By Ifeyinwa Obi
The war of words between the All Progressives Congress, APC and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, over a disputed sponsorship of hate campaign against General Muhammed Buhari, the presidential flag-bearer of the party, has taken a dramatic twist as the party has threatened to open a Pandora box if NIMASA fulfills its threat of approaching the court on this matter.
Recall that the APC had accused NIMASA of funding hate campaigns against its presidential candidate in a popular Television station based in the Lagos, an allegation the agency’s Director General, Dr. Patrick Akpobolokemi, swiftly debunked at a world press conference in Lagos, penultimate Sunday, giving the APC an ultimatum of 72 hours to withdraw their accusation.
Rebuffing NIMASA’s suit threat, the Director of Media and Publicity of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Organisation, APCPCO, Garba Shehu, declared that the party has ample evidence not only to prove the sponsorship of hate campaign by NIMASA, but would also divulge other damming details that will shock Nigerians.
Shehu said: “There are several acts of the management that are at variance with the objectives and scope of activities of the agency as spelled out under the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency Act 2007. NIMASA Act does not envisage the involvement of the agency in political campaign. It certainly has no provision for hate campaigns against Buhari, nor does it allow for the funding of the activities of the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN).
“NIMASA is trying to reduce this to a campaign issue, but the truth is that the conversion of a statutory government agency into one actively promoting partisan political actions of the President is of national significance. It assumes a more serious dimension when staff are denied their dues and money shipped out to fund illegal activities,” said the APC campaign manager.
Shehu added that the APC would present credible witnesses in court to prove not only this, but the fact that the maritime agency has since transformed into a campaign outpost for the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP.