Tag Archives: Osinbajo

Reject treasury loots,  Osinbajo charges church 

Osinbajo Tells Church to Reject Treasury Looters

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo

The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said people who loot the public treasury or their organisations are doing so out of greed, and not because of any political objective of keeping a war chest for the future.

Osinbajo made the remark yesterday at the celebration of Father’s Day at Aso Villa Chapel, during which he also challenged the church to teach the lessons of honesty and integrity.

”Many would say the reason why they steal is because they want to have an arsenal for future political exploits. It is a lie. It is greed. In any case, even if you want to do that, you have no right to do it,” he said.

His message from the pulpit certainly strikes a chord against the backdrop of the avalanche of corruption cases the Muhammadu Buhari administration has been pursuing.

The campaign had suffered some setbacks of late, with controversial verdicts by the court that tend to let go the accused.

Osinbajo, a professor of law and also a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, felt the church has a role to play.

“If the church says we will not accept you here or that we will expose you if you are stealing the resources of the country or stealing the resources of a private company or other establishment where you work, we would not have the type of problem that we have in this country.”

“In Genesis 18:19. God was speaking about Abraham. And God said he had known him or called him in order that he may command his children and his household after him that they keep the way of the Lord with righteousness and justice that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He had spoken to him.

“In other words, God was saying that He called Abraham, in particular, because he realises that Abraham will command his household, will command his children to do righteousness and justice and to fear God. And if you back this up with Genesis 12:2, God has spoken concerning Abraham, that He will make Abraham a great nation. Genesis 12:3 says, God said, I will make you a great nation.

“In other words, the role of the father is supposed to be that of building nations, building generations. And Abraham is the example God set for us; of a man who God wanted to be the exemplar of the type of conduct that God expects of fatherhood; a man who will teach his children and children thereafter the way of righteousness and justice and the way of fear of God.

“When I listened to His Eminence, the Prelate of the Methodist Church a few minutes ago, talking about the importance of the type of training that he received as a child in his family. I’m sure many of us here are reminded of that type of training. A type of training where you are taught and reminded about integrity, primarily as the first order of business; that you must be a person of integrity. You must be truthful, you must be trustworthy, you must be honest, you must be forthright. That is the foundation. And in the days he referred to, Catechism was an important part of our lives. Even just knowing the 10 commandments was enough to teach you about righteousness, teach you about the way of truth and I think that is very important, especially for us today as Christians.

“Christian fatherhood in particular is a position that God has placed us as exemplar to our nation. The Christian father is the one referred to in Genesis 18:19; the one who will teach the way of righteousness and justice to his children and would teach the fear of the Lord. And I just want to say to all of our leaders (and I was speaking with few of our Christian leaders just last week, both of the PFN and CAN just last week on various occasions) that it is the role of the church to build this nation. And the church has that role because God has said concerning us that we are the light of the world and we are the salt of the earth. That role is a very, very difficult role.

“We are not to teach the world how to be like the world but to teach the world how to be like the one who saved the world, how to be like Jesus. It is not easy.

“Every time that we come to church, we are told about giving. But we need to talk more about honesty. We need to talk far more about honesty. In the same way we talk about giving, we need to talk more about honesty because just like His Eminence said, Nigeria’s great problem is not the absence of prosperity. It is as he so eloquently put it, that we have enough for our needs but we don’t have enough for our greed. The greed of many is what has landed this country where it is today. It is the greed of so many; many who have been placed in position of authority. It is their greed that has landed us where we are, where it is difficult to do the sorts of things His Eminence saw in Washington and so many other places. You cannot steal half of the resources of the country and expect to build the sort of things you see in other places.

“And if the church says you are not allowed to steal and we will ostracize you in our midst if you did. If what a man has does not measure up to what he has, if we found that a man has more money than he should have, if a man is earning a salary of a civil servant or a public servant and he has houses everywhere, we have to hold him to account. But he must be held to account in the church. He must be told first in the church we will not allow you here. If the church says we will not accept you here or that we will expose you if you are stealing the resources of the country or stealing the resources of a private company or other establishment where you work, then we would not have the type of problem that we have in this country. If only the church does so. Just the church.

“Just as Christian fathers today, it is our duty as God spoke concerning Abraham in Genesis 18:19, it is our duty to build up a generation of righteous men and women, a nation of just men and women who fear God and puts God above everything else. And I believe that the Almighty God will help us. I just pray that the Father of fathers, the One who has called us, one who has saved us will bless each and every father here today in the mighty name of Jesus. The Almighty God who is the great Father of all fathers will ensure that we get everything we need to make our families, to make communities truly great and to make our nation great.”
Source: ThisDay 

I had not met Tinubu when he made me Attorney General  —Osinbajo

I had not met Tinubu when he made me commissioner —Osinbajo

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo

Nwafor Polycarp 

LAGOS— Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said, weekend, he did not meet former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, when he was appointed a commissioner.

Osinbajo served as Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice between 1999 and 2007.

Speaking in Lagos at 50 anniversary gala nite, which held at Lagos House, Ikeja, on Saturday night, Osinbajo commended Tinubu for taking cognisance of the diversity of the state while forming his cabinet in 1999.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, gives a keynote speech during the “Biafra, 50 years After” Event held at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja. 25th May 2017. Photo: Novo Isioro

He said the quest to evolve a greater and more prosperous Nigeria laid in the prosperity of Lagos.

Osinbajo described the state as the foremost migrant community in Nigeria, aggregating talents from everywhere and the undisputable commercial capital accounting for over 70 percent of business in the country.

He said: “I did not and I had never met Bola Tinubu before I was appointed commissioner and that says a lot about the kind of individual that he is.

“This is the kind of thinking that makes nations great; that is the kind of thinking that would make Nigeria great.

“A type of thinking that considers all of our diverse talents; a kind of thinking that does not allow parochialism; a kind of thinking that does not allow us to say anywhere belongs to only a set of people. That is when our country would be truly great.”

Osinbajo said though he was sympathetic to the course of those craving for a Lagos for only its indigene, it was now evident that the momentum of history could no longer hold down the elemental force of the state.

“This Lagos is going to be a leader; it would be a leader in expressing the world’s view that the black man is capable of governing not just himself but in leading the world,” Osinbajo said.

He alluded to a recent statistic released by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, to the effect that Lagos accounts for 912 of 914 individual businessmen who paid self-assessed tax of over N10 million.

Osinbajo said the strategic contribution of the state to the country’s economy could not be overemphasised.

He commended Ambode for his “giant strides” in the state, saying the new vistas being opened in the state by the governor were capable of making Nigeria great.

“Everyday that we see the giant strides that Akinwunmi Ambode is making here in Lagos; everyday that we watch television and see the new vistas that he is opening up, it is evident of the fact that surely in this Lagos State lies the seed of the great Nigeria of our dreams,” Osinbajo said.

The event was well attended by top dignitaries, including governors of Ogun, Oyo, Gombe, Ekiti, Imo and Edo states; Lateef Jakande, former governor of Lagos; Mobolaji Johnson, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Buba Marwa, and Ndubuisi Kanu, all former military administrators of the state.

Also in attendance were Aliko Dangote, CEO of Dangote Group, Femi Otedola, CEO of Forte Oil; Olabode George, and Jimi Agbaje.
Source: Vanguard 

Don’t sign 2017 budget,  Falana warns Osinbajo 

Falana advises Osinbajo not to sign 2017 budget

Falana

SUCCESS NWOGU

A human rights activist, Mr . Femi Falana ( SAN ) , has advised the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo not to sign the 2017 budget because it was illegally increased by the National Assembly .

He also said that President Muhammadu Buhari is not competent to sign the appropriation bill into law because he is on vacation .

Falana spoke in Ilorin, during a colloquium organised by the Movement for Genuine Change to mark the 50 th anniversary of the creation of Kwara State .

He explained that once Buhari had transmitted a letter to the National Assembly that he was proceeding on vacation , all presidential powers had automatically been transferred to Osinbajo who is now the Acting President .

He stated that until the President writes another letter to the federal parliament at the end of his vacation , he cannot exercise the powers of his office .

Falana said , “ The President is not competent to sign any bill into law while he is on vacation . The constitution did not envisage that a President who is on a vacation and an acting president , who is standing proxy for him will be exercising presidential powers simultaneously.

“ To that extent, pending the resumption of duties by President Buhari , the Acting President , Prof . Osinbajo, is competent to sign all bills validly passed by the NASS.

“ If President Buhari did not exercise powers during his vacation even though he was in the country, why would he want to do so while he is on medical vacation abroad ?

“ Instead of dissipating energy over the competence of an appropriation bill signed into law by the Acting President , Nigerians should subject the 2017 budget to scrutiny .

“ We are therefore calling on the Acting President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria , Prof . Yemi Osinbajo, who is a professor of law not to endorse and sign the illegal appropriation bill of 2017 into law . ”

Falana also explained that the National Assembly has no constitutional powers to increase the budget presented by Buhari .

He said the legislators erred constitutionally by increasing their share of the budget .

He also said the debate over Buhari ’ s medical vacation should henceforth centre on the urgent need for the Federal Government to equip hospitals across the country.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria condemned any attempt to truncate Nigeria ’ s democracy and urged Buratai to properly investigate the coup rumour and prosecute the culprits.

He said , “ The enemies of democracy are desperately trying to exploit President Buhari ’ s ill health to truncate the democratic dispensation .

“ Notwithstanding, the glaring shortcomings of the fragile democratic process , the people should be allowed to take advantage of the democratic structures to take their political destiny in their own hands . On their own part, the political class should stop playing into the hands of potential coup plotters .

“ While the decision of the Army chief to alert the nation of the devilish plot is appreciated , the authorites should proceed to fish out the coup plotters and their civilian collaborators with a view to trying them for treasonable felony . ”

The human rights activist lauded the establishment of interest free banks , adding that those who are opposed to it should rather establish their own interest free bank. He stated that interest- free banks would compel commercial banks to reduce their interest rates on borrowers.

He also lamented the abject poverty in the country and called for better economic blueprint and management that would boost the economy .

He urged the Federal Government to stop releasing funds to state governments which are unable to account for the bailout funds and London / Paris Club loan refund made available to them to fund the payment of salaries of workers and other developmental projects .

He said the anti – graft agencies have a duty to investigate and bring to book those who were alleged to have cornered and diverted the public funds .

He called on labour unions to ensure that the funds were fully accounted for as it was meant to alleviate the sufferings of the working people.

An Afenifere leader , Chief Ayo Opadokun , who also spoke on the occasion , agreed with Falana that the National Assembly had no right to increase the budget .

He said , “ The legislature does not have the legal authority to increase the budget because they are not the ones that will scout the revenues that will come in and they are not the ones to execute it. ”

Soiurce: The Punch 

​World leaders who battled health challenges while in office

World leaders who battled health challenges while in office

Globally , it sometimes happens that leaders contend with one illness or the other .

As President Muhammadu Buhari takes another trip to Britain for medicals , we look at leaders , past and present globally , who contend /contended with one illness or the other while in office …

Tony Blair ( heart condition )

Now 64 years old , Tony Blair became British Prime Minister when he was 44 , and he was in office until age 54 .

In 2004 , Blair complained of chest pains and irregular heartbeat . At the Hammersmith hospital in west London where he was rushed to for emergency treatment , he was diagnosed as suffering from supraventricular tachycardia — a type of heart rhythm disorder in which the heart beats faster than normal .

To douse tension , then , Blair informed the citizens , “It ’ s not particularly alarming but it’ s something that you should get fixed – it’ s a routine procedure .

“ I ’ ve had it for the last couple of months and it’ s not impeded me doing my work and feeling fine , but it is as well to get it done . ”

Gordon Brown ( Eye problems )

Now 66 , Gordon Brown was in office for three years , having assumed the British Prime ministership aged 56 .

In 2009 , on a television show, Brown revealed that he had difficulty with his eyesight . He said he lost the sight in one eye after a teenage rugby accident and had a retinal detachment in the other eye , a situation that gave him concerns that he might completely lose his sight someday.

He told his interviewer : “Although I have problems with my eyes and it has been very difficult over the years , I think people understand that you can do a job and you can work hard.

“ And I think it would be a terrible indictment of our political system if you thought that because someone had this medical issue, they couldn ’ t do the job .

“ I feel that I have done everything to show people that I can do the job even with the handicap that I ’ ve had as a result of a rugby injury . ”

READ : Unfounded speculations on Buhari ’ s health should stop – Tinubu

Ronald Reagan ( Alzheimer ’s )

Ronald Reagan , now late , served two terms as American president from 1981 to 1989 . He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’ s five years after leaving office in 1994 . However , researchers at the University of Arizona suspected that he was already living with the diseases as a president and long before his condition was diagnosed .

They had written of his ailment , “ President Reagan showed a significant reduction in the number of unique words over time and a significant increase in conversational fillers and non – specific nouns . ”

John F Kennedy ( Autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome type 2 )

When JFK was elected US president in 1960 , he was 43 years old . Historians say that he suffered various health challenges that were controlled by doses of steroids and other drugs .

Among those problems was Addison ’ s disease or autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome type 2 . Experts say this disease causes the adrenal glands to wither , leading to complications such as fatigue , dizziness, muscle weakness , weight loss, difficulty standing up , nausea , sweating , and changes in mood and personality.

The UK Guardian reports that Kennedy once collapsed during a congressional visit to Britain as a result of Addison ’ s disease .

“ His medical records , studied posthumously by navy doctor Lee R Mandel , revealed that Kennedy was taking 500mg of vitamin C twice daily ; 10 mg of hydrocortisone daily ; 2 . 5 mg of prednisone twice daily ; 10 mg of methyltestosterone daily ( to combat weight loss and gonadal atrophy associated with the steroids he was taking); 25 mg of liothyronine (a synthetic thyroid hormone) twice daily ; 0 . 1 mg fludrocortisone daily ; and diphenoxylate hydrochloride and atropine sulfate, two tablets as needed , ” Guardian wrote .

Franklin D Roosevelt ( Poliomyelitis, blood pressure , atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease )

According to Wiki , in 1921 , at the age of 38 , Roosevelt suffered a severe attack of polio , which resulted in the total paralysis of both legs.

In 1920 , he had run as vice- president to Democratic candidate James M Cox . His illness seemed to threaten his future political career , but it did not .

In 1928 , he was elected governor of New York and in 1932 defeated Herbert Hoover to become president , in which office he served until his death in 1945 – becoming thereby the last president to serve more than two four- year terms in office .

In 1944 , hospital tests revealed that the president , a lifelong chain smoker , had high blood pressure , atherosclerosis , coronary heart disease causing angina pectoris and congestive heart failure , ” UK Guardian wrote ; but his declining health was hidden from the public . He won a re -election in 1944 , but died the following year due to a massive cerebral haemorrhage .

François Mitterrand ( prostate cancer )

The French president died of prostate cancer in 1996 , a year after the end of his two – term lasting 14 years . He and his doctors reportedly concealed his condition from the French public .

The UK Guardian wrote that David Owen , in his book , In Sickness and in Power : Illness in Heads of Government During the Last 100 Years , reveals the lengths they went to conceal his condition .

According to Owen , “When Mitterrand had to be given regular intravenous oestrogen hormone therapy, the president ’ s personal physician hung the intravenous drip on a picture hook or a coat hanger so as not to have to hammer a nail into the wall of an embassy or another government ’ s guest house . ”

Harold Wilson (colon cancer , Alzheimer ’s )

Harold Wilson was British prime minister for two terms. During his second term between 1974 and 1976 , he suffered symptoms that were later diagnosed as colon cancer . He was also suspected to have suffered from Alzheimer’ s while in office .

He was suspected to have retired as a result of the cognitive impairment for which Alzheimer ’ s is known .

Winston Churchill (Severe depression , heart attack , pneumonia , stroke )

In his 1966 memoir, Charles Wilson , the personal physician to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, revealed that “Black Dog ” was the name Churchill gave to “ the prolonged fits of depression from which he suffered ” .

The claim has remained controversial , though Churchill acknowledged in his book , Painting as a Pastime, that he was prey to the “ worry and mental over – strain (experienced ) by persons who , over prolonged periods , have to bear exceptional responsibilities and discharge duties upon a very large scale . ”

He suffered a heart attack during a visit to the White House in 1941 and contracted pneumonia a few years later .

During his second term as prime minister from 1951 to 1955 , Churchill was , in the words of his biographer Roy Jenkins , “ gloriously unfit for office ”. Ageing and increasingly unwell , he often conducted business from his bedside. He had suffered a stroke while on holiday in 1949 and , while in office in 1953 , suffered another.

Despite being paralysed down one side and doctors fearing he might not survive the weekend, he conducted a cabinet meeting, allegedly without anyone noticing his struggles .

News of his stroke was kept from parliament and the public , who were told that he was suffering merely from exhaustion . He left office in 1955 . A year after his retirement , he suffered another stroke .

Theresa May (diabetes and barrenness )

The 60 – year – old British Prime Minister was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus of type 1 in November 2012 . She is treated with four insulin injections daily .

She also battles sterility, having been married in 1980 but she and her husband have no biological child — something she regrets , according to Wikipedia .

Not the type to give up , May had told an interviewer , “ I would like the message to get across that it doesn ’ t change what you can do .

“ The fact is that you can still do whatever you want to do . For example , on holiday , my husband and I do a lot of quite strenuous walking up mountains in Switzerland , and it doesn ’ t stop me doing it. I can still do things like that and can still do the job . ”

Sources : Wikipedia , WebMd , UK Guardian
Courtesy Punch

Five crucial decisions Osinbajo will take in Buhari’s absence

5 crucial decisions Osinbajo will take in Buhari’s absence

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo

By Isiaka Wakili

​President Muhammadu Buhari is currently in London on a follow-up medical consultation with his doctors who, according to the Presidency, are to determine the length of his stay. In line with the Section 145 (1) of the Constitution, he transmitted power to his deputy, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, backed up with a letter to the National Assembly.

Hours after leaving Nigeria, Buhari, via Twitter reaffirmed confidence in Osinbajo’s capability to efficiently coordinate activities of government, maintaining that “As I have noted earlier, I have absolute confidence that government will continue to run smoothly while I am away. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

In the absence of President Buhari, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo will take some crucial decisions on national issues. Here are five of them.

1. Assent to the 2017 budget

The most exigent presidential function awaiting Osinbajo’s action is the signing of the 2017 Appropriation Bill which was passed by both chambers of the National Assembly on Thursday. The lawmakers had, two days earlier, jerked up the budget by N143 billion from the N7.298 trillion proposed last December by President Muhammadu Buhari to N7.441 trillion.

This is not Osinbajo’s first time of assenting to bills. He had on February 18 during Buhari’s last 49-day medical leave, signed seven bills.

Nigerians look forward to seeing the acting president sign the 2017 budget. If this happens, it would douse insinuations in some quarters that the budget may be sent to the United Kingdom for President Buhari’s assent.

2. Inauguration of two new ministers-designate/cabinet reshuffle

The two ministers-designate, Professor Stephen Ocheni, from Kogi State and Malam Suleiman Hassan, from Gombe State, are due for inauguration into the Federal Executive Council. The Senate had, last week, screened and confirmed them sequel to their nominations by President Buhari in March.

Ocheni was nominated to replace the Late Minister of State for Labour and Employment, James Ocholi who, along with his wife and son, died last year in a road crash; while Hassan is to replace a former Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, who resigned recently to work as Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN).

Some had expected Acting President Osinbajo to swear in and administer the oath of office on Ocheni and Hassan before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting which he presided over on Wednesday, but that did not happen. Their inauguration was not scheduled for that council’s session, and the Presidency has kept silent on this.

In the past, ministers were inaugurated first week after their confirmation by the upper legislative chamber. Administering oath of office on new ministers also comes with the bigger responsibility of assigning portfolios to them. Even in spite of President Muhammadu Buhari’s vow that not all ministers would get portfolios in lieu of the “virtually empty treasury” inherited, none of them is ‘portfolio-less’.

If Professor Osinbajo is to inaugurate the two new ministers and assign portfolios to them, a minor cabinet reshuffle is likely to be effected. How he handles this will certainly be interesting to Nigerians, especially those who believe that President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet is due for re-jigging.

3. Decision on the fate of the suspended SGF and the NIA DG

The report of the investigations into the allegations against the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayo Oke, was expected to be submitted to President Buhari on Monday. It is not clear yet whether the president received the report before heading for London Sunday night.

Coincidentally, the three-man presidential panel is headed by Professor Yemi Osinbajo, with the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, as members.

Babachir was investigated for alleged violations of law and due process in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North-East. Oke was investigated over the claim made by the National Intelligence Agency to the large amounts of foreign and local currencies by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a residential apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos State.

President Buhari had on April 19 suspended the duo pending the outcome of the investigation. Days after the conclusion of the investigations, the fate of the two officials is still hanging in the balance. If the president had received the panel’s report before his trip, Acting President Osinbajo is expected to act on it.

4. Deployment of non-career ambassadors

Forty-three of the 47 persons whose nominations have been confirmed by the Senate as non-career ambassadors are yet to be deployed. President Buhari was said to have approved the deployment of only four of them to their respective missions in March.

Those already deployed are Tijjani Bande (Kebbi State), Ambassador/Representative to the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations Headquarters in New York; Itegboje Sunday Samson (Edo), Ambassador/Deputy Representative, Permanent Mission of Nigeria to United Nations Headquarters; Kadiri Ayinla Audu (Kwara), Ambassador/Representative to the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN Offices in Geneva, Switzerland and Bankole A. Adeoye (Ogun), Ambassador/Representative to the Embassy of Nigeria/Permanent Mission to African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Letters of credence with which envoys are deployed are a communication from the president of the sending country to that of the host nation. If President Buhari had signed the letters of the remaining 43 ambassadors-designate before traveling to the United Kingdom, it is expected that the acting president will upon them. But if the 43 letters have not been signed, will Acting President Yemi Osinbajo sign them?

5. Board appointments

A number of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) members are still hoping for appointments into the various boards of federal agencies and parastatals. They must have been curiously waiting Buhari’s next batch of appointments before the president embarked on the current medical trip to the United Kingdom. Worry might be needless since Osinbajo has affirmed that President Buhari handed over to him before jetting out to the UK.

With May 29 nearing, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had recently said the present administration has a lot of good stories to tell on Nigeria’s Democracy Day. Since Nigeria’s return to civil rule on May 29, 1999, successive presidents have often been the ones telling those stories, using an early morning nationwide broadcast address as an avenue. This year’s Democracy Day may be a veritable moment for President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to present its mid-term score card. In the event the president’s London doctors decide that he stays there beyond May 29, Nigerians are most likely to wake up to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo delivering a nationwide broadcast address.

Culled from Daily Trust

​Ikoyigate, Osinbajo panel and matters arising

​Ikoyigate, Osinbajo panel and matters arising


By Eric Osagie

The biggest news coming out of Nigeria in the past one week has been the shocking cash haul at Osborne Towers, a posh residential building in highbrow Ikoyi, Lagos. All of $43 million, N13 billion, when converted, was reportedly discovered in one of the flats by the anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

For a nation that has been severely shocked by harvests of scandalous looting of the treasury in the past

administration and even now, going by tales trickling out of the inner recesses of this administration, the Osborne incident was still putrid enough to send many Nigerians into a spell of stupefaction.

How could any sane person keep that amount of cash in a residential apartment? How could anyone feel comfortable or safe with such hefty sums? If one person or group of persons had that, there can be no doubt that our country’s recession could have been essentially triggered by large-scale looting, especially as witnessed under the Jonathan administration!

When inquisition first began into the arms scandal, Nigerians thought nothing could ever shock them more than the ugly revelations of the arms probe. I thought so, too, when I did a piece in this column, which I called NIGERIA’S ARMS BAZAAR.

I said then: “If you are a Nigerian living in Nigeria, you certainly would have heard of, or read about, the arms bazaar; what has been appropriately dubbed ‘armsgate’ or ‘Dasukigate,’ named after the man at the centre of the ugly storm: Col. Sambo Dasuki.

“Even if you were not a Nigerian and lived anywhere in the world, you couldn’t have missed the stench oozing out of Africa’s most populous country. It’s a situation that shames our nation and depresses our citizens. Even for a country that has lost its shock absorbers and has been so shocked to the level where not many things shock its people anymore, the news that over $2 billion, earmarked for the purchase of arms under security vote, grew wings and simply flew out of the national coffers, or more appropriately vamoosed from the treasury, has left the ordinary man dazed, stupefied, flummoxed and askance.

“We can’t imagine the Tsunami that has hit the nation with the shocking revelations that are tumbling out that, under the watch of former President Goodluck Jonathan, what we were treated to was a bizarre dance of alleged mass looting of the common till. Indeed, with the way things ran under that administration, with the alleged general lack of fiscal responsibility and decorum, coupled with lack of restraint, if you like, recklessness in the personalisation of office and government positions by some powerful hawks, many certainly suspected that something untoward was going on with the nation’s finances.

“We saw how top hotels in the nation’s capital city of Abuja and other major cities quaked with the dollar power of the men of means, who punctured the serenity of the night with sirens and the gallivanted in the grandeur of power: Big automobiles, champagne binges and, of course, the eye-popping mansions that bespoke of men of cash and power.

“But, no one in his or her wildest imagination could have contemplated the furious attack on the treasury in such cavalier manner, in such gluttonous ravage as we are daily being availed of by preliminary investigations into the armsgate.

“Yet I am told by a senior administration official that what we are seeing is only a tip of the iceberg. He told me on phone: ‘By the time investigations are over, you will be shocked at the level of looting that took place. We are still scratching the surface. The names of those who have looted the country will shock you. You just wait and see!’

“I am already shocked by the much we have heard. I am already heartbroken to read of the billions that went out under spurious circumstances. I am too tongue-tied to hear stories of diversion of public funds from the purpose it was earmarked.”

Now, what do we make of the current Ikoyigate? If a group of people allegedly shared $2 billion, what do we make of the warehousing of $43 million in a single apartment by an individual?

Simply, lunacy!

The drama that has trailed the Ikoyi cash haul has been more pathetic than the find itself. First, the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA),

Ambassador Ayodele Oke, said the cash belonged to his agency, that it was for “covert operations” of the secret service agency; then Chief Nyesom Wike, the governor of Rivers State, said the money belonged to his state, alleging that his predecessor, Chief Rotimi Amaechi, now Transportation Minister, had stashed the funds away from the state’s gas turbine sales. Fiery and controversial former Aviation Minister, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, had equally joined the fray, alleging the hefty cash find belonged to Amaechi. Fani-Kayode’s position is equally shared by Gov. Ayodele Fayose, governor of Ekiti State.

Amaechi has slammed a lawsuit against people (Fani-Kayode and Fayose) who are linking him with the sleazy funds. The two men said they were not intimidated by threats of a lawsuit; they plan to reveal more when the legal fireworks begin. We wait with bated breath!

But the NIA story appears to be the one that has gained more ground with the Buhari government. After the Easter break, the President suspended the boss of the agency,

Oke, from office and set up a three-man panel headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, with the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, as members. It has 14 days to submit its report. The committee is also to investigate alleged abuse of office and diversion of funds meant for the upkeep of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the North-East by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Engr. Babachir David Lawal, who has been suspended from office through a statement by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina.

Babachir’s issue has been lingering in the public domain for a while; the Senate had asked for his suspension and investigation into the allegation that he awarded a bogus contract to a company in which he had interest for grass-cutting, amounting to N248 million. He has vehemently denied the allegation. An investigation by the AGF’s office had earlier cleared him, when it said, in response to the Senate’s demand, that the “SGF was not given a fair hearing.”

The nation waits on Osinbajo’s panel to get to the root of these contentious issues involving two top officials of this administration and bring to light what actually happened. The panel is to find out if the men are being unjustly maligned or if they have betrayed the trust of their high office. It is certainly not an easy task, given the cynicism and skepticism that have greeted the panel in the public domain since it began to sit. Would it deliver justice and would it be believable? That, indeed, is the crux of this piece. Would it not have been more credible to set up an independent, judicial probe panel, rather than an executive-led body? Should the panel not be made to sit in public, given the high interest it has provoked in the public space?

I believe the interests of fair play, transparency and justice, for the accused, the nation and all and sundry will be better served if Osinbajo’s panel is made to sit in public, in the full glare of the media and the general public. There should be nothing ‘closed’ in such monumental issues that have shaken our nation. This is not a military regime, with secret or closed sittings. Democracy is government in the open, government of the people by the people and for the people. If monies meant for the people are allegedly embezzled or diverted, whose interest is served if testimonies and defence can’t be made publicly?

It is my considered view that the credibility of Osinbajo’s panel would be enhanced if all its deliberations are put out for all to see that nothing is hidden, nothing is swept under the carpet. If this is not done, the report is most likely to suffer credibility deficit as some Nigerians are already alleging a planned cover-up. It is not too late to make the probe panel’s sittings open and public.
Source: The Sun

Buhari arrives, meets Osinbajo, others

BREAKING: Buhari meets Osinbajo, others

Olalekan Adetayo , Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari is currently meeting top government officials led by Vice – President Yemi Osinbajo.

The meeting is holding inside the First Lady Conference .

The President and the government officials were driven to the venue of the meeting straight from the helipad .

Although the event was supposed to be open to the press, security operatives locked out many journalists and some top government officials.

The meeting is still ongoing as of the time of filing this report at 9 . 10 am
Source: The Punch