Usani Usani, Minister of Niger Delta, has dismissed claims of working for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as cheap blackmail aimed at tarnishing his reputation by desperate politicians afraid of his rising political profile.
The Minister said while speaking with newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja that the allegation was baseless and being peddled by his political opponents.
Mr Usani wondered what would attract him to the PDP now that he was a minister having declined all offers made to join the party in the 16 years it held sway in country.
The minister stressed that the people of Cross River, his home state, could attest to his character and credibility.
“In 2012 when I contested against PDP candidate, offers were made to me and I declined, if you talk to the people of Cross River, they know us by character.
“If I did not accept overtures from the PDP before now, what will attract me now as Minister, if for 16 years I declined everything they offered to me.
“Now as minister, what do I want to gain from them, is it that if i support them I will become President’’, he wondered.
Mr Usani said he won his ward in the just concluded Presidential election for the All Progressives Congress, APC, and could therefore not be working for the opposition PDP.
He maintained that those peddling the fake news were afraid of his growing political relevance and how that has exposed their weaknesses and irrelevance.
According to him, some of those dishing out the mischief had mismanaged public resources and are now afraid that the anti-corruption crusade of President Muhammadu Buhari would catch up with them.
The Minister alleged that some of them were awarded contracts but failed to execute them after getting paid.
Mr Usani expressed concern that the APC has derailed from its original vision, stressing that it was only the integrity of President Buhari that is keeping the party as one.
“The president’s image is what keep standing as if there is a form of a party, otherwise by conduct, we have lost every value of initial concept that brought honor to our party’’, he said.
The minister added that the allegation that he was supporting Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, the APC immediate past National Chairman, was a ploy to create bad blood between him and Adams Oshiomhole, the party’s current National chairman.
“I wonder what that meant, Odigie-Oyegun contested no election and so, even if somebody was supporting him, of what amount of value would that support be’’, he asked.
He, however, added that his suspension on March 1, by the APC National Working Committee, NWC, alongside Governors Rochas Okorocha and Ibekunle Amosun of Imo and Ogun states, would not stand.
Mr Usani said he had been silent for a while over the issues because as a minister, he recognised where rule and order prevails.
“My silence for a while is because anybody worth the salt of a public office occupation should be able to recognise where rule and order is to prevail.
“I am however, speaking out because further silence in the face of the falsehood in the market, will suggest that am guilty and that’s the reason i can afford to talk on these issues now,’’ he said.