President Muhammadu Buhari has reacted to verbal attacks he received from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Friday, for endorsing Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC in the forthcoming election in Edo.
Buhari wondered why the PDP, which, according to him, has been “struggling to clear its name from alleged deals with the underworld in Dubai and the United States” has found the voice to attack the anti-corruption war of his administration.
In a statement sent on Saturday signed by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Buhari noted that his endorsement of Pastor Ize-Iyamu, who he described as a dashing candidate for the governorship election has angered the opposition party.
According to the President, the PDP has easily forgotten its own history and antecedents and has decided to point at the faults of others, ranting against the present administration’s war against corruption and alleging its failure.
According to Buhar, “Let PDP first withdraw the governorship nominations it gave to Ahmadu Fintiri and Bala Mohammed of Adamawa and Bauchi States respectively, before it opens its mouth and talk on the efforts of this administration in fighting corruption. Or else, it should shut its mouth forever and leave us to do what it dares not attempt.
“Both PDP governors were actually on bail from criminal trial on several counts of fraud and embezzlement.”
Speaking on the case of Bala Mohammed, the Governor of Bauchi State, the Presidency recalled that the anti-graft agency was arraigned on a six-count charge bordering on abuse of office, false declaration of assets and fraud to the tune of N864 million.
Among other claims, the Presidency noted Bala, while in office as minister allegedly received N550 million as bribe from Aso Savings and Loans Limited with respect to some properties in the Asokoro area of Abuja.
The Presidency noted that Ize-Iyamu was not the only one listed in that specific corruption allegation and being prosecuted by the EFCC, adding that he is being tried alongside former Deputy Governor, Lucky Imasuen, PDP Chairman in the State, Chief Dan Orbih, and other leaders of the party in the state, Tony Aziegbemi and Efe Erimuoghae, insisting that only the courts can convict.
The Presidency argued that Ize-Iyamu remains a suspect until conviction, advising the PDP to show examples by “withdrawing the nomination of their governors and the party’s numerous Senators and other legislators standing trial in various courts of the country.
The Presidency insisted that the PDP destroyed the country’s economy for sixteen years and so has no moral authority to criticize the current administration.
According to the Presidency, the Buhari sees corruption in the past governments and in its own administration and is fighting it with equal gusto.
It said for this singular reason the PDP cannot be placed on the same scale with the Buhari government who, having had corruption as a way of life and Nigerians should learn to live with it.
“This clean-up drive by the President Buhari administration will only speed up with the ongoing investigations and trials.
“The current administration’s cleansing exercise of the government, politics and economy in line with the zero tolerance for corruption, will not be distracted.
President Buhari endorsed Ize-Iyamu as the party’s flag bearer for next month’s elections in Edo State.
This was revealed by the Chairman, Caretaker Committee of the APC, Mai Malla Buni, on Friday.
Buni stated this while briefing State House correspondents after presenting Ize-Iyamu to Buhari.
However, the Edo State chapter of the PDP, faulted the meeting between President Buhari and Ize-Iyamu.
The party said Ize-Iyamu needed Buhari’s endorsement to shore up his battered image and the opinion of Edo people, ahead of the election. recalling that the APC candidate was facing a N700m fraud in court.
Before then, the Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State had wondered Buhari is supporting the governorship candidate of the APC.
According to Wike, it was wrong for Buhari, whose main agenda is fighting corruption to back Ize-Iyamu, who, according to him, is being charged for graft.
Governor Wike is the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Campaign Council for the Edo State governorship election.
Ize-Iyamu of the APC will battle it out with the incumbent governor and PDP candidate, Godwin Obaseki, in the September 19, 2020 polls.
The Rivers State Governor believes that Ize-Iyamu, who, according to him, is being tried by one of the anti-graft agencies, should not enjoy the presidential support he is adding.