NIGERIA’S main opposition the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged the senate to forward the names of the recently approved ministerial nominees to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for clearance before they took office.
Over the last two weeks, the senate has screened and approved 43 nominees submitted to it by President Muhammadu Buhari. Several of the ministerial nominees are under investigation, however, with former Akwa Ibom State governor and ex-senate minority leader Godswill Akpabio for instance, being investigated over a $300m fraud case.
Unhappy about the fact that all the nominees scaled through the screening without answering questions about their pending cases, the PDP has asked that the EFCC also be asked to clear them before they get assigned portfolios. PDP publicity secretary Kola Ologbondiyan, said that the nomination of persons with corruption charges hanging over then has overtly established the fact that President Buhari not only condones but also explicitly promotes corruption.
He added: “It, therefore speaks volumes that the persons Mr President personally knows and has nominated as ministers include such individuals that have been publicly indicted and are known to be answering questions as accomplices in on-going corruption cases in various courts. These are people who as former governors and ministers, wrecked their states and ministries and have serious allegations of corruption, abuse of office and stealing of public funds hanging on their necks.”
Mr Ologbondiyan called on the senate to note that some of the nominees have failed to defend their corruption allegations. As a result, the PDP asked that the senate sends the names of the screened ministers to the EFCC to add to the integrity of the process.
“This includes a particular former minister from the north central geo-political zone, who had admitted to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission of complicity in the N2.5bn National Broadcasting Commission fraud case, still pending in court. Our party notes that the gathering of corrupt persons as cabinet ministers is a clear pointer to a scheme by the cabal in the presidency to further entrench corruption in our nation.
“This is in addition to certain nominees who, as state governors, swindled their states, fleeced workers and committed several financial crimes for which they should rather be standing trial, instead of being rewarded with official protection as ministers. The senate is therefore urged to stand with the people in resisting the manipulations of the Buhari presidency to ensure that only persons with clean records are cleared as ministers,” Mr Ologbondiyan added.
In addition, the PDP urged the senate to take a cursory look into the allegations of bribes-for-ministerial-slots, adding that it must rise to the occasion and ensure that Nigerians are not totally let down. Mr Ologbondiyan also invited the senate to note that President Buhari has not demonstrated any commitment to the fight against corruption and for that reason, Nigerians now look up to the National Assembly to protect the nation from the excesses of the Buhari presidency.