The Peoples Democratic Party on Friday accused President Muhammadu Buhari of appointing fraudulent people into the Federal Executive Council, declaring that his cabinet lacks integrity.
The PDP said this in a statement issued by Kola Ologbondiyan, its National Publicity Secretary, in reaction to allegations by Premium Times, an online news medium, that Adebayo Shittu, the Minister of Communications, skipped the mandatory one-year National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, scheme.
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According to the opposition party, the appointment of “many persons of questionable character” into his cabinet is an indication that President Buhari can no longer claim to be “Mr Clean” as propagated by his aides.
The PDP said the onus now lies on the President to prove his integrity by explaining to Nigerians why he engaged such persons to head sensitive positions in his government.
The statement read, “This is just as the party said President Buhari, in appointing fraudulent persons to hold key offices in his government, has shown that he has a weighty integrity burden contrary to the “Mr. Clean” posturing which his handlers had always wanted Nigerians to believe.
“The PDP insists that President Buhari has the moral burden of explaining what gains he derives from appointing fraudulent characters into very sensitive positions, a development that questions his integrity as a leader.”
The party also queried why some key past and present government, including Kemi Adeosun, the ex-Finance minister and Okoi Obono-Obla, the Special Assistant to the President on Corruption, were not sacked despite their involvement in several controversies, adding that the response by Shittu to the NYSC allegations “speaks volume of the impunity in the Buhari administration.”
The PDP accused President Buhari of shielding and reinstating government officials who had engaged in corrupt practices, labelling them as “henchmen” who serve the interests of the All Progressives Congress, APC and a supposed Presidency cabal.
“This is in addition to official cover which the Buhari Presidency provides for corrupt officials in various sectors, including the Petroleum Ministry, where over N10 trillion is alleged to have been stolen under fictitious contracts and sleazy oil subsidy deals as well as the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), where indicted officials were reinstated by the Presidency”, the statement noted.
The opposition party said the corrupt practices allegedly enacted by the regime has “continued to smear our nation” globally and attributed it as the cause of the purported decline of foreign direct investment in the country.
The PDP demanded the immediate arrest and prosecution of Shittu for not participating in the NYSC programme.
The statement read, “PDP charges the police to immediately charge Adebayo Shittu, while President Buhari should note that Nigerians have lost confidence in his anti-corruption fight.”
Shittu had admitted to Premium Times, after a discreet investigation done by the online newspaper for months, that he skipped his NYSC call-up because he thought his membership of the Oyo State House of Assembly in 1979 could be deemed as “national service.”
The Minister graduated from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) at the age of 25 and was expected to have participated in the NYSC scheme, which took effect from the 1972/1973 session.
The only persons exempted from the service are Nigerians who clocked 30 years upon their graduation from higher institution, individuals who served in the military, security or investigative agencies for over nine months or those currently serving in such institutions.