Oshiomhole, litmus test for Buhari’s anti-graft war –Saraki

...Substantiate your claims or face legal action –Party chair *Litigation threat empty boasts – Senate President    


Senate President  Bukola Saraki, on Thursday declared  that Nigerians are eagerly waiting to see how President Muhammadu Buhari  handles the  allegations of bribery levelled against the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, over the conduct of the just concluded of the party’s primaries.

Similarly,  Saraki, in a statement signed by  his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Yusuph Olaniyonu, described the threat by the former Edo state governor to sue him over his call on the APC chair to quit politics on moral grounds in view of  the allegations against him, as an empty boast.

The statement reads: “Nigerians are waiting to see how the president will handle the serious allegations against his party chairman. We expect the president with his anti-corruption campaign to institute thorough and transparent investigation into the allegations against his party chairman.

“The failure of the president to get to the root of the matter will finally destroy his ability and that of the party to continue to talk of any anti-graft battle. The president should let the investigation be thorough, open and transparent. This is no time for any cover-up”

He maintained that until the outcome of a thorough investigation is known to Nigerians and the APC chairman is cleared of the allegations against him, Oshiomhole is not on a firm ground to talk about morality or fight against corruption.

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Saraki, had in Ilorin on Wednesday, while reacting to alleged bribery scam linked to the embattled APC chairman by some chieftains of the party, said Oshiomhole had no moral right any longer to cling to the chairmanship position of his party or comment on corruption related issues in the land .

Oshiomhole replies

Countering Saraki, however, the party’s chairman challenged the Senate President or be prepared for a legal action.

Oshiomhole spoke through his spokesman, Simon Ebegbulem, in a statement issued last night in Abuja.

The party chairman noted that some elements in the top hierarchy of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) appeared to be too eager to see his exit from office.

He said: “While it makes sense for PDP to wish for cure for their headache that Comrade Oshiomole has become, it should not be taken for granted that anyone can get away with any action that is capable of tarnishing the unassailable integrity of the APC Chairman.

“We are aware that part of the strategies discussed in Dubai, where the PDP leaders recently visited and held their meeting, was to continue to dish out lies against top APC leaders with a view to distracting the leadership of the APC ahead the 2019 general elections. But they have failed because the national chairman and APC leaders are focused and will never be distracted.

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“However, it is time these irresponsible lies stopped; otherwise, anybody who continues to make unsubstantiated allegations against the person and character of the national chairman should be ready to provide proofs in a court of law. It cannot be just a political game to smear the character of Comrade Oshiomole by people whose track record is unenviable.

“We want the public to note that if the exercise of the APC primaries was to be about money-taking or money-making. The state governors, some of whom are embittered about the outcomes in their states, were in a better position to dish out mega bucks. But the National Working Committee of APC under the leadership of Comrade Oshiomole was motivated by higher ideals and the pursuit of noble democratic principles.

“It is sad that instead of commending the national chairman for resisting criminal overtures to compromise him, he is being relentlessly harangued, abused and accused of receiving phantom bribes.

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“This is a callous and wicked enterprise. The national chairman’s credibility is unassailable. His reputation as president of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is a matter of fact.

“Significantly, as NLC president, he fought the PDP-controlled federal government in furtherance of pro-people policies without collecting money to compromise the struggles.

“He rode on the crest of his credibility and reputation to step in the saddle in Edo State as governor for eight years where he turned around the fortune of the State.”

While describing the latest attempt to tarnish his image as uncalled for, Oshiomhole viwed to seek legal redress against anybody who make such allegation henceforth.

“The national chairman views the current attempts to tarnish his image as uncalled for and has vowed that he will seek legal redress against anybody or media, whether the traditional or in the social media, who makes such unsubstantiated allegations henceforth.

“Enough is enough. We urge our respected media outfits to exercise caution not to be used by unscrupulous elements. Except such persons or media house can provide evidence.”

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