The Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, has called on the Presidency to desist from using President Muhammadu Buhari's name as an arsenal to hit perceived political adversaries for their selfish goals.
A statement signed by his media aide, Mukhtar Gidado, on Thursday, condemned the nomination of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as the flagbearer of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the forthcoming governorship elections in Edo State.
He said the statement purportedly issued by the Presidency, admonishing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to sack Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State and his Bauchi State counterpart, Senator Bala Mohammed, both of whom had cases against them before they were elected, to submitted themselves for prosecution, was misplaced"
The Presidency's statement was a response to the call on the President, in line with his avowed zero tolerance for corruption, to withhold or withdraw his support for Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
The Bauchi governor said that the Presidency had been boxed into a corner in the melodrama surrounding the emergence of Osagie Ize-Iyamu, saying the candidate had been irredeemably deconstructed by Adams Oshiomole, a former chairman of the APC.
He stressed that the destruction was so much that Ize-Iyamu's electoral value had diminished to almost zero.
The statement said: "It is perfectly understandable that the APC is in damage control mode, desperately clutching to every and any conceivable straw in a doomed effort to rescue the sinking boat of its Edo gubernatorial ticket.
"But little did we expect that the party will descend so low, hiding under the esteemed office of the President, who may not be aware of their shenanigans, as to attempt to rewrite the nations recent history.
"How can the APC administration that has become a haven for those fleeing justice, mislead Nigerians into believing that the party has the franchise over the anti-graft war when both the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the statutes it has deployed in the anti-graft campaign, were creations of the PDP?
"Unlike Pastor Ize-Iyamu, who is the candidate of the ruling APC, a party that professes the eradication of corruption as its mantra, as the unimpeachable cornerstone of its national revival programme; Bala Mohammed was the candidate of the opposition party, a man who was ready to subject his integrity to electoral scrutiny without passing through the same moral crucible as the candidate of the ruling party.
"The electorate believed him; set his prosecution and persecution aside; and got him elected, defeating an incumbent Governor."
The statement added: "Not only had Bala Mohammed vigorously contested, denied and defended all the allegations against him in a court of competent jurisdiction before his election as Governor, which subsequently conferred immunity on him, it should be placed on record that prior to that, he had recorded some landmark victories over the EFCC in all the cases that had been decided."
The statement stressed that: "We concede... that only the courts can pronounce an accused guilty.
"We also concede that under our laws, an accused is presumed innocent until he is proven guilty.
"These are not the issues in contention here.
"Yet, no sane or honest person will fail to recognise that it is tantamount to a contradiction of byzantine proportions, that the same Administration that accused and is prosecuting Osagie Ize-Iyamu of corruption, sees nothing wrong or awkward, in nominating him to run for office of Governor of the state he is accused of plundering.
"This raises pertinent questions: Has the court pronounced him innocent?
"Or has the APC suddenly discovered that he is innocent?
"Is the Administration suggesting that he was falsely accused?
"If that is assumed but not conceded, how many more people would have been framed up, to achieve purely partisan political motives?
"Could that be the case of Senator Bala Mohammed who, at some point, was subjected to the horrendous but totally false accusation of having stolen N1.3 Trillion by the EFCC, under the leadership of Ibrahim Magu ?
"We wish to remind the Federal Government that, at the onset of his ordeal in the hands of the EFCC, Bala Mohammed voluntarily submitted himself to trial in the firm belief that history will vindicate the just.
"Besides, he remains unequivocally supportive of the anti-corruption campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari, a trend that was started by the PDP-led Administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo