By Oluwatobi Opusunju and Chinedu James
Some top functionaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Nigeria’s ruling party, are asking that the recent allegations of corruption against Nigeria’s Minister of Communications, Barr. Adebayo Shittu by his former media, Mr. Victor Oluwadamilare be investigated.
The former media aide claimed in several online publications that went viral that the minister, through corrupt practices, had acquired 12 luxury houses, 25 luxury cars among others, asides the eight official cars attached to him since assuming office in 2015.
The minister who is vying to be the next governor of Oyo State in south west Nigeria has denied the allegations; dismissing the claims as fraudulent and politically motivated.
However, IT Edge News learnt at the weekend that influential elements within the APC are asking that the accusations be investigated or else the APC risks going into the polls next year with credibility dents. The members are asking that the APC makes its own house-cleaning exercise to determine those to carry its flag next year or else up with the corruption burden that hangs over its arch-rival: the People Democratic Party (PDP).
“In a space of 29 months in office and from ground zero in 2015, you now have no fewer than 12 luxury houses in Abuja, Lagos and Ibadan and a few months ago, you bought a brand new N93 million Printing Press facility,” Oluwadamilare had claimed in a statement now in public space.
“You have bought over 25 luxury vehicles for yourself, family members, concubines and cronies, outside the eight official vehicles attached to your office. In the same vein, you have expended substantial amount of money, far above your legitimate earnings as a Minister in the Buhari Administration, on your gubernatorial ambition in Oyo State,” he disclosed.
But Shittu said he dismissed Oluwadamilare for lacking loyalty to underscore his publicly expressed vile.
Within the APC, Shittu’s opponents appear to be pushing for a criminal probe that may scuttle the minister’s ambition in Oyo State even as the APC faces internal wrangling over party positions and handling of the anti corruption campaign.
Former governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, and a chieftain of the APC has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to be more “ruthless” with corruption.
In the Corruption Perceptions Index 2017 by Transparency International (TI), Nigeria fell bottom back to indicate it was losing the battle on corruption. The global anti-corruption watchdog in its 2017 report indicated that corruption in Nigeria was on the rise. It ranked Nigeria low in its 2017 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) at 148th position out of 180.
The Nigerian government has rejected the report as not reflecting the facts on ground.