The ruling All Progressives Congress in Niger State and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party are throwing tantrums at each other over the true position of the N1.4 billion meant for the abandoned 5-star Hotel in Minna.
The Eagle Online recalls that accusations and counter accusations have been hovering from the two political parties on the controversy surrounding the money, which the opposition party said was left in an escrow account for the continuation of the project.
The immediate past Governor of the state Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, fired the first shot during his 65th birthday in Minna, accusing the APC led government of misappropriating the N1.4 billion meant for the abandoned five star hotel in Minna.
Aliyu told friends, associates and party stakeholders in Minna that he left the money in an Escrow account at the Minna branch of Zenith Bank for the hotel project.
“To my surprise, the contractor was invited by the government and given the whole amount. After two months he (contractor) disappeared from site and has not returned to finish the job,” Aliyu said.
This former governor’s allegation was immediately followed with a quick reaction by the Press Secretary of Governor Sani Bello, Mary Noel Berje, who described the allegation as misleading and an attempt to win the sympathy of his “dying Peoples Democratic Party” ahead of the forthcoming local government elections.
The statement however said the balance of the escrow account established in respect of the five star hotel project held in Zenith Bank is N1.4 billion and remained intact, adding: “The present administration has not released any money to any contractor as alleged by the former governor.”
The verbal confrontation have now shifted to the secretariats of the two political parties with two different press statements on Tuesday accusing each other of being economical with the truth on the N1.4 billion.
The PDP Chairman, Alhaji Tanko Beji, in a statement said the admission by Governor Bello and the APC-led administration that the sum of N1.4 billion escrow savings handed over by Aliyu in 2015 was intact is “an attempt to pool the wool over the eyes of intelligent men and women of Niger State”.
The PDP Chairman also maintained that the admission confirms in explicit terms that the APC-led administration has a lot to hide and a lot more to explain, adding: “If all it could do is to admit that monies were handed over to them in 2015 and for five years have kept mute and continue to deny that nothing was left in the accounts till the revelation by Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu came last week
“It is rather ridiculous, as it is too little and too late, we are aware that efforts have been geared towards doctoring the records and tempering with the accounting systems to cover this monument sleaze which has become a striking feature of the APC and Governor Sani Bello’s administration.”
But APC Chairman, Mallam Jibrin Iman, described the PDP’s accusation of having skeleton in its cupboard as “a mere hallucination of its corrupt past”, stressing that the administration of Bello to have confirmed that the money is intact showed uncommon transparency and integrity in the handling of the state resources, unlike in the past, when government processes and procedures are conducted in clandestine manner.
The APC Chairman in a statement said that PDP’s consistent attacks on the current government is like the antics of a drowning man, who will fight desperately to hold anything.
The statement further explained that the Bello-led APC government in the state remained focused and refused to be dragged into the mud like the PDP, whose stock in trade is corruption, deceit and falsehood.
It said: “We urge PDP chairman, Tanko Beji to remember his corrupt and insincere past to his people and the state in the conduct of his activities, as a PDP chieftain alongside other members of his party.
“On this note, we advice the PDP to leave the APC led government alone to concentrate on the good works it is doing, which the PDP denied the people of Niger State in all its years in power.
“As a people oriented government, the current administration has absolutely nothing to hide, as all the intention and actions of the government are aimed at making life better for the people.”