This article is part of our #FirstWord series to provide context on trending news
On Saturday, December 8th, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) accused the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government of freezing the accounts of its vice-presidential candidate, Peter Obi. According to the PDP, this came after harassment of Mr. Obi’s family members by the members of the APC.
In a statement released by the national publicity secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party claimed that Peter Obi’s reputation has been on the line since he got nominated for the vice-presidency.
“The Buhari Presidency is intimidated by Peter Obi’s resume, particularly his general acceptance as an epitome of fiscal responsibility, frugality, and transparency in governance. Otherwise, why is the Presidency on a wild goose chase in investigating Peter Obi, who left office as Governor of Anambra State five years ago, with a nationally acclaimed clean record, intact reputation for frugality, transparency, zero tolerance for corruption and leaving behind a huge savings of N75bn in cash and investments, without owing any salaries, pensions, gratuities or even contractors for contracts executed?” - Kola Ologbondiyan
Mr. Ologbondiyan’s statement was quiet on the specific agencies responsible for the restrictions, and news agencies have not been able to reach him.
EFCC and ICPC deny the accusations
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) have denied freezing Peter Obi’s account. According to Premium Times, the spokesperson for EFCC, Tony Orilade says there is no truth in the claim.
“There is nowhere the EFCC is mentioned in this statement. The EFCC is a law abiding agency and committed to ridding the nation of economic and financial crimes. That, we would not relent to do. But let nobody cry wolf where none exists. Please direct your question to the author of the statement, and please let us not speak in parables. And let the media not interpret out of context,” - Tony Orilade.
Similarly, the ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa said the agency was not responsible for the reported blockage of any account run by Mr. Obi.
EFCC is well known for freezing bank accounts of persons facing corruption investigations. Earlier in the year, the Benue and Rivers state accounts were suspended by the agency while investigating ‘suspicious’ transactions.
But there have also been wrong claims about restrictions on bank accounts. Ademola Adeleke, PDP governorship candidate in the run up to the Osun State election falsely claimed that his account was suspended by the EFCC.
It’s hard to tell how this story will swing. Stakeholders have suggested that it may be a political stunt by the opposition party. We wait.