By Richard Kehis
I used to be a fan of Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the national leader of the All Progressives Congress until he became the executive governor of Lagos state in 1999.
Shortly after his swearing in ceremony, news broke out that the man was involved in certificate scandal.
In the INEC form that he completed and submitted to the electoral body, the senator stated the following: (1) that he attended Government College Ibadan, (2) that he was a graduate of the University of Chicago and (3) that he earned an MBA degree from the institution. Of course, based on these claims, he was cleared to contest the election.
Sadly enough, it turned out that these information in INEC forms were false and the explanation for this came from Senator Tokunbor Afikuyomi who claimed that he was the person that filled the INEC forms for Senator Tinubu.
In the ensuing controversy, the Lagos state House of Assembly set up a kangaroo panel to look into the scandal and expectedly the house under the speakership of Dr. Olorunmibe Mamora cleared Tinubu of any wrong doing. This of course did not go down well with our only irrepressible and indefatigable legal luminary, Chief Gani Fawhehinmi. When other legal practitioners and western media decided to downplay this scandal, Chief Gani insisted that a spade should not be called any other name except a spade. For Chief Gani Fawhehinmi, corruption means dishonesty, fraud, vice and exploitation and not just stealing public funds as President Buhari and vice president Osinbajo would want Nigerians to believe. Sadly enough, because of the enormous pressure pilled on Chief Gani, he eventually dropped the case, but of course, it remains in public domain that false information were provided to secure a political position.
The second reason I’m not a fan of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu is that before he became a governor, he was not known to be an industrialist, manufacturer, importer or exporter. He was not known to have managed any major large corporates like Jim Ovia or Tony Elumelu. But today, Tinubu remains one of the wealthiest Nigerians with a private jet to boot. He owns a newspaper publishing company, a Television station, a five star hotel among several other multibillion naira investments. For sure, he’s not among those being hounded by the EFCC.
I was a fan of Professor Yemi Osibanjo until the man decided to become a typical Nigeria politician. The Professor’s case is a classical manifestation of the saying that you cannot really know a person’s character until you offer him or her a high office/responsibility.
In September last year, I was at the burial of the mother of the current Director General of the Budget Office, Pastor Ben Akabueze at Ifite-Dunu in Dunokofia Local Government area of Anambra State. Pastor Ben Akabueze is a highly respected Pastor in one of the major Parishes RCCG in Victoria Island, Lagos. Incidentally, the vice president was equally there as the burial was more or less a Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) affair. In the course of his homily, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, the Most Reverend Paulinus Ezeokafor lamented the deplorable state of insecurity in the country. He wondered why the IPOB people of South East who merely wield sachet water, stones, plastic bottles, flags and uniforms were not only summarily crushed by the Nigeria military but gazetted as a terrorist organisation while the Herdsmen that openly wield AK 47, killing, maiming, raping women, taking over their age long farms were being treated with kid gloves by the government. He condemned the lopsidedness in appointments at federal level, particularly the appointment of security chiefs. In all this, the highly revered Bishop received ovation from the audience.
However, when it was time for the vice president to make his comments, it was a completely different ball game for the audience. The situation was not helped by the comments of the visiting vice president. Hear our vice president: “President Buhari is a very fair minded person. In the North West where the president comes from, there’s no substantive minister. They are all junior ministers, but in the south east and south south, we have substantive ministers” Readers, this was part of the response to the weighty issues raised by the officiating Bishop by our vice president. Of course, there were lots of murmurings and expressions of disappointments by the audience. In fact the fellow sitting next to me in the church asked repeatedly who the current minister of Petroleum Resources is and I pleaded with him to take it easy with the VP.
A few months ago, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu wrote to the president and expressed frustration over what he regarded as irregularities in contract awards, appointments and governance issues in NNPC. He stated in that letter that $25bn contracts were awarded without due process. In the heat of the public outcry, our vice president stated that what he approved was a loan and not a contract. Our Professor of law cleverly forgot that a loan is also a contract. Today, the issue has died down as no one is talking about it again. Earlier in the life of this administration, the VP had told the whole world that the past administration did nothing other than squandering of our national wealth. He cleverly forgot that 12 federal universities that currently accommodate our teeming university materials, the numerous Almajiri schools in the north, the railway project that even President Buhari and the loquacious minister of transportation have acknowledged as projects of past administration. According to notable columnist, Simon Kolawole, Professor Osinbajo has threatened that he will not stop talking about the past administration. The respected columnist reminded him that late Chief Obafemi Awolowo is remembered glowingly today for his giant strides in education, health and economic developments in the south west and not what he said about Chief Ladoke Akintola.
Our professor of law has turned 360 degree cycle since assuming office. He now resorts to diverting public attention each time major scandals erupts in this administration. You can call that intellectual sophistry. For a man that cherished true federalism before now, it’s no longer a necessity for our national development. He’s comfortable having the federal government disobey relevant court orders from within and outside Nigeria for the bail of the erstwhile National Security Adviser. Colonel Sambo Dasuki. He is comfortable having a legislation on hate speech, whatever that means. In the three years of this administration, our professor has not been able to tell us in concrete terms what this administration has achieved. All we hear is what the past administration did wrongly.
Let me remind our Professor that one thing the immediate past administration did was the conduct of a free, fair and credible election that produced him and the President. That the election was not challenged at the tribunal was because the previous administration wanted peace to rein in the country and not because there were no basis for legal fireworks at the tribunal. Our professor and his principal campaigned on the basis of fighting insecurity, corruption and fixing the economy.
Can any fair minded observer say that we have made any progress in these three areas?
–Richard Kehis is a business and financial consultant based in Aba