Your allegations spurious, cheap blackmail, Saraki, Dogara tell Akande
ALLEGATIONS that the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, was playing the script of oil cabals to frustrate the fight against corruption are not only spurious but also reprehensible, his Special Assistant on Print Media, Mr. Chuks Okocha, has said.
In a reaction yesterday in Abuja, Saraki also described the allegation by the former Interim National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bisi Akande, as unacceptable. The rebuttal followed claims that Saraki’s election as Senate President was facilitated by those associated with dubious oil subsidy claims.
The report also implied that his emergence was aimed at sabotaging the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government’s anti-corruption posture and the “Change Agenda” of the ruling APC.
Similarly, Turaki Adamu Hassan, the Special Adviser, Media and Public Affairs to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, said that his antecedents, capacity, experience, character and progressive mindedness endeared him to colleagues.
In a statement on Sunday, he described Akande’s allegation that oil barons who never liked President Buhari’s anti-corruption stance sponsored his election as unbecoming of a well-respected elder statesman.
He said the claim is baseless and lacks substance and merit, and can best be described as a figment of Akande’s imagination.
Okocha stated: “We would have ignored the report but for the sole reason that some readers might mistake fiction for facts. We also wish to state unequivocally that it was wrong and mischievous for Akande to link what happened on the floor of both chambers to some unnamed oil barons.
“In the 7th Assembly, Senator Saraki was chairman of the Senate Ad-hoc Committee that exposed the fraud and mismanagement in the oil sector. Until Saraki’s motion, no one was in the picture of the rot in the sector or took any action.
“Therefore, Saraki will be the last person the oil barons will want to see as Senate President. In that position, Saraki also made very strong recommendations on how the system could be reformed and made corrupt- free.”
After that motion, Saraki noted, the House of Representatives followed in what was later known as oil subsidy probe, and to which the Ministers of Finance and Petroleum were summoned and over N500 billion saved.
“Let it be known, therefore, that the Senate Presidency of Saraki would not in any way be a stumbling block to President Buhari’s posture against corruption. Rather, it will give all necessary legislative support to the administration to fight and reduce corruption,” the statement added.
“We want to make it abundantly clear that it is totally false, untrue and calculated mischief to suggest that Saraki’s emergence as Senate President was facilitated by oil barons. This is a case of calling the dog a bad name so as to hang it.”
Meanwhile, Hassan challenged Akande to name the so-called oil barons who allegedly sponsored Dogara’s election, reminding Akande that the first investigative motion adopted by the 8th House of Representatives under Dogara was to investigate the allegation of fraud in the oil-swap contract awarded by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
“How then can the House under him order investigation into the activities of those who allegedly sponsored his election? Akande’s allegation is both unfortunate and uncharitable,” he noted.
“What we expect the chief to do at this critical time in the life of our nation and the APC as a party is to play the role of an elder statesman and help bring warring party members to the table, not ignite crisis that will further divide the party he helped to build.
“Since assuming duty as Speaker, Dogara has not left anyone in doubt as to his stance on corruption, which is the bane of Nigeria’s development. He presented the draft legislative agenda of the 8th Assembly to the House last week, which, among other things, proposed legislations that will help fight corruption.
“Mr. Speaker has on different occasions reiterated his resolve to compliment President Buhari’s anti-corruption stance and insists that the present crop of leaders should not make excuses to Nigerians if they fail to give the change promised them before and during the election that brought APC into power.