The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has on the contrary stated that it did not ask former President Goodluck Jonathan to speak up on the alleged diversion of the $2.1 billion meant for arms purchase into his presidential campaign.
Daily Sun had on Tuesday, January 2, quoted the party as urging Mr. Jonathan to comment on the $2.1 billion arms scandal allegedly involving former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, and some top politicians.
According to the report, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Abdullahi Jalo, was yesterday in Abuja quoted as saying Mr Jonathan must break his silence on the investigation of certain stalwarts of the PDP to save the party from the public odium the probe has generated.
Jalo said: “As all of you know, no single kobo can be spent by the Federal Government without an Act of the National Assembly. Money earmarked for arms purchase, some people diverted it to something else. So many people that you cannot even expect were involved. Now, darkness has come to light.
“Jonathan is alive, he should clarify whether he asked his former NSA to distribute money meant to fight Boko Haram into his campaign.”
However, the party, in a statement Tuesday, denied Mr. Jalo was speaking on its behalf, Premium Times reports.
The statement, which was signed by Victor Kwon, the party’s national legal adviser read:
“The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says it has not changed its demand that the Party’s spokesman, Olisa Metuh, be immediately released or charged to court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
“This clarification is on the instance of strange publications in the media credited to Abdullahi Jalo on the arrest, by the EFCC, of some of our leaders and particularly our National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh.
“Jalo was also quoted to have spoken on behalf of the PDP in calling on former President Goodluck Jonathan to speak out on the controversial arms deal scandal.
“The national leadership of the party wishes to clarify that Jalo is not a member of the National Working Committee and does not have the mandate of the party to speak on its behalf on any matter whatsoever. Under our constitution, only the National Chairman and the National Publicity Secretary or any body so designated by the National Chairman or the National Working Committee speaks for the party. Jalo, clearly does not have this mandate and could not have been speaking for our party.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the official position of our great party remains that our spokesman should be released or charged to court as he remains innocent until proven otherwise by a court of competent jurisdiction, in line with the provisions of our constitution and the laws of Nigeria.
“The PDP is therefore resolute in challenging the continued detention of our spokesman for a week now, beyond the limits provided by the laws in violation of his constitutionally guaranteed rights as a citizen. We are solidly behind our spokesman in the demand for the enforcement of his rights and liberty. Our demand that he is immediately released or charge to court has not changed.
“Chief Olisa Metuh has the right under the law to his statement and the onus lies on the investigating agency to charge him to court and not to arrogate itself the duties of the judiciary.
“The PDP has expressly explained in various statements and press conferences that it is not in any way against fighting corruption provided it is done within the confines of rule of law and respect for the fundamental Human rights of citizens.
“We also wish to reiterate our stand that President Buhari-led Federal Government has turned the anti- corruption fight as a witch-hunt on PDP leaders, with a view to decimating the party and installing its desired one party state in the country.
“All lovers of democracy, including the international community should take critical look at the various breaches of this administration and the threat it brings to civil liberty and national stability and rein in this government to respect the values of democracy.