The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, on Monday challenged the former All Progressives Congress Interim National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, to name the oil barons he alleged to have sponsored his (Dogara’s) election on June 9.
Dogara described the allegations as “baseless and lacking in substance and merit.”
The speaker said he expected Akande, an elder statesman, to play his fatherly role at a period of disputes within the APC’s family by seeking ways to reconcile the factions rather than attacking his person.
Akande, in a widely publicised statement on Sunday, had alleged that oil barons who never liked President Muhammadu Buhari`s anti-corruption stance, sponsored the election of the President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, and Dogara respectively in a bid to stifle the new government.
Akande also alleged that some sprinter groups within the APC were aligning with old and new Peoples Democratic Party forces to relaunch a platform for the 2019 polls.
But, the speaker reacted that the allegations existed only in Akande’s “imagination”, adding that he won his election based on the support of his colleagues, his competence and capacity to preside over the House as the speaker.
In a statement in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Turaki Hassan, the speaker recalled that the first investigative motion passed by the House after his election was to probe the alleged crude oil swap contracts awarded by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
He noted that it did not make sense for him to back the probe of the same oil sector stakeholders Akande alleged to have sponsored his election.
Part of the statement reads, “It is baseless and lacking in substance and merit and can best be described as figment of Chief Akande`s imagination.
“We challenge Chief Akande to name the so-called oil barons whom he alleged sponsored the election of the speaker.
“In case Chief Akande does not know, the first investigative motion adopted by the 8th House of Representatives under the leadership of the speaker was to investigate the allegation of fraud in the oil-swap contract awarded by the NNPC.
“A resolution for investigation into the allegation was passed to constitute an ad-hoc committee to investigate the NNPC, as well as its subsidiary, Pipelines and Products Marketing Company over the swap contracts.
“How then can the House under the leadership of Mr. Speaker order investigation into activities of those who allegedly sponsored his election?”
The speaker claimed that his anti-corruption stance was not in doubt as the Legislative Agenda of the 8th House adequately captured it. “Mr. Speaker has on different occasions reiterated his resolve to compliment President Buhari’s anti-corruption stance and insists that the present crop of leaders don’t have any excuse to give to Nigerians on the change promised them before and during the election that brought APC into power,” the statement added.