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PDP CRISIS: EFCC, ICPC MAY GO AFTER GOVS, AIDES

By NBF NEWS
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PDP National Chairman, Vincent Ogbulafor
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission may investigate more governors and their officials as part of efforts to remove the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor.

Investigations by our correspondent on Friday showed that the investigation into fraud charges against some governors and their aides was one of the strategies of the Acting President Goodluck Jonathan administration to pressurise the state executives to withdraw their support for Ogbulafor.

A group, the PDP Reform Group, which is enjoying the support of Jonathan, has called for the dissolution of the party's National Working Committee led by Ogbulafor.

The PDP Reform Group is also demanding the review of the criteria for the selection of delegates to congresses and conventions of the party.

The criteria for the selection currently favour the governors because appointed delegates such as commissioners and special assistants outnumber elected ones (lawmakers).

Members of the group consisting of two former Senate Presidents, Chief Ken Nnamani and Adolphus Wabara; a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Bello Masari and a former Rivers State Governor, Dr. Peter Odili, were suspended by the NWC on Thursday.

But our correspondent, gathered that the Acting President and his supporters were prepared to ensure that the suspension was not approved by the National Executive Council of the party.

It was also learnt that the ranks of governors, who were supporting Ogbulafor, might be depleted as some of them were scared of facing investigations by the EFCC and ICPC.

A presidential aide, who pleaded anonymity, said, 'Those who are pushing for Ogbulafor's removal have perfected plans to make EFCC and ICPC beam their search lights on them.

By the time, the commissions go after them, they will withdraw their support for the chairman.'

Our correspondent also gathered that the states that were being investigated included Oyo, Rivers and Balyelsa.

But a source in the EFCC said, 'I am sure that the commission will not allow itself to be used to victimise political opponents.

'Any time you hear a government official criticising the commission, it is because it has not allowed itself to be used to witch-hunt opponents. Those who are making such allegations have something to hide.'

'Governors, whose commissioners and other aides have been charged with fraud would also face prosecution as soon as they leave office on May 29, 2011.'

When contacted, the EFCC's Head of Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Babafemi, said, 'We do not like to make our investigations public. Doing that will make the people involved to clean their records.

'As you are aware, we have charged more former governors and former ministers to court than our predecessor.'

Efforts to get the reactions of the media consultant to the ICPC, Mr. Folu Olamiti, did not succeed as he could not be reached through his phone.