Presidency Slams Atiku’s Double Standards over Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway

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The Nigerian Presidency has fired back at former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, decrying his allegations of conflicts of interest surrounding the Lagos Calabar Coastal Highway.

The administration’s response was swift and direct, vehemently challenging Atiku’s accusations and exposing what they saw as the hypocrisy of his position given his own past controversies.

Atiku in a recent statement alleged that the highly coveted road project was awarded to Hi-Tech Company due to its owner Gilbert Chagoury having business ties with President Bola Tinubu.

He posited that these ties played a significant role in the project award, potentially compromising its impartiality and transparency.

The former Vice President also claimed that President Bola Tinubu’s son, Seyi holds a seat on the board of a company owned by Chagoury.

In his scathing criticism, he also pointed out the extensive demolition of building required for the highway project as a potential deterrent to foreign investment.

The presidency responding to Atiku’s incendiary claims on Monday, vehemently denied the allegations and further accused the ex VP of lacking moral authority to make such allegations.

The statement emphasized that Atiku’s own political history wasn’t immune to controversies and scandals.

In a strongly worded statement titled, ‘Atiku Abubakar’s penchant for distorting facts,’ President Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga  in a  statement called into question Atiku’s veracity and factual accuracy, challenging the legitimacy of his accusations against president Tinubu’s led administration.

The Presidency said, “We found it strange that Alhaji Atiku could accuse President Tinubu of conflict of interest in the award of Lagos-Calabar Coastal highway to Hitech Construction Company, which he claimed is owned by Chagoury family because the President’s son, Seyi Tinubu, sits on the board of CDK, a tiles manufacturing company, based in Sagamu, Ogun State.”

In a searing counter attack against the former Vice president, the presidency pointed  to Atiku’s allegedly compromised past, highlighting his formation of Intel Nigeria with an Italian business man while still an employee of the Nigerian Custom Service.

The statement posited that this partnership, made possible by what it described as blatant disregard for public service regulations, rendered Atiku unfit to make allegations of conflicts of Interest against President Bola Tinubu.

Presidency queried: “Was this not an abuse of office, a flagrant violation of his oath, that a company where he was a co-owner won major government contracts and concessions when he was vice president?”

It also accused the former VP of approving “sales of over 145 state-owned enterprises to his known friends and associates” as Chairman of the National Council on Privatisation.

The statement also defended Seyi Tinubu’s right to engage in lawful business pursuit both within and beyond the borders of Nigeria.

It affirmed that the 38 year old adult who joined CDK Board of Directors in 2018 was entitled to exercise his enterpreneural ambitions as long as he remains in the bounds of the law.

“The fact that his father is now the President of Nigeria does not disqualify Seyi from pursuing legitimate business interests,” it asserted, stating that “the Chagourys are minority shareholders in the company, and only one member of the clan is on its five-man board.”

It added, “We wonder how Seyi’s membership of the board of CDK conflicts with Hitech Construction Company’s work on the Lagos-Calabar Coastal superhighway.

“How can an elder statesman be waging a campaign of calumny against the economic fortunes and prosperity of a country he wishes to govern or trying to scuttle a project that will bring prosperity to nine coastal states and the nation in general?”

The Presidency also knocked Atiku’s claim that the demolition of buildings for the Lagos-Calabar highway would discourage investors.

 It affirmed “various sectors of Nigeria’s economy, such as telecoms, manufacturing, solid minerals, oil and gas, e-commerce, and fintech, are attracting new Foreign Direct Investments from discerning investors who know Nigeria is a good market for bountiful returns.”

The presidency rejected Atiku’s assertion claiming that instead of stifling foreign investment, Tinubu’s administration has attracted over $20bn into the economy within its first year.

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