The Oasis Reporters
February 14, 2019
By Greg Abolo
The last three and half years has brought the humaneness in Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s Vice President. At least we saw how he turned things around each time President Muhammadu Buhari traveled to England on extended medical tourism.
For instance, we saw his anger against the former Directorate of State Security, DSS boss, Sani Daura. Osinbajo promptly sacked him from the post (he didn’t even deserve in the first anyway, because he was retired already) for invading the National Assembly with DSS troops without letting him know as then acting President .
Osinbajo appointed the most senior staff of the agency Mr. Seiyefa, who was not even from Yoruba land like himself, despite having a preponderance of retired DSS top shots from his region.
But what happened ? When Buhari resumed duty, he removed the Niger Delta born Seiyefa, and replaced him with another Daura look alike, retired officer who is also Muslim northerner from his home region, the North West.
President Muhammadu Buhari dilly dallied over the confirmation of Walter Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of the Federation, ostensibly because the CJN was equally not from his region. While Buhari was away on medical vacation yet again, Osinbajo sent the name of the CJN to the Senate for confirmation because he is indeed, the most senior Justice from the Supreme Court. Obviously, Buhari was not quite pleased with the decision. Today, the man has been humiliated and suspended out of office, to pave the way for the next most senior Justice, who happens to be from the president’s comfort zone, the northern Muslim region.
Meanwhile, Onnoghen is battling an assets declaration issue. As propaganda, the assets form Onnoghen filled suddenly appeared online, to further humiliate the man, in a one sided fight where one side is both accuser, prosecutor and judge.
The other side must remain quiet, or face possible arrest.
But if Nigeria were to be a country where all men were created equal, why is it impossible, virtually impossible to access the Assets declaration form of the president himself ?
Meanwhile, an intrepid professor of New Media at Kennesaw State University, Georgia, GA in the USA, Nigerian born Farooq Kperogi has alleged in a widely publicized article, titled,
“Forget Onnoghen; Let’s Talk about Buhari’s Asset Declaration Fraud”, he writes, “Buhari’s asset declaration fraud is more damning than Onnoghen’s, yet it is Onnoghen who has been illegally “suspended” and pilloried in the media.
First, it was Buhari who voluntarily said he would publicly declare his assets. The Punch of February 20, 2015 reported him to have said: “I pledge to PUBLICLY declare my assets and liabilities, encourage all my appointees to publicity declare their assets and liabilities as a pre-condition for appointment.” However, several months after getting into power, he refused to declare his assets publicly.
, I wrote a column on June 13, 2015 titled “Mishandling of Asset Declaration May Doom Buhari’s Presidency.” I republished it weeks later.
The very first paragraph of the column, which seems pretty prescient in retrospect, read: “Although many of us still nourish the hope that President Buhari’s administration will represent a substantive departure from the blight of the past, Buhari has so far done little to inspire confidence that he will live up to the hopes we have invested in him. Perhaps the biggest germinal error he has made, which might haunt his administration, is his seeming reluctance to publicly declare his assets, contrary to the promise he made during his campaigns.”
After the column was published a second time, one close aide of the president told me in confidence that Buhari would NEVER publicly declare his assets because it would demystify him. I asked why and he said it’s because the man is very wealthy and that his base in the North and his supporters down South would feel betrayed if they knew how much he’s actually worth. He said Buhari declared close to a billion naira in his asset declaration form and has choice property all over the country worth billions of naira. What was worse, he said, Buhari didn’t even officially declare everything. That was when it dawned on me that Buhari was a deodorized and carefully packaged scammer.
For instance, Buhari routinely received generous donations from foreign governments during previous runs for present. The Saudi Arabian government has given him the equivalent of up to two billion naira in two election cycles, and he always instructed his personal aide to deposit the money into his personal bank account. The late Muammar Gaddafi also once gave him at least $3 million and he deposited it into his personal bank account. He was also the sole signatory to the donations that everyday Nigerians made to his campaign through scratch cards between 2014 and 2015. The money was never used for the presidential campaign, and it has not been accounted for up to now. (An old woman in Kebbi State donated her entire life saving of N1 million that she got from selling kosai (bean cake) and died in penury a year later. Buhari didn’t even acknowledge her death!). Buhari did not declare all these monies in his asset declaration form, yet he had close to a billion naira in cash in his declaration form that he is hiding from the world.
Now, here is where the fraud starts. In December 2014, Buhari had said, “I have at least one million naira in my bank, having paid N5.5 million to pick my form from my party APC. I have around 150 cattle because I am never comfortable without cows. I have a house each in Kaduna, Kano, and Daura which I borrowed money to build. I never had a foreign account since I finished my courses in the USA, India and the UK. I never owned any property outside Nigeria. Never.”
They say a liar must have a good memory. But Buhari is a bad liar. After so much pressure from many of us, Buhari’s strategists came up with a plan to deceive Nigerians and deflect attention from Buhari’s asset declaration fraud. His spokesman was told to issue an intentionally vague and incomplete “public asset declaration” that would leave room for plausible deniability in case he is caught.
That was why there were no specifics other than unhelpfully broad claims that the president had a house in Abuja (which he earlier said he didn’t have during the campaigns), Kano, Kaduna, Daura and Port Harcourt; some cattle and livestock; “not less than 30 million naira” (how more deceptively vague can you get than that?
Compare Buhari’s “public asset declaration” with the late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua’s more transparent, public declaration and the face of Buhari’s fraud will become even more nakedly apparent.
Many Nigerians weren’t deceived by the fraud. They asked that he make public a copy of his declaration like Yar’adua (who didn’t even campaign to publicly declare his assets) did. In response, the president’s spokesperson said, “As soon as the CCB is through with the process, the documents will be released to the Nigerian public and people can see for themselves.” It’s been more than two years, and the declaration hasn’t been released to the public.
What is worse, I have confirmed from friends at the Code of Conduct Bureau that the presidency took away Buhari’s asset declaration form from the place. So, get this: Buhari is the ONLY public officer whose asset declaration does not exist at the Code of Conduct of Bureau. Of course, it’s because he wants to hide his fraud from scrutiny.
This double-dyed fraud becomes even more annoying when you remember what Buhari says when he is asked to publicly show his asset declaration form as he promised he would. During the one and only media chat he did as president, he challenged journalists to use their skills in “investigative journalism” to find the form. What sort of dumb logic is that? On your own, you promised to publicize your asset declaration form. Then you took it away from the only place it’s legally supposed to be, and you now challenge journalists to use their investigative skill to find it. You want them to invade your home, hold you at gunpoint, and force you to produce it?
Well, journalists have used the best resources they have to find the form. They invoked the Freedom of Information Act and requested the CCB to release Buhari’s asset declaration form. On September 21, 2016, Code of Conduct Bureau Chairman Sam Saba said the Bureau couldn’t release Buhari’s asset declaration form because the law that set up the bureau forbids him from making the forms public without Buhari’s consent.
That’s why the Bureau also declined requests to release the asset declaration forms of other higher-ups in the Buhari regime. Now, how did Dennis Aghanya, Buhari’s former media aide and current SA on justice, get access to CJN Onnoghen’s asset declaration form when the law forbids the public disclosure of public officials’ asset declaration forms without their consent? Why isolate someone for punishment for an offense that everyone, including the people meting out the punishment, is guilty of?” –
Farooq Kperogi .
Osinbajo’s voice was not heard publicly on this issue.
When the fact that the entire national security architecture is heavily lopsided towards the president’s home region, it has become clear where his mind and treasure actually lie.
With a few days to a crucial national election, we have seen Osinbajo lead other South West Yoruba governors singing Yoruba folk songs and dancing in Ibadan with Bola Ahmed Tinubu, acclaimed leader of a large chunk of the Yoruba South west, at the APC campaign rally, after the subtle message quietly passed around in the south west that Yoruba people should massively vote for the Buhari/Osibanjo ticket, because the “omoluabi” was next in line.
Two things are manifest here. A great majority of the South West governors, dancing and laughing with Osinbajo and Buhari have served their states with a monumental lack of distinction. The nation saw for instance how the huge Ineptitude of former governor Aregbesola of Osun state messed up his state economy, he could not pay salaries, owing for more than a year and borrowing extensively, such that it has become like a huge burden for generations yet unborn. All the same, he tried to impose a crony as successor, who lost woefully at the gubernatorial election. Then resorted to pushing the elections into a second round, by a fraud foreign and local observers condemned. Just to rig in his successor. The courts are hearing the case.
The Oyo state economy is just as bad, with economic indices portraying failure to pay wages, and even potable water, yet to be provided to a large majority of the people.
And these are some of the ‘promoters’ of the Omoluabi agenda.
However, let Yemi Osinbajo know that Nigerians appreciate him. Yet they will not risk another four years of Buhari just because of the assumed succession plan. If Buhari can be this contemptuous of other ethnic groups up to the time of seeking reelection, what would happen when he no longer needs people’s vote ? If his appointments can be this 95% pro-north in a multi ethnic, multi religious and multi cultural Nigeria, what proof is there that the APC succession plan for Osinbajo to take over in 2023 is credible ?
Atiku Abubakar once believed Obasanjo before reelection. But soon afterwards, he was used and discarded. The APC North with the wealth they didn’t have before, can decide on a solo run. El Rufai is already doing a Muslim-Muslim run in Kaduna, practically telling the Christians in southern Kaduna that their votes amount to nothing for him. He has state power and wealth behind him now.
The advice to the Omoluabi succession plan is this: The four year wait would be a risk, because Buhari would have nothing to prove after this election if he wins.
Should Atiku win, Osinbajo has a chance of challenging a PDP candidate in 2023, with all things being equal, and God permitting. That is when the presidency is expected to shift to the south.