously denied. We have it on good authority that Atiku indeed took ill.

“He was indeed in the UK for some medical help though handlers camouflaged that he was there on the invitation of some British officials at Whitehall,’’ Mr Onanuga stated.

He noted that despite efforts by Atiku’s handlers to showcase him as healthy and physically fit to endure the rigours of the presidential campaign, pictures from rallies belied the impression.

He stated that campaign pictures sometimes showed Atiku being helped to descend steps at stadia, adding that sometimes, he walked with an apparent handicap, dragging his feet.

Mr Onanuga added that the irrefutable insight into Atiku’s health status was the revelation by his divorced wife, Jennifer Douglas in 2022 that he was admitted to a German hospital for an operation, amid their bitter divorce.

In a viral letter published in February 2022, Jennifer quoted Atiku’s self-admission that he was in Germany for medicals, which explained why he was unable to retrieve his belongings from a Dubai house that Jennifer had taken over.

“A man who wants to rule Nigeria and wants Nigerians to repose some trust in him, must immediately and honestly address these twin issues: his health and his legendary corruption,’’ Mr Onanuga stressed.