The arrest of the Speaker, Clerk and nine principal officers of the Kano State House of Assembly by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been described as an undisguised case of political vendetta by a hurting presidency, whose target is actually the State Governor, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has said.
The APC in a statement issued in Lagos, Tuesday, by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said since the arrest of the lawmakers for carrying out their statutory duty of approving a budget cannot be justified by any law, it is clear to all discerning Nigerians that the only motive is to harass and intimidate the lawmakers of a state that recently escaped from the hell-hole called the PDP to join the APC.
It added that the politically-motivated arrest also undoubtedly signals the beginning of the long-expected series of persecution by a desperate Federal Government against APC states, particularly those whose governors have recently ducked from what it termed the cascading PDP plague.
The opposition party, therefore, called for the immediate release of the legislators by the malleable EFCC, which has suddenly found enough resources from its dried-up coffers to go after innocent men, when the same commission has looked the other away while monumental corruption stalked the land, whether it is the Oduahgate, the fuel subsidy scam or the SURE-P heist, just to list a few.
“Nowhere in the world are lawmakers arrested for carrying out their constitutional-mandated role of approving a budget. The world must be having a good laugh at the lack of ingenuity by a government that is so eager to extract a pound of flesh from supposed political enemies that it would orchestrate arrests for offences unknown to law.
“The allegation that Gov. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s supplementary budget was meant to cover-up a dubious transaction due to a budget review request to the State Assembly to the value of 28 billion Naira, from the initial budget of 24 billion Naira, is as spurious as it is laughable, just as the EFCC’s claim that the arrest followed a petition by a stakeholder in the state is questionable.
“The tragedy of the unfolding scenario, which will surely extend to other APC states in the days ahead, is that a democratically-elected government is toeing the well-worn vindictive path of a military dictatorship by harassing and intimidating supposed opponents and stifling the opposition. The Gestapo-style siege on the Kano House of Assembly is a throwback to what Nigerians thought was a bygone era of military dictatorship. We hate to say it, but we have been proven right in our warning in October 2013 that the President was using Rivers State to test-run fascism. Now, he seems ready to roll”, the party said.
APC vowed to exhaust all available constitutional means to resist any attempt to use the institutions of state against the opposition; to use trumped-up charges to victimize perceived political opponents, and to curtail the citizens’ constitutionally-sanctioned right of freedom of association.
It further recalled that “From the moment Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was dragged before the Code of Conduct Tribunal over a case that lacked merit in every sense to the arrest of Sule Lamido’s sons and the grounding of Gov. Chibuike Amaechi’s plane, the Jonathan Administration has not relented in its search for any crude measure to badger the opposition and perceived opponents to submission.
“But if history is any guide, no force is good enough to stop an idea whose time has come and, for us at the APC, the cheap shots from a diminished presidency and the evil machinations of a crumbling behemoth called the PDP can only serve to strengthen our resolve to rescue Nigeria from the clutches of both entities, which are steeped in medieval tactics of coercion, even as governance has suffered a crushing neglect”, APC said.