The opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has challenged the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, party and the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed to deny that the APC’s 2015 presidential campaigns were not funded with stolen money from Lagos and Rivers states.
The opposition party also described as a diversionary tactic employed by APC and Mohammed to deceive Nigerians, a statement saying PDP is rebranding with stolen funds.
A statement signed by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Sunday, however said that APC should rather address issues it (PDP) raised on why the planned withdrawal of $1bn from the Excess Crude Account, ECA, to fight Boko Haram insurgency is a ruse. PDP also described as inexcusable, the move to withdraw the said $1bn from ECA, maintaining it is an attempt to pilfer the country’s funds by APC to finance partisan activities.
The statement also said that haven failed Nigerians, especially by subjecting them to untold hardship, the APC has resorted to a renewed “wild allegations and cheap blackmail against the PDP” in another wave of attempts to divert the minds of Nigerians away from its failed governance.
The PDP, which insisted that the Federal Government must address the issues it raised, noted that “the attempt by the APC Federal Government to divert attention from the fraud, by resorting to unsubstantiated allegations against the PDP only reinforces its manipulative tendencies and arrogant spurn to the sensibilities of Nigerians.”
It said only the APC-led government has access to public funds in the country and hence, there is no way PDP could be rebranding with stolen funds. Challenging Mohammed to explain the sources of APC’s 2015 campaign funding, the PDP also demanded the APC-led federal government to come clean on the issue of the $1bn Excess Crude money.
The statement partly reads thus: “such wild allegation was only intended to divert public attention from the heavy sleazes under the current administration, the latest being the moves to use the fight against terrorism as a conduit to siphon public funds for partisan purposes.
“The Federal Government has failed to address issues raised by the PDP and majority of Nigerians, including APC members, who cannot fathom how this administration would want to expend N365bn on fighting insurgents it claimed had been technically defeated. “It is indeed appalling that rather than being remorseful, the APC Federal Government has renewed its wild allegations and cheap blackmail against the PDP.
“It is a clear to all that the PDP do not have access to public funds and cannot be rebranding with stolen money. Instead, we are rebranding on the grace of the general goodwill of Nigerians who have suffered untold hardships in close to three years of APC government.
“While we understand the nervousness of the APC Federal Government over our rebranding and the renewed popularity of the PDP, which has signalled their inevitable death knell, resorting to outlandish allegations will not help them as Nigerians have since seen through such old-fashioned propaganda and gimmicks.
“We are however not surprised by this diversionary and deceptive approach from the APC government; a government whose officials have since become notorious for dishing out falsehood to Nigerians to cover their incompetence and corrupt tendencies.
“This is the same minister of information, who in a press conference in Abuja, in 2016, promoted allegations that 55 people stole a total of N1.34 trillion; that 5 former governors stole N146.8 billion; that 4 former ministers stole N7 billion. All these have remained unsubstantiated.
“While we challenge this Government to come clean on the issue of the $1bn Excess Crude money, we also challenge the minister of information to comment on allegations that the APC funded its 2015 presidential campaign with stolen public funds, particularly from Lagos and Rivers states.
“He should also waste no time in commenting on allegations of corruption against their former SGF, Babachir Lawal, the Mainagate and other heavy sleazes going on unabated under the current APC-led administration.”