The All Progressives Congress (APC) has warned the Ministry of Aviation’s spin doctors against using the 2015 elections as a cover up for the scandal surrounding the illegal purchase of two armoured cars for the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah.
APC, in a statement issued in Lagos on Thursday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, flayed the attempt by the General Manager, Corporate Communications of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Yakubu Dati, to blame the widespread outcry against the monumental corruption and abuse of office engendered by the scandal on the opposition or part of a grand plot targeted at President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term ambition.
Mohammed said that the opposition in particular, should not be blamed for the justifiable anger expressed by most Nigerians on the corruption scandal, as “Yakubu Dati, who goes by the nebulous title of ‘coordinating Spokesperson for the Aviation Ministry’ (don’t blame him. After all there is a coordinating Minister of the Economy, a title unknown to the Constitution) tried to do in his winding postulation on the scandal.
“What Dati and his co-spin doctors tried to do is to play on President Jonathan’s insecurity as far as 2015 elections are concerned. This is very insulting not only to Nigerians but also to President Jonathan himself, and it will not sell. After all, attempts to blame the opposition for the lingering ASUU strike has also failed. In any case, what is the business of a public servant, who is supposed to be apolitical, about whether a President is re-elected or not?
“We in the APC have not joined the fray over the Oduahgate scandal since it broke out because we thought this was a straightforward case of corruption and abuse of office that should be summarily dealt with. But President Jonathan has again failed to live up to expectation, thus allowing all manners of clowns to seek to pull the wool over the eyes of Nigerians in the name of defending the indefensible,” APC said.
The opposition party wondered why the president engaged in a diversionary and exculpatory strategy of setting up a panel to investigate the scandal since there are statutory bodies established to handle such cases.
“There is precedence on how to handle such a matter. In case President Jonathan has forgotten, his then boss, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, sacked Adenike Grange and Gabriel Aduku, Minister of Health and Minister of State for Health respectively, for spending part of the ministry’s unspent budget. The Permanent Secretary and other top officials of the ministry were also suspended when the issue broke out. No panel was set up before this action was taken.
“While many may argue that President Jonathan is only following ‘due process’ in dealing with the issue, we counter that he is only seeking to buy time while hoping that the issue will die down. The composition of the panel set up by the President itself supports our stand. It is doubtful if any of the members will act against what they perceive to be the ‘interest’ of the President on the issue,” it said.