All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole and Senate President Bukola Saraki are locked in a big row over bribery allegations arising from the APC primaries.
Saraki, a former member of the APC, has defected to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He said: “Nigerians are waiting to see how the President will handle the serious allegations against his party chairman. We expect the President with his anti-corruption campaign to institute thorough and transparent investigation into the allegations against his party chairman.
”The failure of the President to get to the root of the matter will finally destroy his ability and that of the party to continue to talk of any anti-graft battle. The President should let the investigation be thorough, open and transparent. This is no time for any cover-up,” Saraki said in a statement by Yusuph Olaniyonu.
A Presidency source said yesterday that no compliant had been received against Oshiomhole.
The party chairman, who has been battling some governors seeking tickets for their favourites, challenged the Senate president to give proof of his corruption allegations or face a law suit.
A statement by Oshiomhole’s Media Adviser Simon Egbebulem said: “Whereas, the basis on which he made those comments was tenuous and unjustifiable, it is on record that Saraki has been in the eye of investigations by the EFCC and the ICPC for sundry cases of corruption. That is the same man that has taken it upon himself to question Comrade Oshiomhole’s credibility.
“We challenge him to mention one person who has claimed that he gave money to Oshiomhole to influence him and the decision of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) in the just-concluded primary elections.
“We insist that Saraki with his kind of prebendal politics is nothing but a monumental disgrace to the nation’s democracy.”
Saraki kicked off the outbursts when he told reporters in Ilorin after the prayers to mark the sixth anniversary of his father’s death that Oshiomhole should quit politics because he lacked the moral right to continue to lead the APC following the allegations levelled against him.
He said: “Oshiomole is somebody, who we are told been collecting not even naira but dollars from candidates and he is being accused by his party’s aspirants and governors. I don’t think he has any moral ground, even to continue to be in politics not to talk about being a chairman of a party.
”I remember in those days, even Oyegun, they never accused him of something like this. I have left that party. I’m sure the President, based on integrity, knows the right thing to do. So, on moral ground, he cannot speak on moral ground.”
Saying Saraki should name any member of the APC who offered him bribe either in foreign or local currency to influence him and members of the National Working Committee to take a decision in his favour before, during and after the party primaries or face legal action, Oshiomhole described as pathetic and irresponsible the resort to what he called petty politics by the Senate President who he described as a usurper of and pretender to the position he occupies.
He said Saraki, who has been in the eyes of investigation by the EFCC AND ICPC, has no moral ground to call for his resignation.
The statement added: “It is sad that Saraki, who just woke up from slumber occasioned by his crushing defeat at the Port Harcourt presidential primary election of his party, could degenerate to such a low level.
“It is equally sad, but not unexpected, that Saraki, who is politically drowning, would make such libelous comments against the national chairman of the APC. And I challenge Saraki to mention one name of an aspirant that gave money to the National Chairman or we file a legal action against him.”
Alluding to a rash of libellous reports by disgruntled persons aimed at maligning Oshiomhole’s hard-earned reputation.
“The primary elections of the APC, which were at the root of these malicious attacks, have come and gone, but it is understandable that those who lost out in the transparent exercise conducted by the party under the leadership of Comrade Oshiomhole have been exercising their rights to protest.
“It is curious to note that some elements in the top hierarchy of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) appeared to be too eager to see the exit of the APC Chairman from office and may be working in tandem with certain APC members. While it makes sense for PDP to wish for cure for their headache that Comrade Oshiomole has become, it should not be taken for granted that anyone can get away with any action that is capable of tarnishing the unassailable integrity of the APC Chairman.
“We are aware that part of the strategies discussed in Dubai, where the PDP leaders recently visited and held their meeting, was to continue to dish out lies against top APC leaders with a view to distract the leadership of the APC ahead the 2019 general election. But they have failed because the National Chairman and APC leaders are focused and will never be distracted.
“However, It is time these irresponsible lies stopped; otherwise, anybody who continues to make unsubstantiated allegations against the person and character of the National Chairman should be ready to provide proofs in a court of law. It cannot be just a political game to smear the character of Comrade Oshiomole by people whose track record is unenviable.
“We want the public to note that if the exercise of the APC primaries were to be about money-taking or money-making, the state governors, some of whom are embittered about the outcomes in their states, were in a better position to dish out mega bucks. But the National Working Committee of APC under the leadership of Comrade Oshiomole was motivated by higher ideals and the pursuit of noble democratic principles.
“It is sad that instead of commending the National Chairman for resisting criminal overtures to compromise him, he is being relentlessly harangued, abused and accused of receiving phantom bribes. This is a callous and wicked enterprise. The National Chairman’s credibility is unassailable. His reputation as president of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is a matter of fact.
“Significantly, as NLC president, he fought the PDP-controlled Federal Government in furtherance of pro-people policies without collecting money to compromise the struggles. He rode on the crest of his credibility and reputation to step in the saddle in Edo State as governor for eight years where he turned around the fortune of the State.
”Indeed, owing to his performance in Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole was able to get the people’s support to ensure victory for APC governor as his successor.
“The National Chairman views the current attempts to tarnish his image as uncalled for and has vowed that he will seek legal redress against anybody or media, whether the traditional or in the social media, who makes such unsubstantiated allegations henceforth.
“Enough is enough. We urge our respected media outfits to exercise caution not to be used by unscrupulous elements. Except such persons or media house can provide evidence.”
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