By Emmanuel Mogbede, Abuja.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has challenged Alhaji 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.
Mr Bayo Onanuga, Director, Media and Publicity APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), threw the challenge in a statement he issued on Wednesday in Abuja.
“It’s time for Atiku Abubakar, the 76-year-old presidential candidate of the PDP, to come clean over two issues beclouding his campaign.
“His health status and his scandalous confession of how he colluded with his former boss, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to fleece the Nigerian treasury, using Special Purpose Vehicles as vice-president in 1999.
“If Atiku has some modicum of honour, he ought to have stepped down from the presidential race that he is bound to lose again,’’ he said.
Onanuga added that this was especially because of the release of his audio clip where he “provided a vivid explanation into the modus operandi of his legendary corruption’’.
He 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 the whistleblower, 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 by rejecting him at the polls in February.
Onanuga said: “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.”
Onanuga 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 since Dec. 21 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.’’
Onanuga noted that in spite of 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 as being helped to descend steps at stadia, adding that sometimes, he walked with apparent handicap, dragging his feet.
He 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 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,’’ Onanuga said.