…Presidency releases list of alleged PDP looters
…PDP faults list, wants FG to release names of convicted persons
The war against corruption in the country took a new twist on Friday as the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) threw tantrums over alleged looters of public funds.
The PDP had started the row when its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a reaction had asked Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to either name those accused of being corrupt or keep quiet.
Ologbondiyan said this after Osinbajo vowed not to stop talking about the alleged corruption under former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The PDP had asked the ruling APC to stop accusing the PDP of looting the nation’s economy as former public office holders linked with sleaze are been harboured by the Buhari-led APC government.
The party said it is high time the APC stop the blame game when it is obvious that former members of the PDP accused of corruption have found safe haven in the APC, a party hypocritically fighting corruption.
The PDP said, ” While we restate our challenge to the Presidency to name any individual in the repositioned PDP indicted for looting public fund, we make bold to state that in President Buhari’s cabinet are former APC governors indicted by their states for looting funds belonging to the people, bulk of which were used to finance the President’s 2015 campaign.
“We also have the list of prominent individuals, who were indicted of looting but have since crossed over to the APC where they are now provided cover by the Buhari administration.”
But the Federal Government has responded to the challenge of the PDP, which dared it to name its members who are “looters”.
At a press conference in Lagos on Friday, the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the identities of “looters” were unveiled as a result of the challenge of PDP.
According to him, the list is just a tip of the iceberg, saying that more names will be made available in due course.
On the list are the names of the PDP Chairman, Mr Uche Secondus, former spokesman of the PDP? Olisa Metuh and a former aide of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Mohammed said, “The PDP has challenged us to name the looters under their watch. They said they did not loot the treasury.
“Well, I am sure they know that the treasury was looted dry under their watch. Yet they decided to grandstand. This shows the hollowness of their apology. This list is just a tip of the iceberg, and the PDP is aware of this. We did not make these cases up. Many of these cases are in court and the records are available.
“Some of the people on this list are seeking to plea bargain, and that is a fact. We insist that Nigeria was looted blind under the watch of the PDP and that the starting point in tendering an apology is for them to return the loot.
“It’s like a robber admitting to stealing your car and apologising, but then saying he will keep the car anyway. It doesn’t work that way. The PDP is a hypocrite. And that reminds me of what English writer, William Hazlitt, said: ”The only vice that cannot be forgiven is hypocrisy. The repentance of a hypocrite is itself hypocrisy.
“We will not stop talking about the massive looting by the PDP. They brought Nigeria to this sorry pass. We are now looking around for loans to build infrastructure, and they ask us not to talk about it. We will talk about it.
Below are the names released by Mohammed and the allegations levelled against them:
- PDP chairman Uche Secondus: On the 19th of February 2015, he took N200million only from the office of the NSA.
Former PDP Financial Secretary: On the 24th of October 2014, he took N600million only from the office of former NSA.
Former PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisah Metuh: On trial for allegedly collecting N1.4bn from the office of former NSA.
Raymond Dokpesi, chairman of DAAR Communication: On trial for allegedly taking N2.1 billion from the office of the former NSA.
Former SSA to President Goodluck Jonathan, Dudafa Waripamo-Owei: On trial, over N830 million allegedly kept in accounts of four different companies.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan’s cousin, Robert Azibaola: Allegedly collected $40 million from the office of former NSA.
Meanwhile, the Presidency has advised Nigerians to be cautious of the ‘less-than-honest apology’ offered by the PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus.
The Presidency also maintained that the point made by the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, is apt and on cue, that there are heavy moral duties that go with apologies if the culprits want to be taken seriously.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Friday, said the PDP was desperate to recapture power because it no longer has unhindered access to national resources for private uses and its apology should be seen in this context.
Shehu said, “The PDP has not even acknowledged the fact that it plundered the national economy, and for a party that dismissed the anti-corruption war as a political witch hunt, it is impossible to believe that its public apology comes from the bottom of the heart.
“Even desperate thieves apologise because they are caught and not because they are incapable of repeating the crime if they had another opportunity.
“We believe that the PDP should not only apologise for the imposition of candidates, and the culture of impunity, but must also come clean and acknowledge that they participated in large scale corruption and massive diversions of public funds to private pockets while poverty was ravaging the ordinary Nigerians.
“We challenge individual PDP leaders to publicly and voluntarily tell Nigerians how much they stole and then agree to cough up their illegal acquisitions of wealth if they want their apology to be taken seriously,” the Presidency stated.
According to the presidency, apology borne by desperation to recapture power without a desire to admit how much they stole and the reluctance to return the loot is morally hollow, adding that “This goes beyond rebranding. Nigerians are not interested in brands. They want their money back.
“For such apology to gain acceptance, the offenders must first of all show remorse; then return that which was unlawfully taken or restore the damage caused the nation; and commit to never doing the wrong they did again. The PDP has done none of these for them to be taken seriously by anyone.”
The Presidential spokesman further said that instead of addressing “this cogent issue raised by the Minister,” the PDP veered off to accuse this administration of borrowing money but failed, in that regard to admit that they borrowed to steal while Buhari administration is borrowing to set up long-delayed infrastructure.
He said that the PDP’s uncaring attitude to these matters, including the kidnapping of 270 girls from Chibok is the hallmark of the long years of misrule.
“Another issue of moral and political significance is about the recent disclosure by US investigators that the PDP government engaged in massive data theft that included the hacking of Candidate Muhammadu Buhari’s personal data before the last general elections,” Shehu added.
The presidential spokesman reiterated that the PDP’s continued silence on this reprehensible heist only goes to confirm their remorselessness even as more and more facts are emerging that the same unfair method was the modus operandi that they used to capture political power in the 2017 elections.
But in a swift reaction to Federal Government list of looters, the PDP has dismissed the list as hollow and laughable.
The party said the list is an extension of Federal Government media trial and challenged it to come up names of its members against whom the Federal Government had secured convictions.
It said, “The list put forward by the Federal Government as purported looters amount to a cheap blackmail as none of those listed have been indicted or convicted by any court of competent jurisdiction or any panel of enquiry in our country.”
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement said the list issued by the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, only goes to show that the APC and the Presidency have no prove of corruption against the PDP.
The party said in its frenzy and desperation, the Federal Government even included names of individuals who are not standing trial or under investigation for any act of corruption, as well as those who are not even PDP members.
Ologbondiyan said, “The Buhari-led Federal Government has manifested its frenzy by going after matters that are in court and in which none of the persons have been convicted, thus betraying their wickedness and desperation to mislead the public, the court and divert attention from the heavy looting involving their members.
“We are not in doubt that the individuals he has mentioned will take their legitimate stride and pursue appropriate action in the court.
“However, attacks on individuals, who are members of our party, does not in anyway detract from the fact that the PDP, as a political platform, is not a party of corruption.
“It is unfortunate that the APC and its government under whose watch horrendous sleazes are happening on daily basis and a government that has failed to fulfill the littlest of its campaign promises, can spend a wholesome three years searching for flimsy allegations to discredit our party and its members.
“This is a government that is yet to account for $26billion (N9 trillion) stolen through corrupt oil contracts in the NNPC, N1.1 trillion worth of crude diverted to service APC interests, N18billion internally Displaced Persons (IDP) intervention fund stolen by APC officials, including their former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, the N10billion National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) for which members of the Buhari cabal were indicted as well as the Mainagate, where the APC government recalled and reinstated an individual indicted for scam running into billions of naira.
“This is in addition to cover provided for serving ministers indicted for corrupt enrichment, among whom is a prominent former PDP governor from the south south, who was indicted by his state for stealing billions of naira to fund President Buhari’s campaign in 2015.”
Ologbondiyan said that “the PDP is on a rebound and such flimsy allegations by the APC and its horde of looters, who stole humongous wealth from their respective states of the federation to sponsor an incompetent candidate in 2015, cannot stop us from challenging the Federal Government to fulfil its campaign promises”.