Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, has faulted a trip to China on Friday by President Muhammadu Buhari and his party men under the guise of participating in the 7th Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
Frank in a statement in Abuja described the trip as a decoy to plot how to rig the 2019 general elections in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and also perfect the renewed plot to remove the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki.
He insisted that the President has once again demonstrated his intolerance for members of the opposition political parties by only selecting APC Governors and other party cronies for the trip instead of availing competent businessmen and women of the opportunity to attend the FOCAC Summit irrespective of their party affiliations.
Recall that the Presidency had on Thursday released names of APC Governors, Senators and cabinet members who will be on the President’s entourage to include Governors Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, Akinwunmi Ambode, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar and Rochas Anayo Okorocha of Bauchi, Lagos, Jigawa and Imo States respectively.
Others are Senators Abdullahi Adamu, George Akume, Godswill Akpabio and Aliyu Wamakko representing Nasarawa, Benue, Akwa Ibom and Sokoto States respectively.
Also accompanying the President are: the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi; Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; Minister of FCT, Muhammad Bello; Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah; Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma; Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu; Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, and Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika.
Others are the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; the Director General, National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Abubakar; and the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Maikanti Baru.
But while querying the entourage in a statement on Friday, Comrade Frank said the trip could not have been in the interest of Nigeria but that of the ruling APC on how to rig the 2019 general elections and perfect plans to effect change of leadership in the Senate.
Frank challenged the Presidency to tell Nigerians why only APC Governors, Senators, Ministers and others were selected for the trip if not “to perfect their plot evil against Nigeria’s democracy?”
“Nigerians will recall that during the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, no such trip was made without the presence of opposition Governors and Lawmakers.
“Although, President Buhari too has traveled to foreign trips with opposition governors and Senators before now but the make up of the entourage for the current trip casts doubt on the true intent of selecting these points men of Buhari for the FOCAC Summit in China.
“Our sources around the Presidency have also confirmed to us that the plot to perfect the plot to rig the 2019 elections and the removal of Bukola Saraki as Senate President is responsible for the exclusion of opposition elements from the current trip.
“In an official business trip to China where business opportunities abound, one will expect a tolerant government to travel along with foremost Nigerian businessmen and women and not party cronies or leaders of the APC’s cabal in the Senate like Senator Abdullahi Adamu and Senator Godswill Apabio who are anti-Saraki’s leadership.
“The very composition of the entourage which include heads of elite security agencies, and top brass of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) – the money pot of the country – betrays the hidden agenda of the Presidency on this trip.”
Frank, however called on Nigerians, right groups and leaders of thought to speak up on how the current administration is using the country’s resources to fund private political meetings disguised as ‘official trip’ on how to subvert the rule of law, remove Saraki and undermine the nation’s democracy in a far away country.
Comrade Timi Frank
Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary