The Peoples Democratic Party in Rivers State has argued that anti-corruption crusade of President Muhammadu Buhari will be undermined if the Senate went ahead to screen and confirm former Governor Rotimi Amaechi as a minister despite corruption petition against him.
Rivers State PDP Chairman, Felix Obuah, made the claims in a statement while reacting to a letter written by Mr. Amaechi to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, urging the Senate to disregard the Rivers State Government White Paper on the report of a judicial commission which investigated sale of Rivers asset and other related matters during his administration.
Amaechi’s letter followed the petition forwarded to the Senate by Integrity Group, believed to be loyal to PDP-controlled Rivers Government. Premised on the indictment of Mr. Amaechi by the Judicial Commission, the group asked the Senate not to confirm the former governor as a minister.
However, reacting to the letter, Mr. Obuah in a statement issued on Sunday through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Jerry Needam, argued that Mr. Amaechi’s letter to the Senate President was an attempt to ignore the White Paper report, undermine the crusade against corruption and expose President Buhari’s fight against corruption as partisan and targeted at only members of the opposition and perceived enemies.
“The invitation and interrogation of the Senate Minority Leader, former governor of Akwa Ibom State, and one of the leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Godswill Akpabio, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, while Mr Rotimi Amaechi, indicted for corruption is freely going about lobbying to become a minister, is a pointer that Buhari’s fight against corruption is targeted at the opposition and perceived enemies”, he said.
According to the PDP, the monumental fraud discovered by the Judicial Commission of Inquiry and huge revenue lost when Amaechi was governor of Rivers State cannot be ignored. “Amaechi has no defense to allegations of fraud against him as contained in the Government White Paper. He was invited and he failed to appear before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry.”
The ex-Rivers governor explained in his letter to Senate President that he was already challenging the indictment in court and he believe the commission of inquiry was meant to ridicule and persecute him for his role in the defeat of President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP in the March 2015 presidential election.
But Obuah claimed that three sections of the Nigerian constitution – Sections 66 (1) (h) and 147 (5) – “unambiguously disqualify Mr Rotimi Amaechi from being a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
“Amaechi’s letter to the Senate President should be disregarded. It lacks merit and contradicted the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended.
“The letter to the Senate President further makes mockery of Amaechi and amounts to desperation and glorification of corruption,” he adds .
BY Olisemeka Obeche