The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has challenged a former Governor Sule Lamido to come clean on how former Governor Saminu Turaki surrendered governorship ticket to him in 2007 and campaigned for his eventual victory.
Shehu was reacting to remarks by former Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido who faulted President Buhari for receiving defectors (governors and lawmakers) in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Lamido had described it as another form of corruption involving stolen mandates.
“I think the Governor should go and read the constitution. To be President of Nigeria, the constitution sets four-point criteria for eligibility, the third of which says a candidate for the office must be a member of a political party and is sponsored by that political party.
“But the President, much as he has one vote as do all members of the party, is not an ordinary member per se. He is the leader,” Shehu said.
Maintaining that no law forbids a sitting President as a recognized leader of his party, from welcoming new members, the Presidential spokesman said: “This is not corruption. Political Corruption is when a sitting Governor is shown EFCC papers and offered a choice of either facing prosecution or decamping, or as in a similar case in Jigawa State, forced to arrange the delivery of the party ticket to a successor chosen by the Presidential Villa. This is what their party; the PDP did in their 16 years.”
Shehu said Buhari became President by being a member of political party as prescribed by the Constitution, adding that the All Progressives Congress (APC) attracted leaders of other political parties into her fold through persuasion and promise delivery.
While dismissing the notion that the reception of decampees was another form of corruption, he told the former governor of Jigawa State that the APC would not emulate the traditions of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which attempted the anti-graft agency to disqualify candidates while the Villa backed illegal impeachment of governors and the delivery of party ticket to anointed successor.
The presidential aide said: “As if the PDP has forgotten their history, they were the ones who in 2007, set up a presidential screening panel that led the then EFCC to draw up a list that determined the eligibility of candidates for the elections that year.
“The committee was mandated by the Villa to do the hatchet job of disqualifying candidates that were not in the good reckoning of the powers-that-be. On the other hand, the APC has been able to attract leaders of other parties to its fold through persuasion and promise delivery. No one is being for forced to join.
“Lastly, I will like to say that it would be nice if Governor Lamido were to shed light on the circumstances under which Governor Saminu Turaki surrendered the party ticket to him and, in the view of many, dropped all hostility to miraculously campaign for his victory in 2007.
This should be more interesting coming from him, than someone bandying unfounded allegations of political corruption against President Buhari.”