The Reformed-All Progressives Congress has alleged that the Federal Government has concluded plans to bribe senators with amounts ranging from N50m to N150m each towards changing the leadership of the National Assembly.
The allegation came just as members of the Parliamentary Democrats Group in the House of Representatives also on Sunday alleged that the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, had come under pressure from senators loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari to back their plot to “destabilise” the National Assembly.
The National Publicity Secretary of the R-APC, Kassim Afegbua, in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, said the aggrieved APC faction was reliably informed that the plot to induce lawmakers was hatched in the Maitama residence of an APC leader.
According to him, the decision to resort to the use of cash inducement was taken after some heads of government agencies and the APC leadership realised the futility of pursuing a legal option to force the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, to resign.
Afegbua also claimed there was a plan to forcefully reconvene the Senate and orchestrate the removal of Saraki and other principal officers to pave the way for a pro-Muhammadu Buhari Senator, Abdullahi Adamu, to emerge.
He said, “Once the Senate leadership is overthrown in a coup d’état manner, the Senate will immediately consider the virement budget of the INEC and also approve the pending nominations in the Senate.
“Part of the plot was to reach out to some PDP senators, especially those who have EFCC queries in order to give them a clean bill of health once they defect to the APC. They also agreed to woo some senators with the sum of fifty million naira each.
In their own allegation, members of the Parliamentary Democrats Group in the House of Representatives claimed that the targets of the pro-Buhari lawmakers were senators and members of the House of Representatives, who recently defected from the All Progressives Congress to the Peoples Democratic Party.
In a statement in Abuja, the PDG alleged that Osinbajo had come under pressure to finance the plans of the Buhari lawmakers.
The statement, which was signed by the Chairman, House Committee on Legislative Budget, Mr Timothy Golu, advised Osinbajo against allowing himself to be used by the senators for their agenda.
The group claimed that the “factional” National Chairman of the APC, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, was also aware of the plot and was supporting its execution.
According to the PDG, part of the plot is to intimidate the lawmakers who defected into returning to the APC.
“We are keeping vigil and ready to face them. We also warn the APC factional chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, who seems to have reaped enough from democracy, yet is ready to destroy it.
“We have it on good authority that the Vice-President is set to dole out money from government coffers to sway members of the two chambers against their leadership, but this plan has already failed.
“We will resist it and ensure that the integrity, sanctity and independence of the National Assembly are upheld and members are allowed to freely associate with political parties that will enable them to deliver the dividends of democracy to their constituents.”
The group advised the acting President to maintain the integrity that goes with his position as the acting President and the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria and disassociate himself from desperate politicians.
The allegations by the R-APC and the PDG came barely 24 hours after a former deputy publicity secretary of the APC and Mr Timi Frank, made a similar allegation in which he claimed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had received a directive from the Presidency to release the money required to change the National Assembly leadership.
Timi Frank had made the allegation on Saturday. He claimed there was a plot to induce lawmakers at the federal level with amounts up to N150m each to effect leadership change. He further alleged that the money was to be sourced from the NNPC.
Let’s have evidence – Senate Leader
Reacting to the allegations on behalf of his colleagues, the Senate Majority Leader, Ahmad Lawan, said, “If someone makes such a statement, you are supposed to press further on the person to give you evidence. You don’t call me to confirm the allegation. If he says something like that is happening, he must have evidence. But as far as I know, there is nothing like that.”
We’re not involved in any plot against Saraki – NNPC
The NNPC has distanced itself from the alleged plot to fund the removal of the Senate President.
The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Ndu Ughamadu, described reports linking the corporation to the alleged plot as the handiwork of mischief-makers seeking to drag the NNPC and its GMD into a purely political affair.
The NNPC said the report was not only false but also an affront to the reforms in the operations of the corporation.
Ughamadu described the allegation against the corporation as “fiction and outright tales by moonlight for anybody to insinuate that Baru or anybody else could take a dip into the corporation’s till and dole out funds for political purpose.”
The corporation urged members of the public and oil and gas industry stakeholders to discountenance the said story, noting that the management of the NNPC was committed to its statutory role and responsibility to the entire federation.