Dr. Doyin Okupe
The Action Congress of Nigeria has asked President Goodluck Jonathan to immediately fire his Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, or be ready to face more damaging revelations of Okupe’s past deals.
In a statement issued on yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said in the face of an overwhelming evidence, the Presidency will only further hurt its already battered image if the Okupe should stay one more day in his position as the President’s spokesman.
ACN’s criticisms of the appointment of Okupe as President Jonathan’s aide has attracted an equally scathing remarks from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which accused the opposition party of double standard and hypocrisy.
PDP said ACN has over-blown the allegation of contract scam against Okupe while at the same ignoring a more damning corruption cases involving its prominent party men.
However, ACN said in its statement that no amount of refusal or sponsored articles can erase the fact that Okupe is being investigated over an alleged breach of contract and fraudulent conversion of public funds.
The party named a firm, Messrs Value Trust Investments Limited owned by Okupe as having got a contract from Benue State Government on April 24, 2004 to construct 230 kilometres of rural roads in the state at the cost of N2.3billion but abandoned it after collecting the sum of N886.8 million.
According to ACN, what the Presidency and the PDP must appreciate is that the appointment of a presidential aide “ is a projection of the President’s purpose, personal philosophy and sense of direction.”
It said the issue is more worrisome when the appointee is to serve as the President’s mouthpiece and intermediary with Nigerian citizens and the entire world.
“In that situation, nothing but the highest standard of probity and integrity is expected of the appointee. Therefore whether Dr Doyin Okupe is under scrutiny for breach of contract or under investigation for fraudulent conversion of public funds, common discretion requires that he be kept away from public service until he clears himself.
“To describe this fraud as a personal matter because it arises from a civil contract is to underscore the kind of naively that has kept our Presidency in the lower grades for so long. Contracts for public works are matters of public funds which no serious government will toy with. Non performance amounts to criminal conversion of public funds,” said ACN.
The party further deplored what it regarded as an act of desperation, the resort to character assassination and fabrication of lies all in the effort to defend Okupe.
“No amount of syndicated articles in different names in different newspapers, not even press releases by each of the 36 state chapters of the PDP and all the principal officers at ward, local government, state and national levels of the PDP can blot out the simple fact that Dr Doyin Okupe collected N886.8 million in July 2006 and bolted away. Therefore, he must go,” the party concluded.”