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Defectors Dare EFCC, Say We Are Not Afraid Of Prosecution

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Members of the House of Representatives, who recently defected to the PDP, expressed readiness to submit themselves for probe if asked to do so by the EFCC.

The lawmakers claimed they have been enjoying sound sleep since their mass defection and would continue to do so without fear.

Recall that 37 members of the APC had defected on Tuesday, last week.

Thirty-two of them went to the PDP, while four members moved to the African Democratic Congress. One of the members has yet to join a new party.

There have been speculations that the APC-controlled government may send anti-graft agencies after the defectors in a bid to compel them to return to the APC.

But, the lawmakers reacted that the thought itself was laughable since they had nothing to hide.

They also stated that a resort to using the EFCC to hound them would merely expose the “desperation” of the government to remain in power beyond 2019.

For example, the coordinator of the defectors, Mr. Razak Atunwa, told Sunday PUNCH that so long as the members did not soil their hands by indulging in any criminal act, they had nothing to fear.

Atunwa, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Justice, stated that any invitation extended by the EFCC would be immediately honoured, adding that he would be glad to do so.

He added, “Why should I have sleepless nights? I have nothing to worry about, I am speaking personally and I have no skeleton in my cupboard. If I am invited by any agency today, I will gladly walk into their office.”

Atunwa added that the current fight was not about individuals, but a collective decision by many stakeholders to “rescue” Nigeria from the APC.

He said, “Thankfully, you have seen the APC in power and you have been able to assess whether or not, they will be able to deliver what they said in 2019, yet they failed to deliver it in four years. There is nothing to write home about.”

Another defector, Mr. Bode Ayorinde, said he was surprised that anybody would think that he would be afraid of the anti-graft agencies.

Ayorinde stated that he acted as a Nigerian, who exercised his democratic right to make informed political decisions, not minding the consequences it might have on him.

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“He who has a clear conscience fear no foe; perhaps that one would have stopped me from exercising my right. I have been very vocal in the House in the last three years.

“I have spoken against the President’s Executive Order 6, I have spoken against the herdsmen killings and I have spoken against lopsided appointments.

“So, I don’t have anything to fear,” the lawmaker said.

Ayorinde explained that the members took their time to assess the situation in the APC before they decided to move.

He cited the recently concluded congresses of the party, saying that forces within the party ensured that the people who bought forms to contest were shut out by the APC.

Ayorinde, who is from Ondo State, added, “What is personal interest about something that is unjust and unfair? A government that doesn’t believe in democracy, that pretends to promote democracy and the rule of law and practises a different thing.

“If they can get away with it, sometime soon they will even write the names of those who will go to the House of Assembly and House of Representatives without allowing elections to hold.

“It is not because you didn’t have ticket, no. It is about fairness, equity and justice, because at that level that is the foundation of democracy.”

Our members can’t be cowed — CUPP

Meanwhile, the co-spokesperson for the Coalition of United Political Parties, Mark Adebayo, also spoke in defence of the defectors.

He said members of the opposition political parties who came together to form the CUPP knew what they were up against by coming together to rescue Nigeria.

Adebayo said, “It is understandable that President Muhammadu Buhari knows how to use brute force not necessarily the use of power. He knows how to use brute force to attack the opposition and to try to cow the opposition and try to intimidate us; that should not surprise anyone. He is a trained military man and old habits die hard.

“But for us, being afraid is not an option; they can bring on the EFCC, the military, the DSS whichever, he controls the institutions and the instruments of coercion but we will not be deterred, we are not intimidated.”

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Earlier, Ibrahim had also taken a swipe at the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, for asking the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to resign from his position for dumping the APC.

The senator said he was particularly pained by the fact that he and his colleagues who recently dumped the APC were being hounded by the same government they helped to install.

He said, “Look at the example of those who are saying that the Senate President should resign because he has defected. They have forgotten that Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal defected then (from the PDP to the APC) as the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Did the then ruling party ask him to step down as Speaker? But they (APC) were rejoicing.

“They should just calm down. If they want Saraki not to be Senate President anymore, they should gather the two-thirds of members. It is as simple as that.”

Asked to react to the comment made by Senator Abu Ibrahim (APC, Katsina-South) that there would not be peace in the Senate until Saraki resigns, the Kwara senator dismissed the comment.

He said, “It means that all along there was a plot to be using the police to hound people in the legislature. If a senator – a democratically-elected senator said there would not be peace in a hallowed chamber if something he desires is not done, then you can see their mind.”

Efforts to speak with the spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, on Saturday proved abortive as his telephone lines indicated that they were switched off.

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