Ownership of one of the telecom companies in the country, Etisalat, has become a subject of controversy as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar has demanded a probe into its ownership.
This is as he has also asked questions as to President Muhammad Buhari part ownership of Keystone bank PLC
The former vice president in a statement by his spokesman, Phrank Shaibu, said the call was necessary “in view of reports that members of President Muhammadu Buhari’s family now own substantial share in Etisalat Nigeria which has an estimated $2 billion (about N727 billion at 360 per dollar) of its estimated $20 billion global net worth.”
The Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has called on the appropriate authorities to urgently institute a probe to unravel the hidden faces behind the new ownership structure of multi-billion naira telecoms giant, Etisalat Nigeria, as well as Keystone Bank.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday, the Special Assistant to Atiku on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, said such a probe was necessary in view of reports that members of President Muhammadu Buhari’s family now own substantial share in Etisalat Nigeria which has an estimated $2 billion (about N727 billion at 360 per dollar) of its estimated $20 billion global net worth.
Atiku also expressed shock at reports from unimpeachable sources that the first family now plays big in the nation’s financial sector after acquiring mouthwatering shares in Keystone Bank with total assets of $1.916 billion (equivalent to N307.5 billion) as well as purchasing about ₦3 billion worth of shares in the new Pakistani Islamic Bank.
“I know that last week was turbulent for President Buhari and I apologise for adding to his woes, but as he is insistent on the myth that he is spotless and anti-corrupt, If this is found to be true, this scandal would break every rule of corporate and public governance, since this will be the first time members of the first family will be openly involved in a once-in-a-lifetime deal that would make them all richer beyond their wildest dreams,” the statement said.
The accusation is coming amidst reported allegations in the media that the All Progressives Congress (APC) led federal government plans to use billions of Naira from the Anchor Borrowers Programme allocated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for farmers, using imaginary donations from 12 million farmers as a façade.
But the presidential candidate of the PDP advised President Buhari to shun the use of state resources and machinery for the upcoming 2019 presidential poll.
Specifically, Atiku said no farmer contributed any N1.7billion for Buhari’s re-election campaign, warning that APC’s decision to use monies meant for farmers to run his campaign is not tidy at all.
“The other day, a man who scored 15,424,921 votes to win the 2015 general election was reported to have been nominated by 14 million APC members at the Presidential primaries for 2019. Now, over 12 million farmers have donated to his campaign. Are they indirectly spewing out outrageous figures of people they intend to claim voted for them in the coming elections? Could that be why the President was flashing an occult double four hand signal that has gone viral?What did the hand signal mean? Does it mean that the President has jettisoned the idea of a free and fair election and telling Nigerians that no matter how they vote, he will return for a second term of four years? In any case , if the farmers who just took a loan through the borrowers anchor programme and have not liquidated the facility can donate this huge sum or any sum for that matter, it means the ‘Association of widows and children of all those slain by Boko Haram and herdsmen will donate N5billion to the Buhari campaign. In fact, the 23.1 million youth who lost their jobs between 2016 till date will donate about N12billion to the Buhari campaign.”
“Assuming but not even conceding that such a huge sum of money was donated to President Buhari by Nigerian farmers as his handlers would want Nigerians to believe, wouldn’t such donation be in contravention of Section 91 (9)of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) which says no individual or other entity shall donate more than N1m to an aspirant or a candidate,” Atiku said.
Section 91 (2) of the Electoral Act further states that a presidential candidate can spend a maximum of N1billion.
The law also recommends a fine of N1m or a prison term of 12months or both for any candidate that breaches the provisions of the Act.
‘We have no stand on whether or not President Buhari should run for office. That is his prerogative and that of his party. But we believe it is improper for public office holders to forcefully loot public funds, on behalf of a sitting president seeking a second term in office.
‘’What this means is that there is a ‘war chest’ which apparently is from the national coffers,’’ Atiku said.
He said if President Buhari wants to run for office next year, he should take only from monies sourced from donations by his campaign groups that are independent of government.
‘’Anything short of that – as is currently the case with the use of funds from the CBN meant for farmers will mean there will be no level playing field for all the candidates billed to contest for the presidency during next year’s presidential elections,’’ Atiku said