Daily Trust (Abuja)

22 December 2013

Nigeria: 12 Biggest Scandals of 2013

A shabbily-executed operation by the Department of State Security (DSS) and the Nigerian Army on Friday, September 20, 2013 left eight innocent persons dead and 11 others wounded at an uncompleted building located near Apo Legislative Quarters in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The building was inhabited by homeless artisans and petty traders. The security operatives claimed that they were killed and injured in a shootout with Boko Haram insurgents, a claim which was denied by the victims.

Marilyn Ogar, the SSS spokesperson, said in a statement released after the incident that its officials acted based on information obtained from two Boko Haram suspects, Kamal Abdullahi and Mohammed Adamu.

The Senate conducted an investigation, which subsequently absolved the security operatives of allegations of extrajudicial killings, saying those killed and the ones injured were "victims of a hastily executed operation necessary to save Abuja from terrible attacks."

Return of ailing Governor Danbaba Suntai

On Sunday August 25, Taraba State Governor Danbaba Suntai returned to Nigeria after spending almost a year abroad on treatment, following October 25, 2012 plane crash in Adamawa State.

After his return, he wrote the State House of Assembly, notifying them of his intention to resume work. The House, apparently not satisfied with the plan, asked the ailing governor to appear before them.

Suntai did not appear before the lawmakers. But the lawmakers were allowed to meet him after an alleged move to impeach him.

The lawmakers, after meeting him, were unsatisfied with his health status and asked the acting Governor Garba Umar to continue in office pending Suntai's full recovery.

Purchase of N255m bullet-proof vehicles for Oduah

Stella Oduah, the Aviation minister's outrageous car purchase scandal stirred outrage from many Nigerians as the N255 million ($1.6 million) bulletproof BMW Li HSS cars with chasis numbers WBAHP41050DW68032 and WBAHP41010DW68044 reportedly delivered to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on August 13, 2013, for her use became public knowledge.

Pressed by the spate of condemnations, President Jonathan set up a committee to probe the scandal and submit its report to the presidency in two weeks. But no sooner did he set up the committee than he traveled to Israel with an entourage that included the embattled minister, as well as a member of the administrative probe panel, the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki. During the investigation conducted by a committee of the House of Representatives, the lawmakers uncovered that disparity in the chassis numbers of the cars and their prices. The committee said the current price of the vehicles shouldn't have ordinarily exceeded N50 million each. However, nothing has yet been heard from the panel set up by the presidency to investigate the scandal.

Rivers Assembly Speaker

Attempt to impeach Rivers State House of Assembly speaker, Otelemaba Amachree, by five lawmakers loyal to President Goodluck Jonathan on July 9, 2013, failed, following the intervention of Governor Rotimi Amaechi.

The failed plot to impose Evans Bipi by five out 32 lawmakers as speaker would have provided the much needed ingredient to impeach Governor Amaechi, who is seen as a stumbling block for President Jonathan 2015 presidential bid.

Amaechi had to intervene after realising that the security forces which ought to have brought the illegal plan under control were appearing to have been compromised.

Since then, the relationship between the governor and the State Commissioner of Police Mr Mbu Joseph Mbu has not been cordial.

The fracas that trailed the failed impeachment bid left some lawmakers injured.

Sanusi alarm over 'unaccounted' $49.8bn oil money

The whole nation was thrown into confusion last week when the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Malam Lamido Sanusi, through a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, raised an alarm over non-remittance to the Federation Account of $49.8bn being part of the proceeds of crude exported by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), between January 2012 to July 2013.

However, the Apex bank governor last week retracted his claim, telling the Senate on Wednesday that the reconciliation of accounts that was carried out by CBN, Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Ministry of Finance had shown that only about $10.8bn had not been accounted for.

Arrest of Governor Sule Lamido's sons

The recent arrest of Governor Sule Lamido's two sons, Aminu and Mustapha, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in November, over money laundering allegations was seen by many as a political persecution.

Governor Lamido, who is believed to be jostling with President Goodluck Jonathan over the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is a member of the G-7 governors group that has been calling on President Jonathan not to run in 2015 as well as for reforms in the PDP.

Pundits believe that the subsequent release of the governor's children on bail by the EFCC was as a result of Lamido's sudden change of stance on Jonathan.

Anambra election

The poor handling of the Anambra State governorship election held on November 16, 2013, by the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) had generated controversies and reactions from the political arena and different interest groups in the country.

Because of the hitches during the election, it was not conclusive and INEC could not announce a winner, resulting in conducting what it called 'supplementary election' in 210 polling units in 16 local councils across the state where election did not hold earlier. APGA's candidate, Willie Obiano was declared winner of the disputed governorship election in the state with 180,178 votes.

Candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, All Progressives Congress (APC) and Labour Party (LP) had dragged INEC to court, insisting that the election was fraught with irregularities. The APC also led a protest to INEC's headquarters calling for the cancellation of the election.

Governor Chime's 'wife arrest' uproar

The wife of Governor Sullivian Chime of Enugu State, Clara Chime shocked the country when she wrote a petition to the National Human Rights Commission (NCHR), claiming that her husband had kept her under house arrest for the last three years.

The matter became embarrassing for the governor as Lagos lawyer, Femi Falana wrote a letter to the Inspector General of Police, on Clara's behalf, urging him to get her released. Wanting to put an end to the scandal, the governor asked his security details to move the estranged wife to her mother's home.

Ombatse killings saga

On February 7, over 74 policemen and operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) were killed, and their corpses gathered and burned after about 14 truckloads of armed security agents stormed Alakyo village in the Eggon area of Nasarawa State. The security men were deployed to arrest the Alaky chief priest, popularly known as Babalakyo, over allegations of forceful initiation of Muslims and Christians into the cult. Fourteen policemen of Eggon origin and three civilians, were arrested over suspected leakage of the operation.

The State Security Service (SSS) Director General, Ita Ekpenyong shocked many Nigerians when he said the security agency had forgiven the Ombatse cult members that killed 10 of its personnel.

Nigeria Governors' Forum election controversy

Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi, was on Friday, May 24, 2013 re-elected the chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) for a second term.

Amaechi defeated the Plateau State governor, Jonah Jang, after the decision of Katsina and Bauchi States governors, Ibrahim Shema and Isa Yuguda, who were seen as President Jonathan's candidates, to withdraw from the race. Amaechi got 19 votes, while Jang polled 16.

But soon after the results were announced, some of the governors, led by the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors Forum, Godswill Akpabio, headed for the Akwa Ibom Governor's Lodge, where they said they rejected the result. Since then, the Presidency has been according recognition to Jang as the NGF chairman.

ASUU's 6-month strike

Worried parents and members of the public expressed relief as the six-month-old nationwide strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over non-implementation of 2009 agreement between the union and the Federal Government was called off on Monday, December 16.

While the strike lasted, there were counter-accusations from both parties, alleging insincerity of purpose on the issue of the strike.

ASUU President, Dr. Nasir Fagge, said the union decided to call off the strike after diligent and careful appraisal of various reports, especially the resolutions signed last Wednesday by ASUU and the Federal Government.

A major casualty was recorded when the former National President of the union, Professor Festus Iyayi, died in an auto crash on his way to Kano to attend the National Executive Committee meeting of ASUU, where it was speculated that the union might have taken the decision to call off the strike. After Iyayi's death, the lecturers postponed their decision on the strike indefinitely.

Frustrated, federal government through the supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, had threatened to sack all the striking lecturers should they fail to resume classes within seven days, after accusing them of shifting introducing new demands.

Undaunted, ASUU insisted it would not call off its strike except government agreed on demands raised when it met with President Jonathan.

The Obasanjo letters

To round off the scandals in the year are the Obasanjo letters - as two letters, one from former president, Olusegun Obasanjo to President Goodluck Jonathan, and a purported response from an unlikely quarter, the former president's daughter, Iyabo, are now labelled.

There remains uncertainty over who actually authored the Iyabo letter, as the former senator, who now resides in the United States, has remained mum over the contents of the letter which thoroughly took her father to the cleaners. Editors at the Vanguard newspapers, which first published the Iyabo letter, maintained they stand by their story.

Obasanjo had written a letter to President Jonathan accusing him of numerous acts of bad governance, violating the constitution of the Peoples Democratic Party and training snipers to eliminate certain Nigerians.

The letter from the Ota farmer generated wide controversies, with supporters of the president accusing Obasanjo of deliberately giving Jonathan a bad name with a view to finally hang him towards the 2015 presidential election. The pro-Obasanjo group backed the letter, saying all the allegations therein rang true and commending the writer for what they called his courage, even if his own moral capital remains questionable.

The lacerating letter was still the country's hottest topic when the Iyabo letter came to town. The second Obasanjo letter, as was the first, dripped with bile, this time against the writer of the first. Iyabo was quoted in what was alleged to be her own words, as doubting the moral credibility of her father in condemning President Jonathan, when he Olusegun Obasanjo himself wasn't a signpost for commendable conduct.

The scandals of the two letters are not likely to taper off as 2013 expires; they may well spill into the new year. While President Jonathan will end the year reeling with the scandalous barbs his former godfather and mentor hurled at him, Olusegun Obasanjo, the whistleblower himself would be aching with the excruciating emotional pains any daughter could sting her father with. That is, if, Iyabo did, indeed, pen that damning letter.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2013 Daily Trust. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.