Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja
The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party has said that it will not comment on several billions of naira and millions of dollars traced to a former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
The former minister, who is a member of the PDP, played a prominent role in the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, especially in his failed re-election bid.
During the week, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said it had traced at least N47.2bn and $487.5m in cash and property to the former minister.
But the spokesperson for the party’s National Caretaker Committee, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, said the former ruling party would not make any comment on the allegations against Diezani and other members of the party, who were being tried for corruption.
Adeyeye, at a press briefing at the national headquarters of the party in Abuja on Friday, said that it was wrong for the anti-corruption agency to try the suspected looters in the media.
Rather, he said that the commission ought to have taken the matter to court and get the suspects convicted.
He noted that the publicity given to the corruption allegations against Diezani and others were intended to portray the PDP as a party of corrupt people.
He said it was wrong for the anti-graft agency to make itself the investigator, prosecutor and judge, adding that the people with corruption cases, who had defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress from the PDP, had been forgiven .
He said, “The only thing you need to do today is to defect to the APC and all your sins would be forgiven. All APC members are saints and others are sinners.
“How can the EFCC make allegations and convict us by itself? It is the one making allegations and it is the one convicting people.
“Until a court of competent jurisdiction pronounces the suspects guilty, they remain just suspects and innocent as well. So, we won’t talk about those issues.
“If there is a genuine case against her or any other person, please go to court and establish that they are corrupt. You can’t just claim that you have found someone with money you suspect was illegally acquired and pronounce such person guilty. You need to go to court and establish it.”
He also said that there was a failed attempt by some people to stop the PDP Special Non-Elective Convention, scheduled for Saturday (today) in Abuja, through a court order on Thursday.
He said, “Some people tried to scuttle the convention by using the court, but they failed.”
When asked for details, the party spokesman said since the plot did not succeed, there was no point talking about it.
Adeyeye said no fewer than 3,000 delegates from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory would participate in the non-elective national convention.
He noted that the convention would also be observed by various foreign missions and international organisations like the Organisation of African Unity and the United Nations.
The PDP spokesman said the special convention would be an avenue to reunite its members after a prolonged leadership crisis in the party.
He said, “We wanted to make it a unity convention, hence we decided to bring so many people to serve in this committee. Those who were with the former National Chairman, Senator Alimodu Modu Sheriff, have been integrated into the convention committee. The policy of no ‘victor, no vanquished’ has been fully implemented by the caretaker committee.
“We have seen so much enthusiasm by members. The convention will be like a carnival. Members of the PDP across the country are coming.
“We are expecting over 3,000 delegates. Foreign missions are invited. International organisations are coming to observe this convention. Our members in the Diaspora have started arriving.”
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