The Peoples Democratic Party has welcomed President Muhammadu Buhari’s declaration to jail treasury looters.
It, however, challenged him to show integrity by starting with the investigation and prosecution of members of his party, the All Progressives Congress.
Buhari had in an interview shortly after his return from London on Saturday said, “Most Nigerians are expecting that we are going to jail more of the thieves that brought an economic problem to the country. I think that is being expected of me and I will do it.”
Commenting on Buhari’s declaration, the PDP specifically asked the President to start by investigating the National Chairman of the APC, Mr Adams Oshiomhole.
The party also challenged President Buhari to allow an investigation into the allegations against the sacked former Director-General of the Department of State Services, Mr Lawal Daura; a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal, and the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof Yusuf Usman.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, added that President Buhari should immediately allow the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to commence Oshiomhole’s investigation.
He said, “The PDP further challenge President Buhari to allow an investigation into the alleged frittering of over N11tn in the petroleum sector under his direct supervision as minister, including the alleged N9tn illegal oil contract as detailed in the leaked presidency memo, the alleged N1.4tn corrupt subsidy regime and alleged diversion of N1.1tn worth of crude oil, using 18 illegal companies allegedly linked to the Presidency cabal and the APC chieftains.
“The President should also allow the investigation of his ministers, who as former governors, were indicted in stealing billions of naira belonging to their states, particularly, a former governor, who was indicted by his state for allegedly diverting over N40bn to finance APC’s 2015 Presidential campaign.
“Mr President must also investigate how billions of naira allegedly moved from parastatals under his Petroleum Ministry to finance the failed attempt to change the leadership of the National Assembly as well as the certificate scandals among his ministers and special advisers and jail all those involved.
“These are the people Nigerians have been expecting President Buhari to investigate, prosecute and if found wanting send to jail.
“Unfortunately, Mr President has been pursuing perceived political enemies, and innocent opposition members while dining and wining with corrupt persons, a development that has completely called to question the integrity of his anti-corruption fight.”
Ologbondiyan added that since the President Buhari came into office, he had allegedly not allowed an investigation into the corrupt activities under his Presidency.
Instead, he further alleged that the President had been attracting to himself, “all manner of corrupt persons and giving them the perfume of sainthood, once they identify with his APC.”
Start with Adeosun, Akpabio, Obasanjo’s coalition tells Buhari
On its part, the Coalition for Nigeria Movement led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo called on Buhari to begin his anti-corruption war with the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun; and a former Governor of Akwa Ibom, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
The spokesman for the CNM, Mr Akin Osuntokun, it was laughable that a President whose minister had been accused of forging her National Youth Service Corps discharge certificate could claim to be fighting corruption.
The CNM spokesman said the fact that the Chairman of Buhari’s anti-corruption advisory team, Prof Itse Sagay (SAN), could defend such allegation was an indication that the President’s anti-corruption war was only targeted at members of the opposition.
The spokesman for Obasanjo’s coalition said it was ironic that Buhari could threaten corrupt people while at the same time hail Akpabio’s defection to the APC despite the fact that Akpabio was under probe for allegedly diverting N100bn from the Akwa Ibom treasury.
He said, “The President’s threat is not new. He is a man who fails to set a good example. What action has he taken to show that he is a man of integrity? His minister allegedly forged her NYSC discharge certificate. The chairman of his anti-corruption advisory committee, Prof Itse Sagay, defended the finance minister. So, this tells you the kind of war they are fighting.”
“His Special Assistant on corruption, Okoi Obono-Obla, has been shown to have forged WASCCE certificate. While in London, he received Akpabio who his government had accused of stealing billions.”
Testifying before the House of Representatives ad hoc Panel investigating Mr Obono-Obla’s alleged forgery, WAEC Registrar, represented by the Deputy Registrar, Mr Femi Ola, had on June 5, 2018, said, Obono-Obla’s result was “fake, not genuine.”
He has no authority to jail looters –CSO
The Coordinator, Advocate for People’s Rights and Justice, Victor Giwa, described Buhari’s statement as arbitrary, noting that it was capable of undermining the judiciary.
Giwa said, “The statement is arbitrary; he doesn’t have the authority to jail alleged looters, only the court can jail them. He can prosecute the looters, but he cannot jail them except he wants to be dictatorial and that is against the rule of law. It is also a form of threat and should not be encouraged. The pronouncement also has the capacity to undermine the judiciary.”
Buhari, APC on the same page –Nabena
But the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr Yekini Nabena, said President Muhammadu Buhari and the party were on the same page in the war against corruption.
Nabena said this in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja, on Sunday.
The party’s spokesperson said, “This has been the position of the President and the party from day one, our position on the anti-corruption war has not changed.
“If the law catches up with you, you will go for it. People should also remember that one of our Senator, Joshua Dariye, is serving his term in prison so there is nobody above the law.
“It doesn’t matter if you are in our party or in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, once you are found guilty of the crime, you will do the time, it is that simple.”
Aide defends President’s medical trip
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Political Matters, Mr Gideon Samani, says President Muhammadu Buhari is fit to run for a second term, adding that his recent visit to the United Kingdom was a mere medical checkup.
Samani said this while addressing journalists in Abuja on Saturday on the sidelines of the President’s arrival at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, could not be reached for comments as calls and a text message sent to the phone number of her Media Adviser, Oluyinka Akintunde, were not responded to.
When contacted, the spokesperson for Adams Oshiomhole, Mr Simon Ebegbulem, said, “If those making that allegation have any evidence against the former Comrade Governor, they should take it to the EFCC.”
When contacted, the media aide to Akpabio, Mr Aniete Ekong, said, “Senator Godswill Akpabio has never been charged to court. Like any other Nigerian, that frivolous petition was written to the EFCC against him, he was investigated but nothing has been found against him. His giant strides as Governor of Akwa Ibom State have remained a reference point for development.”