Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has offered the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari’s party, a free counsel on how to deal with the Hurricane Corruption currently rubbishing the Change toga of the party.
The PDP has advised APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole to redeem his name by submitting himself to the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to answer huge allegations of corruption as Edo State governor as well as alleged misconducts as the APC Chair instead of struggling to dry clean his dented image with the opposition party.
The party is also demanding the immediate prosecution of the former Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, over his alleged role in the reported National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) N2.5 billion fraud.
Before now, the PDP had alleged that N1.1 trillion worth of crude oil was stolen under President Buhari’s APC administration using 18 unregistered companies, as well as an alleged looting of over N2.6 trillion in shady oil subsidy regime.
The startled opposition party is urging the National Assembly to swing into action and investigate another alleged siphoning of $322 million repatriated funds as well as the trillions of naira allegedly stolen under shady projects such as the tradermoni project, among others.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said in a statement that the party has noted that Buhari’s wife, Aisha, recently raised the alarm that over N500 billion meant for poverty alleviation under the APC-led government did not get to the designated beneficiaries.
According to Ologbondiyan, PDP wants the Legislative arm of the Federal Government on resumption, to assert itself and accede to demands by Nigerians to investigate the widespread insecurity, economic depression, treasury looting, abuse of office and violations that stamped the President Buhari-led administration since May 2015.
‘’The PDP is urging the federal legislature to protect the interest of millions of suffering Nigerians by invoking its powers under sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to recover the over N14 trillion stolen by government officials and leaders of the APC in the last four years.
‘’The PDP holds that a legislative action has become imperative, as the Buhari Presidency has failed to give cogent explanation on the alleged looting of over N9 trillion through sleazy oil contracts as detailed in the leaked NNPC memo; a situation that directly points to officials culpability. The PDP holds that the humongous looting under the Buhari administration is directly responsible for the economic hardship Nigerians have been subjected to in the last four years’’, Kola Ologbondiyan said.
Apart from the ex-information minister, PDP is also demanding the immediate prosecution of the sacked Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Prof. Usman Yusuf, over allegations of misappropriation of N919 million as exposed by a ministerial panel.
The party is of the view that the duo must not be left off the hook because of their affiliation with the APC and the Presidency, insisting, ‘’Lai Mohammed should be prosecuted alongside the already docked Director General of the NBC, Modibbo Kawu, following his statement at the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).’’
The ICPC, according to the PDP, had already indicated in a press release, that Lai Mohammed admitted in a statement to it, that he was “misled” by the Director General of the NBC, who was his subordinate, into approving the payment of the N2.5 billion to a private company.
‘’The former minister’s involvement had come under questioning following discovery by the ICPC, during investigations, that a government White Paper that governs the execution of DSO programme was allegedly flouted by the head of the NBC. Mohammed had however admitted in a statement to the commission that he was misled by Kawu…”, the anti-graft agency said.
For Ologbondiyan, the PDP spokesman, ‘’our party is insisting that since the ICPC holds that the former minister’s involvement had come under questioning, he should be made to explain himself in the dock, not as a witness but as a defendant in the matter. This is a former minister who was in a haste to publish names of innocent Nigerians as looters just because they are members of the PDP, while a humongous fraud simmered under his nose.
‘’The PDP states that the dismissal of the NHIS boss has also vindicated its position that billions of naira belonging to the Scheme and meant for the health needs of Nigerians was being frittered.
We are therefore stating that Prof. Yusuf must be prosecuted in order to track and recover the over N25 billion allegedly siphoned from the account of the Scheme in the Treasury Single Account (TSA) to service APC interests.’’
On Oshiomhole who is battling his ouster calls by APC leaders over allegations of corruption and malfeasance in his handling of their party, the PDP says the former Edo governor is in no position to cast aspersions or pontificate to it on ‘’our lawful internal activities and relationship with our elected public officials.’’
The PDP has accordingly directed the embattled APC chairman to face his pending corruption allegations and imminent sack for alleged misconduct, instead of seeking a face-saving measure by embarking on shadow-boxing against the party.
While challenging Oshiomhole to speak out on the allegations that he fled the country at the wake of his reported interrogation by the DSS in 2018 over accusations of corruption, PDP added that he is a leader who had accepted that his party and the government it formed are sanctuaries of corrupt persons, when he stated, at the APC campaign rally in Edo last year, that once you join the APC, your sins are forgiven.
According to the PDP, ‘’instead of this fixation on our party, Oshiomhole already has his plate full with the crisis in his home state, Edo, where he is generally believed to be responsible for political tension by trying to force himself on the state governor, Governor Godwin Obaseki, as godfather. Oshiomhole needs to concentrate on the crisis rocking his party as well as the Presidency where the members of the cabal are at daggers drawn over the sharing of positions as booty of a rigged election.’’