President Jonathan would really appreciate it if people stopped trying to drag his name through the mud. At least that’s what we can make of the latest statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity Dr Reuben Abati. The statement was in response to rumours that the President was responsible for the ongoing bribery scandal involving Honourable Farouk Lawan and Femi Otedola, and rubbished claims that the President had any hand in it, describing them as “lame”, “diversionary” and speculative”.
“The Presidency denounces the lame and diversionary attempt by some newspapers to drag the person and office of the President into the very unsavoury bribery scandal involving the Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Fuel Subsidy Probe Ad-Hoc Committee and a well-known petroleum products marketer,” the statement read.
“The mischievous insinuation in today’s editions of the newspapers that the entire affair, in which the two key players have publicly confessed their roles, was part of a plot by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and the executive arm of government to unseat the leadership of the House of Representatives, is totally false and baseless.
“For the benefit of unwary members of the public who may be deceived by the political innuendoes now being woven into the subsidy probe bribe affair, President Jonathan wishes to affirm that he has absolutely no reason or desire to meddle in the affairs of the House of Representatives and its leadership.
“Neither the President nor anyone acting on his request or order has anything to do with the scandal that has sadly engulfed the House ad-hoc committee on fuel subsidy. The attempt to drag the Presidency into the matter is entirely speculative and without factual foundation.
“Against the background of its avowed commitment to the effective prosecution of the war against corruption in Nigeria, the Presidency notes with satisfaction, that given the seriousness of the scandal, the House of Representatives has already recalled its members from recess for a special session to deliberate on it on Friday.
“The Presidency therefore urges the media to allow members of the House and law enforcement agencies to conduct and conclude investigations without further unhelpful distractions.
“Recent developments notwithstanding, President Jonathan’s directive to the Attorney-General of the Federation on the report of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy, as adopted by the House of Representatives, subsists and he fully expects that all those indicted in the report will be duly investigated and prosecuted if a prima facie case is established against them. “