The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL has queried the propriety of the choice of the two governorship candidates by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi and Bayelsa States.
This came on the heels of the recent emergence of former Governor of Kogi State, Prince Abubakar Audu and former Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Timipre Sylva as candidates of the All Progressives Congress governorship elections scheduled to hold in Kogi and Bayelsa States on 21st November, 2015 and 5th December, 2015 respectively.
All Progressives Congress’s candidate for the Kogi State governorship election, Prince Abubakar Audu’s public records is that of a man that has been described in many derogatory adjectives ever since he left office as governor in 2003. It is well documented that he has been hurled severally before several judges and on various issues. Mr. Audu was recently being prosecuted by the anti-graft agency, EFCC, of misappropriating N11 billion of the state’s funds while he was governor between 1999 and 2003.
Sylva was also docked alongside his co-accused in July 2014 for allegedly using three companies to siphon funds from Bayelsa state treasury between 2009 and 2012. A fresh plea over a six-count criminal charge was filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. He is said to be facing trial over the allegation that he masterminded the illegal diversion of funds from the Bayelsa State treasury while in power. He was specifically accused of siphoning over N6.5 billion from the Bayelsa State treasury between October 2009 and February 2010.
Reacting to this development on behalf of the Coalition, its Executive Chairman, Comrade Debo Adeniran has expressed his total disagreement and has frowned at the choice of the ruling party’s governorship candidates. He said, “The two candidates being presented by the ruling party in the two states are standing trial for corruption and we don’t think the party should allow those who have not discharged themselves of baggages of corruption to contest election, let alone win election. That would mean that they are allowing a danger that has been foreseen to cause catastrophe because, if they have not discharged themselves of corruption charges on account of their first term in office, they ought not to be allowed to cause further damage.
“Their integrity is still doubtful; so why should we allow them to go into the same office where we cannot be sure whether or not they are going to govern with integrity?” Thus, their openly expressed desire to seek a come back to the state Government House as governor, should be considered a misplaced effrontery.
Speaking further, Adeniran stressed that no sustainable democratic culture could be established as long as our No. 1 enemy, corruption, thrives. This is why CACOL and other anti-corruption institutions and organizations should not relent but remain in the vanguard of the fight against this seemingly untamable monster that had overtime assumed the overbearing status of an albatross that has constantly been terrifying the very existence of this nation by preventing corrupt elements from assuming political positions.
We believe that President Buhari, as a leader in the ruling party and one acknowledged to be a no-nonsense man on issues of corruption, cannot afford to be neither be too deaf nor blind to the long list of Audu Abubakar’s and Timipere Sylva past allegations. We also believe he would want to be taken seriously on his recent declaration to the world that his fight against corruption is not a respecter of political affiliation. “If you have reasons to fraternize with corrupt elements and you know deep down in your heart that such people are corrupt, then you don’t have to pander to the dictates of such class of people. The President needs to take up the toga of a revolutionary to be able to win the war, Adeniran added.
We would want to conclude, concerning this issue, that we are not oblivious of similar practice in some other political parties. The emergence of Ayodele Fayose of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP as Ekiti State governor in the last gubernatorial election in the state is another reference point. It’s on record that several charges, ranging from financial impropriety to murder, remained unresolved for over eight years after leaving office in his first stanza as the state governor, up till today. Therefore, our position on this anomaly should be seen and perceived by all concerned from a generalized view-point.