From Umar Muhammad Puma and Lateef Ibrahim Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC), has slammed the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for kicking against the approval by the National Economic Council (NEC) for the sum of $1bn to be withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) for fighting insurgency in the country.
The PDP had described the $1bn approval as inexcusable moves by the ruling APC to divert attention from its attempt to pilfer the said sum for the financing of partisan activities ahead of 2019.
However, the APC dismissed the allegations made by the PDP through a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi.
It said: “We note the statement issued by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) on the issue of $1 billion approved for the Federal Government from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) for the prosecution of war against terror.
“We also note the preposterous allegation by the PDP that the real purpose of the said $1 billion was to fund our Party’s presidential activities, ahead of 2019. We find this allegation baseless and ridiculous to say the least.”
The APC further said that since the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) that granted the approval has eleven (11) PDP Governors as its members, it meant that the PDP Governors support the decision to approve funds that was ostensibly meant to fund the APC.
“In essence, the PDP is by this allegation accusing their Governors of disloyalty or suggesting that they were bewitched into supporting the decision. It is that ridiculous!
“We can understand why it is easy for PDP to arrive at its ludicrous allegation. A similar approval in excess of $2 Billion was granted to the PDP government when they were in power. They knew what they did with the money. It is a classic case of a serial killer who sees even a table knife as a murder weapon.
“The PDP presided over a government that made it possible for money meant for weapons to be diverted into paying marabouts and all manner of political jobbers ahead of the 2015 election. Therefore, the PDP thinks the same thing is about to happen. They have not realised that it is a new day and President Muhammadu Buhari will not play politics with money meant to protect the lives of innocent Nigerians or allow anyone to engage in such brigandage that Nigerians suffered under the PDP.”
The APC concluded by saying that “we understand the pressure that the PDP is facing to justify its role as an opposition party, but they need to be reminded that opposition is not the same as opposing everything, including those things that are critical to national interest.
“We welcome PDP to play its part in ensuring that the money or any public money at all is used for the purpose for which it is intended.
In this case, they can simply ensure that their eleven governors demand accountability for the money that they have joined in approving.
“The twin principle of accountability and probity are fundamental to APC. If the PDP in their latest reincarnation now consider these principles important, we are happy for them and we welcome them. It appears however that PDP’s interpretation of its role is to oppose everything even before they had the opportunity to understand it. They have remained embittered over what they thought APC did to them as an opposition party and are therefore seized by an obsession to revenge.
In essence, they are primarily driven by vendetta rather than considered national interest.”
However, in a swift reaction to APC’s new claim on the issue, the PDP declared yesterday that no amount of finger-pointing by the ruling APC can justify the fraudulent attempt by the Federal Government to withdraw $1bn from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) to finance partisan activities, adding that APC’s arguments are diversionary and lame.
The PDP also maintained that “the attempt to claim that 11 PDP governors were part of the approval in a meeting superintended and eminently directed by Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo was merely begging the question” and further underpins the manipulative proclivities of the APC government.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in a reaction to the APC’s defence on Monday, noted that the ruling party always paints holier than thou picture of itself whereas the whole world knows it reeks of corruption.
According to him, “The truth remains that the APC government has been caught in the act and no amount of diversionary finger-pointing will detract from the fact that it tried to use the fight against insurgents as a ruse to secure the money, which they have arranged to spend on extraneous subheads including partisan activities.