The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the invitation and interrogation of Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as politically motivated, targeted to weaken the party before the 2019 elections.
The party reiterated its accusation against the Presidency, saying President Muhamnadu Buhari, ‘was out to harass and witch-hunt the opposition under the guise of fighting corruption.’
The PDP urged the president to end the dictatorial proclivity of a selective anti-corruption war that has characterised the APC government.
It said while Buhari has deployed the EFCC against key PDP members, he has at same time refused to look into cases of corruption involving his fellow party men instead he is rewarding them with ministerial appointments.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja, weekend, the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, describd last weekend’s interrogation of Akpabio by the EFCC as ‘ill-motivated and targeted at the heart of the opposition by virtue of his being the face of opposition in the National Assembly.’
“The PDP therefore states categorically that the orchestrated investigation of Akpabio is politically motivated, and targeted at weakening the PDP before the 2019 elections, by virtue of him being the face of opposition in the National Assembly,” he said.
Metuh noted that the party demanded to know whether it is proper for the APC-federal government to be arresting PDP members on allegations of corruption while looking the other way when it affects its own party bigwigs.
For instance, he cited the cases of allegations of corruption against two former governors who are members of the APC, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi and Babatunde Fashola, whom he said had so far been ignored by the government and EFCC.
“We have verifiable reports from key members that agents of the APC have been approaching them to join the APC with threats to use the EFCC to victimise them should they refuse. The APC and its agents have been boasting that they have the powers to deal with or spare any person, depending on the party such person belongs to.
“This clearly explains why the so-called fight against corruption has been selective and focused against PDP members, despite counsels by stakeholders that it should be holistic and in accordance with the due process of the law.
“The best example of the curious nature of the war against corruption is the fact that former PDP governors and ministers are being hounded and arrested over apparently orchestrated petitions, while their APC counterparts who have more damaging petitions are being nominated for ministerial positions.
“Even other APC former governors who have on-going corruption cases in court are being rewarded with APC tickets for the forthcoming governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States,” he said.
Speaking further of Akpabio’s matter, Metuh invited Nigerians to note that in the three rich states of Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Lagos states, there were petitions against their former governors.
However, he observed that: “Whereas the former APC governors of Lagos and Rivers States were rewarded with ministerial nominations, their Akwa Ibom State PDP counterpart and the current Senate Minority Leader is being hounded by the EFCC.
“This is in spite of the common knowledge that Akwa Ibom State during Akpabio’s government was arguably the least indebted state in Nigeria, as the governor appropriately applied available resources to effectively transform the state.
“We challenge the APC to show Nigerians any of their governors who matched the feats achieved in Akwa-Ibom State under Senator Akpabio whose only building in Uyo is uncompleted and being built with verifiable bank loans.
“It is also part of the fight by the presidency to weaken the legislature as an arm of government and prevent it from effectively carrying out its constitutional role of checks and balances in a democracy.
“As we speak, no APC member, despite the public petitions of corruption and squandering of state funds, has been invited or questioned by the EFCC. We challenge the EFCC as an anti-corruption agency to show Nigerians any member of the APC it has so far questioned, let alone arrested since the emergence of this administration, despite petitions against them,” he added.
Metuh further said the hypocrisy of the APC administration came to the fore “with the show of insensitivity to the mood of the nation as copiously demonstrated in last Saturday’s ostentatious thanksgiving party (with hundreds of millions of naira spent) by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SFG), Babachir David Lawal, at a time the people of the North-east geopolitical zone where he hails from are being ravaged by an insurgency.”
Reacting, however, late Sunday, the presidency through Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Buhari, said the PDP was ‘a party to be pitied,’ saying the ‘opposition party had run out of ideas.’
In a text message, Adesina said ‘the PDP was a broken record that needed to be discarded.’
“The opposition seems to have run out of ideas so soon. Daily, we hear the same jaded, hackneyed allegations from them. I think they really are to be pitied. They need help. A broken record that repeats itself ceaselessly is of no use than to be thrown away,” he said.