The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has linked top leaders of the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to Ramon Abbas (Hushpuppi), who was recently arrested alongside his associates in Dubai for cyber enabled fraud.
Mr Abbas, notorious for his lavish lifestyle on Instagram, has been extradited to the United States of America to face trial for alleged cyber-fraud, possibly money laundering, among other crimes.
However, the APC, in its first reaction since ‘Instagram celebrity’ was arrested accused Nigeria’s former vice-president, Atiku Abubakar; immediate past Senate president, Bukola Saraki; a former speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; a senator, Dino Melaye, among party’s stalwarts of shady links with Mr Abbas.
“That the PDP leadership turned Dubai into their ‘Strategic’ meeting place ahead of the 2019 general elections in Nigeria and Hushpuppi’s affinity with the PDP leadership is not mere coincidence,” the APC’s deputy spokesperson, Yekini Nabena, posited in a statement issued on Saturday morning.
“At different times, Hushpuppi was seen photographed in Dubai meeting with the PDP’s 2019 presidential candidate, Alh. Atiku Abubakar; former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; former Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; Senator Dino Melaye among other PDP stalwarts.
“While relevant authorities investigate the nature of their relationship and business partnership, we also challenge the PDP leadership to do same by opening up on the nature of the relationship, particularly the kind of services the arrested Hushpuppi provided them,” he added.
However, other than some circulated pictures of Mr Abbas with some leaders of the PDP in the past, there is no other evidence to show that they are close affiliates as portrayed by the APC.
Even though members of the two dominant parties in Nigeria have been fingered in vote-buying scandals in past by different election monitoring groups, Mr Nabena, in the statement, said the PDP is “notorious for vote-buying” and projected the possibility it “employing the same means the forthcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states”.
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PREMIUM TIMES contacted the PDP’s spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, through a phone call for a reaction to these claims.
He said he would need to speak to the highlighted names before he can release an official statement.
This reporter also called Paul Ibe, the spokesperson to Mr Saraki but he said he would rather not comment on the allegation until the party, (PDP) releases an official statement “since it more on the party than individual”.
Mr Melaye’s was switched off when contacted.
Turaki Hassan and Yusuf Olaniyonu, spokespersons to Messrs Dogara and Saraki, respectively did not answer their calls.