The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has debunked the allegation that he led a group to collect N2 billion from Professor Mahmood Yakubu to ensure the confirmation of his appoint for a second term as the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The allegation is said to have been made by SaharaReporters, an online newspaper.
The denial is contained in a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the Senate President on Media, Mr. Ola Awoniyi.
Lawan said the claim was a product of the imagination of the online newspaper as it was totally false.
The statement reads:
“The attention of the Office of the Senate President has been drawn to a report by SaharaReporters alleging that a group led by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, collected N2 billion from Professor Mahmood Yakubu to facilitate the confirmation of his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari to a fresh five-year tenure as chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“It is noteworthy that the publication, as always with its ridiculous fabricated reports, could not even expand the entertainment of its readers by providing the names of members of the fictitious group and where the group operates from. To be sure, that group exists only in the mischievious imagination of the writer of the fiction.
“We, therefore, wish to enjoin Nigerians to ignore the report as yet another incident of hallucination by the comical characters operating the fabricated news platform. The online medium has long earned its notoriety as a purveyor of fake news with high profile public officials as its targets.
“It is well known that only the President can nominate a candidate for appointment or reappointment as Chairman of INEC. And only the Senate as a body can confirm or reject the appointment, after due screening of the candidate. The parliamentary process for the confirmation of nominations by the President is open and involves all distinguished senators.
“The Senate President is only a presiding officer of the Senate and does not lead any group in or outside the august chamber that acts in any way to circumvent the processes of the Senate. We reassure Nigerians that the Senate President did not receive any gratification, in his or behalf of others, to help Professor Yakubu get a second term as chairman of INEC.
“We challenge SaharaReporters and the sponsors of the false publication to provide whatever evidence that they can in support of their glib claims, failing which Nigerians should dismiss the report as another cheap blackmail from a platform that has no reputation for credible reportage and ethical journalism practice.”