The All Progressives Congress (APC) has faulted President Goodluck Jonathan’s handling of the N255 million car purchase scandal involving the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah.
The party in a statement issued on Sunday by its Acting National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Lai Mohammed, said the president might become an accessory to corruption if he continues to shield the minister.
The Aviation Minister is enmeshed in a scandal involving the purchase of the armoured cars without due diligence and there has been many calls for the President to sack her.
Following the public outcry that greeted news of the illegal purchase, the President set up a three man panel to investigate the matter but curiously, the embattled minister and the President were photographed together during a pilgrimage to Israel, leading many to question whether anything would come out of the panel’s work.
According to Mohammed, the APC came to the conclusion after reviewing the evidence that have come out on the scandal and the actions so far taken by the president.
The party said allowing Oduah to travel with him to Israel while facing investigations over the purchase of the two armoured cars at an inflated cost, was an indication that Jonathan was not serious about fighting corruption.
The party claimed that the presidential panel was “diversionary”, as the president hopes for a more severe event to overshadow the Oduah scandal, vowing not to allow the matter be swept under the carpet.
”No one believes the dummy that is being sold to the public, that the minister was denied access to the President in Israel,” the APC said in Sunday’s statement.
The statement read in part: “The egregious act of putting the minister on his entourage, at a time she is at the centre of a terrible scandal, calls to question the president’s sense of propriety and his commitment to the war against corruption.”
“This indecorous action of making a minister who is under investigation for monumental corruption and abuse of office one of the faces of Nigeria in a foreign land is an embarrassment to the country and its people, and a further dent on the poor image of the Jonathan Administration.
“We now understand why corruption has grown wings under the Jonathan Presidency, and why the Administration may well go down as the most corrupt in the country’s history.
“Instead, he has engaged himself in a rigmarole by setting up a diversionary administrative panel in what is now looking like an orchestrated ploy to buy time, hoping this issue will die down and the Minister will escape being sanctioned,” the party said.
“Unfortunately for Mr. President, Oduahgate is not just another scandal, but a referendum on his Administration’s fight against corruption, and on the legacy he intends to leave in this critical area.”
“In other words, any of his ministers whom he perceives as key to his re-election can even loot Aso Rock and get away with it,” the party stressed.
”We do not know whether this is true or not, but we do know there is no smoke without fire, and that the seeming attempt to sweep Oduahgate under the carpet lends some credence to the joke,” the party added.
It would be recalled that the House of Representatives has also directed its committees on Aviation and those of Public Accounts to probe minister and some parastatals under the Aviation ministry in relation to the purchase of the cars.