A pro-democracy group, Rebirth Nigeria Leadership and Good Governance Initiative has raised questions concerning the income declaration made by the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, saying it is filled with irregularities that needs further probing
It would be recalled that the PDP presidential candidate had declared N60.2 million as his income over a three year period, but the group said the former vice president is worth more than and trying to deceive Nigerians or to help him avoid paying the right taxes to the government
Addressing journalists in Abuja, national president of the group, Comrade Olugbenro Ogunoye said the amount Atiku declared will not even be enough to cover the number of trips he makes to the Gulf States in a year, explaining that a return first class ticket averages N3.5m to Dubai and considering the number of times he travels there the arithmetic is glaring.
He said Atiku was not under any obligation to declare his income to the INEC but that he could go to the extent to mislead the electoral body with his earnings, calls for concern.
He said, “The amount of money the PDP presidential candidate doles out to urchins and political thugs, even before the start of electioneering, on a monthly basis is way more than N20 million.
“We do not want to go into the details of the dollar rain he made to fall at the convention that produced him as PDP’s candidate. Is he trying to tell us that he gave out the equivalent of his one year income to three delegates? He must have been working for ten thousand years to pull that feat.
“Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s worth had been estimated at about $1.4 billion while his loyalists had touted his business acumen citing investments in media, shipping, education, manufacturing and other areas. If these businesses, in addition to his pension as a former vice president, cannot lift his annual earnings above N20 million then something is cardinally wrong with his business sense. Either the books are being cooked up to project losses and avoid paying the correct taxes or he is in reality a bad and lousy businessman that should not be allowed anywhere near the economy.
“The myth of Atiku Abubakar being a business maverick has thus been forever shattered because even those running enterprises that are a tenth of his business empire earn more than N20 million annually as personal income and their businesses are not suffering.”
Agibi said though, the issues are legal requirements, but on moral grounds, Atiku should declare his assets with a realistic declaration of his income included as a sign of respect to the people he is soliciting votes from.
According to him, “his companies must then submit to independent audit to verify the extent to which the books have been tampered with such that their owner is unable to earn up to N2 million monthly.
“We know his fanatical followers will try trivialize these issues because they will vote for him to get corruption money flowing again; but we think those that have voter’s cards and have not been tainted with his questionable wealth have a right to ask questions and get answers.”