- ICPC: We’ll Act if We Get Petition against Him
By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja and Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has said that the embattled National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Adams Oshiomhole has no moral ground to remain in office over his alleged collection of kickbacks in dollars levelled against him by some members of his party during the last APC primaries in the country.
This coincides with the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) saying that it will investigate Oshiomhole if it receives any petition against him.
Saraki made this disclosure in Ilorin Wednesday while speaking with journalists on the sidelines of the sixth remembrance prayer for his late father, Dr Olusola Saraki, held at his country home.
He said: “Oshiomhole has no locus standi to talk about morality in today’s Nigeria’s politics. That must be a joke coming from Oshiomhole talking about moral ground. I think Oshiomhole has no locus standi to talk about morality today. Oshiomhole is somebody who has been told to have been collecting not even naira but dollars from candidates and he is being accused by his party’s aspirants and governors.
“I don’t think he has any moral ground, even to continue to be in politics not to talk about being a chairman of a party. I remember in those days even Oyegun, they never accused him of something like this. I have left that party. I’m sure the president, based on integrity, knows the right thing to do. So, on moral ground, he cannot speak on moral ground.”
Speaking on Saturday’s by-election in Irepodun/Ekiti/Oke Ero/Isin federal constituency, Saraki decried huge deployment of policemen and sudden change of divisional heads of police in four local government areas for the by-election.
He said: “You see, the mistake we sometimes make, we forget that Nigeria is a big nation in this global world, not only in the context of Africa. We provide leadership. An action that we take that tries to suggest that we are not civilised with the rule of law and processes, doesn’t augur well with the image.
“Today, the president is the President of ECOWAS, likewise the Chairman of INEC is chairman of electoral bodies in ECOWAS, even show that we are a responsible country.”
Saraki added: “So, when the Inspector General if Police (IG) begins to do things like this without following due process, it is not good for our country. And that is what we always stand for. And all those who supposed to caution him should ensure that due process is followed in things like this.
“We have been doing by-election here, I have never seen where the Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) are being transferred. We have been doing by-elections here, I have never seen where 200 or 300 security personnel are being deployed. It is not about Kwara, it is about the country. It is about how the world sees us.”
Meanwhile, the ICPC has said that it will investigate Oshiomhole if it receives any petition against him.
The anti-graft agency said that it has a laid down procedure for handling allegations of corruption, part of which is that there must be a formal petition duly signed and submitted to it.
Addressing a group of protesters, who besieged the ICPC headquarters in Abuja Wednesday, the spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa, said that the commission will check its records to see if there was any petition submitted against Oshiomhole by Wednesday as claimed by the protesting group.
She said that if the group’s claim about the petition is found to be true, it will be treated the same manner it handled others.
“I have heard you and we thank you people for the peaceful protest here. You have done what you are supposed to do. I want to assure you that your petition will be treated according to its merit and the same manner we treat others,” she assured.
The protesters, numbering hundreds Wednesday stormed the ICPC headquarters to demand the immediate prosecution of the APC National Chairman Oshiomhole.
The protesters, under the auspices of Coalition for New Nigeria (CNN), had arrived the ICPC office with posters bearing various inscriptions like ‘Oshiomhole is corrupt’, ‘Oshiomhole must go’, ‘with Oshiomhole, APC will fail’, ‘ICPC must probe Oshiomhole’, and ‘Buhari, remove Oshiomhole now before it is too late’, among other.
The convener of the group, Stanley Ohu, pleaded with the anti-corruption agency to expedite action in the prosecution of the ruling party boss.
“We demand that Oshiomhole resigns owing to the plethora of allegations against him leading to even the DSS inviting him and demanding for his resignation,” he said.
Speaking further, the convened said: “We are determined in our quest to arrest the danger faced by our party, the governing APC, occasioned by the integrity challenged National Chairman, Oshiomhole.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we are well aware that Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to commence criminal proceedings against Oshiomole for allegedly diverting state funds into personal use.
“Therefore, it is expedient that a man that has corruption noose round his neck is not fit and proper person to lead a party that has President Muhammadu Buhari, a man known globally for his anti-corruption stance, to remain in office.”
Ohu said that Oshiomhole should tread the path of honour to step down before APC goes into ignominy in 2019.
“As you are all aware, our party, the APC is in serious crisis following the most reprehensible, divisive and widely condemned primaries across the states. The APC, which was gaining grounds and welcoming new members, is far from the all-embracing party it was when Oshiomhole took over as national chairman.
“Given the various allegations of corruption by respected chieftains and members of the APC, we are here calling on the various anti-corruption agencies to begin a comprehensive probe of not only these allegations, but his time as the governor of Edo State.
“We assure you that this will not be the end of the Coalition for New Nigeria’s protest until Mr. Oshiomhole leaves the exalted office of the national chairman of the governing APC, the party of Change,” he said.
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