The director-general of the Progressives Governors Forum, Salihu Lukman, says the Peoples Democratic Party is merely trying to pull the wool over the Nigerian public’s eyes by claiming that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is taking credit for the projects initiated by the PDP administration.
Apparently miffed by PDP’s reaction to President Buhari’s well publicized interview on Arise Television, Lukman says it is a ‘patently political fact’ that the opposition party is efficient only at mismanaging public resources; and that without any attempt to reform itself, its leaders want to take advantage of the challenges facing Nigerians to win elections.
Quoting excerpts (Patently Political Fact) from a book entitled ‘Power of Possibility & Politics of Change in Nigeria’, the PGF DG cited several recorded instances to prove PDP’s incapability to effectively manage neither its own nor national resources.
The PGF DG cited the PDP National Secretariat project, which he said underscores the reality of the opposition party’s financial recklessness in managing the affairs of the federal government for the 16 years it governed the country (1999 – 2015).
He said after ten years of work, the PDP abandoned its 12-storey National Secretariat project after expending over N6 billion; but that, in contrast, within three years of existence (between 2013 and 2016) as a party, the APC was able to acquire a National Secretariat at the cost of N2.5 billion and has paid more than N500 million with about N1.9 billion outstanding.
Lukman said: “The contract for the PDP National Secretariat project was awarded to BNL Limited. The party paid an initial sum of N2 billion while BNL Limited was billed to complete construction of the National Secretariat project in 126 weeks. Sahara Reporters reported in January 2017 that because of construction variations over the years, the project cost rose to N16 billion from 2008 estimated N10 billion out of which the party had paid N6 billion before work stopped.
“In contrast to PDP, the APC had already acquired the property located at No. 40 Blantyre Street, Wuse 2, Abuja to house the APC National Secretariat. The APC first rented the property in 2013, and in 2016, the Chief Oyegun leadership of the party bought the property from the owner at the cost of N2.5 billion and agreed to make payment in instalments. As at March 2019, the party had been able to pay more than N500 million, with about N1.9 billion outstanding. Significantly, this has been achieved without any fundraising funfair.”
On campaign funding, Lukman x-rayed how PDP raised humongous amounts of funds and also squandered it without telling effects and achievements, while on the contrary APC with less funds prosecuted its campaigns and election, to victory.
“First, INEC audit report for APC and PDP for the 2015 general elections reported by Premium Times of May 25, 2018 revealed that PDP spent N2.9 billion, while APC spent N4.8 billion. The APC’s audit report, filed by Mai-Alheri and Co., disclosed that the party derived its 2015 income from the sale of nomination forms which generated N329.5 million, while donations and gifts generated N275 million. The APC also spent N296.3 million on administration, N56.5 million on repairs and maintenance, N485,800 on welfare and N15.4 million on financial charges.
“The audit report further noted that while the APC spent N2.9 billion on the 2015 polls, it generated only N604.5 million in the same calendar year, leaving a deficit of N2.3 billion. The APC disclosed that this was covered by its surplus from 2014 when it earned about N6.4 billion and spent only N4 billion.
“The report highlighted that the party’s fixed assets including office equipment were valued at N5.1 million, APC’s Data Centre equipment at N300,000, furniture and fittings at N6.8 million, motor vehicles at N20 million and library books N3.4 million, all totaling about N35.8 million.
“In the case of PDP’s audit report, prepared by Paul Akinade Adebimpe and Co., it showed the party’s income for 2015 derived from donations and levies totaling N200 million and other expenses amounting to N599.2 million. While the PDP spent N4.8 billion on the 2015 elections, it also spent N1.7 billion on administration, N2.8 billion on its National Secretariat and N54 million on other financial expenses. Unlike the APC, the PDP had a surplus of N9.4 billion from 2014, as it spent only N3.6 billion from the N13 billion it reportedly earned.
“Ahead of the 2015 elections, as a ruling party in control of the Federal Government, on Saturday, December 20, 2014, the PDP organised fundraising dinner and generated whopping N21 billion for former President Goodluck Jonathan’s 2015 re-elections campaign. Although owing to public criticisms, and of course legal implications, the PDP subsequently denied that the fundraising dinner was meant to support former President Jonathan’s re-election campaign. The N13 billion, therefore, may be the net earning accrued to the PDP from the fundraising dinner.”
On anti-corruption, Lukman said it is clear that while under PDP’s 16 years in control of the federal government the country witnessed long lists of suspected cases of corruption, endless investigations, low convictions, and hardly any recovery, in the case of four years of APC, recoveries so far made comprise N871 billion, 407 mansions and 703 convictions, among others.
He said during the PDP administration, allegations of mismanagement and corruption were frequent and unfortunately reduced to public noise.
“For instance, in 2012, following the January national protest against increases in the prices of petroleum products, there were allegations of oil subsidy fraud. The House of Representatives eventually had to set up the Hon. Farouk Lawal ad-hoc Committee to investigate the actual subsidy requirements of the country.
“At the end of the investigation, the committee reported that ‘contrary to official figure of subsidy payment of N1.3 trillion, the Accountant-General of the Federation put forward a figure of N1.6 trillion, the CBN N1.7 trillion, while the committee established subsidy payment of N2.587 trillion as at December 2011, amounting to more than 900% over the appropriated sum of N245 billion.
“This figure of N2.587 trillion is based on the CBN figure of N844.944 billion paid to NNPC, in addition to another figure of N847.942 billion reflected as withdrawals by NNPC from the excess crude naira account, as well as the sum of N894.201 billion paid as subsidy to marketers. The figure of N847.942 billion quoted above strongly suggests that NNPC might have been withdrawing from two sources especially when double withdrawals were also reflected both in 2009 and 2010″.
“The report of the 2012 subsidy probe threw up issues of accountability especially on the part of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) with the strong charge that ‘NNPC feasted on the Federation Account to bloat the subsidy payable, some of the marketers were involved in claiming subsidy on products not supplied.’ In particular, the report also indicted the Accountant-General of the Federation that served in 2009 for making payments in equal instalments of N999 million for 128 times, totaling N127.872 billion.
“Following the release of the House of Representatives subsidy investigation report, the Chairman of the ad-hoc Committee, Hon. Farouk Lawal, was reportedly enmeshed in a $3 million bribe scandal allegedly demanded from Femi Otedola, a major oil marketer.
“There were also claims and counter-claims of missing oil revenues. In October 2013 for instance, former CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi alleged that $49.8 billion from the sales of crude oil between January 2012 and July 2013 was missing from NNPC accounts.
“Following series of audits and reconciliation meetings involving NNPC, CBN and Ministry of Finance, the former CBN Governor reported the missing amount to be $20 billion while the former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, reported $10.8 billion.
“On February 20, 2014, former President Goodluck Jonathan suspended Mallam Sanusi from office over allegations of financial misconduct. After the suspension of Mallam Sanusi, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) confirmed that about $20 billion was missing.
“Throughout the tenure of the Jonathan administration (2010 – 2015), allegations of corruption against public officers were regular features. In 2012, there was the case of Police Pension Task Force, which was investigated by the Senate Joint Committee on Public Service and Establishment and State and Local Government Administration.
“Some of the revelations include withdrawal of N24 billion for payment of pension that required about N3.5 billion — the Chairman of the Pension Review Task Team, Alhaji Abdulrasheed Maina, informed the Senate Committee of two accounts in Lagos where police pension funds were lodged, each amounting to N21 and N24 billion.
“Alhaji Maina reported daily withdrawals of various sums of money from these accounts ranging from N200 to N300 million. A total sum of N273.9 billion was reported by the Senate Committee to have been looted in 6 years from the police pension fund.
“Other cases of corruption charges against public officials under PDP (1999 – 2015) include the case of $180 million Halliburton; $1.1 billion Malabo Oil; Princess Stella Oduak N255 million Aviation Ministry bulletproof cars; N10 billion jet scam involving the Petroleum Minister, Dizieni Alison Madueke; and House of Representatives Capital Market probe, and N360 billion service-wide scam.
“What is the anti-corruption scorecard of the APC since it took over the Federal Government in 2015? The acting EFCC Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, in December 2018 told journalists that N794 billion, $261 million, £1.1 million, €8.2 million, 86,500 CFA and 407 properties were recovered. Also, Mr. Magu disclosed that EFCC had secured 703 convictions.
“Other similar cases include the recovery of N93,558,000, $530,087, £25,970 and €5,680 from 5 serving judges (Justices Adeniyi Ademola, Kabir Auta, Muazu Pindiga, Mohammed Tsamiya and I. A. Umezulike) following sting operations by operatives of Department of Security Services (DSS) in October 2016.
“There was also the case of $2.1 billion arms deal involving Col. (rtd) Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser under the Jonathan’s PDP administration. The breakdown showed that N1.5 billion was paid to Alh. Bashir Yuguda, which was reportedly disbursed in respective sums to the following PDP chieftains – N600 million to PDP 2015 election campaign Contact and Mobilization chairmen (Chief Bode George, Amb. Yerima Abdullahi, Mr. Peter Odili, Alh. Attahiru Bafarawa, Chief Jim Nwobodo and Col. (rtd) Ahmadu Ali); N300 million to BAM properties linked to Alhaji Bello Haliru, former PDP National Chairman; N200 million to Alhaji Bello Sarkin Yaki, former PDP Kebbi State 2015 governorship candidate; N100 million to Alhaji Mahmud Shinkafi, former PDP Zamfara State Governor; and N100 million to Dalhatu Limited linked to Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa.
“Other disbursements were N750 million to Reliance Referral Hospital Limited for special prayers; N380 million to support re-election of PDP members of House of Representatives; N550 million to Thisday Newspaper allegedly as compensation for attacks on the newspaper’s offices in Kaduna and Abuja in 2012; N120 million to Nduka Obaigbena allegedly as compensation for copies of various newspapers seized in June 2014; N170 million for the purchase of four-bedroom duplex; N260 million paid to Chief Tony Anenih; N345 million paid to Sen. Iyorchia Ayu; and N90 million for Dasuki’s son’s house.
“There was also the discovery of $9.7 million by the EFCC in May 2018 and £74,000 from Mr. Andrew Yakubu, former Group Managing Director of NNPC concealed in a building in Kaduna. Similarly, in April 2017, the EFCC discovered sums of $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23,218,000 in Ikoyi apartment linked to Amb. Ayodele Oke, the DG of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
“Around the same period, there was the reported N272 million ‘grass cutting’ contract awarded by the former Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF), Engr. Babachir David Lawal, to companies allegedly owned by him.
“There was, of course, the case of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen, who did not declare the $3 million lodged in five accounts that belonged to him, which led to his suspension from office and subsequent conviction on April 18, 2019 by the Code of Conduct Tribunal, stripping him of all offices he earlier occupied, forfeiture of the money in the five accounts he failed to declare and banning him from holding public office for 10 years.”
With such high incidences of corruption, Lukman argued that national development would remain elusive – and that this had been fate of Nigeria while PDP controlled the federal government.
The PGF DG said while it may be true that some of the projects inaugurated by President Buhari’s administration were started by PDP administrations, “the fact is, if PDP had remained in government, these projects would not have been completed. They would simply have been subjected to contract variations that would have entailed the release of more money which may end up in private accounts of public officials and PDP leaders.”
“It is such a patently political fact that PDP’s record in public service only disburses public resources to personal accounts of public officials and party leaders, while APC can disburse resources to contractors and ensure the completion of infrastructural projects,” he said.