One of the aspirants gunning for the Senate President seat in the 10th National Assembly has allegedly given a bribe of $10,000 to each of the senators-elect on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to pave way for him to the number three political seat in the country.
The aspirant is said to have given the money with a view to getting their votes on the assumption of office come June 2023.
Party sources quoted on the matter reportedly revealed that the money was shared by one of the aspirants from the South-South geopolitical zone.
The development is said to have become a source of worry for the APC leadership as they feel it could lead to a repeat of the 2015 episode if aspirants do not adhere to the zoning arrangement being expected.
On Saturday, a group called Campaign for Democracy (CD) called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), to immediately investigate and arrest the aspirant behind the alleged $10,000 bribe.
A statement issued by the CD Secretary General, Ifeanyi Odili, tasked the EFCC and ICPC to probe the alleged bribery.
The statement by the group reads: “We have it through our impeccable source that some ranking Senators have started using their ill-gotten wealth to woo the returning Senators and the new members who have just received their certificates of return from the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC last week with dollars and other hard currencies in other to win their votes when electing principal officers of the NASS.
“If we allow these politicians to use the money to induce the newly elected members of the 10th National assembly, the nation will not really get it right again.
“We are afraid that such practice could plunge the nation into another round of quagmire and the leadership of the National Assembly will not be able to join hands with the Executive to fight corruption headlong since they are products of corruption. It takes a corrupt Senator to lobby positions with money.”
CD added that, “We have reliably gathered that aspirants for the position of the Senate Presidency have started reaching out to both returning and newly elected Senators with a huge amount of hard currencies with a view to getting their vote on the assumption of office come June 2023.
“The EFCC and the ICPC should, as a matter of urgency, swing into action and probe the disturbing phenomenon to save our nascent democracy.
“The anti-graft agencies may also ensure that no Senator that is facing corruption charges or has pending cases in court is allowed to take a sensitive position in the 10th Senate.
“They must all be thoroughly checked and cleared before they are allowed to contest any of these sensitive positions, most importantly, that of the Senate President.”
The group alleged that the aspirant behind the alleged bribe is working to scuttle the zoning formula of the APC.
“Most worrisome, some of the Senators are still having cases at the courts ranging from money laundering and other corruption cases.
“”This, we are poised to resist, if we must rid Nigeria of corruption which has become very endemic in our body system. We want Senators whose track records at the Senate are unblemished.
“We wonder why the aspirant who is already giving out dollars failed to queue behind the zoning arrangements which will give room for equity, fairness and Justice.
“Drawing from the above, the anti-graft agencies must live up to people’s expectations by moving in and foreclosing any possibility of turning the 10th Senate into a den of corruption.
“It is critical to note that the Senate presidency and other sensitive positions are not for sale if we want the nation to come out of its economic doldrum: stagnation or depression,” the group stated.
However, the APC spokesperson, Felix Morka has denied any knowledge of such bribe within the party for the purpose of the Senate President seat.
He also added that the party is yet to zone the Senate Presidency seat and at the right time, the decisions on the matter would be made public.
“I am not aware of the money and so I can’t speak.
“As for the zoning, the party is yet to decide on it. There’s still time. When the party meets and decides, surely it will be communicated,” Morka told The Whistler on Saturday.