The PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar and his vice Peter Obi were Wednesday 30 January grilled in a programme tagged ‘The Candidates’ trending as #NgTheCandidates and anchored by Ms. Kadaria Ahmad which took place at the Sheraton Hotel Abuja.

The event lasted for two hours from 8.00pm to 10.00pm.

‘The Candidates’ is a presidential town hall co-production between Daria Media and the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) with support from the MacArthur Foundation.

The Candidates provides a chance for candidates to respond to questions on why Nigerians should elect them as president in the forthcoming 16 February elections. Questions were asked by the anchorwoman, from the audience and from Nigerians across social media platforms.

Candidates of the three other parties, Kingsley Moghalu and Ummar Getso of YPP, incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and Yemi Osinbajo of APC, and Omoyele Sowore and Ahmed Rufai of ADC had previously attended the interview.

The interview with Mr. Atiku and Mr. Obi had long been awaited as Nigerians were anxious to ask them questions on their past record in office, their party manifesto and plans and weigh their responses against the incumbent President Buhari and his vice Osinbajo.

Why Nigerians should elect me? I am bringing a lot to the table. Amongst the candidates, I am the most experienced. I am bringing my business experience and I am a candidate for the future because I bridge the future and the present generations. – Atiku Abubakar

Atiku Grilled On Corruption & Conflict of Interests

Q- Kadaria Do you believe Nigeria has a corruption problem?

Ans- Atiku “Certainly, Nigeria has a corruption problem. There is no doubt about that. In my view, corruption is the use of your privileged position to either enrich yourself, your relatives or even your friends. In other words, abuse of office.”

Kadaria went further to probe Atiku’s time in office, beginning with his time as a Customs officer at the Apapa Ports and the setting up of a logistics company that did clearing and forwarding while he was a Customs officer. She also asked if Atiku would consider that an abuse of office.

Ans- Atiku “Well, it was an issue of share purchase. At that point, it was very very lawful for any public officer to purchase shares. You must remember — I don’t know how old you were — there was indigenization decree which was passed by the then military government which allowed public officers to legitimately acquire shares in the attempt to indigenise most of the companies that were operating at that time that were owned by expatriates.”

Responding to the question on the fact that the company was set up with another shareholder, an Italian, with the focus as clearing and logistics,

Ans- Atiku “It is not correct. The company was not registered as a clearing and forwarding agency at the time. It was a registered company to undertake logistics in oil and gas and that is what it still does, no more, no less.”

Q- Kadaria This company metamorphosed in 2006, and was given extended 25-year concession in some key ports in this country. But more than that, it was given monopoly for the oil and gas sector, at a time you were the Vice-President of Nigeria. Do you see that this could be a moral problem?

When you reduce Coporate tax, it creates incentives to investors that then employ more people, the people that are employed get taxed. – Atiku Abubakar

Ans- Atiku “Again, you’re very very incorrect. The issue of monopoly was not there. There were still companies that we met in the ports that were doing exactly what the company was doing. So, there is no question of monopoly. It is a complete misrepresentation of the facts. There was no monopoly at all. There was competition and there is still competition.”

Q- Kadaria This information is on your company website, by the way.

Ans- Atiku “You should have also crosschecked to see whether what the company is saying is correct or not”.

Q- Kadaria Your company made a mistake on whether you have a monopoly?

Ans- Atiku “It is possible”.

Peter Obi On Why He Invested $30m State Funds In  Family Business

Ex-Gov. Peter Obi answering questions to anchorwoman Kadaria Ahmed.

Vice presidential candidate Peter Obi, was grilled on why he invested $30million of Anambra State funds in a company owned by his family.

He stated this in response to a question by Kadaria Ahmed, host of ‘The Candidates’, a presidential town hall co-production between Daria Media and the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), with support from the MacArthur Foundation, held in Abuja on Wednesday.

He claimed that the company belonged to his parents, and he had no dealings in it after he became a public officer.

Ans- Obi “I brought International Breweries into Nigeria and as a Governor of a state, they built a greenfield facility in the state and they came to me and said ‘as our partner, we want you to own 15 per cent of this company’, and I said to them ‘No, right now, I am the Governor of a state. I know the future of this brewery, and I want the state to own 10 per cent and since I’m no longer involved in the company, they can own five per cent’. I put in $30million of state money there, it’s now worth $100million and it’s still there. No other state in this country has such investment.

“Personally, I have no investment; not even one Naira. Go to Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) today, if you will see Peter Obi as owner of one share; it doesn’t exist. Next is a family company started by my own parents and as their child, I ran it at a time, and when I became Governor, I had nothing to do with it till today.

Those who are in the PDP today are cleaner because they are not running from prosecution, those who have a bad record have moved on to the APC. – Peter Obi

“I also invested $50 million of Anambra State money in the power sector. I invested several billions in banks, including banks where I have shares. I was investing for the future of the state; it doesn’t matter whether I have shares or not. If I have the opportunity of building the future of the state, wouldn’t I have done that?

PDP party chiefs at the interview. [Lionel Imoke, Senate President Bukola Saraki and party boss Uche Secondus]
“I left office in this country, leaving Anambra State with investment in cash of N75billion. The day I left office, we had $56million, N12billion in Fidelity Bank; in Diamond Bank, $50million, N12 billion; in Access Bank, $50million, N12billion for Anambra State. Show me in the history of this country where anybody has left 10 per cent of that.”

On whether as governor he deported beggars to Akwa Ibom State as alleged in some quarters, Peter Obi said it was Lagos State Government that deported beggars to Anambra State and that never engage in retaliatory action to that effect.

Obi revealed that his wife hailed from Akwa Ibom State and that he would rather welcome needy persons from that part of the country, instead of deporting them.

If you’re a commander and I have given you all that you need in terms of equipment and the welfare for the troops and then you’re over run by insurgents, I will deal with you. – Atiku Abubakar

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