Buhari's Theory of Handshake And Handcuffs
With the ongoing all-out offensive against perceived corrupt practices of the last administration, the casual observer today would be pardoned if he viewed President Buhari as being obsessed with the word sleaze. But certainly not thosewho have followed PMB's career in public service keenly, from his stint as military governor of the old Borno State, then as Oil Minister, later Military Head of State, to Chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) and now democratically elected president. All these years, it was not only Buhari's bare-knuckle approach that triggered interest, but also the humour he deployed when force-feeding his victims with bitter pills. As Chairman of PTF during the Abacha regime, PMB often made it a point of duty to engage anyone who landed a big contract. After a cheque was handed out as mobilisation, his parting shot was usually this: "Well, I wish you success in the execution of this contract. Be sure you do a good job because in the end, it is either we give you a handshake or handcuffs." We hope OlisaMetuh is listening.
More Woes For Mbaka?
Even though Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. EjikeMbaka has complained that he is suffering for his outspokenness, it appears that his misery may be prolonged. The controversial priest, who hammered former President Goodluck Jonathan and predicted President MuhammaduBuhari’s victory, was recently redeployed from his comfort zone at Adoration Ground, Enugu, to an obscure post and put under a boss. Sources told Interview Confidential that one more word from the priest and he could be sent off to Rome on a special course. Concerns for the priest’s safety after his demotion had forced Abuja to deploy special security men to guard him in his new parish. Our source said, “The church is still waiting to see if he’ll comport himself. If he doesn’t, don’t rule out the possibility that he could be sent on a course to Rome or somewhere. Remember what happened to NuhuRibadu?”
2016 Budget: Udoma Gets Satanic Suggestion
The full story is not yet in on the drama and intrigues surrounding the 2016 budget. But we are getting somewhere. We were reliably informed that a few days to the presentation of the budget, some distinguished senators (from the opposition PDP) approached Budget and Planning Minister, UdomaUdoUdoma, with a plan that was disingenuous, to say the least. They advised him that instead of submitting the budget in a hurry, the government could buy time by doing something more “creative” – stuff a box with blank sheets of paper, seal it and dress it with a covering note. After submission,he could then take his time to complete the actual budget and replace the blank sheets with it! Our source said Udoma pretended to play along. Shortly after President MuhammaduBuhari laid the budget before the Senate, Udoma received calls from journalists at Channels TV, wanting to confirm if the “real” budget was submitted. Apparently, the same distinguished senators who advised Udoma also tipped off the press. Your guess is as good as ours as to what would have happened if Udoma had taken the “friendly” advice.
For His Excellency, Hope Is Now In Short Supply
Politicians are incurable optimists. They never learn. How else can we explain the misery of a former governor of one of the South Eastern states, who borrowed N700million from a first generation bank in 2014 for business, but diverted the money to politics? Out of the funds he borrowed, the former governor shelled out N400million to a hopeful senator who had promised to help him mobilise delegates for the senatorial race. However, our hopeful senator got a higher bid and shiftedhis allegiance at the last minute, leaving His Excellency with the short end of the stick. To make matters worse, the Abuja property His Excellency used as collateral for his N700million loan has been sealed off by the EFCC. The banks are hot on the heels of His Excellency and in his confusion, he is begging them to help him recover the money from the ‘hopeful’ dude. But any chance that the bank will listen is now in short supply.
Sunday Oliseh’s Battle With Ghosts
While success has many fathers, failure is an orphan. The truth of this saying must have dawned on Sunday Oliseh, the chief coach of the Super Eagles, by now. With the woeful outing of the national team at the justconcluded continental soccer championship, it has been knocks all the way for the fair-skinned dude. Trust our friend with his sharp tongue; he never fails to reply each insult with one of his own. Recall that in the countdown to the soccer extravaganza, our friend was ‘missing in action’ at home. Reports had it that he took ill and so was on bed rest somewhere abroad. Now, our friend's enemies have come up with a strange theory. They say the real reason he stayed away from our shores is whatthey describe as his morbid fear of "African magic" (not the kind watched on the SuperSport cable TV channel). Call it juju or spiritual attack, if you like. Since he took over the job from his senior colleague, Stephen Keshi, (who incidentally won the penultimate edition of the Nations Cup), Oliseh is said to have lived indread of perceived enemies. For starters, busybodies have whispered that he would sometimes deliberately avoid shaking hands with people. Particularly, he would look out for anyone who removed his or her hand from a pocket just before shaking hands with him, for fear that such person might have touched a charm before stretching his hand to greet him. Oga Sunny, don't mind them. They are "enemies of progress".
A Party Chair And His ‘Away Matches’
When not bragging about the "miraculous" victory of his party in the last general polls, one thing our elderly friend is also adept at is boasting about his "spotless" record through the donkey years he worked for the nation in the rocky city. Oga would challenge that if anyone could step forward with proof that he had ever collected egunje (a bribe), he would throw in the towel as chairman of the party that has been busy sweeping thieves into jail lately. Well, we are not in a position to doubt Oga Chair over the much-vaunted "clean" service record. Except in the bedroom affairs department. From our findings, Oga, who hails from the province that prides itself as the "heartbeat" of our kingdom, was quite the player in his younger days. And today, he has an extensive brood to show for his escapades behind madam’s back. At least this much was revealed when he gave out his daughter (one of the fruits of such "away matches") a few weeks ago in the Centre of Excellence. Given the calibre of people whoturned out –many governors inclusive, the big surprise was the absence of madam that day. Rather, it was the biological mother of the bride who stood by Oga Chair for the paparazzi all day. Information reaching us indicates that the "official madam" was livid and so stayed back home in the ancient city. To her, the entire owambe (ostentatious party) was only a reminder of Oga's romantic indiscretions of the past.
Alas, 'Sleaze' Unites Anenih and Ikimi
This certainly is the stuff classic comedies are made of. Once upon a time, the two were bitter political foes who never saw eye to eye on any issue under the sun. Alas, in their old age, both have found themselves united by an allegation of sleaze: participantsin Dasukigate. First, both are from Esanland in Edo State, though different clans. Whereas Anenih is from the Agbazilo quarters, Ikimi is of Okpehwo stock. The former is in his 80s while the latter is in his 70s. Their rivalry dates back to the aborted third republic. While Ikimi had served as the National Chairman of the National Republican Convention, Anenih became the National Chairman of the Social Democratic Party, with the dark distinction of eventually trading away the mandate of his party in the 1993 presidential polls. Under Abacha, Ikimi apparently gained the upper hand as the garrulous Foreign Minister of the much-despised military junta. Back in their native Edo State, Ikimi used his national visibility to "oppress" Anenih, leaving the retired Assistant Commissioner of Policeso impoverished that he was often seen driving around in a weather-beaten jalopy. At the beginning of the fourth republic in 1999, Anenih found himself in the PDP, while Ikimi was initially in the All Nigeria Peoples Party (often derided as the Abacha People’s Party). Fortune smiled on the former, as his profile rose sharply on account ofhis being seen as "Mr Fix It" for the rigging unit of the PDP. Then it was Anenih’s turn to "counter-oppress" Ikimi. And he did all he could to ensure that Ikimi "starved", even after he decamped from the ANPP to the PDP in Edo. Out of frustration, Ikimi decamped from the PDP in 2006 to be part of the groups that formed the Action Congress in Edo. Fortunately for the party, AC won in Edo, eventually giving Ikimi the upper hand in the local politics of Edo. During the ACN's re-election campaign in 2012 in Edo, a voluble Ikimi continually taunted Anenih to join him in a live debate. Of course that was intended to expose Anenih's perceived limited cerebral endowment. Come 2014, against all expectations, Ikimi decamped from the ruling APC in Edo to join Anenih's PDP in Abuja. Those who may have been wondering what led Ikimi to take such precipitate action would appear to have received some answerswith the latest reports that the EFCC has allegedly traced the sum of N295m to the architect from the $2.1bn arms slush funds disbursed by SamboDasuki. Anenihalso allegedly received N260m as his share of the loot. Hmmm...
Kogi: The Limit of Gubernatorial Prostration
When former President OlusegunObasanjo went on all fours before the much younger new Ooni of Ife recently, many were taken aback,and with good reason. The Ota chicken farmer is not only old enough to be the new monarch's grandpa, he is also a man the nation at large has become used to addressing as "Baba". Well, OBJ's gesture could be situated within the context of deference to the supremacy of Yoruba tradition, which places the king after the Almighty. But how do we explain the story of a sitting governor prostrating to a lesser politician? It has to do with the lingering debacle over the rightful claimant to the gubernatorial stool in the province flanked by two famous rivers in the country. Still can't figure it out? The one in whichan election became inconclusive recently, on account of the would-be winner’s dramatically kicking the bucket just before the last vote was counted. Once the obituary was announced, many expected that the second calabash (second-in-command in Yoruba parlance) on the ticket would be announced the winner. But for some odd reason, the barons of the victorious party decided to award the crown to someone else. Of course, an embittered second calabash has since rushed to the temple of justice to seek redress. That, you may say, is now an old story. Well, the latest news is the torrent of pressure being poured on the second calabash to withdraw the case from court. The height of it, we gathered, was when a sitting gomina of one the foremost Arewa states joined the lobbying, earnestly beseeching our friend to backpedal. In a moment of desperation, the gomina in question, not particularly endowed vertically speaking, went down on all fours! But as adamant as ever, the second calabash, we gathered, quickly stooped and helped His Excellency up, insisting that it was not a matter of egomassaging, but justice. He told OgaGomina off, saying that he would rather lose in court than trade his mandate away, least of all for a gubernatorial prostration. Surely, there is fire on the mountain.
The Bazaar Called Post-election Litigation
Those who contend that the judicial arm of government remains an un-examined cesspool of sleaze would be totally justified with the intelligence we just gathered arising from the slew of curious judgements delivered on electoral disputes in the land in recent time. Not only were facts and logic stood on the head in the various submissions by the courts, but also, very little was done to hide the under-the-table deals behind such wonky rulings. Pity, it was a case of double jeopardy as both petitioner and defendant, in most cases, literally had to empty their pockets along the way, with the biggest spender eventually carrying the day. In one case involving a gubernatorial candidate in the axis of the rising sun, Interview Confidential learnt that the poor dude (did we say poor?) shelled out N2.1bn in legal fees and other “settlements”, only for his ambition to hit the rocks in the end. Since politicians are wary of casting the first stone, we urge NGOs and other professional groups to find a way of saving the country from such “Otilicious” misery.
Discordant DisCoTunes In The ‘Heartbeat’
Two years after the federal government sold off its assets in the power sector to DisCos (distribution companies) and GenCos (generation companies) things remain a tale of woes for consumers, as they are yet to savour any marked improvement in services. Well, insiders are wont to list shady insider dealings as partly responsible for this sad report. A classic example is that of the DisCo located in the state that officially prides itself as the "heartbeat of the country". This DisCo is regarded today as perhaps the worst in the country, with an abysmal performance record. Ironically, it is the most notorious in terms of extortionate schemes among other sharp practices, at the expense of longsuffering consumers. Insiders say it is partly because the racketeers who cornered the DisCo in the ‘heartbeat’ have zero experience in the power industry. Their area of specialty is money lending. As a matter of fact, their last business address was a money-lending house, which they ran aground before being thrown out by shareholders. So, how did they become the preferred buyer of public assets here, even when they were rated last in the bidding process? It’s quite simple. It happened that the fedora hat-wearing chairman of the body saddled with the bid process (himself a veteran in the cloak anddagger money-lending world) allegedly rigged the exercise in their favour. Why? It happens that the chairman is related to a major player in the DisCo under reference by marriage. See why things don't work in Nigeria. The question now is when will Buhari reverse this travesty?