Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State yesterday fired a salvo in the direction of former Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Tony Anenih, asking him to return his share of the $2.2 billion arms deal bazaar collected from embattled former National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki.
Speaking at a rally of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benin City where prominent PDP leaders and their followers including two former members of the Federal House of Representatives, Patrick Ikhariale and Abbas Braimah, defected to the APC, Oshiomhole said: “We have seen even the godfather’s name being mentioned. Even at his old age, he collected N260m, and I want the godfather to deny or to confirm it. If he wants to refund the money, I will collect it from him and I will go to Abuja without deducting anything from it, and I will hand it over to President Muhammadu Buhari”.
Chief Anenih also known as ‘Mr. Fix it!’ was generally referred to as the ‘godfather’ in Edo politics until the defeat of the PDP in the last elections.
On Anenih’s tenure at Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Mr. Oshiomhole said, “And you can see, this is not yet an outcome of any investigation. I am sure by the time the NPA book is fully opened, more revelations will come out”.
Making reference to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Governor Oshiomhole said, “By the time they open NIMASA, you will understand how these people helped themselves and their families, and deprived even the activists who helped to make them relevant. When it was time for help, they dealt quietly; when it was time to mobilize they used everybody. And I think if this is what President Buhari has done for Nigeria, helping us to understand how the old people were eating the grass cutter which the younger boys had gone to the bush to bring home.
“Even without teeth, in their 90s, they never stop stealing. So you can see why new changes are necessary. Not just to build roads but to change the political system. They don’t allow the young to grow. We respect elders, but the elders must not prevent the younger ones from growing”.
The governor hailed President Buhari for his fight against corruption and commitment to uninterrupted power supply, saying: “President Buhari has a huge task of rebuilding a country that has been so grossly mismanaged. I believe God loves Nigeria so much that he gave us President Buhari at the time he did. Now, when you read newspapers, you can imagine if Jonathan had continued in office, where we would have been today. You can only imagine that.
“For the first time, big people are being asked to account. In the past, you only heard of governors; we only heard of local government chairmen, commissioners. But this time, we are seeing a Minister of Finance confessing like a witch”.
One of the counts against Dasuki, who is currently being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, before Justice H.Y. Baba and Justice P.O. Affen of the High Court of Justice of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja states that he, in conjunction with Shaibu Salisu, erstwhile Director of Finance and Administration in the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, transferred N260 million to the bank account of Chief Anenih and by so doing, committed an offence punishable under Section 315 of the Penal Code Act, Cap 532, Vol.4, LFN 2004.
Welcoming the defectors to the APC, Governor Oshiomhole assured them that they would receive equal treatment as other party members.
He also urged all APC leaders at local government and state levels to commence the process of integrating the new members into the APC fold.
“Let me assure our leaders; they have come to reinforce our leadership, and they will be part of our leadership. When we harness all these people together, we have a more potent political party. We are one and the same. There is no discrimination. Each of these leaders that have decamped today has come to join forces with you to ensure victory”, he said.
“Those who are left there should remain idle. That is where they belong. The house is now complete. We only need these generals to do the infantry work, to mop up the few people remaining. We should integrate fully because if we don’t integrate, we will not be able to harness the gains of this exercise”, he added.
Aside Ikhariale and Braimah, other defectors from the PDP to APC include former State legislator representing Igueben constituency, Sunday Ereghan; Emma Ehiabhi, Bisi Idaomi, Sule Asemokhai, Hajia Hauwa, and Kelvin Aigbe.
The defectors were received by APC leaders among them the state chairman of the party, Anslem Ojezua, former Governor, Prof Oserheimen Osunbor; Gubernatorial candidate of the PDP in 2012, Maj-Gen Charles Airhiavbere (retd.); member Federal House of Representatives representing Etsako Federal Constituency Philip Shuaibu; Secretary to Edo State Government Prof Julius Ihonvbere.