By Ayo Fadimu
Investigations have revealed secret probe of the former Governor of Lagos State and National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu by President Muhammadu Buhari. This is a follow up to alleged disagreement with the leadership of APC and fear over dumping of the ruling party by Tinubu and his supporters as a result of alleged unfair treatment being meted out to Asiwaju Tinubu ambitious politicians in South West using their closeness to President Buhari.
A source described the secret probe as a plot to silence Bola Tinubu whose relationship with Buhari is getting worse.
The source confirmed that Tinubu was aware that President Buhari had ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to re-open the case against the former Lagos State governor already with the commission and also to begin secret probe of his tenure as Lagos State governor.
The two leaders have continuously disagreed over power sharing arrangement in which Tinubu, a major player in Buhari’s ascendancy to presidency was allegedly marginalized while major political slots for the southwest geopolitical zone were given to some former protégés of the former Lagos State governor.
This has made Tinubu to be hobnobbing with other political leaders across the country to form what many believe to be a mega party in which President Buhari may not be presented as the presidential candidate.
The hint of what was in the offing was dropped by Adamawa State governor Muhammad Bindow, an APC governor when he openly declared support for the 2019 presidential ambition of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar
Abba Jimeta, Chief of Staff to the Governor said at the inauguration of the construction of Girei-WuroBokki road by Governor Muhammad Jibrilla. He said all elected and appointed officials in the state would work for Atiku as soon as he declares his intention to contest.
“The entire Adamawa state government is firmly behind the former Vice President; where ever he (Atiku) goes, the state government is behind him.
“From the Governor to the Deputy governor, the Secretary to the state government Commissioners, the special advisers and special assistants and all other political appointees and members of the State House of Assembly are behind Atiku Abubakar”.
Other governors are secretly being courted to join the race, but the presidency is not folding its arms as the body language of the president indicates he will like to go for second term or in extreme case, put a core loyalist like governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai in place to succeed him.
“The President knows that Tinubu is a very courageous politician that will attempt to rock the boat in 2019 because he feels marginalized and insulted but the president knows he has some skeletons in his cupboard while he served as Lagos State governor that is the point where the presidency wants to explore to make him shut up”
A former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, at a plenary session of the Senate in September, 2016 announced that mind-boggling allegations of corruption were being investigated by his commission against some state governors and their officials, including Tinubu, who was then Lagos State governor.
Tinubu was charged before Code of Conduct tribunal but was acquitted by the tribunal but, Justice Danladi Umar of CCT admitted that the tribunal took an erroneous decision in a similar case that involved the former governor of Lagos State and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ahmed Bola Tinubu. He said: “The tribunal has since realised that the decision it made on the case between FRN vs Tinubu was in error and has clearly departed from it.”
“The presidency is planning to revisit the case anytime there is clear intention by Tinubu to confront the President in 2019”
Nigerian NewsDirect gathered that pieces of evidence needed by the Federal Government to prosecute the alleged illegal operation of foreign accounts by Tinubu, have been reportedly released by the banks where the 16 accounts are said to be domiciled in the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (USA).
The 1999 Constitution forbids public office holders from operating foreign accounts while in office, while those they have in operation before assumption of office are to be closed for the duration of the tenure of office.
Code of Conduct Bureau, while charging Tinubu before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, claimed that Tinubu operated and maintained 16 foreign accounts in the USA and UK while in office between 1999 and 2007 and lied on oath while filling the mandatory asset declaration form for public officers before being sworn-in, by not disclosing the said accounts in his forms.
Tinubu contravened Section 7 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Cap 56 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 (As Amended), which is punishable under Section 23 (2) thereof as incorporated under Paragraph 18, Part 1, Fifth Schedule of the 1999 Constitution.
Some of the foreign accounts allegedly traced to Tinubu by the bureau are in the names of his wife, Remi, a Senator from Lagos State and children.
However, Tinubu who is currently enjoying enormous support from a large crowd of his supporters marched in solidarity for him last weekend.
The rally tagged “I stand with Tinubu, was organised to express their strong disapproval of the efforts to rubbish him and thereby whittle down his alleged over-bearing influence in the affairs of the party and penchant for imposition of candidates.
Spokesman of the group, I stand with Bola Tinubu, Tijani Oluwadamilare, in his remarks said that they would not allow Tinubu, who is a Yoruba leader, to be ridiculed by people he built up and gave opportunity to attain seeming political success.
“We all know what happened to past Yoruba leaders such as Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who were subjected to diverse forms of ridicule. We do not want this to happen again, especially not to the person of Tinubu who is a Yoruba leader now,” Tijani said.
Asiwaju has been sidelined in the scheme of things within the party, a development that puts him at odds with the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
However, a close ally of Tinubu who spoke under condition of anonymity warned Buhari against investigating Tinubu on the grounds that the President would be digging his political grave if he embarks on the wild goose chase.
However, a close supporter of the President insisted that Tinubu is not God.
“Ondo APC primary has shown that Tinubu is vulnerable, more shocks await him in 2019” he boasted.