Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur
By Onyebuchi Ezigbo
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has said that no amount of effort by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, to rationalise the image of its national chairman can shield him from towing the path of honour to resign.
The party said the response of the PDP has done nothing to convince Nigerians on why Tukur should not step down now that the unprecedented fuel subsidy scam starring the PDP in the face has come to trial.
In a statement issued Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said not even PDP’s resort to rationalisation - an age-old defence mechanism used by die-hard thieves when they are caught with their hands in the cookie jar - has changed the reasons for the call.
“We called on the PDP Chairman to accept moral responsibility and step down from his high office because his party is right at the centre of the biggest corruption scandal in the history of our dear country, and also because his son is among the suspects. Our call has nothing to do with Alhaji Tukur being on trial or not, and we made that clear in our earlier statement.”
ACN said because the PDP is the ruling party, in a country where unprecedented corruption has left the people badly impoverished, any linkage between a huge scandal like the fuel subsidy scam and the party immediately raises a red flag over the commitment of its government at the centre to effectively tackle this cankerworm.
“It is therefore imperative for Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, whom we agree has made a name for himself within and outside the country, to uphold that name and keep his integrity intact by vacating the leadership of the PDP today. He should not just step down, he should do so with a rousing speech that will be a reference point for all time, and convince millions of our youth that Nigeria still has men of integrity,” it said.
ACN described the dragging of the name of its leader and top member into the fuel subsidy fray as nothing short of rationalisation, and diversionary.
It said the action amounted to throwing enough mud at the wall with the hope that some of it will stick.
It reminded the PDP that since ACN is known for taking on issues instead of personalities, it will ignore the mud thrown at it, which is nothing but a sign of the desperation of a sinking behemoth that the PDP has become.
“Unfortunately, PDP’s response - which was panicky because the call for Alhaji Tukur to resign stung the party like a millions bees – did nothing to address the issues we raised: That while indeed Alhaji Bamaga Tukur is not on trial over the fuel subsidy scam, his position as the chairman of the PDP has been diminished by the allegation against his son and the involvement of the party he leads in the scandal.
“The PDP would not have needed to struggle to make its case had its Chairman not been in charge of the ruling party in Africa’s most populous nation, a party that has presided over the unprecedented looting of our commonwealth since 1999, a party that has pushed Nigeria to the edge of the precipice through its ineptness, a party that has made Nigeria more a candidate to be a failed state today than when it took power in 1999. These are the issues that led to our call, and the PDP’s response skirted them all,’’ the party said.
On the PDP’s contention that the ACN should have given credit to the PDP and its federal government for bringing the fuel scandal suspects to trial, the statement said it is not the business of a responsible opposition like ours to hail a ruling party for doing what it is supposed to do.
“In any case, the credit for the ongoing trial of the fuel scam suspects goes to Nigerians and the House of Representatives, who left the government in no doubt that they will not allow things to be swept under the carpet this time.’’
ACN said if the PDP still believes that the call on its Chairman to resign over the fuel subsidy scam is “outlandish and sheepish”, as it claims, it should carry out an opinion poll.
Such an opinion poll, it said should be conducted by an acclaimed organisation and monitored by local and international observers, on this issue, provided PDP agrees to abide by its result.