The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 elections, Atiku Abubakar, on Sunday night, December 4, refused to pledge to use Nigeria’s public health system if he is elected the country’s leader.
Atiku spoke during the Arise TV Presidential Town Hall in which he appeared alongside Labour Party’s Peter Obi as well as the New Nigeria’s People Party’s Rabiu Kwankwaso.
Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the ruling APC, had earlier said he would boycott the event as well as other similar ones.
The candidates had been asked to commit to declaring their health status to the public; while also pledging to use the country’s public health system.
Mr Kwankwaso gave affirmative responses to both questions. So did Mr Obi, who added he used public facilities he built as governor of Anambra.
In Atiku’s case, he said he would disclose his health status.
“The facility that will cater to my health…I will not,” said Atiku; who was Nigeria’s Number 2 between 1999 and 2007. “We have limitations, you know.”
“Yes, I have,” he said, indicating he has his health status report and would disclose it.
Then, following two reminders, he tried to evade the question by saying only “I have” repeatedly.
However, the host’s insistence forced him to talk and he refused to commit to using the country’s public health system as a president.
Earlier in the conversations, Atiku shed light on the crisis rocking the disbursement of funds from the Federal Government; as well as how such funds were being managed between states and their local government authorities.
Atiku said the problem began while he was serving as the Vice President of the country; saying he headed the local government administration where he had ensured that local government funds were transferred directly to the local government accounts.
Atiku said, “When I assumed office in 1999, what was handed over to me was the local government administration. When it was handed over to me, I gave instructions to the Accountant General; that all local government allocations should be transferred to the local governments straight. After implementing that policy for nine months, the governors protested that that was not constitutional.”