The presidency on Saturday night asked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to sack its governors and senators facing corruption charges before criticising President Muhammadu Buhari’s endorsement of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Edo State, Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
The president had on Friday endorsed Ize-Iyamu as the APC candidate for the September 19 governorship election in Edo.
Ize-Iyamu is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside Lucky Imasuen, former deputy governor of Edo, Chief Dan Orbih, ex-PDP Chairman in Edo, and other leaders of the party for allegedly collecting N700million from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, ahead of the 2015 general elections.
However, the presidency in a statement issued by the president’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, condemned the attack launched by the PDP against the president following Friday’s endorsement of the APC candidate.
According to him, under the country‘s laws, only the courts can convict, and a suspect remained innocent until conviction.
Shehu asked the PDP to withdraw the nominations given to Adamawa State Governor, Ahmadu Fintiri and his Bauchi State counterpart, Bala Mohammed, who were facing corruption charges before their elections in 2019.
He insisted that the PDP had no moral authority to attack the anti-graft crusade of the Buhari administration because of Friday’s endorsement of Ize-Iyamu.
The statement read: “The Peoples Democratic Party which has been struggling to clear its name from alleged deals with the underworld in Dubai and the United States has, to our surprise, found the voice to attack the anti-corruption war of the Muhammadu Buhari administration following the president’s endorsement of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the All Progressives Congress’ dashing candidate for the governorship election in Edo State.
“Forgetting its own history and antecedents, the PDP said in a garrulous statement that ‘the president ought to have been aware that the candidate is standing trial for corruption,’ and then went on a rant against the government’s war against corruption, alleging its failure.
“Let PDP first withdraw the governorship nominations it gave to Ahmadu Fintiri and Bala Mohammed of Adamawa and Bauchi States respectively, before it opens its mouth and talk on the efforts of this administration in fighting corruption.
“Or else, it should shut its mouth forever and leave us to do what it dares not attempt.
“Both PDP governors were actually on bail from a 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 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 a false declaration of his assets.”
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