APC faults PDP’s claim on anti-corruption war
• Governorship aspirant denies claims
• Opposition flays President’s media aide
THE All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday faulted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the latter’s accusation that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s anti-graft campaign is selective.
APC’s reaction is coming on the backdrop of the PDP’s claim that the president’s anti-graft war bordered on relentless abuse of power, selective application, witch-hunt of opposition elements and perceived political opponents, threats to democratic institutions and that Buhari’s government lacked direction on economic issues.
Also, a governorship aspirant in Edo State under the APC, Dr. Pedro Obaseki yesterday condemned the outcry by the leadership of the PDP that Buhari’s war against corruption was targeted at members of the party.
Dismissing the PDP’s position, National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the Buhari administration would not micro-manage the anti-corruption agencies, hence it is wrong for the PDP to accuse the Federal Government of unleashing the agencies against the opposition.
The party also dismissed the allegation by the PDP that the anti-corruption war being waged by Buhari is selective, describing it as “a worn-out argument.”
In an interview with journalists, Obaseki who is an aspirant for next year’s governorship election said that it was unfortunate that the opposition party had mistaken the prosecution of past public officers suspected of corruption for persecution.
“I think the PDP is seeing the prosecution of principal players in the government they have held as perceived persecution. If Buhari, who came because Nigerians wanted those who have looted the treasury to be prosecuted, is doing that and those who are the immediate victims are seeing as persecution, it is okay,” he said.
Meanwhile, the PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh in a counter statement yesterday flayed the media aide to the President, Mr. Femi Adesina over what it described as Adesina’s “vacuous statement in a futile attempt to counteract” facts presented by the PDP that the administration is dictatorial and selective in its fight against corruption.
The party claimed that Adesina, in his habitual deceptive and diversionary manner, left the critical issues of governance raised by the PDP, and as usual, embarked on insults, shadow-chasing and fouling of the media space with uncouth language.
According to Mohammed, “the ceaseless cry of selective anti-corruption battle is a bogey invented by the PDP to intimidate the anti-corruption agencies, and it will not work. It is the PDP’s strategy to stifle the fight against corruption.
“How can the PDP claim to support the anti-graft battle when every time any of its members is called in for questioning, it runs to the media to shout that the battle is ‘selective’? Is it possible that anyone who is invited for questioning will not belong to a party, an ethnic group or a certain faith?”
APC added that the anti-corruption agencies have a duty to investigate petitions sent to them, irrespective of who is involved, but noted that invitation for questioning is not the same as conviction.
“Those who have nothing to fear must be willing to clear their names by honouring any invitation, and only the guilty needs be afraid. The PDP must stop being hysterical over such invitations which are not going to stop simply because the opposition has called a press conference to cry wolf where there is none,’’ the party said.
But, the PDP in their reaction continued: “This office has noted Mr. Adesina’s several previous unwarranted personal attacks and insults deliberately targeted at the person of the PDP National Publicity Secretary, in his desperate attempt to impress his paymaster and retain his job.
Our answer remains that inasmuch as we know that this Presidency aide lacks depth on his current assignment and has no credible defence, being overwhelmed in his job of trying to launder the image of this government, the characteristic resort always to lies, malice and vituperations should not be an option.
While we appreciate the fact that Mr. Adesina is not conversant and knowledgeable in politics and intricate issues of governance, he should have applied the common sense of covering his hollowness in this regard and save the Presidency the embarrassment of an arrogant attempt to wave off very serious questions hanging in the face of the present administration.”
It continued: “May we remind the Presidency that Nigerians are still waiting for its response to salient national issues raised by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, bordering on relentless abuse of power, selective application of war against corruption, witch-hunt of opposition elements and perceived political opponents, threats to democratic institutions and government’s clear of lack direction on economic issues.
How can Mr. Adesina explain the fact that while former PDP governors and ministers are being arrested, their APC counterparts, who have more damaging petitions with anti-graft agencies are being rewarded with ministerial positions, with yet others granted APC tickets for Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections respectively?
“Perhaps Adesina is confirming that the nation now has two separate laws for prosecuting the war against corruption: One, to nail PDP members and perceived opponents of government, and the other to protect APC members and friends of the present administration.”
The PDP challenged Adesina to show Nigerians any APC member that has so far been invited or arrested by any anti-graft agency, other than PDP members and perceived political opponents such as Senate President Bukola Saraki.
According to the party: “It is unfortunate that in trying to wear his master the garb of a democrat, Mr. Adesina has instead muddled up and bungled his assignment with his arrogant posturing on important national issues. Whereas this media aide may have done well in the confines of his newsroom as a media professional, he has so far succeeded in making a mockery of the office of a spokesperson of the President of a country like Nigeria.
“Our final take therefore is that the Presidency must note that Nigerians are still waiting for a proper response on the issues raised instead of invectives from an aide who apparently talks before he thinks.”
When Adesina was called to react on the issue, he said: “I have thrown away the broken record.”