…IT'S A CELEBRATION OF CORRUPTION -ACN
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has slammed the PDP for celebrating shame and corruption by rolling out the drums to welcome Chief Bode George, who was jailed for corruption.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the PDP's action sends a wrong signal to Nigerian youths that it is alright to steal or mismanage public funds, since it can even turn them into a 'hero' like Bode George.
'There is nothing wrong in rehabilitating a prisoner. But turning an occasion that calls for penitence and soberness to a carnival of sorts is a disservice to Nigeria, and a clear signal that the wobbly anti-corruption war of the Goodluck Jonathan administration is finally dead. It also ridicules Nigeria in the eyes of the world,'' it said.
ACN said that for the avoidance of doubt, Bode George was jailed for stealing money meant for port management and development, not for his political belief even though some clowns are now comparing him to Obafemi Awolowo or Nelson Mandela.
''Let us remind Nigerians that partly because of Bode George's grand larceny, it now takes five times the number of time it should take to clear a container; while the Apapa port can hardly handle some ocean-growing vessels bringing in imported fuel, thus heightening the possibility of fuel scarcity. 'This is the man for whom a party (PDP) seeking the votes of Nigerians in April's general elections pulled all the stops to give a hero's welcome from Kirikiri Maximum Prison.
This is the man whom serving ministers of a government that is supposed to be fighting corruption besieged Lagos to welcome. This is the man for whom the President's campaign coordinator for the South-west, Gov. Gbenga Daniel – apparently standing in for his boss – turned up in Lagos with fanfare to receive.
Nowhere in the world is this kind of action possible, except in Nigeria. And no party is capable of this theatre of the absurd except the PDP,'' the party said.
ACN said the only ray of hope in all the misplaced celebration of Bode George's release was the courageous admonition of the Priest who presided at the thanksgiving church service for the freed prisoner.
'Point blank, this Priest condemned the political rally atmosphere and the non-stop drumming right in the church premises, reminded the exuberant politicians and their supporters that they were in the presence of God and condemned the loss of moral values that made this possible.
'Then he advised Bode George to be penitent and sober, eschew arrogance and avoid being party to any shady deal or election rigging. Reminding the 'celebrant' that not even political, economic or military power which he possessed could prevent him from going to jail, the Priest, who said he was in secondary school when Bode George was the military governor of his (Pastor's) home state of Ondo, told him that real power belongs only to God,'' the party said.
ACN expressed the hope that Bode George, and his backers in high places who today believe they have the licence to inflict untold hardship on hapless Nigerians through bad governance, will learn from the admonition of that young but superbly courageous Pastor. In the meantime, the party said, Nigerians should send a clear message to the PDP – through their votes in April – that today's Nigeria will not have a place for a party that celebrates grand larceny, corruption, greed and wastage of public funds.
''The drums that were rolled out to celebrate the return of Bode George also sent a clear message from the PDP to all Nigerians: That the anti-corruption war for which Nuhu Ribadu staked everything is now dead, and that the bigger the corruption that can be perpetrated by anyone, the bigger the reward awaiting them!'' the party said.