The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Monday debunked claims by the former Interim National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande that their election as Senate President and Speaker was facilitated by oil barons, describing the allegation as baseless, false and unbecoming of a respected statesman.
The duo also said the allegation levelled against them was lacking in substance and merit and could best be described as a figment of Chief Akande‘s imagination.
Chief Bisi Akande on Sunday fingered fuel subsidy thieves and corrupt businessmen as behind the current crisis in APC which culminated in the emergence of Bukola Saraki as Senate President and Yakubu Dogara as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The Senate President in his reaction to the allegation said: “Ordinarily, we would have ignored the report credited to Chief Akande but for the sole reason that some undiscerning readers might mistake the fiction for facts. We wish to state unequivocally that it was wrong and mischievous for the statement by Chief Akande to link what happened on the floor of both chambers to some unnamed oil barons. We dare say that the entire story was the figment of the imagination of the author and we make bold to state that in the 7th Assembly, Senator Bukola Saraki was chairman of the Senate Adhoc Committee which exposed the fraud and mismanagement in the oil sector.”
A statement from the office of the Senate President reads: “Until Saraki’s motion on the floor of the Senate, no one was in the picture of the rot in the sector or took any action. Therefore, Senator Saraki will be the last person the oil barons will want to see as Senate President. In that position, Saraki did not only lead his colleagues in exposing the rot in the scheme, but made very strong recommendations on how the system could be reformed and made corruption-free. It is on record that through his motion on the floor of the Senate, the House of Representatives followed in what is to be known as Oil Subsidy probe which the ministers of Finance and Petroleum summoned and at last over N500 billion was saved.
“Further to this, during the Senate hearing on the missing $20 billion, Senator Saraki led the onslaught against both the Minister of Finance, Minister of Petroleum and other Federal agencies despite being in the ruling party then. To this effect, Senator Saraki refused to sign the final copy of the committee’s report but rather put forward a minority report with a statement and went further to oppose the inclusion of kerosene subsidy in the 2015 budget as well as his opposition to Petroleum swap deal by NNPC.
“The 8th Senate under Senator Saraki would give all the necessary legislative support to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to fight and reduce corruption against the so-called oil barons. And for avoidance of doubt, we want to make it abundantly clear that it is totally false, untrue and calculated mischief to suggest that Senator Saraki’s emergence as Senate President was facilitated by oil barons.”
Akande’s allegations were baseless —Dogara
Also speaking on the issue, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, said that his election and acceptance was as a result of his capacity, experience, spirit of team player, incorruptibility and his progressive mind which endeared him to his colleagues.
In his reaction signed by his Special Adviser, Media and Public Affairs Turaki Hassan, Dogara said: “The allegation by Chief Akande is unbecoming of a well-respected elder statesman and a former Interim National Chairman of APC.
“We challenge Chief Akande to name the so-called oil barons whom he alleged sponsored the election of the Speaker and in case Chief Akande does not know, the first investigative motion adopted by the 8th House of Representatives under the leadership of the Rt. Hon. Speaker was to investigate the allegation of fraud in the oil-swap contract awarded by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
“A resolution instituting investigation into the allegation was passed with a resolve 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? So, Chief Akande`s allegation is unfortunate and uncharitable.”