Babachir David Lawal
The office of the Secretary of the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir David Lawal has been fingered in alleged N1.5billion bribery scam to bring back Engr Tuoyo Omastuli, as an Executive Director, Project (EDP) in the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
A reliable source in the Presidency told our correspondent that the sacked former EDP, Engr Omastuli who is currently on administrative bail from the EFCC, Port Harcourt zonal office, had allegedly spent a whopping sum of N1.5b in an attempt to return back to office as the EDP in the proposed board of the NDDC.
The scheme, we understand started when Engr Omastuli single handedly funded Gov Timipriye Silva recent Bayelsa governorship election to the tune of over N500 million. This he did on the commitment by Silva that he will get the SGF to facilitate his reappointed as EDP. According to our sources, to get the SGF to act, another N1 billion was allegedly channel through Gov Silva.
In order to give the recommendation a human face, the SGF allegedly approached the Minister for State, Petroleum to write the letter of recommendation to the office of the SGF to reappoint Engr Omastuli as the EDP of NDDC on the basis that his reappointment will provide for continuity in the new board.
The source added that Dr. Ibe Kachukwu, at first was reluctant knowing that the reappointment of Engr Omastuli would be a difficult one to sell to APC members in Delta but acquiesced after pressure was piled on him by Gov Silva and SGF.
As directed, he wrote the letter of recommendation, recommending Engr Tuoyo Omastuli for re-appointment and armed with the letter of recommendation; the SGF allegedly wrote a memo to the President on the needs to reappoint Omastuli on the strength of Kachukwu’s recommendation.
However, luck ran out for Engr Omastuli, when the Presidency insisted on new faces across-the-board and refused to buy into the argument to reverse its earlier decision, and go back to reappoint a man who is currently been investigated by the EFCC and on administrative bail for alleged corruption and misapplication of fund.
The source stated that, in other not to lose his heavy financial investments, Engr Omastuli and his partner, Chief Ayiri Emami, were encouraged to recruit people to protest the appointment of the new EDP and to go under the ethnic cover of the marginalisation of Itsekiri people. That if they are able to sustain a strong protest, the SGF will use that as a basis to insist on him being reappointment.
Engr Omastuli, a former personal assistant (PA) to Ex-Gov Uduaghan (himself an Itsekiri) was appointed through Uduaghan to the EDP position in 2013. He and Chief Ayiri, former PDP strong men, defected to join APC immediately President Buhari won the elections allegedly to protect the EDP position.
The strategy was also to protect the interest of their PDP contractors and cronies who have vested interest in NDDC. Upon defection, they allegedly adopted Gov Silva as their godfather and played a strong hand in his governorship election bid. This is why Delta State is recording the most virulent and we’ll funded protest among all states in the Niger Delta, our sources claimed.
Our sources also claimed that other than failing in the Engr Omastuli project, Gov Silva even failed to secure his own nominees from Bayelsa in the NDDC board as the President, being aware of the corrupted compromises linked to him, completely sidelined him, our sources further alleged.