Ahead of Saturday’s national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the senator representing Ogun East senatorial district in the National Assembly, Buruji Kashamu, has drawn the attention of delegates, leaders and stakeholders of the party to media reports that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was planning to re-arrest some aspirants accused of corruption cases.
According to the media reports, which are yet to be refuted, the aspirants included two former governors from the South-west and two other aspirants from the South-south who were accused of receiving money from the Office of the immediate past National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
In a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, Kashamu said: “While it is true that an accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty, our great party cannot afford to close its eyes to this potential threat.
“It is a no-brainer that if a national chairman with a corruption case is elected, the party will literally be put on trial with him. This is one avoidable risk that is too much to take. You can be sure that a corruption trial of the national chairman of an opposition party will come with a lot of bad publicity that will sound the death knell of the party.”
He urged the delegates and stakeholders, especially the South-east, to support the quest of the South-west to produce the national chairman in the interest of equity and justice.
While calling on the South-east to borrow a leaf from the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) in supporting the South-west in its aspiration, Kashamu said, “Our brothers and sisters from the South-east need to be categorical now in support of the South-west on the ongoing national chairmanship tussle between the South-West and the South-South.
“The implication of this avoidable tussle is to make uncertain the settled South-east vice-presidential quest in 2019. If the South-east expectedly takes a principled stance in support of the South-west, naturally as a reliable race in adherence to agreements, the Yoruba people would reciprocate without any prompting. What is currently happening is glaringly an orchestrated assault on the South-west to end up with nothing in 2019, just like we did when our party was in power. This is a dangerously illogical political permutation for 2019 national elections.”
Although the lawmaker acknowledged the right of others to seek election, he was of the view that it should not be done at the expense of established norms and agreements.
“Without prejudice to anybody’s right to aspire for party positions, it is an open secret that the PDP national chairmanship had been conceded to the South-west pre-Port Harcourt convention. It was because of this that the other positions zoned to the South-west are innocuous deputies to substantive offices except the National Treasurer. All these are because of the vital national chairmanship had already been conceded to the South-west.
“It is in the light of the above that I wish to reiterate my call on our notable leaders, elders and delegates to put the interest of democracy and the future of our great party above any pecuniary interest or considerations. This is the time we have to rebrand our party and reposition it,” Kashamu said.