*Protesters storm ICPC, demand probe of APC National Chairman
By Kenneth Atavti and Kayode Abdulazeez, Ilorin
The crisis rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, took a new dimension yesterday as hundreds of protesters stormed the headquarters of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC in Abuja demanding an investigation into allegations of bribery levelled against the national chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
Oshiomhole has been accused by some APC governors and stakeholders of double dealings during the recently concluded nationwide primary elections of the party with many of them calling on him to resign.
The protesters who were led by Barrister Stanley Onu under the auspices of Coalition for a New Nigeria, CNN said the protest was in their “quest to arrest the dangers faced by our party, the governing All Progressives Congress, APC occasioned by the integrity challenged national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole”.
They carried placards with several inscriptions such as ‘Oshiomhole must go’, ‘Probe Oshiomhole now’, among others.
According to them, the APC is in serious crisis following what they described as the most “reprehensible, divisive and widely condemned primaries across the states”.
Speaking further, the leader of the protesters said; “Today, the APC which was gaining grounds and welcoming new members is far from the all-embracing party it was when Oshiomhole took over as national chairman.
“Given the various allegations of corruption by respected chieftains and members of the APC, we are here calling on the various anti-corruption agencies to begin a comprehensive probe of not only these allegations, but his time as the governor of Edo state.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we are well aware that Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to commence criminal proceedings against Oshiomhole for allegedly diverting state funds into personal use.
“Therefore, it is expedient that a man that has corruption noose round his neck is not fit and proper person to lead a party that has President Muhammadu Buhari, a man known globally for his anti-corruption stance to remain in office.
“We demand that Oshiomhole resigns owing to the plethora of allegations against him leading to even the DSS inviting him and demanding for his resignation.
“In the event Oshiomhole chooses to tread the path of the little honour left of him, we urge President Buhari to ask him to leave before he leads the APC down the path of ignominy in 2019. We assure you that this will not be the end of the Coalition for New Nigeria’s protest until Oshiomhole leaves the exalted office of the national chairman of the governing APC, the party of Change”, the declared.
Addressing the protesters, spokeswoman of the Commission, Rasheedat Okoduwa buttressed the impartiality of the ICPC, saying it would look into all petitions before it, giving precedence to the time of filing.
She urged the protesters to remain peaceful and allow the petition go through the various stages as put in place by the Commission
Meanwhile, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki has declared that the embattled national chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has no moral ground to continue to remain in politics due to corruption allegations leveled against him.
This is even as the national leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) described a statement credited to Oshiomhole, asking Saraki to resign his position as the Senate President on moral grounds as a joke.
Speaking with journalists in Ilorin on the side-lines of the sixth Remembrance Prayer for his late father, Dr. Olusola Saraki, the Senate President said that Oshiomhole has no locus standi to talk about morality in today’s Nigeria politics.
“That must be a joke coming from Oshiomhole talking about moral ground. I think Oshiomhole has no locus standi to talk about morality today. Oshiomhole is somebody who has been accused of collecting not even naira but dollars from candidates as bribe by his party’s aspirants and governors. I don’t think he has any moral ground, even to continue to be in politics not to talk about being a chairman of a party.
“I remember in those days even Oyegun, they never accused him of something like this. I have left that party. I’m sure the President, based on integrity, knows the right thing to do. So, on moral ground, he cannot speak on moral ground.
Also speaking on Saturday’s by-election in Irepodun /Ekiti /Oke Ero /Isin federal constituency, Saraki decried huge deployment of policemen and sudden change of divisional heads of police in four local government areas for the by-election.
“You see, the mistake we sometimes make, we forget that Nigeria is a big nation in this global world, not only in the context of Africa. We provide leadership. An action that we take that tries to suggest that we are not civilised with rule of law and processes doesn’t augur well with the image. Today, the President is the President of ECOWAS likewise the Chairman of INEC as chairman of electoral bodies in ECOWAS, even show that we are a responsible country.
“So, when the Inspector General if Police (IG) begins to do things like this without following due process, it is not good for our country. And that is what we always stand for. And all those who supposed to caution him should ensure that due process is followed in thing like this”, he added.