BY GABRIEL ENOGHOLASE
BENIN – CHAIRMAN, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Matthew Urhoghide has described the defection move of Senator Godswill Akpabio from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a stab in the back of those who supported him to be elected as the Minority Leader in the Senate.
Urhoghide, who was reacting to the defection move of Senator Akpabio told Vanguard Tuesday in an interview in Benin, that it would have been honourable for Akpabio to go to jail instead of allowing himself to be blackmailed and intimidated by the Federal government over his alleged owning of properties worth N108billion.
He said, “How can I be comfortable with it, I cannot be comfortable with it, when some of us stuck out our neck to make him our Minority Leader, this was what some persons saw that he was inconsistent, this thing has to do with credibility,
“If it is true Akpabio is going away, it is a stab at some of us, he stabbed us at the back and he knows where his place in history will be in this country, it is a stab, even if it is because of the EFCC is intimidating and harassing him over his alleged owning of properties worth N108Billion.
“It would have been more honourable for him to go to jail because those who run away from us like Senator Dariye and went to APC was sentenced to fourteen years imprisonment, who says to him now that he is going to get a pardon, a state pardon if of course he has enriched himself in a manner that is illegal, so he is not going to face the full weight of the law?
“It would have been more honourable for Akpabio to say look I face it or I step down, he should have resigned as Minority Leader of the Senate. If Akpabio was just an ordinary Senator nobody would have bothered about him but because he is the minority leader, that is the leader of the PDP caucus in the Senate
“He ought to have come back to us to say the mandate you gave to me to be your leader, I am hereby giving it back to you, I step down, we will get somebody else but for him to hold our highly revered position and then you go back again and you go and bring it down before the other party it is shame”.
On the virement sought by President Muhammadu Buhari, Senator Urhoghide explained that what the President should have done was to bring a Supplementary Budget on how to fund the 2019 elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
While insisting that there was a vote for INEC in the 2018 budget which was signed into law by the President, he said, “the President is saying that the money that we will use for some road projects that we should go and take that money and bring it.
“That means stopping those projects, but mind you as President has already signed that into law. Appropriation bill when he brings it, it is a suggestion by the time we pass it to him he signs it becomes a law, you are now saying that we should go and revisit the law that has been passed and that we should change it, take those things and put here, why did you not just bring supplementary budget and say this is the money we need for INEC you can pass it at a go, so that virement, we are going to look at those items one by one, it will take us about two months or three months
So if the President wants to do supplementary budget, bring it and we will look at it as fast as possible, we can do first reading and second reading the same days”