By Kennedy Ikantu Peretei
Just when you think you have seen or heard the worst from the All Progressives Congress (APC) soap opera, something more baffling, reprehensible and unthinkable oozes from its stable.
Since some strange bedfellows assembled themselves in 2014 to use propaganda and bare faced lies to hoodwink Nigerians to reject former President Goodluck Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the 2015 presidential elections, Nigeria has been practically bedeviled by ill-luck.
The APC has steadily moved from one embarrassing scandal to another, until it now stinks, making Nigerian democracy a laughing stock in the commity of nations.
When former President Muhammadu Buhari was asked to present his West Africa School Certificate results as required by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), he presented a sworn affidavit, that his documents were with the Nigerian Army Headquaters. When dragged to Court to tender the documents, it was discovered that Buhari joined the Army with a letter signed by the Principal of The Provinsial Secondary School, Katsina with instructions to enlist Buhari into the Army until when he would write the School Certificate Examinations. Director, Army Public Relations, at the time, Bragadier-General Olajide Laleye told a bewildered nation ” I recommend him suitable for Military Commissioning. I consider that he will pass the WASC examination in English, Maths and three other subjects” were the contents of the letter in 1960. Needless to say that Buhari was not only Commissioned, he rose to the rank of a Major General and became Head of State in 1983 through a military coup staged by his collaborators in the Army.
Instead of Buhari to just present his WASC results, he hired 20 Senior Advocates of Nigeria to defend the affidavit. The APC propaganda machinery went to town, shouting at roof top, that, presenting a mere Electricity bill from PHCN, would suffice for Buhari to contest the presidential elections.
Eight years after, Buhari completely grounded the country. We all know better now. All the danger signals we glossed over, came back to haunt us. Some who initially supported the retired Army General, offered public apologies, those who maintained dining table etiquette, groaned in silence. But, it appears, the Buhari certificate saga, is a child’s play, in comparison to what the APC offers in 2023.
In the run up to the 2023 presidential polls, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu promised Nigerians that, he will continue from where Buhari stopped. At least, from Tinubu’s first day in office till now, everyone can verify for himself whether or not, Tinubu has continued from where Buhari left off.
If Buhari joined the Army with a letter from his principal, nobody knows the primary or secondary school Tinubu attended. Everything about him is shady. From his place of birth to schools attended. From records available at the on going Presidential Elections Petition Court (PEPC), even the gender of the name Bola Tinubu is in question. What can the APC not do? Tinubu was said to have forfeited $460,000 to the government of United States of America, being proceeds from illicit drug related transactions.
Nigeria has been ridiculed beyond measure in the international community because of those we now parade as our leaders. We are now the butt of every joke. Even neighbouring countries that used to look up to us as big brother challenge the legitimacy of our government. It is that bad.
Act II of this shameful drama played out again, when the list of Tinubu’s Ministerial Nominees were unveiled at the hallowed chambers of the Nigerian Senate.
Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, former Speaker of House of Representatives and incumbent Chief of Staff to Bola Tinubu was said to be the brain behind some of the Nominees. Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo ( BTO), the Minister designate from Ondo State, a man elected into the Green Chambers for the second time was said to have made the list courtesy of his closeness to Gbaja.
While political leaders and jobbers fell over themselves to align with the new Aso Rock power brokers with all forms of congratulatory messages, the social media was awash with a supposed NYSC discharge certificate, indicating that BTO served in 2019, the same time he began his first tenure as a Federal Legislator, and issued in 2023.
BTO handlers have not disowned the NYSC certificate, neither have they explained the discrepancies it contained. What we have seen is some coordinated attempt at damage control.Maybe, in the fullness time, the truth of the status of BTO’s NYSC discharge certificate will be in the public domain.
The Ministerial list also had, Senator Sani Danladi( Taraba State) who was barred for 10 years by the Supreme Court from holding any public office in 2019. Danladi’s offence was that he presented forged documents to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to contest Taraba State governorship election in 2019. A High Court in Jalingo disqualified him but at the Supreme Court, Danladi was handed a 10 years ban. How, the same man got nominated for a Ministerial position in 2023 is one of the wonders of the APC.
Prof. Joseph Utsev another Nominee indicated in his resume that he was born in 1980 and finished his primary Education in 1989 at the age of 9.
If these are the kind of men that, Tinubu has nominated to work with him, then, it is simply the case of birds of the same feather flocking together..
The case of Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila is not any different. He was linked to a case of fraudulent conversion of $25,000 belonging to his client as personal injury claims in Georgia, USA. The said money deposited in his Attorney Trust Account in 2003 was not promptly disbursed but he withdrew the funds for his personal use. Although, Gbajabiamila ultimately paid his client’s money in 2006, but admitted that his conduct violated Rule H5(1) and as a result, subject to a minimum of 36 months disbarment, a punishment, Gbaja graciously accepted.
Senator Godswill Akpabio, President of the Nigerian Senate who presided over the screening of the Minister Designates himself has multiply cases to answer with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission( EFCC). Akpabio was accused of stealing N108.1 billion of Akwa Ibom State funds and another N40billion as Minister of Niger Delta for which he was to appear before the EFCC on March 27, 2023. But Akpabio’s lawyer Umeh Kalu, SAN wrote to EFCC before the due date, stating that, his client was suffering from pneumonia and cardiac arrhythmia ( whatever that means). Akpabio is yet to honour the EFCC invitation as at today.
Former Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, famously known has Gandollar has just been appointed as the National Chairman of APC. I need not state the antecedents of Ganduje as Governor of Kano State here, as his corruption profile stinks to high heavens. He is now the face of Tinubu’s APC. What can this gang of certificate forgers and treasury looters offer Nigerians at this critical time?
Do you now blame our young men and women who declare that, there is nothing more to expect in Nigeria? That, they will rather go to other countries where their leaders are more sensible and the system punishes looters.
Is this the same Nigeria where Lt. Col. Hassan Usman Katsina as Military Governor of defunct Northern Region refused to accept plot of land from the Lands Allocation Committee when Kaduna GRA was being mapped out? Are we still living in the same Nigeria where Chief Lateef Jakande as Governor of Lagos State rode in his personal Toyota Car to the office? Are we still in the same Nigeria where Chief Adekunle Ajasin, always returned his Security Vote to the State Treasury if he did not spend it during the month?
This stench oozing from the APC is a manifestation of the internal decay in the Tinubu led government and party. That a total collapse will ensue is just a matter of time.
Those who think Nigeria is now their captured territory must have a rethink. I take my reference from the words of a sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who said, “In the long run, all human problems do settle themselves aright, whatever anyone or group of people may do. This is so, because all those who do wrong and injustice, are merely setting themselves against the powerful tide of Nature or, if you like, History’s dialectical progression. Temporarily, this tide can be held back; but certainly, not permanently.”