Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has reacted to reports that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC traced N50million to the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library belonging to his son-in-law, Babalele Abdullahi.
The former vice president, however, in a statement accused the anti-graft agency of deliberately allowing itself to be used as an enforcement or propaganda agency of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
According to Mr Atiku, no amount of such black mail could silence Mr Obasanjo’s voice against the misrule of the ruling party.
The statement read: “It has come to our attention that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is feeding members of the media with deliberate falsehoods in an attempt to cause disaffection and bad blood between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his former deputy, Atiku Abubakar, on one hand, and between former President Obasanjo and Nigerians in general.
“Patriotic journalists, alarmed by the wickedness of the EFCC’s underhand and unprofessional actions, have exposed their dastardly plans to us and we are indeed disappointed at the EFCC.
“An action such as this is tantamount to a river denying its own source, since Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is the fountain of origin of the EFCC, seeing as he founded the institution and nurtured it to maturity.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Mallam Babalele Abdullahi, Atiku Abubakar’s son-in-law, did not donate any money in cash to the Olusegun Obasanjo Library.
“Yes, he did facilitate a donation of fifty million naira to the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, but so did many other individuals, including civic-minded traditional rulers, state Governors, bankers and captains of industry.
“This is because the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library is a non-governmental organisation that plays a pivotal role in promoting peace and stability in Nigeria, and that should be applauded.
“Unlike another past leader, who did not improve himself or Nigeria after leaving office, but sat down nursing grudges and plotting revenge, former President Olusegun Obasanjo improved himself and Nigeria by authoring books, founding international think tanks and engaging in peace and capacity building efforts.
“Donations to institutions set up to promote peace in Nigeria and Africa are to be commended, not criminalised. Presidential libraries in America and other parts of the world are similarly funded by donations from civic-minded individuals.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Mallam Abdullahi’s donation of fifty million naira was made via a bank transfer, in full compliance with the law. He did not donate or make any payment in cash, as the EFCC is erroneously and salaciously misleading the public.
“Furthermore, the sources of these funds are completely legitimate and have been conclusively proven to the EFCC. It is instructive to note that even the EFCC has not once claimed these funds to be the proceeds of any illegal activity whatsoever.
“The truth is that there is desperation on the part of the current administration to rope in former President Olusegun Obasanjo into a crime as a way of silencing his voice, which they see as the preeminent critical voice against the misrule that they have foisted on Nigerians.
“This is why they asked the Federal Inland Revenue Service to falsely and libelously include his name in a published list of tax evaders, along with the names of other Peoples Democratic Party sympathisers, such as prominent international singer and pride of Nigeria, Davido, who played a prominent role in PDP’s gubernatorial campaign in Osun state, for which he is being punished.
“We are therefore calling on Nigerians to be watchful for false and misleading stories planted in the media by the EFCC against Atiku Abubakar, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and other persons deemed to be opponents of this government.
“Let it be known that former President Olusegun Obasanjo established the EFCC to be an investigative body and not a propaganda or enforcement arm of the ruling party, as it is now being misused.
“May we also add that whenever the EFCC wish to come up with mischief, they fly their kite in The Nation Newspaper. This is now a pattern.
“It should be clear to Nigerians that the Presidency, APC, the EFCC, The FIRS and The Nation are now working together as five fingers of the same leprous hands.”