High Profile Political ‘Tax Collectors’ Unmasked

By Musa Ilallah

A can of worms against key and high profile members of Nigeria’s main opposition political party, PDP were recently unmasked by no other person than one of its sitting Governors,  Barrister Nyesom Wike of Rivers state.

Recently, the Nigerian media widely reported that Governor Wike in reacting to his frustration of his singular efforts to reconcile the divergent interests in the race for electing its gubernatorial candidate in the governorship election scheduled for Seotenber this year, openly accused some members of his party of being jnvolved in stinking corruption.

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state personally pulled out of Peoples Democratic Party’s reconciliation effort in Edo state because of his conviction that it will save his integrity.

It is in the public domain that Governor Wike was accused of being responsible for an order restraining Governor Godwin Obaseki who defected from APC and indicated interest to  participate in the PDP primary election ahead of the governorship poll in Edo state. He saw this as a dent on his integrity and swiftly lashed out at members of the national working committee NWC, of the PDP by describing them as “tax collectors”.

It is therefore not suprising that Wike has voiced out his mind about an unethical conduct of top members of his party. What is however most suprising is whether he has any moral ground to accuse his leaders of corrupt practises.

Nigerians are aware that Wike was himself accused of using public funds to buy his way into financing the election of Uche Secondus as PDP’s National Chairman in 2015; financing his party’s convention in 2015 in Port Harcourt and also financing Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal as PDP’s presidential aspirant for 2015 elections.

From all of these one can confidently say that the Governor is a major financier of the PDP.

Wike said; “I told them that in Edo State, we must handle the issue carefully and carry everybody along. They must respect human beings and not behave like tax collectors.”

In expressing his anger and bitterness over the allegation against him, Governor Wike who claimed to have had sleepless nights working to resolve the issues in Edo state, pulled out of the Edo reconciliation effort.

“As a result of this senseless accusation, I have pulled out of Edo State settlement. My integrity matters.”

Very outspoken Governor Wike stated that he knows the members of the National Working Committee of PDP who connived with a newspaper to have launched a campaign of calumny against him said ‘They are tax collectors. Let them challenge me and I will come out with more facts.Nobody will rubbish me by raising false accusations against me. I will fight back’.

Commenting on the war of words between party leaders and Wike, the Buhari Media Organisation, BMO in a statement signed by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke, noted that there is no better description of PDP that is more apt than  Wike’s description of PDP as a collection of ‘tax collectors’.

In the words of BMO, ‘this is not exactly different from what we have always said about the PDP and its leaders’ propensity for corrupt enrichment, which was what they put the country through for 16 years.’

“How else can one describe a party which ruled the country at a time crude oil sold at an average of $100 per barrel for several years but failed to do much across the country in terms of infrastructural development, but still had to take loans to pay workers’ salaries as at 2014?

In my view, Wike’s description of  his party as a collection of tax collectors cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand because he is a prominent key member of the party.

The media was recently flooded with stories of how Wike in 2015 before and during his party’s convention in Port Harcourt financed most, if not all of its expenses. For me, Governor Wike is a living witness of PDP’s ‘tax collection’ machinery.

BMO also stressed that the Rivers State governor by his comments has shown that even in opposition, PDP was irredeemable in spite of its national leadership apology offered to Nigerians in the build up to the 2015 elections.

“Is it not laughable that only a few years ago, the party offered an apology to Nigerians but this has shown that five years after being kicked out of power at the centre, PDP has yet to find a moral compass showing that it is an irredeemable group always circling around like vultures for the next carcass to descend upon”, BMO asked.

According to BMO is it not surprising that when Governor Godwin Obaseki ran to them seeking political refuge after failing to get APC’s ticket to contest its gubernatorial primary election,  the first thing they asked for was to literally demand the key to the State’s treasury to enable them milk the State dry?.

Stories of leaders of  PDP asking Governor Obaseki to put N10 billion on the table before he gets the PDP’s ticket for governor come September 2023 trended in the media. Some others  said they asked for N6 billion.

Of particular note is Thisdaylive, an online publication of Thisday newspaper of June 21st 2020 which states:

“Reports reaching THISDAY claimed that it took Governor Obaseki days negotiating some of the terms put on the table, which were generally obnoxious. We hear N10 billion demand was made by the umbrella, while N6 billion was offered. True or false, money is definitely going to change hands.”

This is aside the fact that he was said to have first played a rather difficult ball with a prominent member of the party, who brokered the deal as some form of demands for consulting and ‘smoothening the way’ for him. These are definitely the indications of what would be at the end of the day. Now that Obaseki has finally moved into the party. Is it therefore right to say the governor has moved from fry pan to the real fire? Only time will tell”.

“We sincerely hope that eligible voters in Edo state are now sufficiently enlightened to know what will happen to the State’s coffers if they make the mistake of voting for PDP in the gubernatorial election slated for September this year.”

BMO seized the opportunity to wuth all sense of  patriotism urge Nigerians to always remember that the PDP of today cannot be different from the one that looted everything in sight for 16 years, including billions of naira raised for the building of its party’s national headquarters in Abuja.

It is now clear that there is sense in the adpotion if tge pharase ‘tax vollectir’ at social gatherings, weddings among others by members of the public to mock the PDP.

Since one of them has unmasked, exposed, the high profile tax collectors in our midst, they must bury their heads in shame and ask for forgiveness by all Nigerians as 2023 is fast approaching.

Written by By Musa Ilallah from Emeka Anyaoku STREET, Abuja. E-mail: musahk123@yahoo.com