The ruling All Progressives Congress has told the opposition Peoples Democratic Party to leave it out of the travails of its members who have issues with law enforcement agencies.
Reacting to an alarm on Wednesday by the PDP that 50 of its members have been pencilled down for arrest, the APC said it does not have business as a political party to arrest people but to win elections.
The PDP had in a statement on Wednesday by its spokesperson, Dayo Adeyeye, decried recent arrest of some of its members for alleged corruption while they held offices.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday took a former governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada, into custody after allegedly tracing N500 million to him.
The money was said to be part of a N23 billion allegedly disbursed for the 2015 general election by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, through the Director of Finance of the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation, Nenadi Usman.
In his statement on Wednesday, Mr. Adeyeye said five members of the PDP were recently arrested by the EFCC, saying their arrest was not about the anti-corruption war but about the coming 2019 election.
“The dirty job we are aware, have been handed over to the compromised anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC),” Mr. Adeyeye said.
“Already, five members of our party have been illegally arrested and detained by EFCC without any charge preferred against them.”
“Who the rest 45 members to be picked up are, we cannot say in the immediate. However, we are by no means scared of the persecution by the Buhari administration as we are sure that the daylight is about to break after the dark night of the APC administration.
“The current wave of arrests therefore has nothing to do with the failed anti-corruption war but everything with 2019 elections. Having failed on all its major election planks and with nothing to show for its over thirty months in office, the APC government has come to the conclusion that the only way to prevent its inevitable defeat at the polls in 2019 is to hound, harass, intimidate and suppress members of our party into submission.”
Pressed to react to the statement on Thursday, the spokesperson of the APC, Bolaji Abdullahi, dismissed it as “a time-worn strategy to pre-empt” action against suspected offenders.
Mr. Abdullahi, who spoke with journalists at the party’s secretariat in Abuja, said the APC is a political party and does not arrest people.
He challenged Mr. Adeyeye and the PDP to bring out the list of the 50 persons to be arrested, if they were so sure of the claims.
“Like I told some of your colleagues who called me yesterday to find out what the party’s reaction is, we are a political party, we don’t arrest people. So if anybody has issues with people who have the people with the power of arresting or investigation, they should go and deal with it. They shouldn’t politicise it.”
“I don’t know who is raising these allegations, you should ask the person to show you a list of the people – you see, it’s a time-worn strategy, you pre-empt.”
Mr. Abdullahi said a couple of former governors were being invited by the EFCC for questioning on their financial expenses during their tenure and that this might probably be the reason for this allegation.
He said the action of the EFCC had nothing to do with politics or muscling the opposition, stressing, “if these persons have an issue with that, they should take it up with the body arresting them.”
“We here, our business is that of winning election. We are a political party and winning souls to the party. We don’t arrest people,” the APC spokesperson said.