Presidency replies Atiku over Buhari power-drunk comment

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The Presidency has reacted to a comment by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who described President Muhammadu Buhari as being “uncompromising and power-drunk”.

Mr Abubakar said he was concerned about whether the 2019 elections will be free and fair with Mr Buhari in power.

In an interview with the AFP, Mr Abubakar, who is contesting the presidential election, said unlike former President Goodluck Jonathan, who peacefully relinquished power in 2015, the country is now dealing with “a retired general, very uncompromising, also power-drunk; who will not be ready to leave power without a fight.”

“The characters that are involved this time, as far as the leadership of this country is concerned, are different from 2015,” he was quoted by the AFP as saying.

In its response Wednesday, the Presidency said it agreed Mr Buhari was “uncompromising” in dealing with corruption, but denied he was “power-drunk”.

Read the statement released by presidential spokesperson Femi Adesina:

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.”

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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 about that. Through a sterling military career, he served Nigeria with his heart and might, before venturing into partisan politics.

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.

President Buhari is actuated by service to 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.

Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President
(Media and Publicity)
September 5, 2018

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