* But Kayemo says defections powered mostly by selfishness, corruption
By Innocent Eteng
Stakeholders who met in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, December 5, 2018, have sent a message to the presidency, saying the war against corruption should be made a peoples war, not President Muhammadu Buhari’s war.
This is as the spokesperson of the president’s campaign organization, Festus Kayemo, has taken a hit on members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who defected to Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC). He also blasted those of the APC who moved to the PDP.
The dialogue took place in Port Harcourt organized by Rivers Unity House, a pro-APC group. A member and professor of political science in the University of Port Harcourt, Eme Ekekwe, faulted the war against corruption on grounds of lack of ideological foundation and personalisation.
Ekekwe, one time public relations manager in Shell, said the war should be made to assume a national dimension and seem to be a national ideology and all embracing than to be seen as a Buari war. On that score, he said Buhari has failed in the war by failing to galvanise the nation in the war.
Kayemo said the ceaseless back and forth exodus by defectors is never in the interest of the vulnerable nor based on rational reasons, but in their own corrupt and selfish interests.
“When you see them crossing from one party to the other, including APC and PDP, no difference, it is not because of some principled disagreements among them. It is because they are looking for the safe place to eat,” he said.
Kayemo, a human right lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said this on Wednesday, December 5, 2018 during an Anti-corruption symposium organized by the Rivers Unity House in Port Harcourt and titled: “Corruption Is An Issue In Nigeria’s Development.”
He particularly mocked the senate president, Bukola Saraki, who is alleged to have premised his recent return to PDP on Buhari’s unwillingness to allow him (Saraki) get slots (in terms of appointments) and recover back (and more) hundreds of millions of naira he (Saraki) purportedly spent campaigning for Buhari in 2015.
In a leaked audio recording recently, Saraki was allegedly heard telling his supporters that he spent at least N400 million in each state campaigning for Buhari in the run up to the 2015 elections.
Kayemo, indirectly, hinged on this to mock Saraki as not having strong reasons for crisscrossing except for selfish and corrupt reasons.
“In a leaked audio recently, when one of our big men there (at the senate) crossed from one party to the other, he was addressing his supporters and what did he tell them? He said he invested so much but that Buhari did not allow him to get back his investments. He was telling his supporters that he would have wished that he (Buhari) gave them (Saraki’s supporters) more opportunity and slots to recover their funds or to make money or to empower them; that Buhari did not allow him and that was the reason he crossed.”
“So they (defectors) are united in corruption and that is why we must continue to talk about it,” Kayemo said to the audience of over 600 who responded with high-sounding hands-clapping.
Meanwhile, he insisted that it is not out of place to call the ongoing anti graft battle of Buhari’s administration “Buhari’s Anti-corruption”.
He said this is because it is only a determined leader who can truly lead the war against corruption as Buhari has done since 2015, especially giving the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) the free hand to operate without interference.