- DSS, EFCC plan fresh probe of ex-gov
- Links to some judges on trial allegedly established
Contrary to news in some quarters suggesting that high-powered moves are being made to get President Muhammadu Buhari, some members of the Executive and the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to settle their differences, the cold war between the parties seems to be gaining momentum.
Information gathered by The Point from security sources revealed that, in the intense power game now playing out on the political turf in the build-up to 2019, Tinubu has been put under security scrutiny with some carefully selected Federal Government agencies “given executive fiat to, as a matter of urgency, commence methodical investigation into both the bank accounts and business concerns of the former Governor of Lagos State.” This, the sources revealed, was part of a broad move by the ‘powers-that-be’ to establish strong cards that could be played up to cut him to size, what with his alleged involvement, as a central figure, in the formation of a new mega-party.
The Point had reported authoritatively, in its last edition, that fresh facts had emerged, linking former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Tinubu, former Senate President Ken Nnamani, a former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso and other bigwigs to a major political realignment that will birth a new mega party to wrest power from the Buhari-led administration come 2019.
The sources added that the development was a fall-out of the unending disagreement between Tinubu and the Executive, and perhaps signals that the tiny political thread still binding him and President Buhari might have snapped.
Corroborating this finding, The Point’s reliable source in the Presidency hinted that some political egg-heads were last weekend assembled in Aso-Villa, Abuja, with an overarching objective to undermine Tinubu’s influence.
Although other outcomes of the meeting were not divulged, the source noted that “it was unanimously agreed that Tinubu should be investigated, with recourse to his stupendous wealth and how he is using same to grow political influence across Nigeria.”
An executive media aide to the Governor of the State of Osun, Erasmus Ikide, also confirmed to The Point that the scheme was very much alive and was being hatched underground.
He wondered why Tinubu, who had worked so hard for APC’s victory at the national level, was being paid back with such moves.
Ikide said, “I am very much aware of the development. The move and the strategies are ongoing underground. But, if I may ask, if anyone does you good to achieve your dream, do you pay him back with evil?
“Tinubu is a force that made possible the coming alive of APC. Why didn’t these people now working against him make Buhari the president in the past, when he contested three times?”
Ikide wondered how someone could go through what Tinubu went through for APC and the country at large, and at the end be pushed aside with the establishment now trying to harass him with DSS.
“I understand the reason for this is the ongoing speculations of him leaving the APC. They should expect war in return,” he said.
A top source within the security circles, who spoke to The Point on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, hinted that some of the case files being considered for rejig against Tinubu include those from which he had been acquitted in the past.
The Presidency recognises Tinubu as a PoliTical generalissimo ThaT could rock The boaT, if his billings and biddings are noT ProPerly handled. We knoW he is embiTTered and has never PreTended abouT iT. buT To handle This, The oPTion being exPlored is To re-oPen his files and invoke his PasT againsT him as a Way of noT only Padlocking his mouTh and cliPPing his PoliTical Wings buTal so curTailing his ambiTion
He said, “Recall that the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, had said sometime before the Senate that, prior to his removal, he was actually in vestigating cases bordering on allegations of corruption against some state governors, including Tinubu. “Tinubu had been charged before a Code of Conduct Tribunal, which absolved him of any wrong doing. But Justice Danladi Umar of the CCT later admitted that the Tribunal did not do a wholesome job, saying that it has since realised that the decision it made on the case between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Tinubu was in error.” The source added, “One of the loopholes being exploited now has to do with illegal operation of foreign accounts, as the Constitution of the Federal Republic forbids public office holders from operating such.
“Tinubu reportedly had 16 of such between 1999 and 2007, all domiciled in both the United States of America and the United Kingdom. And it had been said that Asiwaju did not make open the accounts as expected of public office holders, while filling the mandatory asset declaration forms before he was sworn in as the governor.”
However, a legal luminary, Dr. Tunji Abayomi, told The Point that retrying the APC leader on the same offence for which he was discharged and acquitted was not practicable under the law, as that would amount to “double jeopardy,” should he be re-arraigned on those charges.
In a telephone interview with our correspondent, Abayomi said, “It cannot be the same case. There are different aspects of this issue of Code of Conduct. It may be a different aspect entirely. For example, a public officer is not supposed to have a foreign account; families of public officers are not supposed to accept any gifts, and so on.
“But on the resuscitation of a case already decided and which an accused has been discharged and acquitted, it is practically impossible. There is a guarantee against double jeopardy. You can’t try a man twice on the same offence.”
Furthermore, a competent source, who pleaded anonymity, told The Point in confidence that the Presidency might also have established a strong link between Tinubu and some of the federal judges under trial for alleged corrupt practices. He said the angle was also being explored to put the former governor in check when the time is right. “Already, Tinubu has been linked to some of the drama playing out in Ondo State ahead of the forthcoming gubernatorial election, with his alleged sponsorship of the Alliance for Democracy gubernatorial candidate, Olusola Oke, against the candidate of the ruling APC, Rotimi Akeredolu,” he added. Recall that there has been a simmering cold war between President Buhari and Tinubu over what has been described within political circles as “alleged unfair treatment meted out to the Southwest over appointments that did not properly consider the latter’s interest.”
According to reliable APC sources, both men have cautiously been managing each other over political slots that negate expectations.
They added that Tinubu also considered as an affront, the allotment, without recourse to him, of major slots for the Southwest geopolitical zone to his former protégés who no longer enjoyed his patronage.
It is generally believed that Tinubu played a pivotal role in the circumstances that paved the way for President Buhari’s emergence as the presidential candidate of the APC and his eventual victory in the 2015 presidential election, against a ruling party that had been in power for 16 years and an incumbent President.
We are definitely aWare of the move. the essence is to curb tinubu from founding a mega party that Will challenge apcin 2019. it is not him alone; it is him and atiku that Will be dealt With soon. hoWever, idon’t see any of their moves succeeding because asiWaju himself does not sleep for a minute When it comes to nigerian politics
But reliable sources close to the Presidency informed The Point that things had since gone from bad to worse, noting that Tinubu had withdrawn his financial support for the party in addition to avoiding some major meetings of the party leadership.
Instead, they confirmed that he is now preoccupied with his realignment with some political turncoats and opposition elements in a political scheme that is getting good support across geo-political zones.
One of the sources, however, warned that the Presidency was not asleep and was keeping tabs on all the moves.
He said, “The Presidency has moles in all the Government Houses across the nation, which includes security agents who give daily reports to Aso Rock about events, the political shenanigans and the secret hands behind this scheme.
“The Presidency recognises Tinubu as a political generalissimo that could rock the boat, if his billings and biddings are not properly handled. We know he is embittered and has never pretended about it. But to handle this, the option being explored is to re-open his files and invoke his past against him as a way of not only padlocking his mouth and clipping his political wings, but also curtailing his ambition.”
Reacting to the development, some Tinubu loyalists told The Point that their principal was fully aware of the planned crackdown. They boasted that all the schemes would come to naught.
One of the sources, a member of Tinubu’s kitchen cabinet, said, “We are definitely aware of the move. The essence is to curb him from founding a mega party that will challenge APC in 2019. It is not him alone; it is him and Atiku that will be dealt with soon.
“However, I don’t see any of their moves succeeding because Asiwaju himself does not sleep for a minute when it comes to Nigerian politics. He is working out his own equations. Soon, plans will be rolled out.”
To Ola Williams, another Tinubu loyalist, the scheme will not work, because, according to him, it will trigger the fall of the Buhari administration.
“Do you believe that will work? Asiwaju knows how to deal with them. Apart from this, do you think his disciples nationwide will fold their hands and allow such to happen to their principal? He has them in every nook and cranny of Nigerian politics. If this plan is followed through, then Buhari wants to crash his government,” Williams said.
In a seeming confirmation of The Point’s lead story of an impending formation of new party, a carnival-like solidarity rally in support of Tinubu’s alleged decision to dump APC was staged across Lagos lastweekend.
The rally, tagged, ‘I stand with Tinubu,’ organised by a group of Tinubu loyalists, was said to have miffed the Presidency, hence the expedited action now being given to the grand scheme to nip his wings.
His loyalists said the rally “was primarily organised to express feelings against those attempting to rubbish what Tinubu had built and stood for in Nigeria, especially in Yorubaland.”
Spokesperson of the organisers, Mr. Tijani Oluwadamilare, said they would not allow the Yoruba leader to be rubbished by the people he built politically, adding that Asiwaju had been sidelined by the very people he made, which of course led to the face-off between him and the APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
Oluwadamilare also made allusion to an alleged gang-up by former governors of Lagos and Ekiti states, Babatunde Raji Fashola and Kayode Fayemi, with El-Rufai and others to whittle Tinubu’s stranglehold on South-West politics, ahead of 2019.