Sunday, April 20, 2014

ACN asks Jonathan to sack Okupe over ‘criminal’ past


The ACN calls for the dismissal of the presidential adviser based on his alleged ‘criminal’ past

By Sani Tukur

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has asked President Goodluck Jonathan to sack his newly appointed Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe.

The call came a few hours after Mr. Okupe made a television appearance during which he sought to be addressed as the president’s attack lion.

The party also asked Mr. Jonathan to apologise to Nigerians after sacking Mr. Okupe, while the latter should also be handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for prosecution.

The ACN based its demands on what it alleged to be Mr. Okupe’s past criminal activities.

In a statement released, Monday, from the office of its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the ACN said Mr. Jonathan’s “desperation to employ an ‘attack dog’ to spearhead its onslaught against the opposition parties and other vocal opponents ended up outsourcing the very crucial and strategic position of projecting the public image and reputation of Nigeria to a person with no public reputation and a past steeped in corruption”

The largest opposition party also claimed that an online medium had reported that Mr. Okupe is under investigation by the EFCC “on account of a contract running into hundreds of millions of Naira obtained from the Benue State Government, while serving under President Obasanjo in a similar capacity as the one he currently holds.”

The report said rather than executing the contract, Mr. Okupe ran away with over two hundred million naira mobilization fee given to him.

The statement said that Mr. Jonathan’s decision to go “ahead to appoint Mr. Okupe as Public Affairs Specialist for the administration and by extension Nigeria despite his criminal background should not come as a surprise to any close observer of this administration as it only confirms the fatal attraction President Jonathan has for appointing or retaining tainted and damaged persons with shoddy pasts or questionable character to serve in his Government.”

“The ill informed decision of President Jonathan to appoint as his chief image maker, a person who needs to be publicly prosecuted for alleged crime has once again confirmed that the Jonathan Government is deeply troubled about its public image and perception as a rudderless Government that is lost at sea with no compass,” Mr. Mohammed said.

The ACN further stated that “only performance and delivery, respect for the rule of law and the rights of Nigerians will change the perception (of Nigerians about the present administration).”

When contacted on whether the EFCC is truly investigating Mr. Okupe, and the status of its investigations, the commission’s spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, said he had no information on the matter.

“If there is anything, I’ll get back to you,” Mr. Uwujaren said.

Mr. Okupe, would also not react to the ACN statement. Several calls to his phone were unanswered, while he also did not respond to text messages.

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