Even as President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that come the end of September, his long awaited ministerial list would be made public, there is palpable fear in the land as to the shape of the cabinet to come as many agree that it would give a ready definition and character to the shape of policies and programmes to expect from the administration.
“The people’s fear is not misplaced. There are many of those around the president that should not be found around him; and can possibly make his cabinet,” said a top All Progressives Congress, APC official last night.
According to findings by Nigerian Pilot, not a few party members wish that some people are excused from the yet-to-be-constituted cabinet. In the aggregate, they ask: “Can such characters still be in the Buhari cabinet in the face of the anti-corruption posturing of the administration?”
Among such names which the public prayerfully wish must not be identified with the administration of Buhari include the following: former Rivers state governor, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi and his other colleagues in the same dispensation; Kayode Ibikunle Fayemi, (Ekiti,) Babatunde Raji Fashola, (Lagos) and Rabiu Musa Kwakwanso, Kano.
Last weekend, media reports had it that the first three failed security screening; a pre-requisite for ministerial nominees.
The trio worked hard for the former Head of State to emerge the APC presidential flag bearer as well as for him to get elected President and were thus seen as top contenders for positions in Buhari’s cabinet.
A highly placed security source at the weekend told Nigerian Pilot that the DSS did not clear the three ministerial nominees based on allegations of corruption brought against them before Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offenses Commission, ICPC.
According to the source, the security agency allegedly refused to clear the three former governors based on a series of petitions written against them over allegations bordering on money laundering, fraud and embezzlement.
The source further added that when the three affected former governors appeared before the DSS screening committee, they were confronted with the petitions and other relevant documents attached to the petitions.
The source further added that they have received instructions from the President that any of the nominees with any damaging and fraud related issues should not be cleared by the security agency.
CNN’s Christine Amanpour Live Report early in the year alleged that Amaechi had been stacking money in different foreign accounts to the tune of over $757 million in a foreign U.S. Bancorp/Minnesota account.”
This amount is different from N21 billion the Rivers state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP alleged Amaechi transferred from the state’s Power Assets Proceeds Account of Access Bank to the accounts of three private companies with a 25 Trans-Amadi Road, Port Harcourt address. Those companies are Advante Consulting and Management Company, Result Imports Experts Company, and Capital Ltd.
The Integrity Group, a non-governmental organisation, has also sent a petition to Buhari as well as the EFCC calling for probe of the former Rivers state governor for over N70 billion also allegedly stolen from the Rivers State government.
Besides, Amaechi’s alleged sins are many. For instance, during his tenure, workers did not receive their salary; he denied pensioners their arrears and stipends. Amaechi was further accused of diverting billions of naira meant for the development of the state to his personal purse. Before he left the Brick House on May 29, 2015, there were lot of abandoned projects which include: Eagle Island/IIaobuchi road, Ogbokoro/Egbelu road, Rumuolumeni road, the monorail project amongst others.
Coalition of anti-corruption organisations in Nigeria, the Civil Society Network Against Corruption, had petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over the “questionable expenditures” of the administration of ex-Lagos state governor.
In a petition dated August 10, 2015 and addressed to EFCC Chairman, the group called for the probe of the controversial N78 million spent on the personal website of Fashola.
There was outrage after analytic firm, BudgIT, revealed that the former Lagos governor approved, before he left office, N78.3 million from the state’s treasury for an upgrade of his personal website. The contract for the refurbishment of the website was awarded to Info Access Plus Limited by the office of the Chief of Staff to the former governor.
Instructively, the company denied receiving the amount, insisting that it was paid only N10 million.
In addition to the amount purportedly spent on the website upgrade, CSNAC also urged the anti-graft agency to probe the N1.2 billion spent on the construction of pedestrian bridges along Eti-Osa – Lekki – Epe expressway “which did not specify the number of bridges.”
Other areas of possible probe include the N17 million awarded for the provision of wall signage in three magistrate courts; N3.46 billion spent for the construction of a beach resort in Ilase; and N61 million disbursed for a Range Rover SUV and two Toyota Hilux trucks as the official vehicle of Chief Judge of the State.
The group also want the EFCC to probe Fashola’s spending of N85 million for the repair and replacement of street signs; N330 million spent on the development of the residence of Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, the immediate past deputy governor; and N94 million spent on printer consumables.
Debo Adeniran, CACOL’s Executive Director, had stated in an interview recently that his organisation’s independent investigation showed that the 1.36 kilometre Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge cost N6 billion, and not the N25 billion stated by Mr. Fashola’s administration.
Adeniran also stated that several petitions written to the EFCC to probe the various projects in the state in the face of the more than N500 billion debt left by Mr. Fashola’s government were being ignored.
Another organisation, the Socio-Economic Rights Accountability Project, had also alleged that the state refused to disclose details of the US$200 million World Bank education fund during Mr. Fashola’s tenure.
Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, accused former Ekiti state governor, Kayode Fayemi of diverting about N4 billion state funds to the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Just before he lost his re-election bid last year, Fayemi was dragged to the EFCC and ICPC over alleged fraudulent practices, running to over N20 billion.
The Save Ekiti Coalition, SEC, which made this allegation, wrote a petition dated September 26, 2014 to the EFCC and ICPC and the petition was submitted in Abuja on September 29, 2014.
The petition signed by SEC Secretary, Comrade Oke Ayodele was titled; “Complaint of fraudulent practices against Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and others: call for investigation and prosecution.” The group said the frauds were perpetrated through N2.6 billion construction of new civic centre, N383.9million earthwork for new governor’s office, diversion of State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, and Local Councils funds through contracts worth N4.2billion, inflation of road contracts worth over N10billion and diversion of N1.2billion FADAMA fund among several others.
Kwankwaso was accused of misappropriating over N10 billion pension funds.
Besides, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan had accused the ex-governor of embezzling the money his (President’s) campaign office provided to mobilise the state delegates for the 2011 presidential primary of the Peoples Democratic Party and the main election, lying and pilfering with Local Government funds.
Petitions at EFCC demand explanations as to how the Kwankwaso government spent the state’s resources to have left over N300billion debt as at May 29, 2015 when the former governor exited office.
Will they make it?
At press time last night, our sources inside the APC and presidency respectively could not say whether any of the above-named could still be considered in the Buhari cabinet, having allegedly failed relevant security screening.
“They really helped the president and our great party before, during and after the election. But that has passed. Remember, the President told the world that in his fight to ensure transparency in governance, there will be no space for corruption. As we speak, he alone will determine that, but going by the outcome of the security screening going on right now, they just may not make to the cabinet,” said the top APC official.