The arrest of Akpabio and the nomination of Fashola and Amaechi as ministers did not go down well with the PDP. The leading opposition party has accused the president of shielding his party men, while hunting for PDP men. EMMA ALOZIE looks at the war of words that have ensued between the ruling party and the opposition party
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the All Progressives Congress, APC are engaged in war of words over the renewed fight against corruption by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. Expectedly, the PDP has accused the President of targeting only PDP members while turning blind eye on equally accused APC members.
In a recent statement by the opposition PDP, the party called the President a dictator. The statement signed by Olisah Metuh said President Buhari’s fight against corruption is hypocritical and full of double standards.
Mr. Metuh wondered why only the petition against Mr. Akpabio would be acted on, when there were petitions against former governors of Lagos and Rivers states, Babatunde Fashola and Rotimi Amaechi, who are members of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
“On the issue of Senator Godswill Akpabio, we invite Nigerians to note that in the three rich states of Akwa-Ibom, Rivers and Lagos states, there were petitions against their former governors. Whereas the former APC governors of Lagos and Rivers were rewarded with ministerial nominations, their Akwa Ibom PDP counterpart and the current Senate Minority Leader is being hounded by the EFCC.
“This is in spite of the common knowledge that Akwa-Ibom under the Senator Akpabio is arguably the least indebted state in Nigeria, and where the governor appropriately applied available resources to effectively transform the state. We challenge the APC to show Nigerians any of their governors that matched the feats achieved in Akwa-Ibom under Senator Akpabio, whose only building in Uyo is uncompleted and being built with verifiable bank loans.
“The PDP therefore state categorically that the orchestrated investigation of Senator Akpabio is politically motivated and targeted at weakening the PDP for 2019 elections, by virtue of his being the face of opposition in the National Assembly.”
The PDP further challenged the EFCC to disclose any member of APC who has been invited or questioned after receipt of petition.
“As we speak, no APC member, despite the public petitions of corruption and squandering of state funds, has been invited or questioned by the EFCC. We challenge the EFCC, as an anti-corruption agency, to show Nigerians any member of the APC it has so far questioned, not to talk of being arrested since the emergence of this administration, despite petitions against them.
“Recall that even the case of former Adamawa state Governor Murtala Nyako started before the advent of the current administration but is now reportedly being worked on ostensibly to extricate APC members involved.
“This government has established itself as a hypocritical regime that accommodates corruption, profligacy and sleazes in government quarters while hoodwinking the people and witch-hunting PDP members.
“Whereas the PDP has over time restated its support for a credible, holistic fight against corruption, unfolding events have confirmed our position that this administration is only using the anti-corruption posture as a tool to witch-hunt PDP members and perceived political opponents of APC government.
“We are aware that having realized that Nigerians have seen through their propaganda, deceit and lies, as well as their ineptitude in handling governance, the APC government is now mortally afraid of the on-going rebuilding in the PDP to take over power in 2019, and is as such, applying every negative means to decimate our great party, including the relentless victimization of our key members.
“It is clearly manifest that the same dictatorial tendencies manifested during the military regime of 1984 is being presently applied in the polity in the attempt to discredit PDP members and weaken our great party ahead of 2019.
“The APC and its government have been busy denigrating the PDP and trying to appropriate our achievements, while at the same time blackmailing, hounding and harassing our elected members with the aim to cow and force them to leave the PDP and join their party.”
However, APC in a swift reaction accused the PDP of intimidating the anti-graft agencies from doing their job. Alhaji Lai Mohammed, APC’s spokesman dismissed the allegation by the PDP that the anti-corruption war of the Buhari administration is selective, calling it a worn-out argument. ‘’The ceaseless cry of selective anti-corruption battle is a bogey invented by the PDP to intimidate the anti-corruption agencies, and it will not work. It is the PDP’s strategy to stifle the fight against corruption.
‘’How can the PDP claim to support the anti-graft battle when every time any of its members is called in for questioning, it runs to the media to shout that the battle is ‘selective’? Is it possible that anyone who is invited for questioning will not belong to a party, an ethnic group or a certain faith?’’ it queried.
APC said the anti-corruption agencies have a duty to investigate petitions sent to them, irrespective of who is involved, but noted that invitation for questioning is not the same as conviction.
‘’Those who have nothing to fear must be willing to clear their names by honouring any invitation, and only the guilty needs be afraid. The PDP must stop being hysterical over such invitations which are not going to stop simply because the opposition has called a press conference to cry wolf where there is none,’’ the party said.
This seems the new trend between the APC and the PDP and some analysts say that this may not help the war on corruption. While PDP members are arguing that the anti-graft agencies are reading the ‘body language’ of the president to shield APC members who are equally not less guilty, APC members are saying that the fight against corruption must start from somewhere.