The Oyo State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday condemned the inclusion of the name of a former governor of the state, Rashidi Ladoja, in the list of treasury looters recently released by the federal government.
The Nigerian government had stirred accusations and counter-accusations between stalwarts of the PDP and the ruling All Progressives Congress, recently with the release of names of politicians who allegedly looted Nigeria’s treasury.
Lai Mohammed, the minister of information and culture, had released the names in response to PDP’s challenge that names of looters be made public. In the updated list released by the minister, Mr. Ladoja, a stalwart of the PDP in Oyo, was mentioned as one of the alleged looters.
But the Oyo PDP in a statement by Akeem Olatunji, its spokesperson, said Mr. Mohammed’s statement was “demeaning and surprising” because it was “outright falsehood and fabrication of unsubstantiated claims against perceived political opponents” made in a bid to score cheap political points.
The PDP faulted the inclusion of Mr. Ladoja’s name in the looters list, saying the former Oyo governor had a legitimate business transaction with the embattled ex-National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
“A case in point is that of the leader of PDP in Oyo State, Sen Rashidi Ladoja, who had a legitimate business transaction with the office of NSA on the sales of one of his property at VGC in Lagos,” the party said in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES Tuesday.
“The property was valued at N600 Million and N500 Million was paid leaving a balance of N100 Million but Mr. Dasuki who was the NSA was removed before the conclusion of the transaction while the new NSA withdrew from the transaction, hence the reason for the return of N500 Million earlier deposited by the NSA office, this happened in 2016."
“We feel compelled to find out what actually transpired between someone highly regarded as the face of PDP in Oyo State and the Leader of the party, Sen Rashidi Ladoja, and the office of NSA, we discovered that it is a case of vendetta, witch-hunting and political persecution of a man considered as the greatest threat to APC survival in Oyo State.”
The Oyo PDP said it frowns at corruption as it has been re-branded, adding that it would not condone corrupt actions in whatever form. It also warned President Muhammadu Buhari to respect the rule of law because he is no more a military ruler.
“PDP in Oyo State as a newly rejuvenated and re-branded party frowns at corruption and would not condone it in whatever form believing a just and equitable society, as well as good governance, can only be a product of a discipline and morally upright party as represented by the new PDP in Oyo State."
“The party, PDP, wishes to remind President Muhammad Buhari not to forget he is no more a military President, we are in a democratic dispensation where rule of law not the rule of barrel prevails,” the statement said.
Mr. Ladoja, who governed Oyo state between 2003 and 2007, defected to the PDP recently after he left the party to flag off a new party in the state, Accord Party. He contested the governorship position of Oyo State in 2011 and 2015 under the banner of the Accord Party.
He is currently being prosecuted by the anti-graft agency, EFCC, for alleged corruption while in office as governor.