The allegation by the Rivers State Governor, Barrister Nyesom Wike, that the Senator Iyorchia Ayu-led Committee, consisting of two other former Senate Presidents and other National Assembly leaders, is a corrupt one has drawn flak from the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees (BoT) who has demanded proof of the allegation.
“I challenge anybody, anywhere to provide proof to any allegations of corruption”, Senator Walid Jubrin, has said.
According to an agency report, Jubrin disclosed this in a statement he issued on Thursday in Abuja on the committee set up to investigate the Minority leader, Ndudi Elumelu, and other PDP minority principal officers of the House of Representatives.
The BoT Chairman, who was reacting to Gov. Nyesom Wike’s corruption allegation levelled against the Senator Iyorchia Ayu committee on the emergence of Hon. Elumelu also said: “He who alleges must show evidence of corruption. It is not enough to accuse anyone of any wrong doing.
“I call on anyone, both party member or non party member to come forward with evidence of corruption and you will see what I as chairman of the BoT will do,” he said.
Nigeria Everyday reports that on Wednesday in Port Harcourt, the Governor, a strong PDP member, described the Ayu committee as the most corrupt in the history of the party.
Wike also boasted that the State Government has all it takes to fight his own party to a standstill.
Wike applauded former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Austin Opara, for withdrawing his membership of the Ayu committee.
The panel is probing the emergence of two leaderships for the Minority Caucus of the House of Representatives. While one, recognised by House leadership, is headed by Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, the other has Hon. Kingsley Chinda. Chinda is from Rivers State, while Elumelu is from Delta.
In Wike’s words, “The Committee set up by the PDP on the illegal emergence of Ndudi Elumelu is the most corrupt committee ever set up by the party.
“We thank our worthy son, Rt Hon Austin Opara for withdrawing from that committee, so that he is not entangled in the illegal activities of the tainted committee “.
“We are warning PDP to be careful not to toy with Rivers State. Rivers State has all it takes to withstand the PDP and fight the party to a standstill.
“The Rivers State Governor is not one of those Governors that anyone can cajole.
“The Rivers State Governor is not one of those Governors that will kowtow to their illicit activities “.
Nigeria Everyday further reports that Governor Wike is said to be angry because Chinda was jettisoned by the panel and the party because he is from the same State as National Chairman, Mr. Uche Secondus.
However, other sources say Wike is not happy with the way his choice for presidential candidate for the party, Governor Aminu Tambuwal, was outsmarted by the Atiku Abubakar political machinery in presidential primaries that held “right under his nose” in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital last year
That, coupled with huge funds he believes he has committed to the party without commensurate dividends, is said to be the reason he is acting at cross-purposes with the party.
But Senator Jubrin, in his Thursday statement, said that as the chairman of the party’s BoT that he would not take any side with anybody as the board of trustees remained the soul and consciousness of the party.
“I call on us not to take side with anybody since the issue or issues will be openly discussed among ourselves,” he noted.
He said: “We should be concerned with how to move the party forward and make the party strong”.
Jubrin has said that the board would meet on Sept. 19 to discuss reports of its committee set by the board up to investigate the House of Representatives Minority Leadership crisis.
Jubrin said that the mere submission of the committee chaired by Sen. Iyochia Ayu, set up to investigate PDP elected lawmakers’ disobedience to party directives, did not imply clearance and clean bill of health to those involved.
Jubrin said that there were different three committees within the party set up to investigate the disobedience to PDP directives during the voting of principal officers of the 9th National Assembly.
According to him, there are still reports from the disciplinary committee headed by Chief Tom Ikimi and the report headed by Sen. Adolphus Wabara that would be considered.
“We have three other committees and the outcome of the Ayu’s committee will not be in isolation of other committees like the Tom Ikimi Disciplinary committee and the Sen. Adolphus Wabara committee.
“It is true that the committee has submitted its report but the BoT will meet Thursday next week to discuss and take a decision on the recommendations,” he said.
Jubrin however said that he did not know why the secretary of the committee, Austin Opara left.
“It was when the report of the committee was submitted that I noticed that his column for signature was not signed.
“I am not a member of the committee. Since the inauguration of the committee, I have not spoken to them, I have not visited or interfered with their work or given any input in the course of their work.
“He did not write or tell me why he left or did not sign after the submission of their work. As far as I’m concerned, I will leave that for discussion next Thursday when the BoT will meet.
“But, I will not condemn any member of the committee without any proof of evidence of corruption,” he said.
Jubrin challenged any member of the party with proof of allegations against any member of the committee to speak out as it was not enough to cast aspersions on respected Nigerians.
Jubrin also noted that the BoT would soon embark on a strategic visit to members across the nation with the first visit to Dubai to see and interact with former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.
Additional reports by NAN