The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has said the highly predictable and jejune response of the PDP has done nothing to convince Nigerians on why its Chairman, Bamanga Tukur, should not step down now that the unprecedented fuel subsidy scam starring the PDP has come to trial.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said not even PDP’s resort to rationalization – an age-old defence mechanism used by die-hard thieves when they are caught with their hands in the cookie jar – has changed the reasons for the call.
”We called on the PDP Chairman to accept moral responsibility and step down from his high office because his party is right at the centre of the biggest corruption scandal in the history of our dear country, and also because his son is among the suspects. Our call has nothing to do with Alhaji Tukur being on trial or not, and we made that clear in our earlier statement.
”Because the PDP is the ruling party, in a country where unprecedented corruption has left the people badly impoverished, any linkage between a huge scandal like the fuel subsidy scam and the party immediately raises a red flag over the commitment of its government at the centre to effectively tackle this cankerworm.
”It is therefore imperative for Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, whom we agree has made a name for himself within and outside the country, to uphold that name and keep his integrity intact by vacating the leadership of the PDP today. He should not just step down, he should do so with a rousing speech that will be a reference point for all time, and convince millions of our youth that Nigeria still has men of integrity,” it said.
ACN said dragging the name of its leader and top member into the fray, which is nothing short of rationalization, is diversionary and amounts to throwing enough mud at the wall with the hope that some of it will stick.
It however reminds the PDP that since ACN is known for taking on issues instead of personalities, it will ignore the mud thrown at it, which is nothing but a sign of the desperation of a sinking behemoth that the PDP has become.
”Unfortunately, PDP’s response – which was panicky because the call for Alhaji Tukur to resign stung the party like a millions bees – did nothing to address the issues we raised: That while indeed Alhaji Bamaga Tukur is not on trial over the fuel subsidy scam, his position as the chairman of the PDP has been diminished by the allegation against his son and the involvement of the party he leads in the scandal.
”The PDP would not have needed to struggle to make its case had its Chairman not been in charge of the ruling party in Africa’s most populous nation, a party that has presided over the unprecedented looting of our commonwealth since 1999, a party that has pushed Nigeria to the edge of the precipice through its ineptness, a party that has made Nigeria more a candidate to be a failed state today than when it took power in 1999. These are the issues that led to our call, and the PDP’s response skirted them all,” the party said.
On the PDP’s contention that the ACN should have given credit to the PDP and its federal government for bringing the fuel scandal suspects to trial, the party (ACN) said ”it is not the business of a responsible opposition like ours to hail a ruling party for doing what it is supposed to do anyway – adhere strictly to the rule of law and show respect for the Constitution.
”In any case, the credit for the ongoing trial of the fuel scam suspects goes to Nigerians and the House of Representatives, who left the government in no doubt that they will not allow things to be swept under the carpet this time.”
ACN said if the PDP still believes that the call on its Chairman to resign over the fuel subsidy scam is ”outlandish and sheepish”, as it claims, let it (PDP) carry out an opinion poll, to be conducted by an acclaimed organisation and monitored by local and international observers, on this issue, provided it agrees to abide by its result.