Kebbi: APC, Bagudu, and the change mantra

While the federal government declared zero tolerance for corruption, past records of some individuals in the government make mockery of this stance. BELLO ADAMU x-rays the deluge of corruption allegations against the Kebbi state Governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu.

Judging from the legal fireworks currently going on in the Federal High Court, Abuja legal analysts could safely draw a conclusion that Alhaji Abubakar Atiku Bagudu’s days as the Governor of Kebbi State are numbered over reportedly alleged graft involvements. The facts speak for themselves, as lawyers say.
The reason for this is not farfetched taking into consideration his alleged underhand job in aiding the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha to launder Nigeria money to foreign banks.

Prior to 2015 Gubernatorial Election in the state, the candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Major Gen. Bello Sarkin Yaki alongside two other persons Mr. Anthony Itanyi and Sahabi Sami approached Federal High Court, Abuja praying that the candidature of Alh. Abubakar Atiku Bagudu be nullified.

The case with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS312/2015 also has All Progressives Congress (APC) and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as defendants.
In the plaintiffs’ amended particulars of claim against the defendants, it stated without ambiguity the following;
A DECLARATION that the information given by the 1st defendant in the Affidavit of personal particulars submitted by him to the 3rd Defendant (i.e. Form C.F 001), particularly at Part E (General), Items No. 2 thereof, to the effect that he is not under a fine for offence involving dishonesty or fraud or any offence, imposed by a Court or Tribunal, is false.

A DECLARATION that by reason of the false information given by the 1st Defendant in the Affidavit of Personal Particulars submitted by him to the 3rd Defendant (i.e. Form C.F. 001), particularly at Part E (General), Item No. 2 thereof, the 1st Defendant is, by virtue of section 31(6) of the Electoral Act 2010 (As amended) disqualified from contesting the 2015 Governorship Election in Kebbi State conducted by the 3rd defendant on April 11th, 2015.

AN ORDER restraining the 3rd Defendant by herself, officers, servants, agents, however called, from recognising, treating or dealing with the 1st Defendant as a candidate qualified to contest the 2015 Governorship Election in Kebbi State held on 11th April, 2015, and from conferring on the said 1st Defendant any benefit, right or privilege as a candidate qualified to contest the 2015 Governorship election in Kebbi State held on 11th April, 2015.

AN ORDER setting aside nullifying and voiding all rights, benefits or privileges conferred on or accruing to 1st Defendant as a candidate for the 2015 Governorship election in Kebbi State held on 11th of April, 2015, or which may have accrued to or be conferred on him by reason of his having contested the said 2015 Governorship election in Kebbi state being that the 1st Defendant was ab initio, not qualified to contest, or disqualified from contesting, the said election.

AN ORDER declaring as wasted all the votes garnered or purportedly by 1st Defendant, Alh. Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, at the gubernatorial election in Kebbi State held on 11th April 2015.
AN ORDER declaring the third Plaintiff herein Gen. Bello Sarkin Yaki (Rtd), who came second in the said gubernatorial election in Kebbi State held on 11th April 2015, as the actual winner of the election.
AN ORDER cancelling as null and void the Certificate of Return issued to the 1st Defendant by the 3rd Defendant.

AN ORDER directing the 3rd Defendant (INEC) to issue fresh Certificate of Return to the 3rd Plaintiff herein as the elected Governor of Kebbi State.
AN ORDER directing the Chief Judge of Kebbi State or other apprioprate Officer under the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to forthwith swear in the 3rd Plaintiff herein, General Bello Sarkin Yaki (Rtd), as the Governor of Kebbi State.
The plaintiff categorically claimed that Governor of Kebbi State,  Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of the APC, is wanted in the United States of America, over his involvement in the looting of millions of dollars during the reign of late General Sani Abacha.
As at last check, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku Bagudu has filed preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of Federal High Court to entertain the matter.

This, legal experts said is meant to buy time and subsequently frustrate the case while he occupies the exalted position as Kebbi State governor, but his opponents in turn have told him to enjoy it while it lasts because he’s living on borrowed times.
Also, sound judicial minds reminded him that he can only run but can’t hide because just last week Friday, Supreme Court ruled that the same Federal High Court has jurisdiction to entertain a similar pre-election matter in Abia state relating to Gov. Ikpeazu’s INEC Form CF001, tax payment receipts and Tax Clearance Certificate.

In that particular case, the appellants had in their suit filed before the Federal High Court sought among other prayers, a declaration that Ikpeazu’s INEC Form CF001, tax payment receipts and Tax Clearance Certificate contained false information.
They had urged the court to order that Ikpeazu was not fit to contest the April 11, 2015 poll having allegedly failed to pay his income tax promptly as and when due for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013 and falsely stating in his INEC Form CF001 and the documents attached to it that he paid the tax when he was supposed to. They also sought an order disqualifying Ikpeazu from contesting in the election and another order barring the PDP from accepting him as a candidate.

Supreme Court held on Friday that the Court of Appeal was wrong to have ruled that the Federal High Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case and ordered the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, to re-assign the case to another judge different from the one who heard it before the case proceeded on appeal.
“I order the remittance of this suit to the learned Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for immediate assignment to another judge for expeditious determination,” the Supreme Court ruled.

Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, according to documents obtained from the U.S Department of Justice, masterminded the stealing of millions of U.S Dollars from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, wired same to several foreign accounts through phony companies he set up for himself and the Abacha family.
According to the document, U.S had under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiatives, mentioned Abubakar Atiku Bagudu’s involvement in Abacha’s money laundering scandal to President Buhari, and sought for his support to bring the Kebbi Governor to justice.

This is even as Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and his family are currently fighting civil forfeiture claims to an additional approximately $148 million, part of the money he stole, kept in four investment portfolios in the United Kingdom, a U.S Department of Justice confirmed.
The United States Justice Department documents further revealed that between January 1994 and June 1998, General Sani Abacha, and others stole more than $2 billion from Nigeria by fraudulently and falsely representing that the funds were to be used for national security purposes.

The United States had in 2014 taken control of more than $480 million out of the over $600million looted by former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha, and three others after a court ruling, the U.S Justice  Department said.
A statement from Peter Carr of the U.S Department of Justice, USDOJ, confirmed Abubakar Atiku Bagudu’s lack of cooperation on the crimes he committed against Nigeria and the United States and his fight to stop the forfeiture of $148million held in different portfolios in United Kingdom.

Carr in the statement said: “As you are probably aware, the Justice Department brought a civil forfeiture action against more than $600 million traced to corruption in Nigeria during the regime of Sani Abacha.
“Alh. Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, who is not cooperating with our investigation, is named in the complaint, which also lays out the government’s position on his role. His relatives are contesting the forfeiture of over $100 million of the total the Justice Department is seeking to forfeit.”
“We are yet to get any cooperation over Abubakar Bagudu from the Nigerian Government,” a Justice Department source said.

The Kebbi governor set up phony companies such as Doraville Properties Corporation (Doraville) in the British Virgin Islands on July 2, 1997 and was a director and authorized signatory on its bank accounts at Deutsche Bank AG and at Deutsche Bank International Limited (Jersey) (DBIL), Eagle Alliance International Limited (Eagle Alliance) incorporated in Ireland on August 9, 1994, was an authorized signatory on its accounts at Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) Grindlays Plc, in London, England, and at Goldman Sachs & Co. in Zurich.
Over sixty false security vote letters were addressed to and endorsed by General Abacha, each of which resulted in the withdrawal of Nigeria’s public funds from the CBN.
It is not surprising that in 2006, the nation’s former Vice President under the administration of Olusegun Obasanjo took time out to explain to journalists that his name was not “Abubakar Atiku” rather “Atiku Abubakar”.

He didn’t mince words in educating them that the person they referred to as Abubakar Atiku was wanted in United States over money laundering charges relating to Abacha loot which till date has been a dent on the nation’s political history. The moral question to all these came up few weeks ago during National Economic Council Meeting chaired by Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo where it was announced that Switzerland was preparing to send back $300m worth of Abacha loot, and curiously, the Governor of Kebbi State Alhaji Abubakar Atiku Bagudu was present at the meeting.

The good people of Kebbi state cannot be allowed to take the back seat in term of development due to selfish interest of one man who knows quite well that he’s occupying a position he ought not to be occupying.
Bagudu has evaded justice for long but there is no doubt that the long arm of the law is fast catching up with him. This also brings to bare the kind of change and fight against corruption which the ruling All Progressives Congress tends to be professing, since they are finding it difficult to bring their own to justice.

Sane minds have over time been drawing the attention of the president to this particular issue taking into consideration that with this high level of corrupt burden, not only that the resources Kebbi State are not in a safe hands but based on the antecedents of the governor, these resources in no distant time will go the way he did to Abacha loots. More pertinently Bagudu continuous stay in office as the governor of Kebbi State is making mockery of the fight against corruption which this current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari began propagating since he was sworn in in May. Anytime the President claims to be fighting corruption, his romance with Bagudu makes the statement a complete fallacy. The people of Kebbi have seen the light; they are no longer in the dark.

The good people of Kebbi state cannot be allowed to take the back seat in term of development due to selfish interest of one man who knows quite well that he’s occupying a position he ought not to be occupying.
Based on this particular case, APC has in so many fora been taken aback in its usual attack on the opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as regards the fight against corruption.

The body language of the federal government suggests it is shielding Bagudu and this has not gone down well with the party faithful both at the state and national level.
Finally, charity they say begins at home; based on this, if the current administration under the watchful eyes of President Buhari wants to be taken serious in its fight against corruption, he should purge his party and its members the cancer called corruption and subsequently come out clean before fighting others.

ADAMU is a public affairs commentator based in Abuja

Blueprint Whatsapp