A former Vice-Chairman and member, Board of Trustees of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Senator Joseph Waku, has accused the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, of allegedly masterminding the petition that has changed the wife of the Senate President, Mrs. Toyin Saraki, to be invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
According to him, the decision was followed by a promise to help secure a second term for the EFCC Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde.
But Tinubu said Waku should not be taken seriously, as he was broke and needed “a quick fix.”
Waku, a leader of the APC, in a statement sent to journalists in Abuja on Saturday, described a situation where Tinubu would be allegedly using his personal relationship with the EFCC Chairman “to embarrass and torment fellow party members” as unfortunate.
Waku, in the statement, claimed that his findings showed that Tinubu personally gave the petition to Lamorde under the guise that he was submitting it on behalf of the APC leadership to punish Saraki for working against the party’s leadership on the choice of National Assembly leaders.
He said, “I have chosen to speak out on this issue and make my findings on this issue known to the public. After days of painstaking enquiries, I discovered that both Tinubu and Lamorde maintain a mutually beneficial relationship since the days of Lamorde as the EFCC Director of Operations and based in Lagos between 2003 and 2007, when Tinubu was equally the Governor of Lagos.
“I also discovered from my findings in EFCC that the so-called petition against Mrs. Saraki was personally given to Lamorde by Tinubu under the guise that he was submitting the petition on behalf of the APC leadership to punish Saraki for working against the party’s leadership on the choice of National Assembly leaders. This was followed by a promise to help secure a second term for Lamorde as EFCC chairman.”
The controversial Benue State politician, who once called for military coup few years after the return of democracy, expressed his concern that EFCC “is again being dragged into the political arena to settle political scores like some years ago.”
But when SUNDAY PUNCH contacted Tinubu’s Media Adviser, Mr. Sunday Dare, he said, “No one should pay Senator Waku any attention. We know when he is broke and needs a quick fix.”
He added, “What he has said is fit for the trash. No one should dignify Waku’s tales by moonlight with any attention or ever take him serious.
“For any serious individual with a reputation to protect, Waku is a very poor hire. Waku is an individual with no shred of reputation and a political pariah in his home state.
“Tinubu does not run or dictate to the EFCC. And like countless others, Tinubu had also been investigated by the EFCC several times in the past. Tinubu has no hand in the travails of anyone because he is right now very busy, working with others of like minds on how the APC political agenda can set sail as quickly as possible. That is the urgency of now and not the tantrums of the likes of Waku.”
Also, some members of the House of Representatives have kicked against Saraki’s wife’s invitation by the EFCC, who is billed to answer the invitation on Tuesday.
In a statement signed by the lawmakers representing Lokoja/Kogi Federal Constituency, Umar Buba Jibril, and another representing Okehi/Adavi Federal Constituency, Muhammad Kabiru Ajanah, on behalf of 25 others in Abuja on Saturday, described the invitation as “highly suspicious.”
The group said while it would continue to encourage the EFCC to carry out its legal mandate, it was optimistic that the highly professional anti-graft body, “will not lend itself as a tool to propagate the political agenda of any person or group.”
The lawmakers added that they held strongly that the days of using the EFCC to harass and intimidate political opponents were gone, warning that, “We must never return to that dark and dangerous side in our polity.”
Several telephone calls, emails and SMS messages to the spokesman of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, on Saturday for his response to the allegation were not replied.
However, an Abuja-based Non-Governmental Organisation, Society for Exemplary Leadership and Transparency, in a statement issued in Abuja on Saturday, dismissed the Like Minds Senators’ political insinuation into the invitation of Mrs Saraki by the EFCC.
The group, in the statement signed by Mr. Emmanuel Johnson, asked why the senators could see the invitation as one from a legally constituted agency of the state instead of their “parochial angle.”
It said, “It is now clearer than before that this set of senators are, indeed, hindrance to transparent governance promised Nigerians by the APC, and they will scuttle legislations and policies design to enthrone accountability and transparency.”
The NGO reminded the senators that it would have been more altruistic if they had also questioned a similar invitation of the daughter of the late former President Umaru Yar’Adua and wife of a former Kebbi State Governor, Hajia Zainab Dakingari by the EFCC.
“In view of these, we hasten to ask: why were you silent and did not mention ‘political motivation’ when, recently, other former state governors such as Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Sule Lamido (Jigawa) were invited to account for their years in office?” The statement added.