Thisday newspaper has a story out in its Sunday edition, quoting unnamed members of the Senate caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who have reportedly accused a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, “of working in cahoots with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to destroy the senate by impugning the integrity of members of the upper chamber of the National Assembly.”
According to the report, the PDP Senate caucus at a meeting in Abuja expressed its readiness for a showdown with Tinubu, accusing him of using his various media platforms to attack members of the caucus.
The paper reported that members of the caucus concluded that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was acting in concert with Tinubu, who they alleged was bent on destroying some key elements in the National Assembly in order to clear the way for his 2019 ambition.
The story has been picked up on social media and it’s becoming a trending topic.
First thing to note is that the story has also been shared by some members of the media team of the senate president, Bukola Saraki, a member of the APC. That implies that even though the PDP Senate Caucus is being made to press the accusations, it possibly has the backing of the Senate leadership across party lines. The enmity between Saraki and Tinubu has been one of several flash points within the ruling party.
Another point to note is that Thisday did not mention a single PDP senator making these accusations on the record. All the quotes were from unnamed sources. Only last week, at the birthday event and colloquium in honour of Tinubu in Lagos, several members of the PDP Senate Caucus were in attendance including the minority leader (Godswill Akpabio) and the deputy minority leader (Biodun Olujimi). They both heaped praises on Tinubu at the event so it would be interesting to note if the accusations against Tinubu have the consensus of the PDP Caucus.
The story also alleged that Tinubu was displeased with the Senate for supporting President Muhammadu Buhari when he was away. The former governor had recently said he would not rule out his presidential bid should President Muhammadu Buhari decide not to run in 2019. But Tinubu was in London to visit the president just like Saraki, and at his colloquium he praised the Buhari-Osinbajo team.
All this is not to say there isn’t some truth to the accusations. More evidence will be useful though.
Here’s how the paper reported the story:
The source said the caucus also noted “the savage” attack on Sen. Peter Nwaboshi, because he moved a motion on the refusal of the executive to respect Senate resolutions, and drew a parallel between the recent travail of Sen. Dino Melaye and some of their other colleagues.”
While Nwaboshi was recently reported to have been under the investigation of the EFCC over contract allegedly awarded to him in his home State, Delta, Melaye was accused of not being a Geography graduate of Ahmadu Bello University, though he has now been exonerated by a Senate panel. Also recently, there were reports of a leaked EFCC letter to the President linking the Senate President to alleged diversion of London-Paris Club refund.
The PDP caucus meeting, THISDAY learnt, also reviewed a statement credited to the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, believed to be a close ally of Tinubu, who recently at a meeting in Lagos allegedly threatened that the “Senators will see hell in the coming weeks as fresh attacks will be launched against their integrity.”
It is therefore the belief of the PDP Senators that supporters of the former governor are behind the planned protest against the Senate.
The protest being orchestrated by certain groups in Abuja and Lagos is scheduled to hold on Wednesday.
“We will expose them. They were not happy that Senators supported President Muhammadu Buhari, when he was away. They thought we will help them bring down the government because of their ambition.
“Now they are deploying the EFCC and their media against us. Ibrahim Magu is a creation of Tinubu and Oba Akiolu. They want to use him to protect themselves while also using him and the anti-graft agency as attack dogs against people, who are not in their camp.
“That is why when EFCC received petitions against the head of a federal revenue generation agency into whose personal account some money due to government was paid, the anti-graft agency refused to act. The head of the agency concerned had held similar position he is holding now in Lagos. It was the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) that is eventually pursuing the case now,” the PDP caucus member said.
Other revelations at the meeting include the allegation that the chief of staff of the acting EFCC boss was nominated by a popular lawyer who they described as the former governor’s alter ego and effectively the arrow-head of the Tinubu legal group.
Another source at the meeting hinted THISDAY that the lawmakers were bent on going public with their allegations soon and openly fight back by confronting the APC chieftain. PDP senators have equally fixed another meeting for next Tuesday, the source added.