By Mohammed Aminu in Sokoto
The senator representing Sokoto North senatorial district and Chairman, Northern Senatorsâ€™ Forum, Â Senator Aliyu Wamakko, yesterday said he has never had N1 billion in hisÂ entire life, contrary to malicious reports in the mediaÂ that he diverted N15 billion during his stint as governor
He also denied working against the re-election bid of President Muhammad Buhari in 2019.
Wamakko was reacting to reports in some national dailies last week alluding that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was planningÂ to invite him for alleged theft of public funds and money laundering totalling N15 billion.
In the publications, the dailiesÂ quoted a petition by a group, Movement for the Liberation and Emancipation of Sokoto linking Wamakko and former Kano State Governor, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, for alleged mismanagement of over N 18 billion Â when they were in office.
Speaking with journalists at his residence in Sokoto yesterday, Wamakko insisted that he had never accumulated N1 billion in his entire life and had no reason whatsoever to misappropriate funds belonging to the state.
He described as malicious and untrue allegations that N1.5 billion was found in one of his bank accounts, saying there was no iota of truth in the matter.
The former governor described the petitioners as evil men and enemies bent on tarnishing his image.
â€œI was out of the country when a story was published in some newspapers last week that I diverted N15 billion during my stint as governor. The publications are just fake, mere rubbish and a calculated attempt by mischief makers to bring me down.
â€œThey claimed that N1.5 billion was found in my bank account. It is idiotic to keep such huge amountÂ in an account. How can a public servant keep N1.5 billion in a bank account? I challenge the petitioners to publish the name of the bank and the account in the media.
â€œI never had N1 billion in my life and I am not a rich man. I donâ€™t keep money right from my days as a teacher that I earn N54 monthly. I take what I need for my upkeep and share the rest to people in need.
â€œI laboured as governor for a period of eight years in Sokoto. I put in place five tertiary institutions including a state university. I established 230 primary health centres with ambulances and staff accommodation, built 5,000 houses, constructed 1,000 kilometres of roads and 1,000 classrooms, empowered 5,000 youths, among others.
â€œSo I never stole money belonging to the people of Sokoto State. I am not saying that I am a saint or do not make mistakes but the stories are meant to expose me to ridicule,â€ he said.
The former governor maintained that enemies were desperate in their quest to create a wedge between him and President Buhari
According to him, the petitioners want to create the impression that he (Wamakko) and some senators are working against the re-election bid of Buhari in 2019.
He emphasised that his relationship with Buhari was cordial and as such, had no reason to work against the president.
â€œI have no quarrel with Buhari. We are best of friends and he invites me from time to time to discuss nationalÂ issues. I am among the few senators that he accords respect and holds in high esteem. There has never been a time when my request to see him was turned down.
â€œMy enemies want to create the impression that I am fighting Buhari. It was part of the evil machinations of a failed politician who thinks that Wamakko should never breathe and live. The frail and ungodly politician and his unpatriotic mercenaries want to bring me down.
â€œIt is God who made me what I am and my enemies are not happy. It is sad that we live in a country where peopleÂ just wake up and write rubbish just for purpose of mischief.â€
The former governor averred that the petition was not from the EFCC but from some chronic merchants of falsehood.
He described the anti-graft bodyÂ as a reputable agency that has officials with respect and decorum, who would never use unethical language like the one used in the publication.
Wamakko further explained that he did not leave any debt for the present administration, contrary to rumours being spread by adversaries.
He added that no amount of mischief by detractors would deter him from his determination to provide qualitative representation to the people of the state.