The Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, has lambasted the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, for allegedly calling its National Chairman,Chief Bisi Akande, an ex-convict, saying a political prisoner is different from a criminal convict.
National Publicity Secretary of the ACN, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who reacted to the allegation by the PDP, however, regretted that the PDP was either engaging in blatant mischief or wallowing in crass ignorance over the issue.
In a statement in Abuja, yesterday, Mohammed said: “Any attempt to label Chief Akande an ex-convict in a pejorative sense will be an exercise in futility, because he was neither convicted for abuse of office nor for any corruption-related offence by a duly constituted court.’’
According to Mohammed, the Special Military Tribunal that tried and sentenced hundreds of politicians, including Chief Akande, in the 1980s cannot be a reason to label all those it tried and convicted criminal ex-convicts.”
He reminded the PDP that the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, ordered its members to boycott the proceeding of the tribunal simply because it failed to meet the standard of a properly-constituted court.
The statement read: “If those who were tried and convicted by military tribunals are indeed deemed to have been properly tried and found guilty of the offences for which they were charged, many of them would not have gone ahead to hold important elective and appointive positions in the polity.
‘’Outside Nigeria, you have the global icon, Nelson Mandela, who was tried, found guilty and jailed for life in 1964. Of course, it will be laughable for anyone trying to denigrate Mandela to tag him an ex-convict, except of course that person is a member of the PDP.
‘’Chief Bisi Akande, whom the PDP has chosen to pick on in its misguided mudslinging, is an embodiment of honesty, integrity, transparency and decency, who is more of a role model to our youths than most members of the PDP. He served creditably in the private and the public sectors, where he held many top posts including that of a governor.
‘’Today, at 74, those rare attributes that have come to define Chief Akande—honesty, decency, integrity and public service— have become synonymous with him. That is why we are proud to hold him up as our Chairman.’’
He then advised the PDP to expend its energy on repairing its leaking tattered umbrella, instead of trying to denigrate a man whom the people respect and hold up as a sharp distinction of mankind, at a time people are increasingly being defined by their vanities rather than the content of their character.
‘’Part of the reason the PDP has failed Nigeria is that it does not know where to focus its energy. Today in the party, the National Working Committee is fighting the President, and the Governors are bent on dealing with the Chairman. The party is crumbling right before the eyes of all Nigerians whom it has pauperized since 1999. And all it can do is to focus on denigrating a man like Chief Akande.
‘’Well, we have got news for the PDP: While the legacy of Chief Akande is assured, that of the PDP is not. Therefore, we advise the sinking behemoth to turn its attention elsewhere, as it awaits its Waterloo.’