Saraki and Dogara berates Bisi Akande

Former interim national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande, came under attack, on Monday, as both the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, accused him of being mischievous.

Saraki, on Monday, said the claim that oil barons sponsored his (Saraki’s) emergence as Senate President, as alleged by Akade, was uncalled for.

The Senate President, in a statement signed by his Special Assistant, (Print Media), Mr Chuks Okocha, said Akande misread the circumstances leading to his emergence.

He insisted that going by his antecedents in the Senate, it was clear that oil barons and indicted oil subsidy scammers would find him a difficult customer, as he pioneered what led to the probe that exposed the rot in the oil sector.

Saraki also stated that due to his desire to get to the roots of the scam in the oil industry, he posed difficult questions to stakeholders of the sector during the investigation of the alleged missing $20 billion oil money by the seventh Senate.

He also denied insinuations that his emergence was aimed at disrupting the anti-corruption war of President Muhammadu Buhari, adding that the eighth Senate, under his leadership, would join the president in the anti-corruption crusade.
“Again, the attention of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki has been drawn to a malicious, false and totally reprehensible news report, wherein it insinuated that the election of Dr Bukola Saraki as the Senate President of the eighth Senate was facilitated by Nigerians associated with dubious claims in the infamous oil subsidy.

“The news report went further to give a negative and dirty impression that the emergence of the President of the eighth Senate is aimed to sabotage the anti-corruption posture of Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government, as well as sabotage the ‘Change agenda’ of the All Progressive Congress (APC),” the statement read.
The Senate President accused Akande of blackmailing him, adding that the entire story credited to him was a figment of imagination of the former APC national chairman.
“We also wish to state unequivocally that it was wrong and mischievous for the statement by Chief Akande to link what happened on the floor of both chambers to some unnamed oil barons.

“We dare say that the entire story was the figment of the imagination of the author. We make bold to state that in the seventh Assembly, Senator Bukola Saraki was chairman of the Senate ad hoc committee which exposed the fraud and mismanagement in the oil sector.

“Until Saraki’s motion on the floor of the Senate, no one was in the picture of the rot in the sector or took any action. Therefore, surely, Senator Saraki will be the last person the oil baron will want to see as Senate President,” the statement added.

“It is on records that through his motion on the floor of the Senate, the House of Representatives followed in what is to be known as oil subsidy probe and to which ministers of finance and petroleum summoned and, at last, over N500 billion was saved. Certainly, Senator Saraki is the last person to be so sponsored by the oil barons or cabals,” the statement stated further.

“Further to this, during the Senate hearing on the missing $20 billion, for those who attended the public hearing, Senator Saraki led the onslaught of difficult questions to both the Minister of Finance, Minister of Petroleum and other federal agencies despite being in the ruling party then.

“To this effect, Senator Saraki refused to sign the final copy of the committee’s report but rather put forward a minority report with a press statement that follow suit.

“Saraki went further to oppose the inclusion of kerosene subsidy in the 2015 budget, as well as his opposition to petroleum swap deal by NNPC.

“Let it be known, therefore, that the Senate presidency of Dr Bukola Saraki would not in any way be a stumbling block against President Buhari’s posture against anti-corruption,” he stated further.

“For the avoidance of doubt, we want to make it abundantly clear that it is totally false, untrue and calculated mischief to suggest that Senator Saraki’s emergence as Senate president was facilitated by oil barons. This is a case of calling the dog a bad name so as to hang it. Another blatant lie that cannot fly.

“In any case, Senator Saraki was elected unopposed as the Senate president, therefore, the lies that he was sponsored by the oil barons cannot hold,” it stated further.
Dogara, on his part, challenged Chief Akande to name the oil barons he alleged to have bankrolled his election as the Speaker, saying that his allegations were false and baseless.

The Speaker, in a statement issued by his Special Adviser, Media and Public Affairs, Adamu Hassan, maintained that he won his election based on “his antecedence, capacity, experience, being a team player, incorruptibility and his progressive mind.”
According to him, “the allegation by Chief Akande is unbecoming of a well-respected elder-statesman and a former interim national chairman of the APC.

“It is baseless and lacking in substance and merit and can best be described as figment of Chief Akande’s imagination.

“We challenge Chief Akande to name the so-called oil barons whom he alleged sponsored the election of the Honourable Speaker.

“In case Chief Akande does not know, the first investigative motion adopted by the eighth House of Representatives under the leadership of the Honourable Speaker was to investigate the allegation of fraud in the oil-swap contract awarded by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

“A resolution instituting investigation into the allegation was passed with a resolve to constitute an ad hoc committee to investigate the NNPC, as well as its subsidiary, Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) over the swap contracts.

“How then can the Hous,e under the leadership of Mr Speaker, order investigation into activities of those who allegedly sponsored his election?

“Chief Akande`s allegation is both unfortunate and uncharitable.

“What we expect the chief to do at this critical time in the life of our nation and the APC as a party is to play the role of an elder statesman and help to bring warring party members to the table and not ignite crisis that will further divide the party that he helped to build.

“Since assuming duty as Speaker, Honourable Yakubu Dogara has not left anyone in doubt as to his stance on corruption, which is the bane of Nigeria`s development.

“Mr Speaker has, on different occasions, reiterated his resolve to compliment President Buhari`s anti-corruption stance and insists that the present crop of leaders don’t have any excuse to give to Nigerians on the change promised them before and during the election that brought APC into power.

“We call on all Nigerians and the general public to disregard such allegations as they are meant to distract the new leadership of the legislature from concentrating on passing legislations that will help to fight poverty, insecurity, infrastructural decay and to revive our economy.”
Credit: Nigerian Tribune