Less than 24 hours after endorsing the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, an anti-corruption group – Kick Corruption Out of Nigeria – has petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari.
To the group, the endorsement was either Buhari has not been properly briefed on Ize-Iyamu’s corruption trial or he has now endorsed corruption.
Either way, the group, in a petition signed by the spokesman, Lawrence Chukwu, declared that the photograph showing Buhari giving APC flag to Ize-Iyamu, as “a tragedy and an indication that once you are on the side of powers that be, you can continue to steal the country blind”.
The petition said the fact that Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, who was seen stuffing dollars in his pockets in a viral video, was beside Buhari and Ize-Iyamu in Abuja on Friday, shows that corruption is already being celebrated in Nigeria’s number one office and residence.
The group accompanied the petition with Ize-Iyamu’s charge sheet, witness statement, banker’s statement, bail application, cash officer’s statement and bank MD’s statement.
The petition also accused the Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami (SAN), of exerting influence on the Federal High Court to frustrate the case and use security and electoral officers to rig the September 19 election in Edo State.
The group maintained that Buhari’s endorsement of Ize-Iyamu as the candidate of the All Proressives Congress (APC) for the September 19 governorship election in the state was against his avowed anti-corruption stance.
“It’s unthinkable that a President who prides himself as anti-corruption Czar will endorse an Accused person standing trial before the EFCC.
“More worrisome is the fact that all is set for the trial to begin as the managing director of the bank where the money was lodged had confessed to the crime. All witnesses have been lined up by the EFCC to testify against Ize-Iyamu.
“Besides, the former chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiohmole, has branded Ize-Iyamu as a thief not worthy of public office. One now is at a loss why a President whose first cardinal program is fighting corruption will endorse such candidate.”
The group noted that the way Ize-Iyamu flaunted his endorsement after leaving the Villa speaks volume.
“The presentation of flag to a person standing trial on allegation of corruption over alleged N700million right in the Villa has shown to the world that APC is indeed the headquarters of corruption.”
Below is the full text of the petition.
Iyamu EFCC case: Group petitions Buhari, sends court papers to President
President Muhammadu Buhari
Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria,
Presidential Villa, Abuja
Your Excellency Sir,
FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION MUST BE TOTAL
We write this letter to you on behalf of our group due to one reason: the fight against corruption in Nigeria must be total.
And all Nigerians can see that since you assumed power on May 29, 2015, you have embarked on the fight to rid Nigeria of corrupt elements.
But, our group was disturbed when we saw your photograph with the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and the governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, on Friday.
In the photograph and stories published online, newspapers and electronic platforms, you endorsed Ize-Iyamu as the APC governorship candidate for the September 19 election.
We know your party had already done so but we believed that since Ize-Iyamu is still in court facing corruption charges, you will distance yourself from him.
We were wrong.
We believe it is either you were not properly briefed on Ize-Iyamu’s corruption trial or the Federal Government is now endorsing corruption.
Attached to this petition are Ize-Iyamu’s charge sheet, witness statement, banker’s statement and bail application.
We are doing this because we believe officials close to you may have deliberately shielded you from knowing anything about this case.
It is our belief that leaders of your party may endorse the candidate due to their partisan posture but given your anti-corruption stand, millions of Nigerians will be disappointed to see you with somebody who is still facing corruption trial in a Federal High Court.
The fact that Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, who was seen stuffing dollars in his pockets in a viral video, was beside you and Ize-Iyamu in Abuja on Friday, is an indication to many Nigerians that corruption is already being celebrated in Nigeria’s number one Office and Residence.
We also want to bring to your notice that the United States (U.S.) has already issued a statement, warning of the danger of using official power to rig the Edo governorship election.
Because we know the implication of that, we want to advise that you call the Attorney General and Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to order. He is already seen as dabbling into the Edo elections.
Please sir, accept the assurances of my highest consideration.
KICK CORRUPTION OUT OF NIGERIA