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« Vice President Atiku Abubakar Must Resign Now! | Main | Hurricane Katrina Exposed Endemic Inequality for Africans »

September 08, 2005

President of Vice: The War on Corruption and Obasanjo's Complicity

by Jonathan Elendu and Sowore Omoyele --- Why is Nigeria’s President Obasanjo talking about corruption, and yet people don’t believe him? After all, he is the first President in the history of Nigeria to accuse his inspector-General of Police of corruption. Why is Segun Aina, the former managing director of Fountain Merchant Bank, living in opulence in Atlanta, Georgia and Toronto, Canada, while his friend, Tafa Balogun, is facing tons of charges of corruption? Our investigations reveal that the President’s war on corruption may be just for show.

Pres. Obasanjo

One beautiful afternoon the President asked a former Justice Minister to ride with him in his presidential helicopter. “I would like to show you something,” the President said. Soon the chopper was hovering over a huge expanse of land in Eruwa, a town in Oyo State. Below there were about a million teak trees that had just been planted by construction giant Julius Berger. Shortly after this trip, the former Minister was granted a license to operate a private university and Julius Berger got a multi-million dollar contract to construct the Lagos/Abeokuta highway. Three years later and with millions of dollars paid, there is nothing to justify such a huge expense.

At Aso Rock, the seat of the Nigerian government, Vice President Abubakar Atiku is not the only one who uses cronies for illegal schemes. This is an entrenched practice at “The Villa.” Pres. Olusegun Obasanjo is part of this game. Very reliable sources in Aso Rock told about one Otunba Fasawe who is reputed to be Pres. Obasanjo’s friend. Though not a government official, Fasawe is said to reside in a government building. No one facilitates access to the President faster than this guy. Fasawe was the President’s link man to the privatization deals orchestrated by Abubakar Atiku, the Administration’s point man during the privatization process. was reliably informed by sources that the President was given information about some dealings of the Vice President by a foreign government. Pres. Obasanjo confronted Atiku and told him he was disappointed with his corrupt practices and requested that Atiku resign. Atiku looked the president straight in the eye and said, “Mr. President, you have benefited from every deal I have done.” The President was aghast and demanded an explanation. Atiku told the president that he always passed on the President’s share of the deals through Otunba Fasawe. The President summoned Fasawe, who confirmed Atiku’s claims. What did the President do? Our source said the Obasanjo in exasperation told Fasawe to leave his presence. Apparently, the President was outsmarted by his trusted crony.

President Obasanjo is reputed to have established his Otta farm with his pension and gratuity payments. The Obasanjo Farm is one of the biggest farms in Nigeria. For a man whose entire life was spent in the military, his establishment of such a huge project raised a few eyebrows. By the time Obasanjo was jailed by the Abacha junta on trumped-up treason charges, the farm had started experiencing a down-turn in fortunes. Some assets of the farms were being sold off by his children during his period of incarceration. It is public knowledge that the farm was also involved in lawsuits arising from the sale of assets. There were claims that the resources of Obasanjo’s pet project as a military Head of State in the seventies were diverted. The Operation Feed the Nation’s, OFN equipment and money may have funded Otta Farms Nigeria, OFN. In 1999, following his release from prison, Obasanjo discovered that he was broke as there were no funds coming from the farm. All that has changed as the farm has experienced another reversal of fortunes. Today, Obasanjo Farms, according to Presidential mouth-piece, Femi Fani-Kayode, earns about two hundred and fifty thousand dollars per month.

Andy Uba, the president’s adviser on domestic affairs, is another Obasanjo crony that deserves closer scrutiny. A source at Aso Rock, told that Andy’s job as domestic adviser involves other personal interests of the President. The President’s reputation in this regard is well-known and needs not be repeated here. However, Andy, whose brother, Chris, has been the brain and money behind all the political problems in Anambra State since 2003, in addition to sharing some other interests with the President, is reputed to love exotic and expensive cars. It is believed that he owns about fifteen of such cars from all over the world.

We have yet to determine the number of children Pres. Obasanjo has sired, but we know that about six of them live in the United States. While the President’s children have managed to stay out of the pubic spotlight for years, their activities are beginning to attract public attention. last week exclusively reported the purchase of a property in New York early this year by Olu Obasanjo G. One of the Obasanjo children manages the Obasanjo mansion in Buckhead, Georgia. This young man is said to live in Decatur, Georgia.

Bush, Obasanjo, Young

Gbenga Obasanjo has been seen as his father’s front man. Gbenga, who operates from Houston, Texas, is behind the Virgin Atlantic project with Richard Branson, the British business icon who owns Virgin Airlines, which is presently Nigeria’s official carrier. Gbenga is also involved in Ajaokuta and Delta Steel companies. The Abacha sons were also involved in deals with the two steel companies during the time of their father’s stint as Nigeria’s military Head of State. It has been reported that Gbenga accompanies his father on official tours. The President introduces him to potential investors as one of Nigeria’s reputable business leaders. Gbenga also runs oil deals for his father, the President.

President Olusegun Obasanjo is also said to be one of the owners of Suntrust Petroleum. The other partners in the company are former Ambassador Andrew Young and Carlton Masters, the president of Goodworks Intl, LLC. The story of Malabu Oil and Dan Etete is another indication of Obasanjo half-hearted attempts at fighting corruption. Malabu Oil and Nigeria are locked in a case in the Federal District Court, New York. Sources say Dan Etete, a former petroleum minister during the Abacha regime, had awarded his company, Malabu Oil, a very lucrative oil block. In 2000, there was a meeting between Atiku Abubakar and Etete. Atiku demanded shares in Malabu Oil on behalf of Pres. Obasanjo. Etete refused and the Obasanjo government seized the oil allocation from Malabu. Dan Etete has threatened to expose Pres. Obasanjo’s investments in a French bank. There are rumors in certain quarters that the Obasanjo government and Dan Etete may have reached made some deals which placated Etete.

During the President’s first term, his cousin, Julius Makanjuola, was arrested for embezzling four hundred and twenty-one million naira (N421, 000, 000.00 ) from the Ministry of Defense. He was released on bail and to this day, Makanjuola has yet to be prosecuted for those crimes.

This and other information in the custody of adds credence to the assertion that Obasanjo’s anti-corruption crusade is selective and targeted at the President’s enemies--perceived and real. It would be recalled that during the Abacha regime, he established the failed banks tribunal which was used as a tool to hound the regime’s opponents. Incidentally, one of the people caught in the web of the failed banks tribunal, Jimmy Lawal, is now a very close adviser to President Obasanjo and his government. Jimi Lawal former founder and managing director of moribund Alpha Merchant Bank now works very closely with FCT Minister, El-Ruffai, Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and other top ministers in Obasanjo’s government. Lawal is said to be heavily invested in Canada, China, and even the city of Atlanta, Georgia. Jimi Lawal, in a chat with confirmed that all his assets that were confiscated by the Failed Bank Tribunal, including stocks, cash, and other properties were given back to him by the Obasanjo government.

There are also indications that former Senate President Adolphus Wabara, who was implicated in the fifty-five million naira bribery deal may eventually walk free. Several sources told that Wabara was set up by the Presidency because of suspicions that he was nursing a presidential ambition. One very reliable source told, “Everybody knows Wabara is a very corrupt and greedy man. When he started talking about running for president in 2007, they set a little trap for him and he fell for it. He didn’t need the money but just like our president can’t resist beautiful women, Wabara can’t resist money.” Another source told us Wabara had no difficulty returning the money because it had not been spent as at the time the deal came to light. Other people involved in the deal, like Prof. Fabian Osuji were part of the collateral damage of a sting operation that targeted Wabara. Hence, the belief that Wabara, Osuji and the rest will not go to jail is widely held in Abuja as their disgrace has achieved its purpose.

A source close to Vice President Atiku told that one of the President’s houses in the United States may have been searched by officers of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. has not been able to independently verify this story. We shall report our findings as soon as we get more information.

Obasanjo and his entire Administration typify the saying that things are not always what they seem. Unfortunately, Nigerians remain hostages to a cabal whose penchant for stealing from the people knows no bounds.


Posted by Administrator at September 8, 2005 03:43 PM


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