Ahead of February general elections, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, yesterday, wooed ‘corrupt’ opposition members to join the ruling party and get pardoned.
The APC chairman stated this during the party’s presidential campaign rally held in Benin City, the Edo state capital.
Though the party chair was not categorical on the ‘sins’ of the perceived defector(s), it is however not unlikely that he was wooing members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, who at one time or the other, were being accused of corruption while in government.
The defection of some opposition figures had in recent time, generated divergent views among watchers of political developments in the county, as well as some opposition parties.
While some believe it is a matter of political convenience, some others contend that it smacks of inconsistency on the part of the ruling APC, as according to the latter group, this negates the administration’s anti-graft war.
Notable PDP leaders, including former Akwa Ibo state Governor, Senator Godswill Akpabio, his Abia counterpart, Orji Uzor Kalu and that of Bauchi, Adamu Muazu among others, are variously being accused of corruption.
While the duo of Akpabio and Kalu are currently being prosecuted for alleged corruption by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Muazu was only being speculated to be involved in the arms deal as the national chairman of the pre-2015 PDP.
Buhari on looters
And following the rate at which alleged corrupt leaders cross over to the ruling party, President Muhammadu Buhari, was once reported to have said joining the APC won’t save alleged looters from prosecution.
Oshiomhole states position
But addressing party supporters in Benin City yesterday, Oshiomhole assured that the party was ready to forgive ‘sinners’ who joined its fold.
Oshiomhole, a former Edo governor, while receiving some members of the PDP that defected to the APC, happily read out their names to President Buhari and assured them that having joined the party, their sins are forgiven.
Turning to the president and the mammoth crowd intermittently, a visibly elated Oshiomhole said: “We have some PDP defectors. They are Henry Tenebe, Iluobe…. Iluobe means ‘I have done something wrong’. Yes, once you join the APC, your sins are forgiven.”
The party leader, however, admonished the people to vote Buhari and all APC candidates during the forthcoming polls.
He told party supporters that Buhari has implemented the school feeding programmes, N-Power and gave Tradermoni for the betterment of the citizenry.
Continuing, Oshiomhole said, “the destiny of our people is in their hands. At the beginning, we were in the opposition. I am happy that today, we control the local, state government and federal government. And God giving us victory, we will control the federal government in the next four years.
“The assurance I want to give you is that those battles we used to fight when PDP ordered the arrest of our youth leaders with uniform men is over.”
Buhari assures further anti-graft fight
Addressing the gathering, President Buhari said his administration was doing its best to get suspected looters successfully prosecuted in courts, urging the people to elect all APC candidates “from bottom to top.”
Buhari in Delta
And at a similar gathering in Warri, Delta state, President Muhammadu Buhari told a crowd of supporters that he won’t back down on his anti-corruption fight.
He said: “Nigeria’s sad point is corruption. I assure you, all those that have enriched themselves where they have been trusted with public funds, we will eventually get them and deal with them. We are doing it. We will continue to do it.
“Our interest is to serve Nigeria and to get Nigerians to live together and work for our nation. God has blessed us with people and the resources.”
He added: “Let us realise it and thank God and work together to build our country. I assure you, the fundamental objectives that we campaigned on in 2015 are still relevant. The country has to be secured to be properly managed. And proper management means doing well in the economy.
“We have a young population, and most of them are unemployed. This is of great concern. We have turned to agriculture and industries, most of our young people have been mobilised, they have gone back to land (farming), and they have not regretted it.”
President Buhari, who prided his administration as achieving food security, told party supporters that Delta state has greatly contributed meaningfully to the nation’s economy via crude oil exploitation in the state, assuring that the APC-led government would take the development of the Niger Delta region “even more seriously”.
Speaking earlier, the party’s governorship candidate in the state, Great Ogboru, acknowledged that corruption in Nigeria has significantly dropped under the APC-led government.