Following his resignation from the ruling All Progressives Party (APC), former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, has boasted he is not afraid to confront President Muhammadu Buhari at the polls, even as he denied insinuations that he wanted to be the president of the country at all costs.
He, however, insisted that he would not allow incompetent people to run down the country when God had given him the talent and wherewithal to lead the country.
Atiku, in a one-on-one interactive session with the publisher of Ovation Magazine, Dele Momodu, accused President Buhari of turning the APC into a one-man party, saying that his decision to dump the ruling party was not borne out of desperation to become the president.
He said there was nothing wrong with the move, noting that political parties in the country “are yet to mature and are going through constant transformations and changes,” a development he said was the reason even President Buhari had been able to move from party to party, including the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and now the ruling Party, APC.
“There is nothing wrong with it. Ours is a fledgling democracy. What it means is that political parties are yet to mature and are going through constant transformations and changes.
“That is why even President Buhari has been able to move from party to party, including ANPP, CPC and now APC. And for those who read about world history and political books like I do, they will know that Abraham Lincoln, Sir Winston Churchill and others went through so much before achieving their dreams,” Atiku said.
The former vice-president, who accused Buhari of running the APC like a one-man party, said the president was no longer interested in the party that made him president and that nobody could confront him with the truth.
He said: “After Buhari won the election, he was no longer interested in the party that made him president. Every activity stopped and even the party chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, could not take any decision. I called Chief Odigie-Oyegun to tell him that our party was dying slowly, but he told me he could not do anything unless he got clearance from the president.
“The party became a one-man property. Everyone grumbles behind the president but they are too timid to raise a voice against the illegalities being perpetrated. I should be bold enough to know what I want, and can do so at my age. So, I decided to leave.”
Atiku, who, for the umpteenth time, denied corruption allegations being linked to him and challenged anyone with evidence of corruption against him to come forward with it, said: “I am sure they would have combed everywhere trying to find anything incriminating against me but they have not found it or they are still searching. I’m throwing that challenge again, let them bring out whatever they have on me.”
On insinuations that he was running away from the United States of America over corruption allegations, Atiku maintained that it remained the sole prerogative of USA to determine who they want in their country or not, insisting that he was not running away from the US.
He said he did not commit any offence that was capable of denying him entry into the country by the US government.
The former vice-president noted that though he had not formally declared for any party, the PDP was waiting to welcome him back into the party he co-founded with others at the end of the military rule.
“Nothing is absolutely certain in this life, but PDP needs a candidate with brightest chance and that can only come from someone, who has major experience, exposure, knowledge about running an economy, who is a nationalist and not a sectionalist and whose brand cannot be intimidated by that of the current President. If PDP picks a weak candidate, then the party is doomed,” he said.