•Rather than quit, president will continue with crusade against corruption
By Chuks Okocha and Omololu Ogunmade
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday painted a gloomy picture of Nigeria amidst insecurity and poverty, calling on President Mohammadu Buhari to honourably resign as the country “is now on a ventilator, gasping for breath.”
However, the presidency last night reacted to the call on President Buhari to resign, saying he won’t resign but would rather continue with his crusade against corruption.
The PDP also challenged the Buhari administration to investigate and prosecute those who moved bullion vans stacked with money into Bourdillon Road in Ikoyi, Lagos, if it was serious in fighting corruption and money laundering in the country.
Addressing a press conference yesterday in Abuja, the National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus said: “What we are witnessing in our country today is a total collapse of the nation. The country is on ventilator gasping for air, under such circumstance, President Buhari should do the honourable thing required of an elder statesman in situations like this; throw in the towel because Nigeria is on free fall and has entered depression from recession, and save the country from ruins.”
He lamented that no effort was being made from any angle to halt the on-going free fall being witnessed on all fronts in the country, saying Nigerians had become helpless and resolved to accept their fate and live like citizens of nations without leadership and with no direction.
According to the PDP National Chairman, the Buhari-led government had exhausted their propaganda of winning the war on terrorism, only in their press releases, “as reality has dawned on all, both the military and political leaders are now helpless and confused.”
He said the call by the Nigerian Senate for the service chiefs to resign was a proof to the world that there was no executive arm of government in place.
Secondus said: “Having few months back advised the executive to sack the service chiefs for having outlived their relevance and re-engineer the military for the emerging challenges, and having watched the security situation in the country grow from worse to worse, the legislators have limited option but to do what they did, at least to show the people they represent that they are sensitive to their plights.
“Not even during the three year brutal civil war did we witness as much as over 300 soldiers absconding their duties and pouring abuses on their commander. Only poor leadership from the military and the polity can drag down morale of soldiers to such pitiable level. The Presidency rising immediately to challenge the Senate shows also the level of confusion in the system.”
He stressed that since transparency International said few years ago that the worst corruption was going-on in Nigeria under this regime, the situation had continued to worsen.
He explained that it had now become a bazar, with no pretense about it, with all critical agencies of government, including the anti-graft body themselves engulfed by it.
On the economy, Secondus said: “The nation’s economy is walking into depression because we are least in recession, and it’s being fast-tracked by the widening scope of corruption involving operatives at the high places.
“The free for all corruption going on all over the place leaves us with the impression that the country is dying, and there has been a scramble for what one can get out of it before the final demise.
“It’s very disheartening that as the looting and the re-looting of the nation’s resources are going on under the watch of the acclaimed anti-corruption President, no serious reaction is coming from a government that prides itself to be fighting corruption.
“Rather than confront the already exposed corruption cases, the government deliberately takes cautious steps to play it down with a view to protecting their members who are neck deep in the growing sleaze.
“After providence decided to expose the massive fraud going on in the nation’s anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in the last five years, rather than bring it to the fore, the Presidency in the great cover-up decided to take the investigation, including the interrogation of suspects, to Aso Rock Villa behind camera where all the exposed issues are kept away from the public glare.”
Secondus said that Nigerians were aware that after the massive fraud exposition involving critical members of the administration, subtle moves were on behind the scene to free culprits and save the face of the government at the expense of the nation.
He explained that this had been the case since this administration came in 2015, disguising as an anti- corruption regime, while in reality they are looting the country dry.
According to him, “After their double speak on fuel subsidy and pricing, they have recorded the highest amount of subsidy in the petroleum sector, while running the show in utmost secrecy with the President presiding as both the President and the Petroleum Minister.
“As we speak, the big corruption cover-up is on-going in critical sectors, the Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, the Maritime sector, the Customs, the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF, North East Development Commission, NNPC crude Oil sale to China etc.
“Nothing brings out the exact character of President Buhari’s administration to corruption than the on-going free-for-all fraud at the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, where the so called forensic auditors sent in by the President to unearth fraud are themselves becoming visible accomplice to the crime. The Senate has already indicted the Interim Management Committee, IMC, and the supervising Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio. A commission set up to help the suffering people of Niger Delta has become a bank for APC members.”
Buhari Won’t Resign, Presidency Replies PDP
The presidency last night reacted to the latest call by the PDP on the President to resign, saying the president won’t resign.
A statement by presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, said rather than quit, the president would continue with his crusade against corruption.
According to the statement, the president would also revisit corruption cases either handled shabbily or ignored by the past administrations.
While accusing the party of undemocratic tendencies, the statement said the National Assembly and security agencies would also continue to play their respective parts in the fight against corruption.
The statement, which said the PDP should not continue to launch “subterranean attacks” against the system, added that the opposition party would not be allowed to scare the government from probing corrupt allegations against ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
“President Buhari will not resign. He is determined to continue the crusade against corruption, both legacy and recently unearthed cases, that are found to be shabbily handled, and in some cases unattended to by past administrations.
“The National Assembly, by virtue of its right to conduct its oversight function is currently carrying out own investigations. “Additionally, the security and intelligence agencies are equally doing their part and must be given the time and space to conclude their work and present their reports.
“The PDP cannot scare the government from probing the grave allegations made against MDAs and their chiefs because failure to do so will amount to a historic betrayal of public trust.
“The PDP cannot subject Nigeria’s democracy to subterranean attacks and continue to pretend that they are well-meaning,” the statement said.