Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, has picked President Muhammadu Buhari, his current boss, over Atiku Abubakar, his former boss whom he served between 2003 and 2015, as the 2019 presidential contest continues gathering steam.

Shehu had been faced with a loyalty dilemma since Atiku emerged candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the presidential primary concluded on Sunday, since he earned a spot in Buhari’s cabinet in the first place because he headed Atiku’s media team meritoriously until the point when Buhari won the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential ticket before the 2015 presidential election.

Following former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s endorsement of Atiku in Abeokuta on Thursday, Shehu released his first statement since Atiku’s emergence, leaving no one in doubt of his stance ahead of 2019.

“It is just eleven years ago that the former President and Vice President in their ugly fight for power accused each other of corruption. Nigerians are yet to forget all that,” he wrote — and that was after he had affirmed that both Atiku and Obasanjo “will lose together”.

THE FULL STATEMENT

The Presidency has received the news of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s predictable U-turn and somersault on the endorsement of the PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar, at a meeting Thursday, and to say that we are the least surprised by the well-rehearsed theatre.

They will lose together. Listening to the prepared statement of the former President after the meeting showed the usual ego trip and “I know it all” character of Chief Obasanjo.

In the first place, we dare to say that a pompous statement from the former President advising Nigerians on a vote against President Buhari is the best recommendation that can come at this time.

It also betrayed a lack of understanding of today’s politics which is about good governance.

The country voted for change in 2015 and a leader that ensures good governance which only President Buhari and the APC can provide.

Bent on these laudable goals, we will not allow ourselves to be distracted.

We are busy on various national issues including the restructuring and the diversification of the economy, fighting corruption, terrorism and other threats to national security; increasing the availability of electric power, improving education, health, and providing long-delayed infrastructure – roads, rail, airports and so forth.

Many governments have come and gone, but they did not care about some of these projects.

We were talking about these things for sixteen years under the PDP and nothing was done.

President Buhari is proud of his record because his achievements are verifiable, while that of the PDP is manifested by the devastating social and economic impact of large scale corruption during their governance.

The President will not relent in the war against corruption because the ordinary people are the ultimate victims if we surrender to corruption and let its perpetrators go unpunished.

Abandoning the war against corruption is not an option. President Buhari is in this battle against graft because he cannot allow a few, rapacious, and selfish class of the elite to divert the resources meant for the well-being of the ordinary people to their private pockets.

Nigerians trust President Buhari in this effort because they are convinced he is not in government for personal financial benefits, or for an ego trip. It is just eleven years ago that the former President and Vice President in their ugly fight for power accused each other of corruption. Nigerians are yet to forget all that.

GARBA SHEHU

Senior Special Assistant to the President

(Media & Publicity)

October 11, 2018

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