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FG to unleash EFCC on rebel govs

As PDP moves to wield big stick against splinter group

From FRED ITUA, Abuja and DESMOND MGBOH, KanoTwenty-four hours after the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held its mini national convention which produced a splinter group, the Federal Government is set to punish the arrowheads. These are the seven governors who led other chieftains of the party to hold a parallel convention last Saturday in Abuja. They were joined by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, believed to be promoting the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) which was registered last month. 

The government may unleash the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on them. The anti-graft agency is set to scrutinise the financial books of the seven governors.

The move, Daily Sun gathered, is in connection with their persistent opposition to the leadership of the PDP, President Goodluck Jonathan and last Saturday’s coup in Abuja where a parallel convention was held by the seven governors. The parallel convention held at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, appeared to be the last straw that broke the camel’s back.

Top on the list of those that have been penciled down for investigation is the Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State. He’s believed to be the arrow-head spearheading the well-coordinated opposition against the National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur and the re-election bid of President Jonathan in 2015.

Others on the list include Governors Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano) and Babangida Aliyu (Niger State).

Six out of the seven governors are serving their second term and will lose their immunity when their tenures end on May 29, 2015. Governor Ahmed might escape prosecution if he is able to secure a second term.

A source who revealed details of the planned investigation to Daily Sun, said the commission had been under immense pressure from the Presidency and Jonathan’s loyalists to move against the six governors.

The source further revealed that with last Saturday’s huge embarrassment inflicted on the President by walking out on him during the special convention and holding a parallel convention, may have left the EFCC with little or no option, but to carry out its master’s bidding.

The source said: “The Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde, has been under pressure from critical stakeholders in the PDP and the Presidency to begin discreet investigations into the financial records of six state governors who will finish their tenures by May 2015.

“The chairman of EFCC has been very reluctant to act. I think he might act swiftly following the growing influence of the six PDP governors and the inclusion of Governor Ahmed of Kwara State.

“In the weeks to come, Nigerians will witness questionable arrests and detention of cabinet members of the various governors since they don’t enjoy immunity like their bosses. The EFCC can’t touch the governors until they leave office in 2015.”

EFCC has been under attack since the days of the pioneer chairman of the commission, Nuhu Ribadu. The anti-graft agency had been accused of being a tool used by the ruling party and the Presidency to witch-hunt perceived political enemies.

Observers believed the commission will get busy soon as 2015 general elections draw near to witch-hunt and rubbish those eyeing the Presidency.

The first pointer to the rain of political arrests that will be made ahead of 2015 presidential elections is the case of Aminu Sule Lamido, the 34-year-old son of Governor Lamido, who was recently prosecuted by the EFCC for offences bordering on money laundering.

He was arrested on December 11, 2012 at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano on his way to Egypt for failing to declare the $50,000 in his possession. According to the EFCC, he only declared $10,000 to the Nigerian Customs Service.

The EFCC has, however, refused to make any elaborate comment. In a telephone chat with Daily Sun, spokesman of EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, didn’t deny or confirm the planned discreet investigation of the governors. Uwujaren said he doesn’t want to be dragged into the issue.

“You can’t quote me on this issue. I don’t want to be dragged into this. I can’t make any comment regarding this,” Uwujaren said.

Meanwhile, a chieftain of the party who is also Nigeria’s ambassador to China, Aminu Bashir Ali, has regretted the state of things in the ruling party. He said it contradicts the philosophy of PDP’s founding fathers. He spoke against the background of last Saturday’s convention.

Amb. Wali told Daily Sun,  “ it would be lamentable for me or any of the founding fathers of the party to be in agreement with any position that would lead to destruction of the party”.

He recalled that at beginning, “we, the founding fathers came from different backgrounds, different ideologies and different groupings, but we deemed it necessary to subsume our differences in order to engineer a truly big and accommodating political party for all Nigerians.

According to him, “all of us rode on the back of the PDP to become what we are today.”

“He said that it is incorrect and irregular for the same beneficiaries of the party to now seek to undertake actions that would lead to destruction of the party, irrespective of whatever is their alleged grievances against the party .

He believed that the seven governors are yet to exhaust all avenues to address their concerns before resorting to walk out  on the party’s convention, even as he said that such avenues are still open to any aggrieved member of the party.

Speaking in the same vein, the party’s National Financial Secretary, Elder Bolaji Akpan Anani, said no serving governor under the PDP will dump the party for the opposition.

He said the series of media reports that six northern governors might dump the PDP were mere rumours, insisting that for a party as large as the PDP, it was impossible not to have internal crisis.

Addressing reporters during a press conference marking his 60th birthday, Anani urged all individuals and ethnic groups to sacrifice individual interests for national unity.

He said: “First, let me say this interaction with you is in private capacity. So. What I say to you today, I say it as a Bolaji Anani not as the National Financial Secretary of PDP.

“Crisis in a big party like the PDP is normal. If we not have such disagreements, that means there’s a problem.

“Because of the size, there will be problems. With understanding, we will be able to come together and solve our problems. All the things we’ve heard about people or governors wanting to dump the party must be dispelled. They’re just rumour. We need to wait till 2015 before we will know the truth.

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Posted by on Sep 2 2013. Filed under EFCC Politics, Governors, Latest Politics, National Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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