I’ve reconciled with Obasanjo, Atiku tells Catholic Bishops

A presidential aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives
Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar has declared that he has fully reconciled
with his former boss, former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Speaking in a statement from his media office, the former Vice
President also identified waste, poor management and failure to
diversify the economy by the current administration as the reason for
the adverse economic impact of the fall in oil price.

Atiku affirmed at an interactive session with the Catholic Bishops
of Nigeria Conference (CBNC) that there is no animosity left in the
relationship with his former boss and that bygones are bygones.
Atiku made this revelation at a parley he held with representatives of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria in Abuja.

He made the declaration in reaction to the anxiety expressed by the
Most Reverend Anthony Obinna, Archbishop of Owerri and his counterpart
from Calabar, the Most Reverend Joseph Ekuwem. Both Clergymen expressed
disappointment at the celebrated face-off between these two men when
they were in power as President and Vice President between 1999 -2003.

Obinna said that in 1999, both Obasanjo and Atiku started well to
the admiration and high expectation of Nigerians, only for the people to
be disappointed when rift and ill-will developed between them thereby
derailing the progress of the nation.

Obinna lamented that the political elite has failed the nation
tracing today’s problem of insecurity and corruption to the failure of
the political elite. He asked the former Vice President to assure the
nation’s Catholics that the rift is over and that such would not occur
again.

Describing the Turaki Adamawa as an open-minded individual, the
Archbishop of Owerri said he is impressed by Atiku’s interest and
commitment to national unity and fairness.

Responding to the concerns of the Clergy men on the insurgency
ravaging the country, and the accompanying insecurity, the APC
presidential front-runner told the CNBC led by the Most Reverend (Dr.)
Ignatius Kaigama that it is the duty of the political and military
leadership to crush insurgency whenever and wherever it rears its ugly
head.

Atiku reminded the Bishops that when he was in government with
Obasanjo as President, an insurgent group, known then as Nigerian
Taliban started problem in the North east but was crushed within three
weeks.

The APC presidential aspirant revealed that the Obasanjo
administration in which he was the deputy moved so fast to uproot the
insurgents that many Nigerians till today do not even remember there was
an insurgency.

He also said that aside crushing insurgency through leadership, the
leader should also mobilize resources to provide socio-economic
opportunities and an enabling environment to keep youths and the
able-bodied productively engaged while the military need training and
re-training to make them efficient.

Speaking on the state of the economy, the APC presidential aspirant
said that had we been able to diversify and manage our economy in such a
way that we conserve rather than waste our resources in surplus years,
the present austerity measure would not be necessary.

According to the former Vice President, period of boom and austerity
occur in circles in capitalist economies but to minimize the impact and
ensure that the citizens do not suffer during the drought years depends
on what the leadership did with the years of plenty.

The APC presidential hopeful recalled the years of his Vice
Presidency when the administration he served in was moved to create the
Sovereign Wealth Fund by the desire to have a fallback position for the
nation’s economy. He said the idea behind the Fund is to have a pool
where excess resources can be pooled to take care of the years of
drought.

Atiku revealed that it was also this problem and the need to
streamline the country’s alarming debt profile when he was in power with
former President Obasanjo that compelled him to get the World Bank to
assign then Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to join his economic team in the
Presidency to locate and collate the country’s actual debt for
liquidation.

He said the current Minister of Finance worked in his office for
nine months and that the effort culminated in the establishment of the
Debt Management Office (DMO).

He stated that careful management of resources and diversification
of the economy is the responsibility of a committed and focused
leadership and urged Nigerians to use the opportunity of the 2015 polls
to choose the right person and political party to lead the country.

He identified the issue of indigeneship as a serious impediment to unity among Nigerians.
Atiku said the prevailing situation where young and innocent Nigerians
who are born in places other than where their parents come from and who
have spent their entire lives in those parts of the country are
discriminated against as non- indigenes is not good for the country.

He said everything must be done by political, community and
religious leaders to combat the issue of indigeneship and allow Nigerian
citizens no matter their ethnic origin to be free in any part of the
country they were born or reside.

The Turaki Adamawa told the Bishops that it is unfortunate that a
Nigerian would go to the US or some European country to give birth to a
child and the later would instantly acquire American citizenship while
in Nigeria, indigeneship question dominate our discourse.

He called on religious leaders to preach against this issue and
encourage their congregation to love one another and promote national
unity

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