By Alhaji Lai Mohammed
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has called on the Chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, to step down immediately, following his son’s indictment in connection with the fuel subsidy scam, the biggest corruption case in Nigeria’s history.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said Alhaji Tukur’s resignation is important so he can relief himself of the huge moral burden placed on him by his continued stay in office, ensure that the trial of suspects in the scam – including his son – go unimpeded and save the country’s anti-corruption battle.
It however said, just so that no one will misunderstand it, that the party (ACN) subscribes to the Constitutional provision that deems an accused person innocent until proven guilty, hence its intervention is not about the guilt or otherwise of the accused in the case.
”It is important to say here that the fuel subsidy scam trial will be held in two courts: the court of law and the court of public opinion. While Alhaji Bamanga Tukur is not facing any charges in the court of law over the scam, he is definitely a star suspect in the court of public opinion. That is why many Nigerians are already insinuating that nothing will come out of the trial, especially as far as his son is concerned. This is an allusion to the influence bestowed upon him by his high office.
”While we have nothing but absolute confidence in the ability of the judicial process to ensure justice, we believe that anything than can reinforce the impression of thwarted justice in the fuel subsidy scam trial should be removed. Alhaji Bamagar Tukur’s continued stay in office is one of such.
”We also believe that since Alhaji Tukur, as the PDP chairman, has a say in who becomes the chair of the boards of the key agencies in the oil sector that are linked to fuel subsidy (e.g. NNPC, PPPRA and PEF), his continued stay in office is inimical to efforts to clean up the tainted sector,” ACN said.
The party described as cheer sophistry the attempt by an aide of the PDP chair to distance him and the party from the scam.
”Is it a coincidence that the ‘stars’ in the court trial of the subsidy scam include the sons of the past and present Chairmen of the PDP? Will it be wrong to say the sons of Dr. Ahmadu Ali and Alhaji Bamaga Tukur ”benefitted” from the subsidy largesse because of their father’s positions in the ruling party? Is it a coincidence that many of those named as suspects are big donors to the ruling party? The truth is that the PDP and its bigwigs are right at the centre of this scam, and it is too late for the party and the bigwigs to now seek to distance themselves from it,” it said.
ACN said while Alhaji Tukur’s aide quoted copiously from the Holy Bible on why the sins of the son should not be visited on the father, he forgot some other important quotes from the same Holy Book: Galatians 6:7 (Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows) and Matthew 7:16 (You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?).
The party recalled its consistent warning, while the controversy over fuel subsidy removal raged, that the government should not punish ordinary Nigerians by increasing fuel prices and making them to pay for the inefficiency and corruption in the downstream sector of the country’s oil industry.
”The government did not heed this warning, and went ahead – in the most cruel manner – to raise fuel prices. Now, thanks to the determination of Nigerians to shake off the yoke imposed on them by the same government they voted into power, and thanks to the doggedness of the House of Representatives, it has now been revealed that Nigeria’s largely poor citizens are being made to subsidize a few fat cats, most of them linked to the PDP!
”While some of these fat cats allegedly collected billions of naira for the fuel they did not import, the ordinary Nigerian is today paying 97 naira per litre because of the corruption in which he/she is not involved! What a cruel irony!!” ACN said
Alhaji Lai Mohammed
National Publicity Secretary
Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN)