The Coalition of President Goodluck Campaign Organizations has alleged that there are plans to send the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, after Labaran Maku, the immediate past Information Minister, in order to scuttle his governorship ambitions.
In a statement issued Thursday, the group said that the plan followed a meeting between some Peoples’ Democratic Party chieftains in Nasarawa State and an unnamed official of the Presidency from the North.
“The officer from the North who is very close to the EFCC Chairman, Lamorde, met with a chieftain of PDP from Nasarawa recently and they decided that the only way to stop Maku from winning was to use the EFCC (to) embarrass him,” said the statement by Emmanuel Adeoye, Director-General of the Presidential Campaign Support Team in Abuja, on behalf of the group.
“Details of the plan revealed that Maku would be picked up under trumped-up charges with organised media publicity to turn voters in Nasarawa against him. PDP Chiefs in Nasarawa are worried that in just one month Maku has virtually taken over the state from them.”
Mr. Maku, the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in Nasarawa State, defected from the PDP after he failed to win the party’s ticket.
The defection put him at loggerheads with the PDP causing the top party members, including President Goodluck Jonathan, to disown him and throw their weight behind Yusuf Agabi, who won the party’s primaries last December.
In January, Ahmadu Ali, former Chairman of the PDP, told Mr. Maku that he “will continue failing for the rest of his life” for leaving the party that made him somebody “from nowhere.”
Mr. Maku had consistently attributed his defection to the injustice meted out at him during the party’s state primaries.
In its statement on Thursday, the group said that another strategy to humiliate Mr. Maku was to divert attention from the reported cases of Mr. Agabi, the PDP flag bearer, who has corruption cases with both the EFCC and ICPC.
In 2010, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, charged Mr. Agabi and others before an Abuja High Court over an alleged mismanagement of N1 billion Education Reform Project. Mr. Agabi served as Director of Finance and Administration in the Federal Ministry of Education.
“Maku’s clean record of service is his major selling point in the Governorship contest in Nasarawa State,” the group said.
There had been media reports that quoted Mr. Maku as saying that he regretted serving in President Jonathan’s government, as well as accusing the president of being one of the sponsors of Boko Haram.
But Mr. Maku had denied such reports, maintaining that they were intended to pull him down due to his “profile and closeness” to the president.
The group in their statement said that the stories were planted to set the Presidency against Mr. Maku in preparatory to his planned arrest by the EFCC.
“Maku is reputed as one of the Ministers that served with honour and integrity. He is up against forces that insist Nasarawa State can never be ruled by a Christian.
“These forces who schemed him out of the PDP Governorship primaries are the ones plotting to use the EFCC to embarrass the former Minister of Information.
“They have nothing tangible on him, but all they want is to use the EFCC to cause public embarrassment through the media. They will then use it to weaken Maku’s popularity in Governorship April 11, 2015 Governorship race in Nasarawa State.”