Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja and Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
Senate President Bukola Saraki Wednesday came down hard on the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, asking him to quit politics.
Saraki made the statement in Ilorin, Kwara State capital, on the sidelines of a remembrance ceremony for his late father, Dr. Olusola Saraki.
This is coming as the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) yesterday told protesters that it would investigate the APC national chairman if it receives a petition against him.
Saraki said based on recent allegations levelled against Oshiomhole, the APC national chairman had no right to remain the chairman of the ruling party, let alone remain in politics.
“Oshiomhole has no locus standi to talk about morality in today’s Nigeria’s politics. That must be a joke coming from Oshiomhole talking about moral ground,” he said.
The Senate president referred to multiple allegations of corruption against the ruling party’s national chairman by some APC aspirants and said Oshiomhole ought to stand down from politics.
According to the Senate president, “I don’t think he has any moral ground, even to continue to be in politics not to talk about being a chairman of a party.
“I remember in those days even John Oyegun, they never accused him of something like this. I have left that party. I’m sure the president, based on integrity, knows the right thing to do. So, on moral ground, he cannot speak on moral ground.”
Speaking on Saturday’s by-election in Irepodun/Ekiti/Oke Ero/Isin Federal Constituency, Saraki decried the huge deployment of policemen and sudden change of divisional heads of police in four local government areas for the by-election.
He said, “You see, the mistake we sometimes make; we forget that Nigeria is a big nation in this global world, not only in the context of Africa. We provide leadership. An action that we take that tries to suggest that we are not civilised with rule of law and processes, doesn’t augur well with the image.
“Today, the president is the president of ECOWAS likewise the Chairman of INEC as chairman of electoral bodies in ECOWAS, even show that we are a responsible country”.
“So, when the Inspector General of Police (IG) begins to do things like this without following due process, it is not good for our country. And that is what we always stand for. And all those who are supposed to caution him should ensure that due process is followed in things like this.
“We have been doing by- election here, I have never seen where the Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) are being transferred. We have been doing by-elections here; I have never seen where 200 or 300 security personnel are being deployed. It is not about Kwara State; it is about the country. It is about how the world sees us.
“It is about how we provide leadership in the continent. And we keep on saying that people like these are not doing the president any good. The people at the end of the day will speak, and they should allow people to exercise their rights, vote in peace and vote their wishes and should not do anything that create fear or break law and order.
“In spite of all these, I see PDP winning the election because we are on the ground. There is no doubt about it. If you go round, you will know who is on ground. And you will see that in the results. They should allow people to exercise their rights.”
Oshiomhole had severally prevailed on Saraki to resign from his exalted position following his defection from the ruling APC to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Apparently still leaking the wound inflicted on the ruling party’s ego by the defection of Saraki to the opposition political party, Oshiomhole while appearing on Arise TV, a sister broadcast station of THISDAY, said there was no way the “minority leadership in National Assembly” could stand the test of time.
“It is unacceptable that minority provide leadership over majority. However he mismanages the process of manipulating the tools of reward, using all ways to sustain himself in power at a huge cost to the country, I remain convinced that Saraki must show honour and character by vacating voluntarily,” he said.
Protesters Storm ICPC, Demand APC Chairman’s Probe
Meanwhile, protesters yesterday stormed the headquarters of the ICPC in Abuja, demanding an investigation into allegations of bribery levelled against Oshiomhole during the recently concluded nationwide primary elections of the party.
The protesters, who were led by Stanley Onu under the auspices of Coalition for a New Nigeria (CNN), said the protest was in their “quest to arrest the dangers faced by our party, the ruling APC, occasioned by the integrity challenged National Chairman, Oshiomhole.”
They carried placards with several inscriptions such as ‘Oshiomhole must go’, ‘Probe Oshiomhole now,’ among others.
According to them, “The APC is in serious crisis following the most reprehensible, divisive and widely condemned primaries across the states.”
Speaking further, the leader of the protesters said, “Today, the APC which was gaining grounds and welcoming new members is far from the all-embracing party it was when Oshiomhole took over as national chairman.
“Given the various allegations of corruption by respected chieftains and members of the APC, we are here calling on the various anti-corruption agencies to begin a comprehensive probe of not only these allegations, but his time as the governor of Edo State.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we are well aware that Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to commence criminal proceedings against Oshiomhole for allegedly diverting state funds into personal use.
“Therefore, it is expedient that a man that has corruption noose round his neck is not the fit and proper person to lead a party that has President Muhammadu Buhari, a man known globally for his anti-corruption stance, to remain in office.”
Addressing the protesters, spokeswoman of the commission, Ms. Rasheedat Okoduwa, buttressed the impartiality of the ICPC, saying it would look into all petitions before it, giving precedence to the time of filing.She urged the protesters to remain peaceful and allow the petition go through the commission’s processes.