Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has vehemently denied allegations that he collected bribes from party candidates to manipulate the outcome of the APC primaries held recently across Nigeria.
Oshiomhole was reportedly grilled by the Department of State Services (DSS) over allegations of him collecting bribes in dollars to favour certain candidates.
The ruling party Chairman, who spoke with journalists on Friday night after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, described the allegations against him as reckless insinuation.
“No tree that will bear fruits that will grow in Sahara desert and the fact the publisher of Saharareporters himself is a presidential aspirant; we would soon find out the difference between Sahara and its reporters, and a green forest and its reporters.
“The unfortunate thing here, however, is that people, who specialise in libels they take advantage of our peculiar judicial system.
“When I was a governor in Edo state, they published all kinds of things against me. At a point I decided to go to court and my lawyer told me that I have to be ready to enter the witness box to make my case – whether I was ready to go through that humiliation.
“What is in the governorship? Before I became the governor I entered the witness box and I know after being governor I can still go back there one day. So I went there and I won the case. They awarded damages in my favour.
“But by the time you want to check the process of the guy who libeled you and so on, he sells himself everything put together he could not compensate for by legal fee not to talk of really mitigating my paying as a result of the judgment,’’ he said.
Senate President Bukola Saraki had in a recent statement noted that Oshiomhole has no moral ground to remain in politics following allegations against him of receiving bribes to influence recent party primaries by sitting APC governors.
The APC Chairman however in his response to the Senate President asked him to name any candidate he (Oshiomhole) received bribe from or he will sue him.
He further spoke on the campaign programmes of the APC, saying that the party’s campaign for the 2019 presidential election would focus on character and integrity of the key candidates (apparently referring to PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar).
President Muhammadu Buhari is the ruling APC presidential candidate in 2019, while former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“We are fully ready, we have done with our primaries and filled our nominations,” he said.
“As you know, INEC still has a window between now and first of January to deal with issues of substitution. As of campaigns, we are ready.
“We are going to announce the date and programme for our campaigns. My idea of kick-off will be the day we will do our first presidential rally where Mr President as our candidate and other candidates, party leaders will assemble in a venue that will be agreeable to all of us.
“There will be two sets of messages. One, on what we have done in the past, without failing to remind people of where we were before, what we are going to do in the next four years, and a couple of things we believe we will be doing differently.
“President Buhari if compared to the rest of the candidates, there is no basis to compare day and night. The real issue in this election is not going to be religion. It is not going to be about ethnicity.
“Central to the issue and given our past experience as a country, we know that what makes a difference is the character, the issue of integrity of the candidates.’’