Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has stated that Nigerians are eagerly awaiting how President Muhammadu Buhari will handle the serious allegations of bribery levelled against the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, over the conduct of the just concluded primary elections in the party.
Saraki comments come as an online newspaper, Saharareporters, gave an insight into the report of the Department of State Services (DSS) to President Buhari on Oshiomhole.
Meanwhile, two spokesmen in the APC took on each other over the bribery saga. While Oshiomhole’s spokesman threatened legal action against anyone talking on the alleged bribe-taking scandal, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, stopped short of shutting him up.
The Senate President in a statement by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Yusuph Olaniyonu, also described the threat by the former Edo State Governor to sue him over his statement that Oshiomhole ought to quit politics on moral grounds over the allegations against him, as an empty boast because he (Saraki) will be ready to meet him (Oshiomhole) in court.
“Nigerians are waiting to see how the President will handle the serious allegations against his party chairman. We expect the President with his anti-corruption campaign to institute thorough and transparent investigation into the allegations against his party chairman.
“The failure of the President to get to the root of the matter will finally destroy his ability and that of the party to continue to talk of any anti-graft battle. The President should let the investigation be thorough, open and transparent. This is no time for any cover-up”, he stated.
SaharaReporters reported that the APC national chairman allegedly received a total of $55 million as bribe from aspirants. Other party chieftains claim it is $80 million.
According to report, $17 million is what Oshiomhole allegedly received as a bribe from Zamfara: $10 million for him, $7 million shared between Farouk Adamu, former Minority Leader of the House of Representatives; Niyi Adebayo, former Governor of Ekiti State.
“Hope Uzodinma, the APC governorship candidate in Imo State, gave $3 million; Rochas Okorocha, Governor of the state, offered $500,000 but it was rejected; Dapo Abiodun, the APC candidate in Ogun State, paid $5 million. The DSS also said some of the money was paid into Oshiomhole’s niece’s account.”
Saraki maintained that until the outcome of a thorough investigation is known to Nigerians and the APC chairman is cleared of the allegations against him, Oshiomhole is not on a firm ground to talk about moralty or fight against corruption.
Oshiomhole’s spokesman, Simon Ebegbulem noted that the primary elections of the APC, which were at the root of malicious attacks on his principal have come and gone, adding that it is understandable that those who lost out in the exercise conducted by the party under Oshiomhole have been exercising their rights to protest.
He adds: “It is curious to note that some elements in the top hierarchy of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) appeared to be too eager to see the exit of the APC Chairman from office and may be working in tandem with certain APC members.
“While it makes sense for PDP to wish for cure for their headache that Comrade Oshiomole has become, it should not be taken for granted that anyone can get away with any action that is capable of tarnishing the unassailable integrity of the APC Chairman.
“We are aware that part of the strategies discussed in Dubai, where the PDP leaders recently visited and held their meeting, was to continue to dish out lies against top APC leaders with a view to distract the leadership of the APC ahead the 2019 general election. But they have failed because the National Chairman and APC leaders are focused and will never be distracted.
“However, It is time these irresponsible lies stopped; otherwise, anybody who continues to make unsubstantiated allegations against the person and character of the National Chairman should be ready to provide proofs in a court of law. It cannot be just a political game to smear the character of Comrade Oshiomole by people whose track record is unenviable.
“We want the public to note that if the exercise of the APC primaries were to be about money-taking or money-making, the state governors, some of whom are embittered about the outcomes in their states, were in a better position to dish out mega bucks. But the National Working Committee of APC under the leadership of Comrade Oshiomole was motivated by higher ideals and the pursuit of noble democratic principles.
“It is sad that instead of commending the National Chairman for resisting criminal overtures to compromise him, he is being relentlessly harangued, abused and accused of receiving phantom bribes.
“This is a callous and wicked enterprise. The National Chairman’s credibility is unassailable. His reputation as president of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is a matter of fact.
“Significantly, as NLC president, he fought the PDP-controlled Federal Government in furtherance of pro-people policies without collecting money to compromise the struggles.
“He rode on the crest of his credibility and reputation to step in the saddle in Edo State as governor for eight years where he turned around the fortune of the State.
“Indeed, owing to his performance in Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole was able to get the people’s support to ensure victory for APC governor as his successor.
“The National Chairman views the current attempts to tarnish his image as uncalled for and has vowed that he will seek legal redress against anybody or media, whether the traditional or in the social media, who makes such unsubstantiated allegations henceforth.
“Enough is enough. We urge our respected media outfits to exercise caution not to be used by unscrupulous elements. Except such persons or media house can provide evidence.”
But Nabena is reported to have told him to stop the media propaganda and face the reality on ground.