Facts emerged in Abuja on Wednesday that the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party was instrumental to the exposure of the $620,000 bribery scandal currently rocking the House of Representatives.
Investigations by our correspondents showed that the party was aware of the bribe from the initial stage and agreed to the deal.
It was gathered that the PDP was targeting the Speaker of the House, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, for removal because of the belief that he was too “independent for the party leaders.”
Sources within the top echelon of the party informed our correspondent that members of the committee probing the fuel subsidy payment met with the party’s leadership and they agreed that the investigators should soft pedal on those they said were financers of the party, who also benefited from the subsidy payment regime.
The committee members, led by their chairman, Mr. Farouk Lawan, were said to have been persuaded not to indict these influential members in their report.
Before arriving at this, it was learnt that the leadership of the party had asked the committee to suspend its sitting or stop the probe entirely.
But when it was apparent that the committee members would not allow that because of the pressure from the public and the leadership of the House, the two parties were said to have agreed that the major oil marketers would not be indicted.
A top member of the party said, “We agreed that the money be given to them for logistics as they claimed. We agreed that the committee members should not be hard on the major marketers in their report.
“This is because the party produced these members of the committee. Without our slot, will they be able to be at the National Assembly?
“There is no way that a ruling party will not have a say in the running of the House, especially when its leaders are members of the party.”
The source added that the party was astonished when the report of the committee was released and almost everyone was indicted.
This, the source said, was contrary to the agreement the party had with the committee members, led by Lawan.
He said they recorded the transaction because the party’s leadership suspected that the committee members could renege on their promise.
The source said if the committee members had agreed to the deal, it was possible the deal would not had been made public “now.”
Asked why Lawan was not arrested by security agents at the point of collecting the money, he said there might not be any prove to show that the money paid Lawan actually came from the security agencies.
He said the party’s leadership and the Presidency were further angered when Tambuwal, at the first anniversary of the President Jonathan administration at the Presidential Villa, accused the President of not signing bills presented to him by the National Assembly.
According to our source, exposing the bribe would attract public ridicule for the entire leadership of the House.
“We expect the public to call for the resignation of the Speaker and the entire leadership,” the source added.
Meanwhile, legal practitioners, under the aegis of Public Interest Lawyers League, have demanded the resignation of the Speaker of Tabuwal.
They also demanded the questioning of oil magnate, Mr. Femi Otedola, to determine his level of complicity in the saga.
President of the group, Mr. Abdul Mahmud, said this at a press conference in Abuja, on Wednesday.
However, another group, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, has raised the alarm over a plot to use the fuel subsidy bribery scandal to remove Tambuwal.
A statement by CISLAC’s Executive Director, Auwal Musa in Abuja, on Wednesday alleged that the executive and some oil thieves were involved in the plot.
It said the two had never been comfortable with Tambuwal’s style of leadership.
In a related development, elder statesman and former Federal Information Minister, Chief Edwin Clark, on Wednesday called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of Lawan and Mr. Femi Otedola over their involvement in the $3m scam.
The Ijaw leader also called for a total overhaul of the way the Federal House of Assembly is currently run, saying the activities of the house had become a shame to the nation.Clark, who spoke in his Kiagbodo home, Burutu Local Government, Delta State, maintained that the two chambers of the National Assembly, by their actions, had shown that they could not be trusted to make laws for the good governance of the country.