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Tag Archives: Bola Tinubu

Some people want to use and crush Tinubu – Mailafia

Dr Obadiah Mailafia, a former deputy governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says there are some unidentified people who want to use Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state, and “crush him.”

In an interview with PUNCH, Mailafia said though, Tinubu could discern talents and mentor them to leadership roles, he has been “abjectly naive.”

The former deputy governor of CBN said this when he was asked to comment on a statement credited to Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, on zoning arrangements for the office of president.

Mailafia described the governor of Kaduna as “a man of ambition who is susceptible to grand self delusions of the order of Bonaparte.”

“The 1999 constitution does not require ‘zoning’ as such. However, I believe that evolving constitutional conventions and norms lead us ineluctably in that direction,” he said.

“Governor Nasir el-Rufai is evidently a man of ambition, and often susceptible to grand self delusions of the order of Bonaparte. Obasanjo in his memoirs describes him (el-Rufai) as someone who is loyal only to himself.

“At a dinner lecture in Lagos recently, he fired salvos at the lion of Bourdillon, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The latter, we all concede, has this extraordinary clairvoyance and percipience for identifying talents and mentoring them for leadership. But Jagaban Borgu has been abjectly naïve.

“He does not know that they just want to use him and crush him. He would be wise to be wary of those whose traditions of rulership allows them to give their daughter to you in marriage only for the sole purpose of finding out your innermost weaknesses, the better to destroy you.”

He said it appears that Tinubu does not seem to understand “the kind of political animals he is dealing with.”

“He doesn’t realise that the game-plan is to exploit to the fullest his political and financial capital and to forebear with him until such a time as they are in a position to run him aground,” Mailafia said.

He added that Tinubu has the right to aspire to become president but “the north will not relinquish power any time soon.”

Tinubu dismisses reports claiming herdsmen killed Fasoranti’s daughter

All Progressives Congress stalwart, Bola Tinubu, has rubbished reports linking herdsmen to the murder of Olufunke Olakunrin, the daughter of Afenifere Chairman, Reuben Fasoranti.

Tinubu expressed his opinion while fielding questions from journalists after paying a condolence visit to Fasoranti at his Akure home on Sunday.

He said it was unfortunate that some people were using the death of Mrs. Olakunri to play politics, adding that kidnapping had always been taking place in the country.

The APC leader said crime had no tribal affiliation even as he wondered where “the cows” were when the alleged herdsmen attack took place.

Tinubu said, “How many years ago have we faced insecurity in this country and cases of kidnapping? Is Evans who was arrested, and his disclosure, then a herdsman? I don’t want to be political. The question is where are the cows?

The APC national leader, however, admitted that the security challenges in the country must be addressed.

He said the herdsmen issues should not be allowed to divide the country.

Tinubu said, “I am a nationalist and the security concerns and challenges right now must be faced squarely throughout Nigeria. The incident that affected one member of our family, Mrs Olakunri, is saddening and unacceptable but nobody can return her alive, she has answered the call of her creator.

“We must not use this incident to divide ourselves but we must use it as a cure to the security problem by providing additional police and patrol.

“We also need additional security reinforcement along Ore Road and various flashpoints across the country. I have discussed this with various authorities. The governor is aware and being proactive about this.

“The security challenges are numerous across this country. More police are being recruited and it takes time to train and deploy them in various areas, nobody prepares more than necessary for this.”

Osinbajo’s firm linked to company fingered in alleged N100bn Alpha Beta scam

 

A company in which Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has a stake, Simmons Coopers Partners, has been linked to another firm, Ocean Trust Limited, which was fingered in an alleged N100bn scam involving Alpha Beta Consulting Limited and Alpha Beta LP.

Ocean Trust Limited, which was accused of being a conduit for diversion and laundering of funds by Alpha Beta, listed the law firm of Simmons Coopers as its company secretary, documents exclusively obtained from the Corporate Affairs Commission by Saturday Punch showed.

Simmons Coopers was listed as a company in which Prof Yemi Osinbajo (now Vice-President) had a stake in his asset declaration form in 2015, according to the statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

In a petition submitted to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in July 2018, Dapo Apara, the erstwhile managing director of Alpha Beta, had alleged that Alpha Beta owed the Federal Government N100bn in unpaid taxes spanning over 10 years, adding that the firm usually laundered funds through another firm, Ocean Trust Limited.

He alleged that the firm was being protected by powerful politicians.

The petition by Apara’s lawyer, Adetunji Adegboyega, read in part, “Over the years, the company (Alpha Beta) has been protected and shielded by some powerful politicians and people in the society which made them to always boast of being untouchable.

“But our client, feeling the need not to keep quiet again and strengthened by his belief in the fact that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is keen on fighting corruption which has been the bane of our country, is of the firm view that it is time to expose and open the can of worms called Alpha Beta Consulting.

“Our client is of the firm belief that it is time for the commission to step in and conduct a holistic investigation into the activities of Alpha Beta Consulting Limited and Alpha Beta LLP with a view to uncovering the massive corruption, money laundering, tax evasion, etc., going on in the company.

“Kindly note that one of the companies being used to perpetrate money laundering by the company is still another company named Ocean Trust Limited.”

Osinbajo’s reaction

When contacted on the relationship between Osinbajo’s firm, Simmons Coopers and Ocean Trust, the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice-President on Media, Mr Laolu Akande, said he would not comment on the matter unless he was shown the document indicating Simmons Coopers was Ocean Trust’s company secretary.

But, a source close to Osinbajo claimed that “the Vice President has since 2014 left the firm. There is no interest there anymore.”

The source added, “And I think you should talk to the EFCC about its own decisions. It does not make sense that the EFCC will say it is not prosecuting or, as you say, investigating or probing (the allegations) because of what you claimed.”

However, Osinbajo in 2015 listed Simmons Coopers as one of his companies in his asset declaration form.

Where is Ocean Trust?

Saturday Punch, which investigated Ocean Trust Limited for three months, conducted a search at the Corporate Affairs Commission.

It was noted during a CAC search that the firm was registered with number 419706 on January 5, 2011, and is located at 684, Idowu Taylor Street, Victoria Island, Lagos and had Gboyega Iyiola and Kunle Akinniyi as shareholders at the inception both of whom relinquished their shares two days later on January 7, 2011.

One of documents exclusively obtained from the Corporate Affairs Commission
Incidentally, the property where Ocean Trust Limited is located shares the same address with the office of former Governor Bola Tinubu of Lagos State known as ‘Freedom House’.

All efforts to contact Ocean Trust Limited proved futile as investigations by Saturday Punch showed that the company might no longer be in operation.

Also, attempts to speak with its management turned out to be a wild goose chase.

When one of our correspondents visited the company’s address at the Freedom House, Plot 684, Idowu Taylor Street, a fair-complexioned lady, who said she was an employee of Ocean Trust Limited, told Saturday Punch that the company was no longer located there.

When asked if it was true that the firm was being used to launder funds for Alpha Beta, the lady, who refused to identify herself, asked our correspondent to send an email which she would forward to her boss.

Over three weeks after one of our correspondents sent her an email, a response was still being awaited as of the time of filing this report on Friday.

A visit to Ocean Trust’s second listed address at 42 Norman Williams Avenue, Ikoyi, Lagos yielded no positive result as the compound looked deserted having been overtaken by weeds.

Saturday Punch met with a lady, who simply gave her name as Blessing, and confirmed that the place was being used by Ocean Trust. She, however, said she could not speak on any issue as the place was only a correspondence office.

After a brief chat, she gave one of our reporters a phone number that she claimed belonged to an accountant with Ocean Trust.

When Saturday Punch called the number, a man who picked the phone said he was not a staff member of the company.

After one of our correspondents told Blessing that the ‘accountant’ denied working for Ocean Trust, she referred him to the head office on 9 Grace Anjous Street, Lekki Phase I to make an enquiry.

When one of our correspondents got to the address, a male receptionist initially confirmed that the office belonged to Ocean Trust.

However, after an introduction as a journalist, he retracted his statement and said the premises belonged to Paragon Holdings and only delivered correspondences to Ocean Trust.

He said, “Ocean Trust is not one of our partners; they used to use here to receive correspondences, but they no longer come here.

“They are not our partners again. Here, we only deal with their files, both physical and electronic.”

While questioning the receptionist on why he had earlier admitted that the place belonged to Ocean Trust, another man emerged from one of the offices in the building and said Ocean Trust was no longer in existence.

He said, “To the best of my knowledge, Ocean Trust is not functioning. We only receive correspondences for them, but in terms of business, they stopped existing before the end of the (former Lagos State Governor Babatunde) Fashola’s administration. We don’t even know who they are. They’ve folded up since.”

EFCC yet to take action

One year after Apara’s petition, the EFCC has yet to take any action on the matter.

The EFCC spokesman, Tony Orilade, had said in February that the petitioner should send a reminder as the petition could not be traced.

In a recent chat with Saturday Punch  on why the commission had refused to respond to media inquiries for over a month, the EFCC spokesman asked one of our correspondents to give him more time to react.

Efforts made thereafter to get a response from the EFCC did not yield result.

As of Friday when this report was being filed, Orilade had yet to respond.

Apara, who accused the firm of tax evasion to the tune of N100bn, also told Saturday Punch that the EFCC had yet to contact him a year after the petition had been submitted.

“I have still not been contacted by the EFCC,” he said in response to an inquiry.

Alpha Beta controversies

Alpha Beta Consulting was awarded a contract by the Tinubu-led government after a recommendation by a committee comprising the then attorney-general of Lagos State, Prof Osinbajo (now the Vice-President); Mr Wale Edun, the then commissioner for finance; and a former commissioner for economic planning and budget, Yemi Cardoso.

The firm was subsequently given exclusive rights to collect taxes on behalf of Lagos State and was believed to receive about 10 per cent commission from the revenue it collected for the state.

However, pro-transparency groups and opposition politicians have constantly alleged that Tinubu owns Alpha Beta.

In 2012, a Lagos-based medical doctor, Dominic Adegbola, filed a Freedom of Information request to state authorities, seeking detailed information on all Alpha Beta contracts with Lagos State since 1999.

But the state’s Attorney-General then, Ade Ipaye, (now Osinbajo’s chief of staff), rejected the request, insisting that the FoI was a federal law that did not apply to the states.

However, in November 2017, a state judge ruled that the FoI was applicable to Lagos State. The judge said the law was duly enacted by the National Assembly and did not require domestication to take effect in states.

When one of our correspondents visited the office of Alpha Beta at the Lagos Water Corporation Building, Ijora Causeway, Lagos, the company’s Head of Corporate Support Services and General Counsel, Mr Omogbemi Adelagun, said the matter was already in court and, therefore, he could not comment on the issue.

“If the matter had not been taken to court, we would have been able to react to it. So, right now, we cannot say anything until the court rules on the case,” he said.

Alpha Beta LLP had, however, said in an advertorial in response to the allegations levelled against it by its former MD that the accusations were illogical and false.

The advertorial read in part, “Alpha Beta has been visibly engaged by the Lagos State Government since 2002 as a forensic, internal control and enhancement adviser. In working with the state, Alpha Beta helped develop the state’s centralised transaction platforms, the precursor to the present-day Treasury Single Account.”

The firm said at the time it entered into the contract with Lagos State, the state was taking in the sum of N600m in internally generated revenue per month but things had since changed for the better.

Meanwhile, the Alpha Beta’s former managing director, Apara, has approached a Federal High Court, Abuja, “directing an investigation to be made by the Corporate Affairs Commission into the conduct of Alpha Beta Consulting Limited.”

Apara, who said he had been and remained a director of the firm since its incorporation, with control of 30 per cent of its shares value, also alleged that the financial records of the company filed with the CAC and tax authorities did not reflect the actual profits of the company or of its directors.

He alleged among others in the suit that he and shareholders of the company were being owed their remunerations.

Also praying for the takeover of the management of the company by an appointee of the court, the suit urged the court “to appoint a receiver or a receiver manager of the property of Alpha Beta Consulting Limited.”

The suit, couched as a “petition” and brought under the Companies Proceedings Rules and Order 5 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2009, was filed on November 9, 2018 and marked FHC/ABJ/PET/2018.

When contacted on the telephone, a former Senior Partner at Simmons Coopers, Babatunde Irukera, said he had never heard of Ocean Trust Limited and wondered how Simmons Coopers could have served as its company secretary.

Irukera, who is now the Executive Secretary, Consumer Protection Council and had served as managing partner at Simmons Coopers during the time in question, directed our correspondent to another partner, Victoria Alonge.

Alonge told Saturday PUNCH that she had never heard of Ocean Trust Limited and asked the reporter for more time.

She said Simmons Coopers had checked all its records and had not found Ocean Trust in its books, adding that it had no record with the CAC.

When one of our correspondents dictated the contents of the document linking Simmons Coopers with Ocean Trust, Alonge expressed shock and asked that the document be sent to her.

She, however, maintained that Vice-President Osinbajo was a man of honour and honesty and would never hinder the EFCC from doing its job.

Alonge said, “Simmons Coopers has never had any dealings with Ocean Trust. We are also doing our own investigations. We checked our Abuja records and Ocean Trust is not stated there. This is new to us and it cannot be insinuated that Prof Osinbajo is stopping the EFCC from doing its job.

“For us, there is nothing to hide. As a partner, I should be in a position to know. We are still checking our records and we haven’t found anything.”

The PUNCH

2023: Tinubu disowns supporters group, fails to address rumour of presidential ambition

All Progressives Congress stalwart, Bola Tinubu, has distanced himself from a group promoting his purported 2023 Presidential ambition.

He, however, failed to state if he was nursing any presidential ambition or not.

In a statement by his Media Office, the former Lagos State governor said, “We have seen pictures of face caps, T-shirts, shirts and even leaflets with Bola Tinubu 2023 embossed on them purportedly by a faceless group which christened itself ‘Asiwaju Reloaded Ambassadors’ Nigeria’. Neither the group nor its souvenirs are known to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

“We hereby, through this medium, categorically deny any knowledge of the group and dissociate Asiwaju Tinubu from the group’s unsolicited and unwarranted materials.”

The idea of Tinubu’s Presidential ambition was propagated by former Senate President Bukola Saraki who claimed last year that the former governor was supporting President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election with the hope that Buhari would, in turn, support him in 2023.

Tinubu among promoters of Ruga – Odumakin

Afenifere chieftain, Yinka Odumakin, says All Progressives Congress chieftain, Bola Tinubu, is one of the promoters of the Ruga initiative which seeks to give free land to herdsmen for cattle grazing and other forms of animal husbandry.

Odumakin drew the attention of Nigerians to Tinubu’s speech at a national summit on conflict resolution organised by The Nation and TV Continental with the theme, ‘Towards an Enduring Peace.’

He noted that at the event which held at the Nigerian Air Force Centre, Abuja on October 8, 2018, Tinubu said, “The government must help herders gradually shift from their traditional nomadic existence to a more static lifestyle. We have to face the reality that modernity is making the nomadic way counterproductive and inefficient.

“Unoccupied, isolated land can quickly be turned into grazing areas in the affected states. In the long run, this will enable herders to better maintain their livestock and thus their own livelihood.”

Speaking with our correspondent during an interview on Monday, the Afenifere spokesman said it was for this reason that Tinubu could not join other prominent Yoruba leaders in rejecting the Ruga programme.

Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka; the Aare Oona Kakanfo, Otunba Gani Adams, the Ooni of Ife, Enitan Ogunwusi; and other prominent Nigerians have all condemned the scheme.

Odumakin said, “It would be a waste of time to expect Tinubu to say anything on the Ruga matter. Don’t forget that in 2018, it was reported in The PUNCH that he said all unused lands should be given to herdsmen for grazing. I spoke up then but he lambasted me.

“What we are witnessing today is a manifestation of what he said. So, how can he come out today to oppose Ruga? He advocated Ruga.

“To expect Asiwaju to speak against Ruga is like expecting a shadow to shed tears. It will never happen.”

The Afenifere spokesman also noted that the Ruga initiative and the National Livestock Development Plan being handled by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo were not different from each other as claimed by President Muhammadu Buhari’s Spokesman, Garba Shehu.

Ambode says decisions taken was with best interest of Lagos in mind, thanks Buhari, Tinubu, others

Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday said all the decisions, plans, programmes and policies of his administration in the last four years were taken with the best interest of Lagos in mind and for common good of all residents of the State.

Governor Ambode, in a farewell State broadcast to officially mark the end of his administration, said the driving force with respect to programmes executed was to lift more people out of poverty and make every part of the State economically viable and livable.

“For this administration, policies, programmes and projects aimed at lifting more of our people out of poverty and making every part of the State safe, accessible and economically viable were always the priority; the driving force behind all our decisions and plans.

“A few of our policies might have been unpopular but these were decisions taken with the best interest of our State in mind. With the benefit of hindsight, maybe we could have done some things differently but our intention was always clear, for the good of Lagos,” Governor Ambode said.

He particularly commended the people for the constructive feedback to some of the policies of his administration which, according to him, helped to surmount challenges, saying it had been a remarkable journey to serve the State.

“With a heart full of gratitude, I address you today for the last time as your governor. It has been an honour and a privilege of a lifetime to serve you for the last four years.

“It has been a remarkable journey which has had a lasting impact in my life and I want to thank all Lagosians for the experience of these last four years.

“As in the beginning when we visited every single corner of this state listening to you and asking for your votes, I have felt the power of your support, your collective energy and the endless goodwill that has propelled us to achieve many things,” he said.

Describing Lagos as a place where dreams come true and a home for everyone, Governor Ambode said it was the duty of all residents to continue to ensure that the State remained the true centre of opportunities and growth for all.

“From being just a commercial centre, our State has now become a prime destination for tourism, sports, entertainment and culture. And the future is even brighter with more exciting prospects and possibilities. In the near future, with God on our side, Lagos will take its rightful place in the comity of major city-States of the world.

“Fellow Lagosians, it has been a remarkable journey. One in which we have pushed boundaries and moved our State to another level. A journey in which we have transformed many aspects of our State and set the ball rolling in other sectors. But there is still a lot more to be done.

“But it is a job not for only the government; it is a responsibility for us all. In Lagos everyone counts and we all have a part to play,” he said.

While appreciating the people for the support given to successive administrations in the State, Governor Ambode also urged all stakeholders to support the incoming administration of Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, saying such would be in the best interest of all.

“By tomorrow, there will be a change of guard in our State. I will be stepping down and a new Governor will be sworn in. We will have a new Governor and a new administration with the same objective; achieving a better Lagos.

“Those who have had the privilege of serving our dear State in different capacities especially as Governors owe their successes to your prayers, understanding and support. The same courtesy and cooperation that you gave to my predecessors from the first elected Governor of the State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande to our national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) to my humble self, I urge you to extend same to the next administration of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and ensure that he succeeds. It is in our best interest to do so,” he said.

Besides, Governor Ambode thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the executive, the legislature, the judiciary; leadership, elders and members of All Progressives Congress (APC); Local Government Councils and community leaders, all our security agencies, civil society groups and religious leaders, among others for their immense support throughout the tenure of his administration.

“To my wife, Bolanle and the children, who have had to endure many days and nights without me; I thank you for your love and steadfastness. You will continue to be my pillar of strength.

“To all Lagosians; for your love, compassion, cooperation and support, I am eternally grateful. My love always,” Governor Ambode concluded.

Bode George slams Tinubu over 2023 presidential ambition

National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, was on Thursday, taken to the cleaners over his 2023 presidential ambition.

Former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George, who spoke in Lagos, wondered why Tinubu’s ambition is being championed by his loyalists “even when President Muhammadu Buhari is yet to be sworn in for a second term”.

George said: “I’m shocked by his ambition. It is a silly and inordinate ambition such as this that is driving our people into the gutters. He is ignorantly arrogant. We should pray for such characters”.

He wondered why Tinubu should be talking about 2023 presidency now “when only God can determine who would be alive by then. What he should be thinking about now is the legacy he would be remembered for and not a presidency that is beyond his control”.
Speaking on insecurity in the country, George warned that the nation is at crossroads and that “it would take the Grace of God to bring it back”.

“I speak today devoid of partisan frame, stripped of political identification, removed from any ethnic prejudice. I speak today as a concerned Nigerian Elder and Patriot.

“We are all ill-defined, ill-shaped, broken into a thousand pieces. The democratic purity is dangerously distorted, bruised, disfigured, savaged, hurled to the brink of a ruinous precipice. Our once glorious and beautiful mosaic of cultural plurality and sectarian diversity are being mangled, forfeited on the altar of infantile partisan and parochial divisions.”

He lamented that “this nation is without ethical leadership, without honour, without credible vision, lacking in purposeful articulation. The scourge of nepotism, the poisonous bile of tribal triumphalism, the hate infested curse of provincial fixities are now gaining grounds everywhere, defining the thematic aberrations of our times.

“Let us be truthful and frank: our nation is embattled, scourged and savaged by the virtual selfishness of our collective elites. We are all guilty for the present ravaged state of our troubled nation. The ogre created by the selfishness of the few has come to haunt us all.

“But beyond the harsh confines of ethnic divisions, beyond the savageries of partisan furore, we are yet confronted by the murderous furies of bandits and faceless herdsmen who continuously subject every inch of this nation to a vast killing fields where none can claim a refuge of undisturbed safety and guaranteed protective cordon.

“Now both the rich and the poor are easy targets. The dividing lines are now blurred, indistinguishable, flung upon the whims and the reckless inflictions of murderous bandits who negotiate with no one except when the price is right.
“Alas we are now in a conundrum. Our nation is affrighted, thrown upon a suspended animation. We are hindered and halted in a cul de sac. Nothing seems bright and sunny anymore.

“But there must be a better way. We must return to the path of fairness and enlightened equity. We must return to the path of balanced ingredients of democratic purity where the logical essence of checks and balances prevail among the tripodal branches of the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. Justice must prevail over partiality, inequity and unfairness. The enlightened society can only be established when everyone, regardless of tribe and tongue, is treated fairly in the Nigerian commonwealth”.