The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, clashed with the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the N40 billion “campaign fund” scandal rocking the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) which the opposition party said has exposed the APC as a party of treasury looters.
The Presidency and its anti-graft agencies, over the weekend, reportedly uncovered the misappropriation of fund at the FIRS, barely a week after the removal of Mr. Babatunde Fowler who superintended over the agency for four years.
The ‘misappropriated’ fund was purportedly used to fund ‘political campaigns” of the APC during the 2019 general election.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, who issued a statement on the scandal, challenged the APC to come clean and explain to Nigerians how the money was allegedly used by the ruling party to finance its 2019 election campaigns.
The PDP observed that the revelation appears to have unsettled certain persons in the presidency, stressing that it has further exposed the APC as “a decadent lot, a gathering of treasury looters who thrive in cheating, deceit and pretences at very high levels.”
Ologbodiyan stated that the development had vindicated PDP’s stand that the APC never had any good intentions for Nigeria and Nigerians, but only came to power through deceit and subterfuge to satisfy the greed of its promoters.
The spokesman for the PDP further alleged that the Nigerian public was aware of how very top leaders of the APC, including those operating at the presidency, were used to siphon the money from the FIRS and warned that the matter must not be swept under the carpet.
“The APC is an extremely callous and hypocritical party, which has no iota of conscience, but takes delight in depriving our citizens and pillaging resources meant for the wellbeing of our people.
“It is shameful that instead of being remorseful, agents of the APC are reportedly engaging in dirty infighting over how the money was ‘shared’, with certain top leaders of the APC allegedly getting up to N3 billion each.
“Our party submits that since the APC has been overtly indicted, it should come clean by refunding the N40 billion to the public coffers from where it should be channelled to job creation projects without further delay,” he said.
The main opposition party also accused the APC-led Federal Government of having failed to account for various misappropriations of public fund, including the N14 trillion stolen through various phony contracts in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as well as the illegal withdrawals from the coffers of other government agencies such as the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and the Federal Emergency Road Management Agency (FERMA).
The PDP stated that if the trillions of naira allegedly stolen and stashed away in private pockets were recovered and properly channelled to development projects, Nigeria would not be in its present sorry state under the Buhari administration.
In a swift reaction to the attacks, the APC has described the allegations as mere hogwash and a phantom scam.
It accused the opposition of making “baseless and unintelligent allegations” in a “crude attempt” at a smear campaign.
National Publicity Secretary of APC, Lanre Issa-Onilu, who also issued a statement on the matter, challenged the PDP to provide evidence from not only FIRS, but any other government agency where the APC took one kobo for its political campaigns during the 2019 general election.
“We call on the sponsors of the baseless allegation to resolve their confusion. Last time it was N90 billion, now it is N40 billion. We also challenge them to provide evidence from not only FIRS, but any other government agency where the APC took one kobo for campaign.
“The matter of dipping hands into public coffers, as a matter of official policy, ended with PDP. We recall that leaders of the PDP had contemplated changing the name of their party at a time because they were ashamed of their own record of sleaze.
“We, however, refer the PDP and co-peddlers of falsehood to the records of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) in terms of Cost of Collection accruing to FIRS and, indeed, the FIRS statement on the subject matter,” Onilu said.