The All Progressive Congress has reacted to the allegation by the Peoples Democratic Party that the federal government was taking $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account to fund the re-election campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari under the pretext of using it to fight Boko Haram.
The APC said the allegation implies that the opposition party suspects the loyalty of its governors.
The Nigerian Governors Forum last week said it had approved that the fund be withdrawn from the account, which belongs to the three tiers of government, and handed to the federal government to back its efforts against the long-drawn insurgency in the North-east of the country.
The PDP and Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, who dissociated himself from the NGF decision, later raised eyebrows over the development, saying it was a ploy to build a war chest for the anticipated re-election bid of President Buhari.
PDP, in a statement by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbodiyan, had further described the development as a show of APC’s failure, adding that it means the federal government lied when it said it had defeated insurgency in Nigeria.
But dismissing the PDP position, APC said PDP was simply implying that its governors are disloyal to their party, as they were part of the body that approved the allocation.
In a statement it issued on Monday, the ruling party said it found the allegation baseless and ridiculous, because the approval for the withdrawal of the fund was given by NGF, which has 11 governors from the PDP.
APC said it understands why the PDP would think the federal government was taking the money for electioneering activities, having allegedly done the same thing while in power when it allocated $2 billion for the same cause but used it as it was now alleging.
The party further advised PDP to ask its governors to be accountable for the money they approved.
“We note the statement issued by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the issue of $1 billion approved for the federal government from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) for the prosecution of war against terror. We also note the preposterous allegation by the PDP that the real purpose of the said $1 billion was to fund our party’s presidential activities, ahead of 2019. We find this allegation baseless and ridiculous to say the least.”
“The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) that granted the approval has eleven (11) PDP Governors as its members. This means that more than one-third of NGF is made up of members of other parties other than the APC.
“We wonder how the governors who are not members of our party would support the decision to approve funds that was ostensibly meant to fund another party. In essence, the PDP is by this allegation accusing their governors of disloyalty or suggesting that they were bewitched into supporting the decision. It is that ridiculous!
“However, we can understand why it is easy for PDP to arrive at its ludicrous allegation. A similar approval in excess of $2 Billion was granted to the PDP government when they were in power. They knew what they did with the money. It is a classic case of a serial killer who sees even a table knife as a murder weapon.
“The PDP presided over a government that made it possible for money meant for weapons to be diverted into paying marabouts and all manner of political jobbers ahead of the 2015 election. Therefore, the PDP thinks the same thing is about to happen.
“They have not realised that it is a new day and President Muhammadu Buhari will not play politics with money meant to protect the lives of innocent Nigerians or allow anyone to engage in such brigandage that Nigerians suffered under the PDP.”
“Another reason that PDP has given for opposing the approval was that the Federal Government has claimed that Boko Haram has been technically defeated. The military authorities have done enough to explain the need for the money, we therefore find no need to repeat the arguments.
“It appears however that the PDP does not understand that winning the peace is as important as winning the war. There is therefore no contradiction in saying that Boko Haram is technically defeated and saying that more weapons and trainings are needed for our military and the military of neighbouring countries whose co-operation is necessary to finally rid our countries of the menace of Boko Haram.
“We conclude by saying that we understand the pressure that the PDP is facing to justify its role as an opposition party, but they need to be reminded that opposition is not the same as opposing everything, including those things that are critical to national interest.
“We welcome PDP to play its part in ensuring that the money or any public money at all is used for the purpose for which it is intended. In this case, they can simply ensure that their eleven governors demand accountability for the money that they have joined in approving.
“The twin principle of accountability and probity are fundamental to APC. If the PDP in their latest reincarnation now consider these principles important, we are happy for them and we welcome them.
“It appears however that PDP’s interpretation of its role is to oppose everything even before they had the opportunity to understand it. They have remained embittered over what they thought APC did to them as an opposition party and are therefore seized by an obsession to revenge. In essence, they are primarily driven by vendetta rather than considered national interest.”
The party, however, said it welcomes the PDP to play its role as the main opposition party.
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