Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President, has declared that he never procured any property belonging to the Nigerian government despite been in charge of privatization while in power.
Abubakar said this while maintaining that he was a wealthy man before assuming the office of the Vice President in 1999.
He said though, most of those who participated in the privatization process were his friends, he never manipulated the system in their favour.
The Waziri of Adamawa also noted that while in power, he assembled the best economic team ever in Nigeria.
The Vice President said the team was made up majorly of young people, world class professionals, who were brought home from various foreign countries.
Responding to an open letter by stand-up Comedian, Francis Agoda aka, I Go Dye, the Waziri of Adamawa insisted that most of the young people he assembled are now “political leaders, governors and world leaders in their own right.”
In an article, the former Vice President, who recently defected back to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said most of the “professionals and ministers I brought in were in their 30s and early 40s.”
The article reads in part: “I think it’s important to address the accusation about my tenure as Vice President, that I did nothing for young people. Firstly, as VP, I can only be judged on the responsibilities I was given. A VP obviously is not the driver of government. For example, you can’t blame Prof Osinbajo for all that is going on with the current government. He can only do what he’s allowed to do.
“But let me speak about what you can judge me by, my assigned responsibilities. As VP, I assembled what is arguably the best Economic Team ever in Nigeria. It was made up of young, world class professionals, who came home to work. Some of those professionals are now political leaders, governors and world leaders in their own right.
“If you ask what our first task was, coming into government in 1999, it was to bring stability to the economy after decades of military rule. For example, between 1999 and 2003, oil prices then were hovering between $16 and $28 yet we managed to pay up salary arrears from decades back, clear up our national debts and built up foreign reserves. Our GDP grew at the fastest rate we’ve seen since the return to democracy.
“You mentioned that I never brought young people into leadership, but my record speaks differently. I have a proven record of bringing young, unknown professionals into service. Many of the professionals and ministers I brought in were in their 30s and early 40s. Some of those young leaders have become governors in their states. I went to the World Bank and met a bright lady, convinced her to come back home, and she became a star in our government. To show you we had effective leadership, the same lady could not replicate her exploits under a different government.
“I was also in charge of privatization and I have witnesses that I never interfered with the process. I never bought anything belonging to the government. I was quite wealthy before coming into government, with declared assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars in 1999; so it was understandable that many of the wealthy Nigerian business people who participated in the privatization programme were my friends. Did I use my influence to get them better deals? No. As the then DG of BPE testified under oath, I never used my position to interfere with his work.”