Why My Name Was First On Alleged Looters’ List – Secondus
Prince Uche Secondus, National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said the Federal Government made his name the number one on its alleged looters’ list in order to intimidate, harass, and destabilise him as the chairman of Nigeria’s major opposition party.
In an interview with DAILY INDEPENDENT in Abuja, Secondus, who bemoaned the propaganda machinery of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), said it was surprising how his name came first in the list when he neither occupied any elective position nor was given any key appointment during the 16 years of PDP in power.
He denied the claim that he collected N200 million from the office of the then National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki, and said the Federal Government should prove before the courts whether Dasuki actually gave him the money or not.
Describing the lists as a distraction, Secondus said the Federal Government, through the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, came up with the lists to hoodwink Nigerians and turn their attention from the non-performance of the party since it was elected into office three years ago.
“The propaganda machinery of APC and the Federal Government is to clamp down on the opposition.
“I never held any ministerial position or full-time employment with the Federal Government.
“I was not even the governor of a state throughout PDP’s 16 years reign, and so it is surprising why my name is the number one on their phantom list.
“Obviously, you can see that we have taken some steps. We have gone to court. Let the Federal Government come and prove that the former National Security Adviser gave me money.
“I don’t want to comment on matters that are pending in court but all I can say is that we have taken very serious legal steps because the allegation that I am a looter was false propaganda and is aimed at intimidation, harassment, destabilising and dehumanising the leaders of PDP, including my humble self. But I can’t be intimidated.
“Apparently, they have realised that for three years, they have not delivered on their promises so they resorted to blackmail; the cheapest of them all is the issue of corruption which the PDP government laid its foundation and institution to fight.
“The only thing APC government knows is to do media trial and propaganda to fool the Nigerian populace.
“But I know Nigerians cannot be fooled twice. You can fool the people some of the time but not all the time.
“Nigerians fell to their propaganda in 2015, but on this same issue in 2019, Nigerians can never be fooled again anymore”, Secondus said.
On why he specifically dragged Lai Mohammed to court, he said, “Lai Mohammed was the man who addressed the press conference and came up with the lists.
“In that suit, the Federal Government is also joined but you must sue the person who came out to address the press conference.”
But the Federal Government had assured Nigerians that no amount of pressure, including the antics of hack writers and threats of litigation, would prevent it from releasing more names of the alleged looters of the public treasury.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said since the release of the first two lists of alleged looters, there have been overt and covert attempts to intimidate and blackmail the Federal Government into discontinuing the release of more looters’ names.
“‘Hack writers have inundated the social and traditional media with articles casting aspersion on the lists, while some newspapers have even resorted to writing editorials against the Federal Government over the release of the lists.
“Most of the write-ups have accused the government of politicising the anti-graft war by releasing the lists. We strongly disagree with them.
“‘We do not have the power to try or convict anyone. That is the exclusive preserve of the courts. But we have the power to let Nigerians know those who turned the public treasury into their personal piggy banks, on the basis of very concrete evidence, and that is what we are doing,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said the government had always known that corruption would fight back, fast and furious, hence it was not surprised at the hiring of hack writers to attack the very idea of naming and shaming the looters, or the hysterical threats of litigation.
“All the fuss about politicising the anti-corruption fight is aimed at preventing the government from releasing more looters’ names and, at the same time, muddling the waters.
“But 1,000 negative write-ups or editorials will not deter us from releasing the third and subsequent lists. For those who have chosen to give succour to looters, we wish them the best of luck with their new pastime,’’ he said.
The minister said the pressure being mounted on the government over its decision to expose looters was not unexpected.
He said, “We know where the pressure is coming from. However, the die is cast.
“We will not stop until we have released the names of all those who have looted our commonwealth. Those who have not looted our treasury have nothing to be afraid of.”
He challenged anyone who felt that he or she had been wrongly accused to seek redress in court rather than engaging in exhibitionist sophistry.
Alhaji Mohammed also reminded Nigerians that it was the PDP that dared to challenge the Federal Government into releasing the list of PDP looters, hence the argument that the list only contained the names of PDP members falls short without proper contextualisation.
“‘We are not underestimating the desperation of the looters, but we wish to assure Nigerians who are justifiably outraged at the mindless plundering of the nation’s wealth also of our determination not to back down.
“Nigerians must know those who have wrecked the country and mortgaged the future of their children,’” Alhaji Mohammed added.