The Presidency on Wednesday denied former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar’s depiction of President Muhammadu Buhari as an “uncompromising” and a “power-drunk” retired general.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said in a statement that while Buhari, who is on a working visit to China, “is uncompromising against corruption, he is not power-drunk.”
Atiku, who recently dumped the All Progressives Congress to return to his former party, the Peoples Democratic Party, in his bid to pursue his presidential ambition ahead of the 2019 election, was quoted to have made the comment critical of President Buhari in an AFP report.
The AFP report said Atiku expressed fear about the forthcoming general elections which he said might not be free and fair under Buhari as President.
He described Buhari as “very uncompromising, also power-drunk; (and) who will not be ready to leave power without a fight.”
A few days ago, Atiku had criticised Buhari’s deputy, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, for the comment on restructuring which he made while speaking to an audience in the United States of America.
But Osinbajo, had in a letter he personally signed, debunked Atiku’s comment further clarifying his stance and flaunting his credentials as one who had successfully contributed to the deepening of fiscal federalism in Nigeria.
Responding to Atiku’s critical comment of Buhari’s democratic profile, on Wednesday, Adesina said the former VP was only trying to use Buhari’s name to buoy his bid to get the presidential ticket of the PDP, which he said was still mourning the defeat it suffered in the 2015 election.
He stated, “Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, was quoted by a foreign news medium as accusing President Muhammadu Buhari of being “very uncompromising, also power-drunk; (and) who will not be ready to leave power without a fight.”
“Rather than use the name of President Buhari to buoy his bid to get the presidential ticket of a party, whose flag has been flying at half-mast since it got roundly trounced at the polls in 2015, the former Vice-President needs be told that the President is truly uncompromising, but only when it comes to looting the common patrimony of Nigerians, and squandering their riches.
“President Buhari is uncompromising in the quest to restore probity and accountability to public office. He is uncompromising in cleaning the rot Nigeria was consigned into pre-2015, thus the war against corruption is being fought without fear or favour.
“The President is equally resolute in the determination to ensure that Nigeria is no longer a mono-economy, depending only on oil.
“Yes, President Buhari is single-minded in effecting change in every area of Nigerian life. So, Alhaji Abubakar is right, if that was what he meant by the President being “uncompromising.”
“But power drunk? No! And being a man “who will not be ready to leave power without a fight?” Never! Not President Buhari, who has demonstrated in many ways that he is a committed democrat, though also a retired military general. He has no apologies for that. Through a sterling military career, he served Nigeria with his heart and might, before venturing into partisan politics.”
Adesina said, contrary to Atiku’s claim, Buhari had wielded power with decency, advising him to borrow a leaf from the decorous language employed by Vice-President Osinbajo in debunking his recent press statement on the restructuring debate.
He said, “In many ways, President Buhari has wielded power with decency, and as a means of serving the people, rather than for personal ends. If there’s one person not intoxicated by power, it is President Buhari, and scores of millions of Nigerians know this.
“That is why they will invest him with power again next year, knowing that he won’t misuse or misapply what has been entrusted to him.”
“Former VP Abubakar may want to borrow a leaf from the decorous language employed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, in answering his recent press statement on the restructuring debate.
“That is the hallmark of statesmen, and not crying wolf where none exists, which is what the allegation of being uncompromising and power drunk truly is.”
He also refuted Atiku’s comment that Buhari would not leave power in case he was defeated without a fight.
Adesina stated, “President Buhari is actuated by service to the country, and nothing else. So, there couldn’t be anything like “not ready to leave power without a fight.”
“Indeed, the insinuation of a fight is the mindset of a man who is either undemocratic, or has seen defeat staring him, and his party, in the face.
“Let the former Vice-President rest assured that there will be no ‘fight’ over power in Nigeria.
“Not under President Buhari’s watch. The people don’t want a fight. It is some political leaders we must beseech to eschew pugnacity and mind their language.”