Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has issued  a strong response to the ‘State of the Nation’ address by the presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, describing it as a “classic case of self-incrimination” and full of misrepresentations. 

He also maligned the former vice-president for acting in tandem with former president Obasanjo in disregarding the rule of law and depriving Lagos State of funds due to it.

On Atiku’s claim of being a life-long defender of democracy, Tinubu reminded Atiku that he was one of the cheer-leaders of Abacha’s five political parties during the dictator’s maximum rule.

Tinubu’s full statement:

“The PDP’s presidential candidate, former Vice President Atiku, recently made comments regarding suspension of CJN Onnoghen. Atiku’s release is entitled “State of the nation address”.

“I encourage everyone to read it. In its disregard for the truth and patent misrepresentations, it will go down in political history as a classic of self-incrimination.

“Atiku thinks the piece exalts him. Instead it evinces his penchant for wilful misstatement that make him unfit for the office he now seeks and has always coveted.

“In the statement, he claims to have dedicated all his life to the defense of democracy. Those of you who know him, and even those who don’t, know this is not true.

“If all of his life has been dedicated to support for democracy, then he is far too young to run for president; however, I must congratulate him for having somehow managed to find or begin a second life.

“His previous life of over seventy years was one of skirting democracy and of blatant impunity in attempting to enshrine reactionary government and installing an unjust political economy on the backs of the people.

“When you lorded over Nigeria in tandem with President Obasanjo, there were myriad court orders mandating that your government render to Lagos state the funds due it to improve the lives of its millions of inhabitants.

“Instead, you gladly and without dispute joined Obasanjo in utter disregard for these unambiguous legal verdicts. In so doing, you demeaned the rule of law.

“You also readily sacrificed the economic development and welfare of millions of innocent people in Lagos just to gain some illicit political advantage that proved to be fleeting and of no avail to you in the end.

“You now speak of democracy and the need for executive restraint. But such verbal finery never crossed your lips or traversed your pen when you and Obasanjo improperly removed Senate Presidents.

“Your love for democracy is such that you were recently observed apologising to the PDP for not rigging the Lagos 2003 gubernatorial polls as you did the polls in the other South-western states.

“Instead of repenting for rigging at least five states too many, your expressed regret was that you had not rigged enough; that you rigged one state less than the complete mauling of democracy your party and your principal had mandated.

“Strange that you would choose to depict the current situation so inaccurately as to stir emotions unduly. You claim that CJN Onnoghen has been removed. However, this is not so. He has been temporarily suspended.

“You and your advisors should know and recognize the vast legal difference between “suspension” and “removal.” Yet you persist in conflating the two in what you say is a pursuit of justice. While true you may be in pursuit of something. It is not justice.

“If justice was your goal, you would acknowledge that the CJN has only been temporarily suspended not permanently removed.

“Thus, your recourse to saying that the president violated the constitutional provision regarding the removal of a CJN is inaccurate in that Buhari never intended to remove the CJN.

“What he has done is to have the CJN temporarily get out of his chair so that the serious matters against him can be heard by someone other than himself.

“Should the charges show themselves to be wrong or unproven, the CJN will be automatically reinstated as the head of the Nigerian judiciary.

“However, for Atiku to state that the CJN should remain on seat while credible and grave charges swirl around him is to put the entire workings of the Supreme Court under a heavy cloud.

“It is ironic that Atiku of all people throw such darts at President Buhari. Buhari actually exercised considerable restraint in this matter. He has reasonably balanced concerns about the integrity of the judiciary with concerns for the individual rights of the accused.

“Nothing has been taken from the CJN that cannot be restored if the facts warrant such restoration. Thus, President Buhari conditionally suspended the CJN.

“By doing so, this allows for the case to move forward without the CCT or others fearing the CJN might use his position to unduly interfere with proceedings.If the CJN is exonerated, then he will return to his position.If not exonerated, then a permanent discipline awaits him.

“Atiku claims to be a democrat and defender of democracy, but where was he, his voice and action during Abacha’s suffocating maximum rule? Was he not a member and cheer-leader of one of the five Abacha parties aptly described then as five leprous fingers of Abacha?

“Dare Atiku say what is really upsetting him and what he really is hiding in his attempt to cloak his lifetime of undemocratic reckonings in the swaddling of this much too belated democratic second birth he now claims for himself”.

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu January 29, 2019.

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