The presidency yesterday fired back at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over what it described as attack on the anti-corruption war of the Muhammadu Buhari administration following the president’s endorsement of the the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State.
It expressed shock that the opposition party “which has been struggling to clear its name from alleged deals with the underworld in Dubai and the United States” has found the voice to attack the president.
The presidency was reacting to a statement by PDP in which it faulted Buhari’s endorsement of Ize-Iyamu, saying the president ought to have been aware that the Edo APC candidate was standing trial for corruption.
Hitting back at the opposition party, presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, noted in a statement that forgetting its own history and antecedents, The PDP in a “garrulous statement went on rant against the government’s war against corruption, alleging its failure”.
The presidency challenged the PDP to first withdraw the governorship nominations it gave to some PDP governors before opening its mouth and “talk on the efforts of this administration in fighting corruption”.
Shehu said, “Both PDP governors were actually on bail from criminal trial on several counts of fraud and embezzlement. Justice A. R. Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday, July 1, 2016 granted bail to the former acting governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri. He was charged on June 30, 2016 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, alongside his company, Mayim Construction and Properties Limited on a five-count charge of money laundering to the tune of N2.9 billion.
“In the case of Bala Mohammed, the PDP Governor of Bauchi State, the EFCC, on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, arraigned the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, before Justice A. M. Talba of the Federal Capital Territory, High Court sitting in Gudu, Abuja, on a six-count charge bordering on abuse of office, false declaration of assets and fraud to the tune of N864 million.
“Bala, while in office as minister, allegedly received N550 million as bribe from Aso Savings and Loans Limited with respect to some properties in the Asokoro area of Abuja.
“He is said to have corruptly abused his position as Board Chairman of Aso Savings by allocating four numbers fully detached duplexes and 11 numbers semi-detached duplexes valued at N314 million through the Presidential Taskforce on Sale of Government Houses, to himself. The former minister is also accused of making false declaration of his assets.”
Shehu further explained that Pastor Ize-Iyamu was already being prosecuted by the EFCC alongside Lucky Imasuen, former deputy governor of Edo State, Chief Dan Orbih, PDP Chairman in Edo State and other leaders of the party in the state, Tony Aziegbemi and Efe Erimuoghae.
Shehu continued: “Under the country‘s laws only the courts can convict. A suspect remains a suspect until conviction. But, if in the view of the PDP, a suspect is guilty as charged, then they must show examples by withdrawing the nomination of their governors and the party’s numerous Senators and other legislators standing trial in various courts of the country.
“A party which 16 years in office destroyed the country’s economy and infrastructure has no moral authority to criticize the accelerated infrastructure development drive, largely drawing its energy from the Buhari anti-corruption campaign”.
APC Govs Storm Benin For Ize-Iyamu
Meanwhile, governors of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and some of the party’s national leaders yesterday expressed confidence that the September 19 governorship election in Edo will be overwhelmingly won by the APC.
They however cautioned party faithful to avoid violence before, during and after the election as well as resist attempts to be provoke by the ruling PDP.
APC’s admonition to its members came few hours after the deputy governor of Edo State, Phillip Shaibu, raised the alarm over alleged plot by the APC to assassinate top members of the PDP ahead of the governorship election.
The APC leaders spoke one after the other at the venue of party’s official flag off of the governorship campaign at the Sports Complex of the University of Benin.
Despite the concern raised over the COVID-19 pandemic, large supporters of the governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and his running mate, Mallam Gani Audu, besieged the venue adorn with APC insignia as early as 7am.
President Muhammadu Buhari, had on Friday formally presented the party’s flag to Ize-Iyamu at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Some of the APC chieftains in attendance include, Governor Dapo Abiodu, (Ogun), Governor Nasir El-Rufai, (Kaduna), Governor Abdullahi Ganguje, (Kano), deputy Senate President Omo Ovie Agege, Governor Babajide Sanwolu (Lagos), Governor Oluwa Rotimi Akeredolu, (Ondo), Governor Atiku Bagudu, (Kebbi), Governor Gboyegha Oyetola (Osun) and deputy governor of Kogi State, Edward Onoja.
Others are the minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; former minister of State for Works, Engr Chris Ogiemwonyi; former APC national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole; Hon Cairo Ojugbo; Hon Peter Akpatason and Hon Johnson Oghuma.
Chairman of APC national campaign council and Kano State governor, Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje, told the large crowd of APC faithful that the party had completed arrangement to ensure victory for the party
“Ours is to mobilize the people on the simple agenda. We have seen campaign done from village to village. We have concluded that this election will be won by APC”.
Ganduje while flagging off the campaign stated: “Our Council has met several times and we completed arrangements for successful election and Insha Allah, we will win this election. Our own responsibility is to create enabling environment for the mobilization of voters for the presentation of our candidate and his manifesto especially his SIMPLE agenda for the good people of Edo State.”
Expressing optimism that the party will become victorious, he added: “We are highly impressed with the state Council for the election. We are impressed with the performance of the election committee at the state level. We have seen elections and campaigns going on from hamlet to hamlet, from village to village, from town to town and within the metropolitan of Benin.
“From the crowd we have seen, we have to conclude that this election will be won by the APC. Also, I have to congratulate you; listen to me. I have to congratulate you for the swearing in of 14 elected state Assembly members and also the election of the new principal officers of Edo State House of Assembly. We do congratulate you and we pray Almighty God to guide them for successful deliberations in Edo State House of Assembly”.