Opposition PDP Challenges Presidency To Name APC Members Quizzed By EFCC Since It Began Its War On Corruption As Ruling Party Says FG Won’t Micro-Manage Anti-Corruption Agencies
Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (pDp) has challenged the Presidency to show proof that its investigation of alleged corrupt public officials in the country is holistic and not targeted against it.
The call followed a reaction by the Presidency to the effect that PDP’s spokesman, Olisa Metuh, has run out of ideas for alleging that the All Progressives Congress (APC) government-led anti-corruption war was selectively targeted against PDP members.
Metuh had said that the selective prosecution of perceived political opponents and members of the PDP was a ploy to destroy the party before the 2019 general elections.
The PDP, in a statement signed by Richard Ihediwa Special Assistant to PDP National Publicity Secretary yesterday, alleged that presidency’s response to its position, was rather a confirmation that the Federal Government was fighting corruption with two sets of laws.
It said the laws exist as “one for the opposition and the protective arm of the law for APC members”.
“Mr. Femi Adesina, in his habitual deceptive and diversionary manner, left the critical issues of governance raised by Sunday’s press conference addressed by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, and as usual, embarked on insults, shadow-chasing and fouling of the media space with uncouth language.
“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 lack of 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 antigraft agencies are being rewarded with ministerial positions, with yet others granted APC tickets for Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections respectively?
“Perhaps Mr. 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.
“We challenge Adesina, in the euphoria of trying to satisfy his paymaster, to defend him by showing 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.
“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”, the party said.
But disagreeing with PDP, the APC leadership said yesterday that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration will not micro-manage anti-corruption agencies.
APC said it is wrong for the PDP to accuse the APC-led Federal Government of unleashing the agencies against the opposition.
In a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party also dismissed the allegation by the PDP that the anti-corruption war of the Buhari Administration is selective, calling it a worn-out argument.
‘’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?’’ it queried.
The party said 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”, it said.
– Patrick Osadebamwen and Dyepkazah Shibayan, Abuja