The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that the claim by the All Progressives Congress (APC) that the opposition party is rebranding with stolen money was a mere plot to divert attention from the ruling party’s moves to use terrorism fight as a conduit to siphon public funds for partisan purposes.
The Federal Government last week got the approval of the National Economic Council (NEC), which has all state governors as members, to withdraw $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) to fight insurgency in the Northeast.
The opposition party had condemned the decision, but the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed was reported to have accused the opposition party of rebranding with stolen funds.
In its response in a statement by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Sunday, the PDP argued that the APC was making the allegation as a manipulative tendency to divert attention from the $1 billion ECA it wants to use to finance partisan activities.
It said, “The attempt by the APC Federal Government to divert attention from the fraud, by resorting to unsubstantiated allegations against the PDP only reinforces its manipulative tendencies and arrogant spurn to the sensibilities of Nigerians.
“Such wild allegation was only intended to divert public attention from the heavy sleazes under the current administration, the latest being the moves to use the fight against terrorism as a conduit to siphon public funds for partisan purposes.
“The Federal Government has failed to address issues raised by the PDP and majority of Nigerians, including APC members, who cannot fathom how this administration would want to expend N365bn on fighting insurgents it claimed had been technically defeated.
“It is indeed appalling that rather than being remorseful, the APC Federal Government has renewed its wild allegations and cheap blackmail against the PDP.
“It is a clear to all that the PDP do not have access to public funds and cannot be rebranding with stolen money. Instead, we are rebranding on the grace of the general goodwill of Nigerians who have suffered untold hardships in close to three years of APC government.
“While we understand the nervousness of the APC Federal Government over our rebranding and the renewed popularity of the PDP, which has signaled their inevitable death knell, resorting to outlandish allegations will not help them as Nigerians have since seen through such old-fashioned propaganda and gimmicks.
“We are however not surprised by this diversionary and deceptive approach from the APC government; a government whose officials have since become notorious for dishing out falsehood to Nigerians to cover their incompetence and corrupt tendencies.
“This is the same minister of information, who in a press in conference in Abuja, in 2016, promoted allegations that 55 people stole a total of N1.34 trillion; that 5 former governors stole N146.8 billion; that 4 former ministers stole N7 billion. All these have remained unsubstantiated.
“While we challenge this Government to come clean on the issue of the $1bn Excess Crude money, we also challenge the minister of information to comment on allegations that the APC funded its 2015 presidential campaign with stolen public funds, particularly from Lagos and Rivers states.
“He should also waste no time in commenting on allegations of corruption against their former SGF, Babachir Lawal, the Mainagate and other heavy sleazes going on unabated under the current APC-led administration.”
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