Friday, 4 September 2015

Corruption thriving under Buhari – PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party on Thursday said that corruption was going on in the country in spite of the “holier than thou” posturing of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

The PDP said that there was “incontrovertible evidence that grave corrupt practices are ongoing and allowed to fester by associates and cronies of government.”

The opposition party listed these “associates” to include former and present governors of the All Progressives Congress and those that allegedly financed Buhari’s campaign “with stolen state funds.”

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Olisa Metuh, in a statement in Abuja on Thursday, said, “The onus lies on the APC-led Federal Government to wage a credible holistic anti-corruption war by first purging itself of unclean association and coming out clear on sleazes already going on in government quarters since it took office in May.

“Whereas the PDP restates its respect for the person and office of the President as well as our support for the war against corruption, it is incumbent on us to alert Nigerians of the prevailing circumstances around this government that are capable of fundamentally undermining good governance if left unchecked.

“Charity, they say, begins at home. For the APC-led government, it has now become a question of ‘physician, heal thyself.’

“Every discerning mind knows that this administration is not executing a credible holistic war against corruption because it is a product of corruption, surrounded by corrupt persons; a factor apparently responsible for its obvious blind eyes to huge sleazes now being perpetrated in government agencies by persons claiming closeness to the President.”

Reacting, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr. Lai Mohammed, described the PDP allegations as unsubstantiated.

“These are wild and unsubstantiated allegations. They are uncoordinated and a mere rehash of what the PDP has been saying in the last three months. This is rabble-rousing at its worst,” the APC spokesman said.

The Presidency has also described the opposition allegations as frivolous and intended to distract the government.

President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said contrary to the PDP allegations,   Buhari had not and would not shield any APC government official from facing prosecution for corruption.

Metuh however said it was alarming that the Buhari government that got to power based on the President’s anti-corruption credentials had broken the records in constitutional violations and abuse of regulations.

He said, “How else can one explain the deliberate constitutional violations in the appointment of heads of financial-handling federal agencies, such as the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the Asset Management Cooperation of Nigeria without due process of ministerial consultations and legislative clearance, as the case may be?

“Is this a scheme to open up these key finance institutions for malpractices and turn them into cash cows for APC interests?

“This is in addition to ongoing manoeuvrings in the oil sector, where clandestine moves are on to award oil refining licenses to cronies without the due process of open bidding, as well as statutory guidelines and checks by the Department of Petroleum Resources.”

He called on Nigerians to note that the APC-led administration had not been forthcoming on spending of funds it inherited in the Excess Crude Account and other government savings.

Metuh said, “Are they the source of the funds now being circulated to pay back huge contributions for APC Presidential campaign expenses?

“Furthermore, we wish to draw the attention of all Nigerians to the fact that this administration, for obvious reasons, has deliberately turned a blind eye to the corrupt acts of most APC leaders, who as governors, ministers and labour leaders have been the worst corrupt set of people ever to bestride the political landscape of the country.

“Otherwise, how else can one explain the deafening silence by the government to the public outrage over the massive looting of public funds by some past APC governors?”

He asked the Federal Government to explain its silence over what it described as indignation in “one of the prominent South-West APC states over corruption issues, including but not limited to alleged mismanagement of N32 bn SURE-P fund; N78 million state money allegedly spent on the personal website of a former APC governor, who is also accused of inflating a N2.1bn contract for the construction of pedestrian bridges, N25bn for 1.36 kilometre link bridge, US$200mn World Bank education fund while leaving behind N500bn debt arising from alleged reckless spending?”

The PDP spokesman added, “The Federal Government’s stance on yet another prominent APC governor in the North-West, who, as a former minister, was indicted by the Senate for corrupt practices and embezzlement of over N32bn proceed from the sale of government property, for which he was disgracefully declared unfit to hold public office by the highest law making body in the land?”

Apart from financial corruption, the opposition party said it had drawn the attention of Nigerians to the “corrupting of security and democratic institutions in Nigeria, including the facts of nepotism in the appointment of an Acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, a position unknown to the constitution; and a card-carrying member of the APC as the Director General of the Directorate of State Services, all in the bid to compromise the system to favour the Presidency and APC interests.”

Garba however said Buhari never told the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission not to touch any APC governor because they belonged to the party.

He said it was convenient for the PDP to remember the cases of former Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido, but it pretended not to notice the fact that former Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, who is an APC member, was also arrested and arraigned at the same time.

He also condemned as malicious and unfounded the allegation by Metuh that funds from the ECA were being depleted by the Buhari administration to allegedly pay back APC governors that contributed to his presidential campaign.

He said Metuh should either apologise to Nigerians for propagating falsehood or provide evidence to substantiate his claims.