The All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Organisation (APCPCO) says it had been vindicated on its stance of not participating in the presidential campaign debates, owing to the outbreak of rumpus among the organizers, the Nigeria Election Debate Group (NEDG) has been compromised.
A press statement signed by the Director of Media and Publicity of the APC campaign, Mallam Garba Shehu on Sunday, noted that sordid details coming out of organizations of the debate would have tainted the APC candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, Had he presented himself to the group.
A civil society group with knowledge of the working of the NEDG, Value and Integrity Group alleged at a press conference on Friday, that a First Bank account opened for the NEDG had the Founder of a private television network as sole signatory, even though he is not listed as one of the directors of the NEDG.
The group also alleged that the leading private television’s network address was used for the documentation of the First Bank account instead of the NEDG’s office address.
According to leaders of the Value and Integrity Group, Sina Odugbemi and Popoola Ajayi, co-ordinator and secretary respectively, “an initial deposit of N1 million was paid into the said First Bank account, and on March 28, 2011, another N20 million belonging to the NEDG was paid into the personal account of the said Founder of the leading private television network.”
“We at the APC Presidential Campaign got the eye-opening news of the press conference by the Value and Integrity Group accusing the Nigeria Election Debate Group, the crux of the allegation being that some members of the NEDG have been monetarily influenced.
“Although the group failed to mention from what source the monies came from, we had taken a position, based on intelligence made available to us that the PDP has compromised the integrity of an unnamed few in the NEDG with huge and ridiculous sums of money.
“And watching President Goodluck Jonathan reading from a prepared script gleefully as he answered questions in the debate confirmed our suspicion that there will be “EXPO”.
“Without a fore-knowledge of the question to be asked, how did the president come with prepared answers?
“These two scenarios: The allegation of corrupt inducements in the NEDG and the president reading from a prepared script during the debate validates our reasons for abstaining from the debate.”