Tag Archives: Osinbajo

​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

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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

Presidency alerts on plot to divide Buhari, Osinbajo

​Presidency alleges plot to divide Buhari, Osinbajo

By Terhemba Daka, 

President Muhammadu Buhari

• Cautions against social media reports

The presidency yesterday raised the alarm over an alleged plot to cause a division between President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

It said that the government would not allow those it described as mischief makers to have their way. “Some people are trying to promote division and we are not going to allow that. This president and vice president worked together in tandem and we know they both have confidence in this nation,” the presidency said.

Reacting to trending discussions in the polity with some Nigerians comparing Buhari and Osinbajo, Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Babafemi Ojodu said the development was the handiwork of those who do not wish the country well.

“It is thoughtless. I also see it as a ploy by the opposition to cause an unnecessary division. It is a joint ticket, the president and the vice president were elected based on the manifesto of the party and since they were sworn in, they have been committed to implementing that manifesto.

“The same people who said we never had an economic team, no policy, nothing are the ones saying this. It is the policies we are now implementing and they are seeing the result. It is not a question of one person being better than the other person.

“There is nothing that has been done since the vice president started acting that is not something that started far back in the past. “A good example is the Niger Delta initiative. The president called the vice president and said I am giving you the mandate, go into the Niger Delta, meet with everyone who is a stakeholder, all the communities, talk to the militants and make sure you solve this problem for the benefit of Nigerians.

“We are losing 1.2 million barrels of oil per day, all the gas pipelines powering the turbines are being blown up. And the president has said unless and until we resolve this problem we will not get out of recession. The VP took up the mandate and went to the Niger Delta, it is the initiative of the president not that of the vice president,” Ojodu said.

According to the presidential aide, these “mischief makers” were responsible for the crisis in the polity and promotion of divisive tendencies, a development that would deny Nigerians the opportunity to benefit from the dividends of democracy.

Ojodu said Osinbajo “consults the president on a daily basis” concerning major decisions. “This is a joint ticket, the president of Nigeria remains the president of Nigeria. He is more experienced, he has been in the game longer than the vice president and if there are major issues that he needs to take decision on, he could call on him and say ‘sir, what do you think about this, we are about to take a decision on it’, that does not mean he is not in charge.”

Some of the changes that have taken place since Osinbajo became the acting president include a rapid return of peace to the Niger Delta due to his visits and parleys in the region. These visits have seen to the cessation of hostilities, thereby paving the way for the availability of gas that has improved electricity supply. Under Osinbajo, the foreign exchange crisis is being tackled with the naira appreciating from N520 to about N420 to a dollar yesterday. Unlike Buhari who neither commented nor took a decisive action to rein in killer herdsmen, Osinbajo quickly summoned the Inspector-General of Police Ibrahim Idris when there were fresh killings in southern Kaduna.

On timing of the changes taking place, when the president is on an extended vacation in the United Kingdom (UK), the aide said: “One other thing you have to see is that if you give someone a responsibility, he must be able to show to the president that his not being around is not going to create any vacuum.

“He can then decide not to sleep at all, all through the time the president is away just to show him that he is capable of ensuring that Nigeria goes on well while the president is away. And the president could also have given the mandate that the vice president should let nothing go wrong. You must make sure that you do this. If you have a boss who gives you an assignment, you will want to impress him and Nigerians as well and that for me is what has happened. It is not that one person is better than the other, certainly not.”

Ojodu said he had seen some things sent out intentionally to cause some kind of division within the presidency. “Some people who have been condemning everybody in the past, I see them on twitter and on facebook and generally on social media.”

Reacting to clerics in Katsina allegedly propagating information on the president being poisoned, Ojodu urged reporters to be mindful of their choice of stories from the social media, as the channels, according to him, are becoming factory for fake news in Nigeria.

“A lot of things you see on social media can never be true. I saw them, I read them and I assessed them using the prism of these factors, those indices we use to analyse stories in the media and found out that they cannot be true.

“For example they said somebody kept N77 trillion somewhere, imagine that. What is the total value of Nigeria’s economy? Because somebody is keeping N77 trillion, some people want to poison him so that they can inherit the money. I mean we have a president whose integrity nobody in this country can question.”

According to Ojodu, “as a young officer, a middle officer, a senior officer and as a head of state till now, nobody has been able to tarnish Buhari’s image or come up with anything. For me, it is not even worth responding to, as soon as I read it, I dismissed it, it is so ridiculous.”
Source: The Guardian

Buhari Explains Choice of Osinbajo as running mate

Why I picked Osinbajo as my running mate– Buhari

image
Buhari raising the hands of Osinbajo

By Sani Tukur

The Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Muhammadu Buhari, has given reasons why he picked Yemi Osinbajo as his running mate as he bids again become Nigeria’s president.
While presenting Mr. Osinbajo to the media at the national secretariat of the APC in Abuja, Mr. Buhari said his running mate was chosen because of his impeccable integrity and excellent background.
“He is an excellent professional, a man of faith, a devoted family man and a role model to our fellow countrymen and women,” he said.
He also said Mr. Osinbajo is a professor of law and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, adding also that he is an alumnus of the University of Lagos and the London School of Economics, a prodigious author who has to his credit several books on civil procedure in Nigerian superior courts.
“The vice-presidential candidate is a friend of the less-privileged, compassionate and zealous in service, a man of uncommon humility, a loyal, dependable and selfless patriot,” he said.
Mr. Buhari also stated that with his choice of deputy, the real task rescuing Nigeria and changing the country for good has just begun.
He promised to fulfil all the promises he made after his emergence as APC flag bearer and thanked all those who supported him in the process.
“The huge outpouring of support and acceptance has been a great encouragement to me and hardened my resolve to lead the process of rebuilding a new Nigeria and securing our future,” he said.
In a brief remark after his introduction, Mr. Osinbajo said he has accepted his nomination gladly and happily and thanked all concerned and stated that his selection as a vice presidential candidate by Mr. Buhari and the APC is a great honour.
“There can be no other president, leader and commander that can lead that common sense revolution which Nigeria urgently needs than Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. I will proudly serve this country with him,” he said.
Also speaking earlier, the national chairman of the APC, John Oyegun, who formally presented Mr. Buhari before the media as the candidate of the APC, also said with a full team on ground, the party is ready to kick start its campaign.
Source: Premium Times