The camp of ex-Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has described Chief Bisi Akande, the pioneer National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as “a lapdog” of Bola Tinubu, the APC National Leader.
Akande and Tinubu were elected governors on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) in 1999 but while Akande and other AD governors lost reelection in 2003, Tinubu survived the anti-AD campaign believed to have been spearheaded by ex-President, Olusegun Obasanjo.
In his autobiography, ‘My Participations’, Akande, who was the National Chairman of the Action Congress (AC) at the time Atiku contested the Presidential poll on the platform of the party in 2007, said Tinubu funded the party.
“Anytime we said we needed money, Atiku would say ‘Bola, please help us’. Bola was the only one spending the money among us. The rest of us were poor. Tinubu also put all his energy and resources into the formation of the AC,” Akande wrote.
But responding, Paul Ibe, spokesman for Atiku, said such was not a big deal because, at the time, Atiku and Tinubu belonged to the same camp.
He said if Atiku was demanding money, it was not for his personal use.
He said, “As at that time, Tinubu and Atiku were of the same stock, political family. So what’s the story there?” Ibe told Daily Trust.
“If they were not members of the AC then, like Asiwaju Tinubu and other stakeholders in the AC, who was going to fund the campaign? It was a presidential election that was run with Atiku Abubakar as a candidate. It is not about him as an individual. Campaigns are funded. Were you going to expect another party to fund it or other stakeholders from another party to fund it?
“It has to be funded by members of that party and the last time I checked from history, Asiwaju Tinubu was a major stakeholder of that party. If Chief Bisi Akande, with all due respect to him, has chosen to be a lapdog of Asiwaju, all well and good to him.
“But if people are recounting history, it must be put in proper perspective, otherwise what is being recounted can only amount to mischief. As at that time, Asiwaju and Atiku found themselves in the same political party. So if there was funding to be made, it had to be made by stakeholders and members of that party; Tinubu was a member and founder of AC.
“The Presidential campaign was not about Atiku Abubakar. It was about advancing the interest of the AC as a party. That’s it. Let us try and put this thing in proper perspective so that it doesn’t appear as if Atiku was asking him money for something else. He has to fund the party and there is no big deal in that. People fund parties.”
Ibe further said Atiku also invested heavily in AC at the time, saying Akande could possibly be suffering from “selective amnesia.”
“Atiku was a standard-bearer and everything was geared towards the promotion of the interest of the party. So, it is expected that members of the party, major stakeholders would fund that campaign. Make no mistake about it, Atiku Abubakar as a candidate was also a major funder of that campaign.
“For Baba Bisi Akande to single out Tinubu as somebody who contributed resources is like mischief, it’s like selective amnesia. Apart from Atiku as a major funder, there were also other individuals who contributed to the funding of that Presidential campaign.
“So there was no need to single out any individual that may have contributed money. So make no mistake about it, that was exactly what happened. It’s their responsibility, there was nothing abnormal about that situation. The party funds its campaign, outsiders would not do that.
“Tinubu may have contributed to that campaign, he was also a major stakeholder in the party. So there was no need, except if the intendment was for mischief … for Bisi Akande to only identify Tinubu as the sole funder. It wasn’t like that.”
SaharaReporters, New York