Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, has washed his hands off an alleged collection of N2 billion bribe to hasten the re-appointment of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu as Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Lawan’s reaction was contained in a statement issued yesterday evening by his spokesman, Mr. Ola Awoniyi, to a report by an on-line medium alleging that a group led by the Senate President collected N2billion from Yakubu to facilitate the confirmation of his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari to a fresh five-year tenure.
Lawan noted that the publication failed to provide the names of members of the fictitious group and where the group operated from.
He, therefore, enjoined Nigerians to ignore the report “as yet another incident of hallucination by the comical characters operating the fabricated news platform as the online medium has long earned its notoriety as a purveyor of fake news with high-profile public officials as its targets”.
The statement further said that: “It is well known that only the President can nominate a candidate for appointment or reappointment as Chairman of INEC. And only the Senate as a body can confirm or reject the appointment, after due screening of the candidate. The parliamentary process for the confirmation of nominations by the President is open and involves all distinguished senators.
“The Senate President is only a presiding officer of the Senate and does not lead any group in or outside the august chamber that acts in any way to circumvent the processes of the Senate. We reassure Nigerians that the Senate President did not receive any gratification, in his or behalf of others, to help Professor Yakubu get a second term as chairman of INEC.
“We challenge the sponsors of the false publication to provide whatever evidence that they can in support of their glib claims, failing which Nigerians should dismiss the report as another cheap blackmail from a platform that has no reputation for credible reportage and ethical journalism practice”.