Spokesman of the All Progressives Congress,APC, South-East geopolitical zone, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, has dismissed the statement by Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha that Ndigbo were responsible for their exclusion in appointments made by President Muhamadu Buhari.
Okechukwu was reacting to an interview granted to a national daily by Okorocha, published on yesterday.
In the interview, Okorocha said he shared the sentiments of the Igbo that none of them made the list of appointees.
The Imo Governor however added that “some of the appointments we lost was of the doings of our people,” just as he recalled that when he crying like a lonely voice in the wilderness that look at where Nigeria was going, Ndigbo chose to put all their eggs in one basket.
But, in a statement on Sunday, Okechukwu said Okorocha should take responsibility for Igbo exclusion in the appointments, rather than passing the buck to Ndigbo.
In a statement was titled, ‘Governor Rochas Okorocha neither truly campaigned for President Buhari nor APC’ Okechukwu stated: “I am sorry to comment on the blame game being played by, Owelle Rochas Okorocha; for his interview can be classified as Okorocha Recue Mission from the less than five percent score in the 2015 presidential election from the entire South East.
“All one can say is that to the best of my knowledge, he neither truly campaigned for President Muhammadu Buhari nor the All Progressives Congress.
“My thinking is that while we blame Ndigbo for putting all our eggs in one basket, we should blame our leaders who genuinely didn’t campaign for President Buhari nor APC candidates in their domain.
“I challenge Governor Okorocha to tell the world how far he assisted Senator Osita Izunaso for his bid for Orlu senatorial district, his own constituency and that of Hons Uche Onyeguocha and Uwajimogu of Owerri and Okigwe districts respectively” Okechukwu stated.
While noting that a little assistance from Governor Okorocha could have earned APC two senatorial seats, and other legislative seats, Okechukwu made it clear that there was no point for him to blame Ndigbo without blaming himself first.
“This is a man some of us advised not to run against the zoning convention, that it will deny Ndigbo the chance of producing either the chairman or the vice presidential slot and he refused. He thought we are in Nollywood” the APC zonal spokesman said.
According to Okechukwu, the Imo Governor should forthwith desist from the blame game and accept responsibility for the fate of Ndigbo in Buhari’s appointments.
He maintained that Okorocha lied when he claimed that he was crying like a lonely voice in the wilderness for Ndigbo to vote for Buhari.
He insisted that if Okorocha really cried like a lonely voice in the wilderness, President Buhari would have gotten at least 30 percent of the votes cast in Imo State and not 18 percent.
“If Okorocha worked for APC in the South-East, how come we did not even win a single senatorial seat in Imo and the entire zone? He should stop this blame game and accept responsibility for the fate that has befallen Ndigbo” Okechukwu said.
Urging Nigerians to ignore rumour mongering, Tinubu stated that both of them and indeed, the party’s utmost priority was to galvanize support for President Mohammadu Buhari to succeed.
Tinubu, also a former governor of Lagos state who was accompanied to the presidential villa on Wednesday with the former interim national chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande to meet with president Buhari spoke to State House Correspondents.
The APC leader also submitted that president Buhari was not going to rush in the appointment of ministers to avoid regrets later.
He said: “Don’t listen to rumous, there is no struggle. Our party is not even looking at the direction of power struggle or anything of such. The support structure is to encourage and support the President as you have heard from Chief Bisi Akande, to help him institutionalize his goal, principle and vision for a new Nigeria
“There is pitfall in rushing, quick fix, depending upon the depth of the rot. And that rush can cascade into mistakes of unimaginable magnitude. There is equally glory and recovery in slowness, when you have a slow fix of a bad foundation. So to me, I would rather take the one that will last the country and endure for a longer period of time than the rush hour shopping.”
On the speculation that he has brought list of names for ministerial appointment, he said “What can I do about that, they have the right to speculate, they have the right to their lies and I have the right to debunk”.
Tinubu who was reminded that the opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP had picked holes in the delays for ministerial appointments, calling him a dictator, Tinubu asked the party to “keep quiet”, saying that the party plunged the country into the present economic crisis.
“I disagree with that. He was elected on a platform of democracy, he has adhered to rule of law so far. What is dictatorship about what he has done? He has helped to stimulate the economy in the various states and that is where the people are. So what is dictatorship? And the institutional paralysis had occurred in the country.
“It is very important for a steady man like the President to really help the nation recover from the paralysis and that is what he is doing so I don’t see what is dictatorial about that. If they don’t have anything to say, they rather be quiet. They created what is wrong here today and we can’t sweep that under then carpet. There must be rule of law.”
Also speaking, chief Akande said they were in the villa to discuss the rot perpetrated by previous governments.
“Since Obasanjo’s first term and I understand that President Buhari inherited piles of rot in the Villa and I say let me see him, talk to him and report to my party with a view to knowing how to encourage him to change the rot to good. It is the rot, piles of rots upon rots”, he said.
Over 100 days after the President assumed office, the PDP has yet to hang his portrait at any of the offices in its Wadata House national secretariat, located at Zone 5, Abuja.
The party has also said it would never put Buhari’s portraits on its walls though it has removed that of the former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who ruled on the platform of the PDP.
“We will never hang his portrait in this office, because President Buhari is not known to our party. He is not a leader of our party and therefore we will never put his portrait here. We are a political party, very partisan and therefore, we are not going to hide that,” National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, told our correspondent on the telephone on Tuesday.
Jonathan was also the presidential candidate of the former ruling party during the last general election but he was defeated by Buhari, who was the presidential candidate of the opposition All Progressives Congress.
The defeat was the first to be suffered by the PDP since the return of democracy in 1999.
Before now, the party has always been hanging the portraits of all the Presidents at the party’s reception area as well as the National Executive Committee and National Working Committee halls within the secretariat.
Metuh said the APC also did not hang the portrait of Jonthan in its offices before the former President was defeated in the March 28 election.
“Can you find out if the APC had the portrait of former President Jonathan in their office before he was defeated? That is just it,” he told our correspondent.
When asked whether the party was taking its own pound of flesh, Metuh said no but that since Buhari “is not a member of our party, we won’t put his portrait here.”
The APC National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Lai Mohammed, expressed shock at Metuh’s comment.
“This is ridiculous and we have no comment. Let Nigerians judge the PDP on this matter,” Mohammed said.
He said the PDP spokesman had a shallow understanding of the concept of opposition politics.
Meanwhile, work has stopped at the new secretariat of the PDP, located in the Central Business District, Abuja.
Investigations by our correspondent indicated that contractors handling the project were only doing skeletal jobs at the site.
When our correspondent visited the site on Tuesday, there was no visible job being done at the site.
It was gathered that the cost of the project was put at N11.5bn when it was awarded some years ago. At completion, the building is expected to have 12 floors, with two other floors serving as the car park.
The party had claimed that the project was being financed from levies and contributions from members.
When a fund-raising dinner was organised a few years ago, the party was able to realise about N5bn, and the project, which started more than four years ago, was to be delivered in 126 weeks.
The former National Chairman of the party, under whose leadership the project commenced, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, had then said that the complex, when completed, would strengthen the capacity of the PDP to discharge its role effectively in Africa.
The party had claimed on January 5, 2015 that it was going to spend part of the N21.8bn it realised from the party’s fund-raising on the party’s secretariat.
A former Minister for Information and the Chairman of the party’s Fund-raising Committee, Prof. Jerry Gana, had said the money donated to the PDP was not meant for the campaign of the defeated Jonathan alone.
APC Lagos chapter Publicity Secretary, Mr. Joe Igbokwe made the remarks Monday, while reacting to a publication in one of the national dailies where the writer urged President Buhari to “beware of Tinubu because he is a moral burden and a dent on his image”.
According to the party, “Our attention has been drawn to an article published on 2nd September 2015 written by one Dele Akin Rahman encouraged by his sponsors.
“Lagos APC condemns in strongest terms this calculated attempt to bring Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu down to their miserable level and to judge the consummate leader of men by their horrible and dubious standards.
“Before the 2015 Presidential elections our well-respected National leader Tinubu and President Buhari were subjected to vicious attacks and debilitating assaults just to bring them down but they failed woefully. President Buhari and Asiwaju BAT ran away with resounding and unprecedented victory on March 28 2015”
“Ever since then, Dele Rahman and his sponsors have been angry, frustrated, confused, humiliated, humbled, afraid and disgraced. Politically they have been decimated and relegated to the background, economically their business of stealing government money in billions has been checkmated and blocked and socially they have been ostracized and rejected by Nigerians”
“These fraudsters and morally bankrupt nonentities know that it is impossible for them to get to Asiwaju BAT’s intimidating, illustrious and glorious personality, so they resort to blackmail and character assassination to bring the sage, the colossus and the leader of men to the miserable level”
“It is obvious that these dying forces of evil are on a futile effort to parry their 16years of wreckage and who else to bear the brunt but a Tinubu who has come to personify a living nightmare to the dying PDP”
“Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu remains a well-respected political figure in Nigeria, Africa and the world today and woe betide anybody who thinks in his wildest imagination that a strong and powerful image built for nearly 50years can be destroyed by the antics of a foolish constituency and men without honour”
In separate statements in Abuja, the APC and the PDP accused one another of economic mismanagement and of filtering away public finds.
In a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the APC said the party has uncovered a list of new cases of the insane looting of the treasury by some officials of the Jonathan’s administration, saying the corruption mess that characterised the administration was so pervasive that until it is cleaned, Nigeria will not be able to actualise its potential.
The party said those who would rather give comfort to the looters by dismissing the media exposure of looting cases as mere hell-raising should realise that no sane person can be silent in the face of what was unfolding as the worst cases of brazen stealing of public funds in Nigeria’s history.
It recalled that on August 16, 2015, the party listed some instances of the breath-taking looting of the treasury by some officials of the immediate past administration.
The party said it was today bringing to light three more heart-rending cases to the attention of Nigerians. It listed the new cases as a mind-shattering $2.2bn (about N440bn) arms scandal; a $6.9m fraud by the Chief Security Officer to President Jonathan, committed under the guise of buying three mobile stages for the President; and a N2.5bn scam involving the rent of house boats.
The statement partly read, ‘’While those charged with handling these cases are finalising the details of bringing the suspects to justice, our immediate concern is the attempt by the PDP, under whose umbrella the looting took place, to blame the Buhari administration for the mess and then infer that things have been worse in Nigeria in the past three months under the APC-led Federal Government than in the 16 years under the PDP. This is totally provocative, shameless and uncharitable.
“They say we are yet to fulfil our campaign promises to Nigeria, but they have forgotten that if only the PDP/Jonathan administration had not stolen Nigeria blind, there would have been more than enough money to give school children in Nigeria, not just one but three meals a day and even pay N5, 000 to N50m to most vulnerable Nigerians, not just the N25m we promised in our manifesto.
“It is clear to all Nigerians that the debilitating impact of 16 years of the PDP’s misrule cannot be reversed in just three months.”
In response, the PDP insisted that the stealing of public funds has been going on under President Muhammadu Buhari’s watch.
It said that rather than hide their heads in shame for its abysmal performance in the last 90 days, leaders of the APC and the Presidency have continued to grope and look for excuses.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh,who said this in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, said discerning minds were appalled that instead of providing answers to issues of economic retrogression, the Presidency and the APC have resorted to wild allegations and insults in an attempt to cover their ineptitude and divert attention from their list of bogus promises which they have no intention to fulfil.
He said, “The PDP has severally expressed its support for a holistic fight against corruption and we have challenged the Federal Government to investigate and prosecute all corrupt persons irrespective of ethnic and political affiliations.
“We are therefore appalled that instead of getting serious with the challenges of governance, the APC is bent on inventing excuse for its crass incompetence to create and manage wealth, to the detriment of the nation.
“We challenge the APC and the Presidency to be honest enough to respond to issues instead of resorting to propaganda.
“Is the so-called mess clearing an answer for the adamant stance of the APC and President Buhari in running a government without a cabinet and a precise fiscal policy direction, a strange totalitarian approach that has taken serious toll on the economy and the polity in general?”
According to the PDP, Nigerians have been scammed with empty promises since the President was inaugurated on May 29.
In a statement by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, the opposition stressed that instead of gains, official reports showed that the last three months under the APC-led government had brought a sudden decline in the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with attendant losses and hardship to the citizens, while government embarks on propaganda of imaginary achievements, in addition to attempts to foist harsh economic regime to cover its ineptitude.
Metuh said, “The shambolic state of the nation’s economy within the period, which represents the worst in the nation’s contemporary history, is a direct fallout of uncertainty created by the inability of the Buhari-led government to chart a clear-cut economic policy, worsened by abuse of regulations, and flagrant violation of constitutional provisions.
“If not for crass incompetence or a possible ulterior motive to subjugate Nigerians for selfish reasons, what else explains the adamant stance of this administration in running a government without the statutory components of a full cabinet and precise fiscal policy direction, even when the negative consequences of this strange totalitarian approach are taking serious toll on the economy and the polity in general?
“Whereas the APC led government is busy with its propaganda of imaginary achievements, official reports from the National Bureau of Statistics show that that the economy is being grounded with Nigeria’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) plunging with about 2.35%, while job creation has dropped by 69 percent”
Leaders of the APC complained that the appointments tilted in favour of the North and said the party must move fast to cope with the backlash of expected rumblings in the polity, Punch report.
“The President does not consult before making most of these appointments and I can tell you that Nigerians are going to term the party and the President as a northern party and the President of Northern Nigeria,” a leader of the party said to one of our correspondents late on Tuesday.
Buhari, according to a statement by his Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, on Thursday approved the appointment of Babachir David Lawal from Adamawa State as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
He also named Mr. Abba Kyari from Borno state as his Chief of Staff.
Other appointments approved by the President, according to the statement, are those of Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (retd.) as the new Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service; Mr. Kure Martin Abeshi, Comptroller-General, Nigerian Immigration Service; Senator Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters (Senate); and Suleiman Kawu as SSA on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives).
Both Ali and Kawu are from Kano State and Abeshi is from Nasarawa. Enang from Akwa Ibom State is the only one from the south geo-political zone.
Adesina said all the appointments would take immediate effect.
Three top national officers of the APC, who spoke with one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity shortly after the announcements were made, wondered why the President was appointing only northerners to positions to the detriment of the southerners.
They said that the President was already giving the party a bad name among Nigerians. They said they had hoped that he would learn from the criticisms that trailed his first appointments where more northerners were appointed into sensitive positions than southerners.
Before the latest appointments, the President had also named only one southerner among the initial nine appointments he made.
The northerners in the first appointments are the Director-General of the State Services, Lawal Daura; Acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mrs. Amina Zakari; the Director, Department of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Mordecai Danteni Baba Ladan; and the Accountant-General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris.
Also in the first appointments are the President’s Chief Security Officer, Abdulrahman Mani; State Chief of Protocol, Mallam Abdullahi Kazaure; Aide- De-Camp, Lt. Col. Muhammed Abubakar; and the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu.
Only the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, hailed from Osun Staten in the South-West.
Another APC leader said the party must devise a way of managing the backlash that would follow the appointments.
He said, “Though the President did not get much votes from the South-East but we must not neglect the zone in key appointments.
“Even the South-West that supported and was the backbone of the party, what are we giving the zone in appreciation? We need to be careful before the party is destroyed.”
It was gathered that some leaders of the party were already thinking of having an enlarged meeting where the appointments would be reviewed.
But another senior member of the APC said such a meeting, if it would hold at all, would have to wait until the party holds its Kogi State governorship primary on Saturday.
A member of the state executive of APC in a South-West state, said the appointments were lopsided against the South.
He said, “When President Olusegun Obasanjo took over, you saw balance in appointments as he reflected federal character. President Goodluck Jonathan too reflected a semblance of balance. Buhari is pursuing a northern agenda. This is the same agenda pursued by the late Sir Ahmadu Bello, when everything was pro-North. Buhari made six appointments at a go and five of them are northerners.”
The Speaker of one of the Houses of Assembly in the South-West, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also described the new appointments as shocking.
The Speaker, who is a member of the APC, said, “This is shocking. It doesn’t speak well at all. The South-West has been completely neglected and the South-East too. The South-West was neglected during the President Goodluck Jonathan years. The South-West must rise up against this.”
Similarly, an APC chairman in another South-West state, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said the list of the new appointees had left him perplexed.
The chairman said, “This is not good at all. Why should he choose everybody from the North? I am sure he did not confide in anybody before drawing up the list and making the announcement. We will continue to watch. It is condemnable.”
In the same vein, an APC member of the House of Representatives, said the leaders of the party in the South-West were shocked by Buhari’s latest appointments.
“He didn’t tell anybody. We are all shocked. The real shocker would be when he is going to appoint ministers. The only thing that would save us is that he is mandated constitutionally to choose from all states, otherwise, he would have chosen all the ministers too from the North,” the female member of parliament said.
The new SGF graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1979 with a Bachelor of Engineering degree and worked with the Delta Steel Company, Aladja, Nigerian External Telecommunications Limited and Data Sciences Limited before establishing his own ICT and Telecommunications consulting firm in 1990.
Kyari, the new Chief of Staff to the President, holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees from the University of Cambridge and the University of Warwick in Law and Sociology.
The new Comptroller-General of Customs, holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Criminology. He was military administrator of Kaduna State from 1996 to 1998.
The party, in a statement by its State Publicity Secretary, Mr Jackson Adebayo also accused Fayemi of distracting the commission’s investigation through his recent utterances in the media.
This came as the APC described the allegation against Fayemi as a pack of lies, noting that the state governor, Mr. Ayo Fayose misrepresented the latter’s view.
The PDP said: ‘’ Why is he coming out almost a year after he was voted out of government by the Ekiti people, when he knows well that some security agencies are after him if not because he want to mislead and coerce them to believe that he was prudent.
‘’We still insist that the leadership of the APC is hell-bent on protecting Dr. Kayode Fayemi from the searchlight of the EFCC and other security agencies because they know that he ran Ekiti government aground before he was booted out by the popular vote, which has been judged to be the most peaceful, freest and fairest in the recent time.
‘’Anybody or person found wanting of mismanagement of the state resources must be brought to book.’’
On its part, the APC in statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Taiwo Olatunbosun, said: ‘’Instead of regaling in the destruction of Fayemi’s legacies, which presented the best opportunities for Ekiti State to grow, Fayose is not only destroying himself, but also mortgaging the future of Ekiti people through stomach infrastructure that provides a kilogramme of rice and three-month-old chicken at every Christmas.
”Fayemi’s projects presented the best opportunities for the state to grow, but Fayose has been hiding under non-existent debts to deny Ekiti people needed development.
‘’Fayose said that Fayemi bought N50 million bed even when there is no N1 million bed in Government House. He said Fayemi built the new Government House with N3.5bn while in truth the building cost N2.1bn and is the cheapest of such in the country, the same way he said that Ekiti bond was taken to plant flowers.”
The party asked George to keep quiet for now and continue to lick the wounds inflicted on him by the defeat his party suffered at both the National and the state levels in the just concluded federal elections.
APC State Publicity Secretary, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, yesterday, said George like the Lagos PDP Chairman, Tunji Shelle was woken up from a chronic hallucination after suffering a devastating defeat in the hands of APC.
“Why is Bode George finding it difficult to believe that the game is over for him in Nigerian politics talk less of Lagos State? Who will tell Bode George that nobody takes him serious again in matters of Nigerian politics? Who will persuade Chief George to quit politics now in his own interest?
“Did he know that the President has full knowledge of his dubious activities in Lagos during the campaigns? Chief Bode George spoke about the cost of projects in Lagos, but the question is this: what does a hut builder know about Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge? What does this carpenter know about gold?” What does this failed politician know about good governance and service delivery?” Igbokwe stated.
The N13.972trn as computed by Vanguard was the summation of funds allegedly unaccounted for, withheld or allegedly stolen mostly from the oil sector.
The party said in a statement, yesterday, that the campaign to stop the recovery of the funds would be a total disservice to probity and public decency.
The APC’s assertion was immediately rebuffed by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which described the APC claim as reckless, irresponsible and highly provocative.
The PDP said APC’s display of imaginary figures was a desperate effort by the ruling party to achieve a heinous agenda against the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
The PDP also yesterday, appealed to Nigerians and the international community to appeal to President Muhaamdu Buhari to guard against what the party claimed as the seeming determination of the government to derail the country’s democracy. Citing what it claimed was an attempt to stifle democratic institutions, the opposition party said that Buhari was showing himself not to be a born again democrat as he had earlier claimed.
The APC which described as mind-boggling, the massive looting of the nation’s treasury by public officials during the Jonathan administration, vowed that nothing but the total recovery of the funds will be acceptable to patriotic Nigerians.
The APC reaction followed commentaries at the weekend that trailed the assertion by the National Peace Committee for caution in the war against graft. Besides, a member of the committee, Bishop Matthew Kukah was also quoted last week as calling on the administration not to focus on a probe of the Jonathan administration.
In a statement issued in Lagos, yesterday, by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said anyone who attempts, either by deeds or words, to sabotage the recovery efforts is not a patriot and deserves nothing but public opprobrium.
Narrating some of the funds allegedly stolen or unaccounted for during the Jonathan administration, the APC said:
*3.8 trillion Naira out of the 8.1 trillion Naira earned from crude oil (2012-2015) withheld by NNPC
*2.1 billion US dollars (N413.7 billion) from Excess Crude Account unaccounted for
*Department of Petroleum Resources’ unremitted 109.7 billion Naira royalty from oil firms
*6 billion US dollars (N1.182 trillion) allegedly looted by some ministers of the last administration
*160 billion barrels of crude worth 13.9 billion US dollars (N2.7383) lost between 2009 and 2012
*15 million US dollars (N2.955 trillion) from botched arms deal yet to be returned to Nigeria
*13 billion US dollars (N2.561 trillion) in NLNG dividends mostly unaccounted for
*30 billion Naira rice waiver
*183 billion naira unaccounted for at the NDDC
Tip of the iceberg
Remarkably, the APC said the above listed ‘missing’ funds constituted just a tip of the iceberg since they are mostly from a few sectors of the economy, mostly the oil sector, and were discovered even before the forensic audit now being undertaken in some key areas.
Saying that the present administration cannot turn a blind eye to such, the APC said: “It is absolutely gratifying that Nigerians are vehemently opposed to the few who would rather have the government of the day turn a blind eye to the looted funds and, in their words, carry on with the process of governance.
“Truly, what sort of governance can go on if the billions of Naira in a few hands are not recovered? In the first instance, the government needs every kobo of the funds it can muster to bring about the change it has promised Nigerians. Secondly, leaving such hair-raising funds in the hands of the few looters is dangerous, because they can use the funds to destabilize any government. In fact, no one will be surprised if the looters use their dirty funds to sponsor public demonstrations against the government’s determination to recover the funds.
“Thirdly, allowing those who privatized the commonwealth to get away is offering a thumbs-up for looting. No responsible government will do that,” APC said.
The party said that already, the looters have embarked on a relentless and an increasingly-bold campaign to discredit the government of the day and sabotage the funds’ recovery process, using newspaper columnists, ‘talking heads’ and otherwise respectable opinion leaders.
“They and their paid hirelings have tried to employ sophistry to muddle the waters, but Nigerians are much wiser, and will not succumb to the dirty antics of the looters’ megaphones,” it said.
APC said it is necessary to remind Nigerians of the kind of massive looting of the treasury that took place in the past few years, so they can better appreciate the seriousness of the issue at stake. It, therefore, listed some instances of the looting as follows: “The level of looting that went on in other sectors is better imagined, hence the need for all Nigerians to rally around the Buhari Administration to recover the loots, bring the looters to justice and to put in place measures to prevent such looting in the future,” it said.
It’s all lies — PDP
In its response yesterday, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, described the claims by the APC as a desperate attempt by the APC to get public approval.
The PDP said: “In trying to escalate their stock-in-trade of lies, wild allegations and falsehood, the APC failed to understand that their baseless fabrications are capable of throwing an unsuspecting nation into chaos.
“The spate of fabrications by Lai Mohammed has become a sickening source of worry for well-meaning Nigerians, including those in his party.”
The PDP, therefore, called on President Buhari and the APC as a party, to call their spokesman to order before “he plunges the country into crisis with wild and unsubstantiated claims.”
The PDP said instead of engaging in unnecessary playing to the gallery, the APC-led government should get serious with the fight against corruption by investigating and prosecuting corrupt persons, while moving on with the demands of governance, especially in fulfilling their numerous campaign promises for which they were voted into office at the centre.
The PDP in another statement accused the APC-led government of aiming to undermine the critical democratic institutions and notably, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC which it said had now been laid constitutionally prostrate on account of lack of a quorum.
Metuh said despite claims of being a converted democrat,n President Buhari has allowed, under his watch, an incessant violation of sections of the nation’s constitution, a development that has become a huge threat to democracy and the stability of the nation.
“For instance, how can this government explain the fact that a major institution of democracy like the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been deliberately debilitated to the extent that it can no longer perform its statutory responsibility for lack of quorum?
“Nigerians are aware that before his tenure expired on June 30, the former INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega wrote to President Buhari, intimating him of the fact that the tenure of majority of the national commissioners will expire before August, yet the President never acted, resulting in the present crisis in the commission, where more than 80% out of the statutory 13 members remain vacant, even as 11 states of the federation are also without Resident Electoral Commissioners.
“We note that this anomaly is in addition to the uncertainty surrounding the controversial appointment of an Acting Chairman of INEC in the person of a national commissioner whose tenure has since expired, not minding that there is no provision for an acting chairman of INEC in our constitution.
“This development has completely enervated the commission from carrying out its functions as stipulated in part 1 of 3rd schedule of the 1999 constitution as amended, thereby putting our electoral system under severe threat.
“We ask, if not for a possibility of an ulterior motive to inject a constitutional crisis and undermine the nation’s democracy, why should President Buhari wait to be urged before he upholds his responsibility of forwarding replacements to the Senate for confirmation so as to enable the commission effectively carry out its constitutional responsibilities to the nation? ”
“Could this be a ploy by the APC-led government to use a decapitated INEC to conduct the forthcoming governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa to pave way for their planned ‘capture’ of the two PDP states?
“Is the weakening of INEC not part of the plot to use the commission to put the PDP in precarious position in various electoral tribunals to the advantage of the APC?
The PDP also faulted the administration’s failure to constitute a cabinet and what it cited as the repeated attacks on the “revered national
leaders in the National Peace Committee, which has as members, former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, respected clerics; Archbishop John
Onaiyekan and Bishop Matthew Hassan Kuka, retired justices of superior records as well as others highly respected patriotic Nigerians, for daring to counsel Buhari’s government on some observed undemocratic tendencies and processes.
“The crass attacks are more astonishing, considering the much appreciated role these great Nigerians played in ensuring a peaceful and violence free 2015 general elections.
“This is especially as we have no reason to believe that such weighty attacks from the President’s party can come without his approval, more so as the APC spokesman, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who authored the statements was not part of the meeting between the President and the Peace Committee.
Noting that the party is not against the anti-graft war, the party called on its former members now in the APC who were groomed in democratic ethos while in the PDP to nudge their new party towards good manners.
“We call on some well-meaning Nigerians who have found themselves in the APC, especially, those who at one time or the other, were pupils of the teachings and visions of the founding fathers of the
PDP, to rise above the shallowness of their temporary enclave and join in this major defence of democratic ethos”.