All Progressives Congress (APC) has described as baseless the claim by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that it intended to divert the $1 billion fund approved for the Federal Government to prosecute war against terror, to fund the party’s 2019 presidential activities.
In a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, the ruling party said it would not embezzle the fund allocated to fight insurgency as the opposition party did during the 2015 general elections.
While insisting that PDP is primarily driven by vendetta rather than considered national interest, APC said: “The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) that granted the approval has 11 PDP governors as its members. This means that more than one-third of NGF is made up of members of other parties other than the APC.
“We wonder how the governors who are not members of our party would support the decision to approve funds that was ostensibly meant to fund another party. In essence, the PDP is by this allegation accusing their governors of disloyalty or suggesting that they were bewitched into supporting the decision. It is that ridiculous!
“However, we can understand why it is easy for PDP to arrive at its ludicrous allegation. A similar approval in excess of $2 billion was granted to the PDP government when they were in power. They knew what they did with the money. It is a classic case of a serial killer who sees even a table knife as a murder weapon.
“The PDP presided over a government that made it possible for money meant for weapons to be diverted into paying marabouts and all manner of political jobbers ahead of the 2015 election.
“Therefore, the PDP thinks the same thing is about to happen. They have not realised that it is a new day and President Muhammadu Buhari will not play politics with money meant to protect the lives of innocent Nigerians or allow anyone to engage in such brigandage that Nigerians suffered under the PDP.
“Another reason that PDP has given for opposing the approval was that the Federal Government has claimed that Boko Haram has been technically defeated. The military authorities have done enough to explain the need for the money, we therefore find no need to repeat the arguments.
“It appears, however, that the PDP does not understand that winning the peace is as important as winning the war. There is, therefore, no contradiction in saying that Boko Haram is technically defeated and saying that more weapons and trainings are needed for our military and the military of neighbouring countries whose co-operation is necessary to finally rid our countries of the menace of Boko Haram.
“We conclude by saying that we understand the pressure that the PDP is facing to justify its role as an opposition party, but they need to be reminded that opposition is not the same as opposing everything, including those things that are critical to national interest.
“We welcome PDP to play its part in ensuring that the money or any public money at all is used for the purpose for which it is intended. In this case, they can simply ensure that their 11 governors demand accountability for the money that they have joined in approving.
“The twin principle of accountability and probity are fundamental to APC. If the PDP in their latest reincarnation now consider these principles important, we are happy for them and we welcome them. It appears, however, that PDP’s interpretation of its role is to oppose everything even before they had the opportunity to understand it.
“They have remained embittered over what they thought APC did to them as an opposition party and are therefore seized by an obsession to revenge. In essence, they are primarily driven by vendetta rather than considered national interest,” APC said.
Not withstanding Abdullahi’s argument, the PDP in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, insisted that main motive of the government in seeking the withdrawal was to fund partisan activities.
It noted that all arguements to the contrary by the APC were diversionary.
“The attempt to claim that 11 PDP governors were part of the approval in a meeting superintended and eminently directed by Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo was merely begging the question,” PDP noted.
“The truth remains that the APC government has been caught in the act and no amount of diversionary finger-pointing will detract from the fact that it tried to use the fight against insurgents as a ruse to secure the money, which they have arranged to spend on extraneous subheads including partisan activities,” PDP claimed.