The All Progressives Congress has come out in strong support of President Bola Tinubu and the standards of the party over the recent suspension of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, who is accused of diverting N438.1 million to a private account.
Recall that, Premium Politics had reported over the weekend that Edu has been recently linked with a fraudulent diversion of government funds in her ministry to a private account, an action which contravenes the public financial Act.
Edu was thereafter suspended by the president on Monday, ordering her probe by the anti-graft agency.
The National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Felix Morka, said on Tuesday during an interview on Arise News that the president has acted swiftly and lawfully in response to the allegations, and that the party does not tolerate any wrongdoing by its members.
Morka said that the APC does not “smell” or have any “stench” as some critics have suggested, and that the party is made up of human beings who are not infallible or above reproach.
He said that the party has set standards and parameters for imposing consequences when actions are taken that are contrary to the party’s values and principles.
He said, “No! The All Progressives Congress does not smell and there’s no stench because if you say that there is, then what you’re saying really is your expectation is that the human beings, Nigerians, who populate the party, who are also members of the other parties, are people who will live without faults, without their own agency, human agency, without their ability to think and act for themselves.
“You are expecting super humans to be members of the APC and therefore, people who are infallible, who are above reproach, who will do no wrong. That is not the standard of any democracy or any political party.
“Because people populate the parties, just like your staff who work here, they may be members of the APC or the PDP or Labour Party or whatever party for that matter.
“But Rufai, the question is not whether people do wrong, because when they want to do wrong, they by themselves choose to do wrong or do things that appear to be wrong. There’s no mechanism available for a party to modulate human conduct. You can set standards and actually set parameters for imposing consequences when those actions are taken. That is what this president has done.”
He also said that the president has no control over the personal choices of the party members, and that the allegations against Edu and others have not been proven in any court of law. He stated that the constitution presumes everyone to be innocent until proven guilty, and that the public should wait for the outcome of the investigation panel set up by the president.
He said, “Now, if you’re sitting here saying, the allegations, people are talking about this and the party and the government is calm doing nothing about it, then we can be having a conversation. But not whether people choose to do what they want to do, because that’s beyond the control of the President.
“But the question here is, has the president responded as expected in a democracy? Yes! He swiftly responded to the allegations or the appearance that something wrong was done. By the way, he responded also in the way that he was required to under the law, because you know, Betta and all of these people that you just mentioned, none of them has passed through any kind of legal or judicial scrutiny to justify the conclusion that was the premise of your question.
“And you don’t taint anyone with guilt who has not passed through, first, an investigation, and prosecution and actually an adjudication of guilt. You don’t! That’s why the constitution presumes everyone to be innocent until proven guilty, that’s a constitutional standard.
“The point I’m making here is that; the president has done the right thing and he has suspended the minister in question and has set up a panel to carry out a thorough investigation, you know what? We must wait for that process to take its course and to reveal…and by the way, in the public space I don’t know where you get that proof that monies were in fact paid out. What I know is that is that a memo was out and there are suggestions that the memo disclosed that the minister requested payment into that account. Whether the money was in fact paid, that is what the investigation is supposed to actually unearth.”
In a twist of events, the “Starboy” of the current administration, the Minister of Interior, Bunmi Tunji-Ojo, has also been linked to the same alleged fraud.
However, Morka stated that the minister, who has been linked to the scandal as the alleged beneficiary of the consultancy contract between Edu’s ministry and New Planet, a company owned by Tunji-Ojo’s brother, had resigned from the company as at the time it was awarded the contract from the humanitarian ministry.
He, therefore, urged the public to disregard the attempts by the opposition and some media outlets to tarnish the image of the president and the party, and to focus on the achievements and reforms of the Tinubu administration. He said that the APC is committed to fighting corruption and delivering good governance to the people.