2019 Gubernatorial Race: Corruption Snag On APC Candidates

The Nigeria Anti-Corruption Vanguard Interim reports on cleared APC Governorship Candidate for 2019

When the president Muhammadu Buhari administration came into the saddle in 2015, ‘Change’ was the mantra the All Progressives Congress, APC, rode on to dislodge the then Goodluck Ebele Jonathan administration, citing massive corruption and day light looting of national wealth.

The Buhari administration has since been known to have waged tremendous war on corruption. This has however been appreciated by world powers, who have revealed that the level of corruption that has wreck the nation has minimized since Buhari came into power.

Several public office holders are been jailed, some arrested, prosecuted, it’s worrisome that  some individuals who have cases to answer and are been probed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences, ICPC are emerging Candidates of the APC, a party supposedly known to be fighting corruption.

The National Working Committee of the APC screened and announced 24 candidates that emerged victorious during the gubernatorial primaries in different states across the federation, interim reports shows that some of the candidates have pending corruption charges against them.

“Looking at the scorecard of the Buhari administration on corruption, it is devastating and disappointing that the APC could cleared some governorship candidates with serious corruption cases to answer with at the EFCC and ICPC, this basically shows that the party is not on the same page with President Buhari in the quest to rid Nigeria political space of corrupt elements, ” Oloye Ayokunle National Coordinator of Nigeria Anti-Corruption Vanguard said.

The group said the emergence of anyone with corrupt cases would stall the process of justice “and most times the cases suffer serious setback because of the immunity enjoyed by these individuals while occupying public offices.”

We call on all Political Parties and INEC to reject the candidature of anyone whose integrity is been challenged in court, until their innocence is proven.

“Putting candidates with corrupt records forward for election by any political party is an endorsement of corruption; this certainly is not good for the progress made so far in the war against corruption.”

The group urges anti-corruption agencies to speed up prosecution of political candidates before commencement of election.

“EFCC and ICPC has a huge task ahead, they must conclude cases of anyone seeking to contest elective positions before the general election, delaying the trial could enable them get re-elected to public offices.”

It’s morally wrong for any political party to allow individuals who does not have a clean bill to emerged as party’s candidates, following corruption allegations leveled against them by the anti-graft agencies, and they are yet to be cleared by the agencies, which is a snag on their political ambition and the party they are hoisting its flag.

The following cleared APC governorship Candidates and their corrupt cases

Nsima Ekere, the APC governorship candidate in Akwa-Ibom state has a case to answer with the ICPC. The anti-graft agency filed a charge against the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)for allegedly frustrating its investigation.

The charge marked: CR/187/18 was filed at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and signed by a senior prosecuting officer with ICPC, Osuobeni Ekoi Akponimisingha.

The ICPC, in the two-count charge with, NDDC and Ekere listed as defendants, accused Ekere of frustrating its investigation into some projects executed by the NDDC.

Particularly, ICPC accused Ekere of refusing to honour invitation/ request for documents on the construction of Umuihe-Odo-Umuanya Road, Umuahia South Local Government Area of Abia State.

Although the charge has been assigned to a judge of the court, a date is yet to be fixed for arraignment.

The charge reads: That you Mr. Nsima U. Ekere Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), sometime in the month of March 2017 or thereabout, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court wilfully refused to honour a lawful invitation/request for document through a letter reference lCPC/ CH/CSU.MS/170/ 2017, dated March 9. 2017 and received on March 16. 2017 by the independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in respect of investigation activities on the project file(s) on the construction of Umuihe-Odo-Umuanya Road, Umuahia South Local Government Area of Abia State and you thereby commuted an offence contrary to and punishable under section 28(10) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act. 2000.

Ekere was also alleged to be involved in a dupery scandal, monstrous squandermania and diversion of funds meant for development of the region.

This time, a whooping sum of Two Hundred Million Naira (N200, 000, 000. 00) meant for drilling industrial boreholes and other public utilities in Etim Ekpo Local Government Area, is said to have been diverted with the sum of 50 Million Naira given to one Isaac Uwem, from Abat Town in Etim Ekpo, to launch the governorship campaigns of the NDDC boss in Abak Federal Constituency.

For Tonye Cole, the APC candidate in Rivers State for the 2019 election is still under EFCC watch list for his involvement in the 2012 Fuel Subsidy Scandal.

Sani Abubakar Danladi who emerged the APC gubernatorial candidate in Taraba state is currently facing trial in several court on corruption allegation.

The former Acting governor of Taraba State was arrested by the EFCC in respect of the N450m collected by him through Senators Joel Dallami Ikenya and Hon. Mark Bako Useni during the 2015 Presidential Election.

The amount in question was part of the N23b allegedly doled out by former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election.

Danladi told interrogators that he chaired the 8man committee that disbursed the money for Taraba state. He further stated that, he and the other members of the committee shared N36m among themselves while the balance of N414m was distributed to other stakeholders across the 16 local government areas of the state and one Development Area Council.

Danladi had earlier been arrested over allegation of corruption, fraud and abuse of office.

Danladi was at a time impeached by the Taraba state House of Assembly for diverting government funds.

Part of the allegation against Danladi includes diversion of funds meant for projects under the millennium Development Goals (MDG). EFCC accused Danladi of using the loot to establish a private school, Yagai Academy. The school is worth N1.3billion.

Danladi, was also sacked as a Senator but currently works as a special adviser to Senate President Bukola Saraki

Uche Ogah, President of Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited, was unceremoniously arrested by operatives of the EFCC at the premises of a Lagos State Magistrates’ Court in Tinubu, Lagos Island. Ogah was arrested as soon as he stepped out of the courtroom after the forgery charges filed against him by the Police were withdrawn.

The defendants were accused of conspiring with some persons still at large to forge a Memorandum of Understanding between Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited and Mut-Hass Petroleum Limited sometime in March 2011.

Ogah and some other persons still at large were alleged to have forged the signature of one Mrs. Bridget Adeosun.

The charges read, “That you, Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited, Uche Ogah, and others at large sometime in March 2011 at Ikeja, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did conspire among yourselves to wit: forgery.

Ogah is presently been paraded as the APC candidate for the 2019 polls in Abia. This certainly is a snag on the Buhari corruption drive.

Adebayo Adelabu, a former deputy governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was sometimes ago grilled in Lagos by the EFCC. He was also alleged to have connived with former minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke. Reports have it that the deputy governor of CBN who was interrogated was admitted to administrative bail by the anti-graft agency.

At the APC primaries in Oyo state, Adelabu emerged the APC candidate in Oyo with a retinue of allegation of fraud against him by the anti-graft agency, which he is yet to clear himself from.


Oloye Ayokunle

Coordinator, NACV