According to the main opposition party, having admitted openly that he solicited a bribe from a foreign construction company, the President has violated the Constitution that he swore to uphold.
In a statement issued in Abuja by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the ACN said the impeachment proceedings will enable the National Assembly to investigate the matter to reach the appropriate conclusions.
“To know the gravity of the President’s self admission of soliciting the church ‘gift’ from the Managing Director of Gitto Construzioni Generali Nigeria Limited (GCG), one needs to understand Section 6 of the Code of Conduct for Public officers embodied in the First Schedule of the 1999 Constitution and the Code of Conduct and Tribunal Act (CAP C15) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
“The Act states: ‘A public officer shall not ask for or accept any property or benefits of any kind for himself or any other person on account of anything done or omitted to be done by him in the discharge of his duties. For the purposes of subsection (1) of this subsection, the receipt by a public officer of any gifts or benefits from commercial firms, business enterprises or persons who have contracts with the Government shall be presumed to have been received in contravention…unless the contrary is proved’,” it said.
The ACN said by his improper and unfortunate action, the President has also undermined the country’s fight against corruption and put Nigeria’s democracy in jeopardy, hence must not be allowed to get away with such an egregious act.
“Gitto has obtained billions of contracts from the Nigerian government, amid reported allegations in the media that it has not executed such contracts well. How can the federal government hold the company to account, when it (firm) has obtained an “insurance cover” by bribing the President? Is this not why the country’s anti-corruption efforts have not achieved anything? Can the EFCC and the ICPC honestly and boldly fight corruption when the President is knee-deep in the mud of corruption?” the ACN queried.
The party said by openly and gleefully saying, at the inauguration of the church at his Otuoke hometown that “the managing director of Gitto made him a promise to build and donate the church to Otuoke community after he (the President) had complained of the aging structure of his church,” the President has demonstrated that he is either not conversant with the Constitution he swore to uphold or thinks very little of the laws of the land.
“Either way, he should be held accountable for his deeds,” the statement added.
The party said it would amount to wishful thinking to expect the country’s anti-corruption agencies to probe President Jonathan’s admission of soliciting and receiving bribe, hence the call on the National Assembly to handle the issue.
The party warned that attempts to twist the facts and make it seem as if the President did not solicit the bribe will not work, as Nigerians are too smart to be hoodwinked.
“If the President and his supporters deny that he indeed solicited the bribe – as he admitted at the inauguration of the church – we challenge the Presidency to play – on national radio and television – the unedited audio and video recording of his speech at the occasion for all Nigerians to hear and see. Experts must also be called in to verify that the tape has not been tampered with in any way,” the ACN said.
Presidential spokesman Dr. Reuben Abati’s comments could not be obtained last night. His phone rang repeatedly, unanswered. He also neither acknowledged not sent responses to SMS to his mobile phone.
But a national newspaper yesterday reported that going by ‘fresh facts’, it was the Otuoke community and not the President that requested the Italian Company to renovate the church.
According to the report, during President Jonathan’s father’s burial in 2008 – by which time he was the Vice President – the officiating ministers urged the President’s friends to come to the aid of the church by renovating its ageing facilities.
It was the appeal that the company heeded and renovated the 400-capacity church, the newspaper reported.
Culled The Nation