PDP asks INEC to proscribe APC for campaigning with ‘looted’ funds

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday demanded an immediate proscription of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for allegedly financing President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2015 campaign with looted funds.

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP also gave the Buhari-led presidency a three-day ultimatum to respond to allegations that it was elected with looted funds or find itself top on the list of confirmed looters.

“Instead of the presidency and the APC to come out with a response on how Buhari’s 2015 campaign was funded with looted sums, they are busy hallucinating about names of individuals whose matters are before the courts of competent jurisdiction.”

The party claimed that the APC, the Federal Government and the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, were running away from the issue of how they raised money to install Buhari as president.

“They have pressed the panic button and resorted to unfounded allegations against PDP members just to divert the attention of Nigerians and the international community from their atrocious government and its manifold failures of leadership.”

The PDP said it would not join “the panicky APC and the Federal Government in their resort to engage in matters that are sub judice because we believe and respect the rule of law, particularly, as it concerns the rights of every citizen.

“We know those in the APC and Buhari’s cabinet who as champions of looting, plundered the resources of their various states and handed the same over for the very expensive electioneering campaign of President Buhari, who had earlier confessed of his insolvency.

“We have challenged the APC and the presidency to declare the sources of these funds and how they were used since they have been proven to come from public coffers.

“Now that the APC, the Federal Government, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and the Buhari Presidency have chosen a loud silence rather than accepting that looted funds were used to install Buhari as President in 2015, we charge the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately commence the process for the proscription of the APC as a political party.”

A former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, released a list of alleged looters of public funds who are members of the ruling party.

In a statement, he said: “I have taken the pains to produce a ‘teaser’ looters list of APC members who are collectively alleged to have looted over $2billion (current value of what they allegedly looted at the time they committed the crime).

“I challenge President Buhari and Lai Mohammed to explain why these men did not feature on their list and why they continue to remain in this APC government where they wield immense powers and influence, even over the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that is meant to prosecute them.”

Omokri claimed that Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser, is not in jail for a crime he committed in 2015 but he is rather being persecuted for a ‘crime’ he committed in 1985.

“I further challenge President Buhari and Lai Mohammed to explain why they failed to reveal to Nigerians that President Buhari himself is a major beneficiary of the funds that Dasuki, received from the treasury for the security of Nigerians.”

Omokri said his list of looters was just a teaser and he could release more names depending on the reaction of the Buhari-led government.

Those listed are:
“• Rotimi Amaechi: Indicted by the Justice George Omeregi-led Rivers State Judicial Commission of Inquiry for looting ₦97 billion along with co-indictees including a former army general;

“•Saminu Turaki alleged to have looted ₦36 billion. First charged before Justice Sabi’u Yahuza of the Federal High Court in Dutse, Jigawa State but currently facing trial before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba at the FCT High Court;

“•Timipre Sylva, a well-known financier and supporter of the APC administration of President Buhari. Alleged to have looted ₦19.7 billion. Was facing trial before Justice A. Y. Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja. However, two days after President Buhari was sworn in, the new APC government withdrew the charges preferred against Sylva on June 1, 2015, and on October 3, 2018, the EFCC returned to Sylva, 48 houses seized from him during the administration of former President Jonathan in 2013;

“• Murtala Nyako alleged to have looted ₦29 billion. Currently facing trial before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja;

“• Senator Danjuma Goje alleged to have looted ₦25 billion. Currently facing trial before the Federal High Court, sitting in Jos, Plateau State;

“ • Senator Abdullahi Adamu alleged to have looted ₦15 billion with the help of 18 co- accused. Charged on March 3, 2010. The case continues to linger in court;

“• Orji Kalu alleged to have looted ₦3.2 billion. Currently facing trial before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos;

“• Kayode Fayemi indicted by the Ekiti Judicial Commission of Inquiry headed by former Ekiti State chief judge and the Oluyin of Iyin-Ekiti, Ademola Ajakaiye, of sundry financial malfeasance totalling over ₦2 billion;

“• Senator Joshua Dariye alleged to have looted ₦1.2 billion. Currently facing trial before Justice Adebukola Banjoko at an FCT High Court; and

“ •Babachir Lawal, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, allegedly gave a ₦200 million contract to his own company from monies meant to look after Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Has been sacked after protest by the opposition and civil society. Has still not been charged. Was allowed to be replaced by his own cousin.

“ By the omission of these names, the Buhari-led Federal Government has vindicated Transparency International which alleged that Nigeria is more corrupt today under Buhari than at any other time since it started keeping records.”

One of the alleged looters and former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, described as incomplete the fresh names of looters released by the Federal Government on Sunday.

In a statement yesterday, Fani-Kayode said although he received funds in his capacity as director of publicity during the reelection campaign of former President Jonathan, the money was not passed on to him by any government official.

“This is nonsensical and utterly shameful and I hereby reiterate the fact that I am totally innocent of any wrongdoing. The Federal Government claims that I ‘looted’ N800,000,000 from government coffers. This is false.

“The money that I received was given to me by the Director of Finance of the Jonathan Campaign Organisation, Mrs. Esther Nenadi Usman, before the election in 2015 and it was specifically for the conduct of the presidential election.

“I was Director of Media and Publicity of the Campaign Organisation and it was used specifically and solely for the running and conducting of the media and publicity aspect of the election.

“The fact of the matter is that no ‘looters list’ is complete without the names of Muhammadu Buhari, Yemi Osinbajo, Rotimi Amaechi, Tunde Fashola, Bola Tinubu, Lai Mohammed, Adamu Abdullahi, Dambazau, Kayode Fayemi, Babachir Lawal, Maina, Maikanto Baru, Burutai, all APC Governors and other key members of the Buhari administration and the APC.

“Mrs. Usman, who was Minister of Finance during the Obasanjo government, was not a member of the Jonathan government and neither did she manage, handle or touch any government funds in her capacity as director of finance of the Jonathan campaign.

“The money she made available to me came from a private company account which was used to house contributions made to the Jonathan campaign by party supporters after a series of fundraising events.

“These were private funds and not public funds and neither can anyone expect us to have run an election in 2015 without any money. You do not run election campaigns with sand but with money.

“It is common knowledge that the Buhari campaign in 2015 was funded by moneys that can be traced directly to Rivers, Lagos, Kano and Ogun state governments and a number of other key APC states, yet not one of those involved or that governed any of those states at the time, has been questioned, arrested or prosecuted by the EFCC or the Federal Government.

“It is also common knowledge that President Buhari himself was offered and received several benefits as well as money from the office of the former National Security Adviserr, Col. Sambo Dasuki, yet nothing has been done about this.

“From the foregoing, it is clear that the Buhari administration’s so-called war against corruption is selective and punitive and it is nothing but a vicious media trial and politically-motivated witch hunt. It is nothing but a squalid and mafia-like attempt to muscle, discredit, demonise and silence key members of the opposition. It is slanderous, malicious and unjust.

“If not for the fact that the Buhari administration is an irresponsible, weak, desperate and corrupt government that has no confidence in itself and no sense of decency, how can they declare people that have not been convicted by any court of law as ‘looters?”

“Not only is this a violation of the constitutional provision that says an accused person is deemed innocent until proven guilty by a duly constituted court of law, it is also highly prejudicial to the criminal cases that they are or may be facing.

“Apart from that, it is a crude and sordid attempt to intimidate the judges and influence the outcome of the cases which are before them and also to compel them to give the judgement that the government wants. This is not only unacceptable, it is shameful. It is a clear violation of the concept of separation of powers which gives the judiciary alone the power to determine the guilt or otherwise of an accused person.

“It is trite law that only a court of law can declare a man guilty or declare him a thief or a looter and not Buhari and his government. How can anyone get a fair trial in a country when the government has already pronounced them guilty before the world?

“ You cannot be the investigator, accuser, prosecutor and judge in your own case. This is a basic principle of criminal and constitutional law which appears to have been lost on President Buhari and his cohorts.

“ I don’t blame him: I blame Vice President Osinbajo who, as a professor of law and a learned SAN, should know better and who I am reliably informed is the coordinator of all these politically-motivated, baseless and malicious corruption cases which are being conducted against opposition members by the EFCC.

“He is the one that has been saddled with the shameless responsibility of manipulating the prosecutors, emboldening false witnesses, attempting to pressure the judges and attempting to send innocent men and women who are members of the opposition to jail.

“One day, whether he believes it or not, there will be a reckoning for his wickedness just as there will be one for Buhari and his entire government. God will see to that and He will judge and punish them.”

Also yesterday, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, accused President Buhari and the APC of bringing economic hardships.

Obasanjo, who spoke in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, ascribed the hardship Nigerians are going through to “ineffective economic policies” of the Buhari’s administration.

To him, the Buhari-led Federal government is a total failure. He warned Nigerians not to re-elect a “failed government” which, according to him, “gives one excuse or another for its failure to meet up with Nigerians’ expectations.”

Obasanjo said it would be foolhardy for Nigerians to reinforce failure by re-electing the APC and Buhari in 2019.

The former president spoke during a courtesy call on him by the “New Nigeria 2019 Group” led by Chima Anyaso, and Moses Siasia.

Obasanjo advised Nigerians to be united and get rid of “bad government and governance” of the ruling APC. He also said people should not accept reforms and apology tendered by PDP, insisting that neither APC not PDP could get Nigeria and Nigerians out of mess.

He advised the New Nigeria 2019 Group whose membership cuts across all tribes, religions and gender in Nigeria and abroad, not to throw away the baby with the bathing water as some members of both political parties still have integrity and can still help the ideology and movement succeed.

“But let us bring together all these movements because we are pursuing the same thing. If we allow ourselves to be taken piecemeal, it is finished. I said you cannot take PDP as it is and APC as it is, but they are not all made of evil people.

“There are good people. I said PDP is a leprous hand, APC is a leprous hand, but there are some clean fingers in them. So, let’s take those clean fingers in them and graft the clean fingers in our own. That is the way to go and if we go that way, we will get there, we will move together, and we will move fast and we will move far,” Obasanjo advised the group.

Source: THE GUARDIAN

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