By Emmanuel Aziken Political Editor & Donald Idonor
LAGOS—MINISTER of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, yesterday, rebuffed claims that he was used by the Presidency to bribe members of the Save Nigeria Group, SNG.
He affirmed that there was no need to bribe the group which he claimed had, on its own, intervened to stop the drift in the polity during the ill health of former President Umaru Yar‘Adua.
Orubebe spoke against the background of allegations that members of the Pastor Tunde Bakare- led SNG were offered a bribe of $50,000 by the Presidency in consideration of their support for the Presidency.
Pastor Bakare who was quoted by an online publication as having made the assertion could not be reached for comments on the issue.
Reacting to the allegations in a statement made available to Vanguard, Orubebe, himself a close confidant of the President said: “I find these allegations deeply distressing, and I am certain that the highly respected Pastor Tunde Bakare must have been quoted out of context.
“I am forced to react to these allegations only because I would consider it an insult for anyone to attempt to bribe someone of that stature, visiting with his group, and with, of all sums, 50,000 dollars.
Sense of drift
“True, a bribe is a bribe, no matter the sum. This is the reason why I am all the more concerned and worried about these claims. What I, however, find intriguing is that there is absolutely no reason to bribe the Save Nigeria Group. When the body, on its own volition, rose to challenge the sense of drift that had befallen the country over the illness of our late leader, Mallam Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, did anyone bribe them?
“So it is hard to believe that any right thinking person would attempt to do so now. If a bribe is intended to induce someone to either do something, or to refrain from doing it, what in objective terms would I need to bribe the SNG for at this time?
“This is a false story that should be dismissed by all right thinking persons.”