Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, says the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should withdraw the nomination of its governors and senators standing trial over allegations of corruption if it wants to be taken seriously.
Shehu was reacting to a statement by the PDP that the endorsement of Osagie Ize-Iyamu by President Muhammadu Buhari showed he encourages corruption.
The PDP said the presentation of a party flag to a candidate standing trial for corruption “right in the villa has shown to the world that APC is indeed the headquarters of corruption”.
But Shehu, in a statement, took a jab at the major opposition party, saying the PDP had forgotten “its own history and antecedents”.
Shehu said though Ize-Iyamu is being prosecuted by the EFCC, he is still a suspect until the court proves otherwise.
“The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which has been struggling to clear its name from alleged deals with the underworld in Dubai and the United States has, to our surprise, found the voice to attack the anti-corruption war of the Muhammadu Buhari administration following the President’s endorsement of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the All Progressives Congress, APC’s dashing candidate for the governorship election in Edo State.
“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.
“Justice A. R. Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday, July 1, 2016, granted bail to the former acting governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri. He was charged on June 30, 2016 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, alongside his company, Mayim Construction and Properties Limited on a five-count charge of money laundering to the tune of N2.9 billion.
“In the case of Bala Mohammed, the PDP Governor of Bauchi State, the EFCC, on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, arraigned the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, before Justice A. M. Talba of the Federal Capital Territory, High Court sitting in Gudu, Abuja, on a six-count charge bordering on abuse of office, false declaration of assets and fraud to the tune of N864 million.”
“Under the country‘s laws, only the courts can convict. A suspect remains a suspect until conviction.
“But, if in the view of the PDP, a suspect is guilty as charged, then they must 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.”
He said the PDP “which destroyed the country’s economy while in power” has no moral authority to criticise the Buhari administration.
“A party which 16 years in office destroyed the country’s economy and infrastructure has no moral authority to criticize the accelerated infrastructure development drive, largely drawing its energy from the Buhari anti-corruption campaign,” Shehu said.
“A government that sees corruption in the past administration and sees corruption in its own administration, and fights it with equal gusto, cannot be placed on the same scale with those who, by their words and deeds said corruption is 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.”
He added that the cleansing exercise of the Buhari administration will not be stopped by naysayers.