The Presidency has waded into the argument and controversy surrounding the botched reinstatement of Abdulrasheed Maina, the embattled former head of the Presidential Team on Pension Reforms.
Maina, who was declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC over alleged N2bn fraud, appeared in the country last month and was reinstated into the civil service with a promotion.
Joining the public outcry against the reinstatement, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP had on Monday, Oct. 23, said that it was “not too shocked at the steps taken by the administration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in reinstating Maina – a supposed criminal and fugitive to office instead of getting him arrested. Birds of a feather flock together.”
But in a statement published on Wednesday, Oct. 25, presidential spokesperson Garba Shehu described Maina as “one of the monsters created by the former PDP government,” adding that the opposition party had no moral right to level any accusations against the current government over Maina’s case.
The presidential spokesman emphasized that Maina was a man warmly ensconced in the bosom of power and a top member of the Goodluck Jonathan government who was involved in a multi-billion naira pension scandal that benefited several members of the previous administration.
“Over and over again, the President Buhari government has pointed out that the administration’s greatest problem is the mess left behind by the previous government. Maina is just one more example.
“Top officials in the PDP government, from sectoral heads to those charged with responsibility for law and order, received some of these billions of naira from Maina.
“We have all the transaction records and these are matters that the EFCC has been pursuing to ensure that they all have their day in court,” he said.
Shehu suggested that some influential officials loyal to the previous government may have been the invisible hand in the latest scandal that saw the return of the former pension boss to the public service, despite being on the EFCC’s wanted list.
He, however, assured Nigerians that the Buhari government was committed to investigating Maina’s reinstatement.
“Everything will be uncovered in due course. This just goes to show us the scale of corruption that this government is fighting. And, as we can all see, corruption keeps fighting back viciously,” Shehu said.
Similarly, the APC has described Maina as one of the toxic elements left behind by the opposition PDP.
Speaking on Wednesday, Oct.25, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Bolaji Abdullahi said:
“While focusing on the fact that Maina was reinstated which we said was an embarrassment to our government and our party, we must not forget that there is an original sin. And that original sin was that Maina has been accused of one of the most monumental acts of corruption in the nation’s history but that was only possible under a PDP government. We must not forget that Maina is one of the toxic elements that the PDP left behind; so, they cannot distance themselves from him.”
Abdullahi expressed confidence that the President who had left no one in doubt about his administration’s commitment to the corruption fight would get to the root of the matter.