Sir, despite the fact that you are not holding any political office now, you have been junketing around the world and people keep guessing what purpose are all the trips meant to serve.
Junketing you said, no. Most of my trips abroad are not for pleasure. Most of the time, I go for business, at times I go to look after my wife and children, and for your information, if you need to know, no government is paying for my trip. I do personally finance my trip through proceeds from my business concerns.
There are insinuations that you use your position when you were the nation’s Vice President to establish and nurture your chain of businesses to maturity.
Whoever is saying that is only being mischievous. I was once a civil servant and before my disengagement from service, though premature, I had it as a burden on my heart ruminating over what I would engage in after retirement. Since then, I have been developing different businesses. I am an apostle of ‘be your own Boss’ or what I would call ‘multiple stream of income.’ As I am preaching it, so also, I am practicing it. When we were in government, you could hardly see any major contract traceable to any of my businesses, except some sub- contracts.
Were those Sub-contracts facilitated or influenced by your office?
Not at all, Should any of the agencies or parastatals in-charge found out that it was any of the companies’ areas of operation and that the companies have the professional strength to do it, they would then follow the procedure for the awards of the contracts and sometime they have it, most times, they did not.
People are of the opinion that most of your businesses are abroad. What is your take on this?
It means they are not up-to-date with the man Atiku. Most of my business concerns are domestic. I am an indigenous entrepreneur and I do same to support and invest in indigenous companies that are doing well so as to give jobs to our teeming youths that are not employed. I have invested in Farming, Education, cottage industries, and logistics among others. I am the second largest employer of labour in Adamawa State after the state Government. Whenever I travel abroad, I do normally go there to source for experts or technical assistance that is not here. I believe in the transfer of knowledge. I have found out through experience that when our people understudy the foreign experts for some time, they are able to do the job with almost the same accuracy, if not better.
Are you one of the shareholders of any indigenous company like Glo Communications?
Laugh . . . . Laugh. . . .Laugh. May be you can ask Adenuga to confirm that to you, if I am on his board of directors or major shareholders.
America University of Nigeria no doubt is now a huge success with the recent 4th convocation ceremony. What is the secret?
The message am passing across is that we should learn to believe in ourselves and our system. When I invited the parent university, I mean America University, to come for the inspection; most people