Federal government yesterday said although former President Olusegun Obasanjo has lent support to former Vice-President Atiku abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), such support was no guarantee of victory for Atiku.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who spoke on Monday in Abuja, boasted that Atiku “will be defeated roundly and comprehensively when the results of the election would have been counted”.
He explained that even though it was Obasanjo’s constitutional right to support any candidate of his choice, “we urge him to go out and campaign vigorously for any candidate he wants to support.
“He has not hidden his preference for the PDP candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and we wish him very best of luck.
“However, I want to assure you that his candidate will be defeated roundly and comprehensively. It is not about endorsement, endorsement does not win election” the minister said.
Lai Mohammed equally reacted to a statement credited to the former president that, “only a fool will sit on the fence when his or her country is being destroyed with incompetence, corruption lack of focus, insecurity nepotism and brazen impunity,” insisting that Obasanjo was not properly briefed on the development in the country to have made such conclusions.
“The facts are all there that this government has done more than any other governments in three and half years,” he said.
On the war against corruption, the minister said government had put in place institutional reforms which had confirmed its sincerity and commitment to fighting the menace.
“It is not about putting people in jail but what are the things put in place to address this endemic problem.
“Take the example of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) which was not initiated by this government. It is only the Buhari administration that has the political will to implement it.
“Before we came in, there were over 22,000 government accounts in various banks. But since we came, we reduced it to one account and from 2015 to date, N8.9 trillion has passed through the TSA which is as a result of transparency and accountability”.
The minister said even with lean resources, the Buhari administration had spent more on infrastructure than the 16 years of the PDP administrations.
He said there was no state in the country without one or two infrastructure development being embarked upon by the federal government.
The minister said the administration had commissioned the Abuja to Kaduna standard rail guage, while the 156 km Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge would be ready for commissioning in March next year.
He added that government had made fund available for five critical infrastructure projects including the Mambila power project, the East-West Road, the second Niger bridge, the Abuja–Kano, and Abuja-Lokoja-Okene highways.
Mohammed said the efforts of the administration in diversifying the economy from oil had yielded fruits with achievement in agriculture, particularly in rice production and solid mineral sectors.