On 16 May, 13 days to the end of his tenure, Obasanjo announced to the Federal Executive Council, FEC, the award of contracts worth N756 billion. That proposal sailed through the council like a greased pig in a slaughter house. As Frank Nweke, then minister of Information, explained, N70 billion of this would be for the resuscitation of textile industries in Nigeria; N58.6 billion for the second Niger Bridge; its maintenance was to gulp N42 billion. The companies to execute the projects were not named.
Three days earlier, FEC, approved N16.53 billion port harbours reconstruction in Lagos; N20 billion, expansion of the Lagos airport; N4.8 billion, building of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, permanent accommodation; and N1.39 billion for the Ministry of Defence’s permanent residence for participants of War College Training Course in Abuja; N1.4 billion, conversion of steam and head for the power plants; N47.4 billion, conversion of the Alaoji Power Plant to double circuit; N3.5 billion for procurement and repair of two boilers at the Egbin Power Station in Lagos and N233 million was for fixing the Agege-Lagos Road.
THE ENTIRE N850BILLION WAS EMBEZZLED!
YET the same Obasanjo had the effrontery to accuse #GEJ of corruption among other things? And people are taking him serious? Nigeria is indeed a country filled with many people who cannot think for themselves – where everything is sacrifised at the alter of ethnicism and religion.
Corruption in Nigeria under Obasanjo administration
President Obasanjo used his position to corner considerable shares of Transcorp, a blue chip company that was formed overnight to corner juicy contracts and make fat company acquisitions. It was incorporated in November 2004 and officially launched on 21 July 2005, at the Presidential Banquet Hall, State House, Abuja, with Obasanjo as the special guest of honour.
The Transcorp matter was so serious that Chief Gani Fawehinmi, the human rights lawyer, dragged the former president to the Code of Conduct Bureau. He wanted Obasanjo tried over the activities of Transcorp and his shareholding in the company seized or forfeited to the federal government as provided for under item 18(2)c of the Code of Conduct for public officers contained in the fifth schedule, part 1 of the 1999 Constitution.
Fawehinmi lamented that during its formal launch on Thursday 21 July 2005, Obasanjo announced some concessions to the corporation as part of government support and encouragement.
These include: Licence to build a 400,000-barrel per day refinery, licence to build an independent power plant, access to the federal government cassava project for the construction of cassava processing exports facility, designed land mass for the construction of free port facilities, continued support to help open up market on the African continent and to make Transcorp a partner in Nigeria’s current policy on private/public partnership, creating additional opportunities to develop large scale projects in oil and gas, power and information and communications technology, ICT.
As Fawehinmi put it, the company acquired three prime business interests from Nigeria: four oil blocks, OPL218, 219, 209 and 220 allocated to it on 21 July 2005 by Obasanjo when it was launched; Nicon-Hilton, Abuja in October 2005 for $105million and NITEL on 3 July 2006 for $750million.
The lawyer noted that the Director-General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, and Chairman of Transcorp, Dr. Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke, admitted before the House of Representatives that the former president is a subscriber to Transcorp through Obasanjo Holdings Limited.
He added that, the admission by the Trustees–Elder Daniel Atsu and Barrister Lucky Egede–of Obasanjo Holdings Limited compounds the constitutional illegality of the ex-president’s involvement in Transcorp. Obasanjo Holdings Limited, the lawyer maintained, is the nominee of President Olusegun Obasanjo in Transcorp and acts on behalf of the president as a cover.
He argued: “for the president to allocate oil fields or blocs as the Minister of Petroleum Resources to Transcorp, a company in which he has substantial shares, is clearly an abuse of office contrary to section 15(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 which provides that, “the state shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power.”
The former president used his influence to sway the purchase of NITEL and Nicon-Hilton Hotel in favour of Transcorp, a practice which Fawehinmi regarded as “a corrupt act and violation of the code of conduct.”