12 September 2017

Nigeria: Why Nigerians Think I'm a Thief - Atiku

Photo: The Guardian
Former vice president Atiku Abubakar.

In a bid to dispute the notion that he is corrupt held by some Nigerians, former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, on Monday said he had never stolen a 'kobo' of the nation's resources while he held leadership positions.

Mr. Atiku, who is believed to be nursing a presidential ambition come 2019, said during a facility tour of the new ultra-modern Yaliam Press Limited in Jabi area of Abuja on Monday that all he had garnered in life was as a result of hard work

Mr. Atiku is believed to be one of the wealthiest politicians in Nigeria and also partly bankrolled the campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.

He recently caused a ripple in the polity when he slammed the ruling party, All Progress Congress, APC, for abandoning him after his support towards the party's clinching of the presidency in 2015.

Mr. Atiku said that Nigerians believed that he was corrupt because they "always assume that a man cannot build himself without stealing."

"It is sickening to continue to regurgitate allegations of corruption against me by people who have failed to come forward with a single shred of evidence of my misconduct while in office," he said.

"People who are bereft of ideas about entrepreneurial spirit always think that everyone else is a thief just like them.

"If Atiku is a thief merely because of his resourcefulness and successful investments, my political enemies should tell Nigerians the sources of their own stupendous wealth."

The former vice president challenged anybody who had evidence that he stole a kobo while he was head of Customs or during his tenure as vice president "to confront him with evidence or file a petition against him."

"I will shock everyone because I believe that I will fight corruption like never before."

Mr. Atiku also commented on William Jefferson trial in the US where he was reportedly linked to corrupt acts.

"Despite previous desperate efforts to link me with corruption, the William Jefferson trial in the United States ended in 2009 without indicting me or linking me to corrupt activities."

He vowed to fight corruption like never before if given the chance to preside over Nigeria's affairs.

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