LAGOS: Dikko, Atiku in alleged secret meeting

Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service(NCS), Alhaji Dikko Inde Abdullahi, reportedly met with retired Customs top shot and a former Vice President of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, for several hours at the Oriental Hotel in Lagos Tuesday last week.
Abdullahi, it will be recalled, was in Lagos that fateful day and for most of last week for a number of official Customs engagements.
However, quoting “our usually authoritative sources,” the Nigerian Pilot reported that “the embattled Dikko, who has been embroiled in controversy surrounding the expiration of his four-year tenure last August 18, met with Atiku in a closed door meeting which lasted late into the night. Details of the meeting were sketchy as at press time.”
The publication went on: “However, one source revealed that the meeting may not be unconnected to an evolving gang-up by Northern politicians and power brokers regarding political alignments ahead of the 2015 elections, taking into cognisance, the North’s insistence on producing the President in 2015.

“This is coming on the heels of the recent registration of the Peoples Democratic Movement, PDM as a political party and how it may affect the 2015 presidential election.
“However, since the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, announced the registration of PDM as a political party, Atiku has distanced himself from the action claiming he remains a loyal member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. It would be recalled that Atiku inherited the structures of leadership of the PDM at the demise of General Yar’ Adua, while many of its prominent members including himself were absorbed into the ruling party where they play important roles.
“Nevertheless, the implications of Atiku’s seeming oblique stance are not lost on observers and supporters of the President Goodluck Jonathan Administration who view the action as a calculated distraction to destabilise the political landscape. Very reliable sources close to the Presidency stated that while Atiku remains a member of the PDP, it is clear that the registration of the PDM is an effort to whittle the powers of the President and swing the candidacy to the North ahead of the 2015 elections.”

The Nigerian Pilot further reported: “Atiku who has not concealed his intention to vie for the PDP Presidential ticket in 2015
“President may contest in 2015 and may therefore chose to defect to the PDM in case he fails to be adopted as its Presidential candidate. This action may have dire consequences for the ruling party, as Atiku would seek to exploit the vast potential of the PDM which draws its membership from mainly the Northern elite of the PDP.
“Our sources also revealed that Atiku may employ a more strategic political coup by merging the PDM with the All Progressives Congress, APC which has already had a huge support base in the North in particular and on a nationwide scale.
“The PDM will prove to be a handy joker up the sleeve of the former Customs officer as a necessary platform to realize his ambition of emerging as a presidential candidate.

“The Turakin Adamawa has had a rocky relationship with PDP which he dumped in 2007 to unsuccessfully contest the presidential election under the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN. Since his return to the ruling party, he has continued to have issues, having been edged out in the 2011 presidential primaries by President Goodluck Jonathan.”
SHIPS & PORTS DAILY recalls that the NCS had in a full-page advertorial sighted in a national newspaper, dated August 29, 2013,and signed by the Public Relations Officer, Deputy Comptroller Wale Adeniyi, stated thus: “RE: OPEN LETTER TO MR. PRESIDENT
“The attention of the Comptroller-General of Customs has been drawn to an advert
Publication published on Tuesday 27th August, 2013 of the edition of Daily Sun Newspaper. On its face value, the publication purportedly signed by one Mohammed Rafiq, self-styled ‘International Businessman’ is presented as an open letter to His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR, President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, giving reasons for extension of the Comptroller General’s tenure in office.

“Reading between the lines of the full page advert however, it is not a difficult task to discover the incoherence, hypocrisy and factual erros glaringly pushed to the public to create mischief.
“First and foremost, the Comptroller-General Dikko Inde Abdullahi wishes to dissociate himself in clear terms from this self-styled ‘friend’. It is obvious that the issues of knowing or meeting him in the former Vice President’s office are all mere fabrications in pursuit of some hidden agenda.
It is regrettable that ‘Mohammed Rafiq’ had to concoct white lies to create confusion.
“First he claimed that His Excellency Alhaji Atiku Abubakar made the Comptroller-General ‘one of his aids’ (sic). This is an outright lie as the former Vice President had voluntarily resigned from the Nigeria Customs Service even before the Comptroller-General enlisted in 1988. The claim that he knew and met the Comptroller-General in Vice President’s office in August 1989 is fictitious. Turakin Adamawa was sworn-in as Vice President only on May 29, 1999.
“The request to Mr. President for tenure extension appears self-seeking and agenda setting. For all we know, the appointment of Comptroller-General of Customs has never been tied to any tenure. It therefore, appears strange that some mischief makers masquerading as friends are desperate to draw attention to precipitate an action.
We recall that recently, a group of faceless ‘friends’ took advert pages ‘to congratulate’ the Comptroller-General for the so-called extension. It is worrisome that the tactics of these “well wishers” is assuming a desperate and despicable dimension. We therefore call on Nigerians to discountenance their strategy aimed at creating mischief and confusion.”

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