Atiku says nothing new in leaked audio
The Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar told the BBC on Tuesday that he would accept defeat “in good faith” if he lost the February 25 Presidential election.
Mr. Abubakar, 76, has been running for President for at least 30 years. This is his sixth and probably the last shot at the Presidency.
Atiku spoke to the BBC mainly on the allegations of corruption and the recent attempt by the ruling All Progressives Congress to disqualify him through the courts.
Meanwhile, fresh allegations of corruption emerged after an audio purported to contain Mr. Abubakar’s voice leaked discussing plans to divert state funds and fund party affairs through a special purpose vehicle.
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However, Mr. Abubakar told the BBC that there was “nothing new” in the leaked audio but refused to confirm or deny that the voice in the leaked audio belonged to him.
He said: “That audio has disclosed nothing new.”
Atiku and corruption allegations
This is not the first time Mr. Abubakar has faced allegations of corruption. He featured prominently in the corruption trial of former U.S. Representative William Jefferson, who was accused of trying to bribe Atiku in an effort to expand a technology business in Nigeria. Jefferson was convicted in 2009 and sentenced to 13 years in prison.
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Separately, U.S. Senate investigators in 2010 alleged that one of Atiku’s four wives helped him transfer more than $40 million in “suspect funds” into the United States from offshore shell companies.
Also, as the chairman of the National Privatisation Council as a Vice President, Mr. Abubakar led a privatization exercise that was fraught with allegations of abuse and corruption. His team was alleged to have sold off government assets to his cronies at a bargain. One clear case was the Delta Steel Company, a rolling mill completed in 1980 for $1.5b. However, Mr. Abubakar-led National Council on Privatisation allegedly sold it for a paltry $30m.
Mr. Abubakar has consistently denied any wrongdoing and he was never tried or convicted of any corruption allegations in Nigeria.
This time, APC has started legal proceedings to get him off the ballot paper for the 25 February election over the leaked audio.