by Stanley Azuakola
The issue is refusing to go away. That the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the predominant party in the South West, was so badly beaten by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the zone during the presidential elections, was one of the wonders of the 2011 elections. Especially because they had a relatively solid candidate in the person of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.
At the time, there was a strong possibility that if Ribadu swept the South West as expected, the elections might have been decided by a runoff, which might not have favoured the incumbent.
Some reports then, mentioned how the ACN leader was picked with a presidential jet to Aso Rock where some negotiations were made but were strongly denied of course. Now, over a year after the incident, somebody within the ACN fold is corroborating that story. He is none other than the party’s embattled Kaduna State chairman, Mohammed Soba, who claims that the ACN sold out Ribadu for the presidential sum of $100 million (N16billion)
As expected, the party, through its publicity secretary, Lai Mohammed, has denied Soba’s accusations, describing it as “absolute nonsense.” Mohammed challenged Soba to take his evidence to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), if he had any proof to substantiate his claim.
He said, “The allegation is absolute nonsense. It’s just a reaction of a person who wants to sit-tight on a position from which he has been duly removed. He has not only been removed from being the chairman of ACN in Kaduna State, he has also been suspended from the party.
“Why doesn’t he just approach the EFCC, if he thinks he is sure of what he is saying? Why he came out with this is because I issued a statement that we were going to court to stop the Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission from conducting local government elections in the state because they are dealing with a faction of the party that has been rejected.”
On his part, Soba claimed that he was being witch-hunted by his party for asking them to explain why they sold the bid for the presidency. It is unclear why he’s only asking them to explain now, more than sixteen months after the elections were concluded and the winner sworn in.
According to Soba: “We challenge Lai Mohammed and the national secretary of the party, Senator Lawal Shuaibu, to tell the whole world why state chapters like Enugu, Ebonyi, Abia, Cross Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Nassarawa, Plateau, Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe, Borno, Adamawa, Taraba and Kaduna states are all facing national leadership induced crises.”
Soba also described as empty, the threats by the ACN national leadership to sue the KSIEC for recognising him, insisting that he remains the chairman of the state chapter of the party.