he administration of Muhammadu Buhari, the current President of Nigeria – the most populous nation on the black continent, since 2015, has been filled with political leaders/politicians with cases of corruption dangling on their head switching allegiance to the APC, so as to erase or tuck all the charges leveled against them under the rug since the ruling party in Nigeria is likened to God – the one that giveth, taketh, and forgiveth at will.
The defection of such politicians to the APC has automatically halted the prosecution of their corruption cases — a pattern that contradicts the current regime’s self-proclaimed anti-corruption drive.
Adams Oshiomhole, a former National Chairman of the APC, declared during the 2019 elections that individuals who joined the ruling party would have their “sins” forgiven.
He urged additional politicians in opposition parties to follow in the footsteps of several PDP members who had defected to the APC at the time.
“I’m told that a number of prominent members of the PDP have chosen to team up with President Buhari to sweep the PDP out of power and ensure that the APC remains in power across the country.
“Another group of leaders has arrived. We’ve had a lot of other leaders come… in fact, once you join APC, all your sins are forgiven,” he had said.
We have catalogued a number of politicians with corruption issues progressively establishing a new gang in the APC, with the most recent being the defection of the discredited former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode.
Mr. Fani-Kayode was charged by the EFCC before Ms. Ofili-Ajumogobia in 2013 with a 40-count amended charge of money laundering involving about N100 million while he was the Minister of Aviation in 2006.
In May 2016, Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Nigerian Aviation Minister, was charged with laundering N49 million ($17 million) with several accomplices in a Lagos Federal High Court. On June 28, 2016, he was charged alongside three others: Nenadi Usman, an ex-Minister of Finance, Danjuma Yusuf, and a firm called Joint Trust Dimension Nigeria Limited.
The offenses were allegedly committed between January and March 2015 by the accused.
According to the Nigerian News Agency (NAN), Fani-Kayode, a former director of media and publicity for the Goodluck Jonathan campaign, and other defendants have pleaded not guilty to the accusations.
Femi Fani-Kayode was arrested by Nigeria’s anti-corruption Agency on Friday, October 21, 2016, in connection with a $2.1 billion corruption investigation.
He was apprehended outside a court building in Ikoyi, Lagos State, at around 1:55 PM local time (12:55 GMT).
The EFCC was looking into the misappropriation of $2.1 billion meant for the war against Boko Haram, which was part of a larger investigation into the alleged theft of $6.8 billion in public funds by Jonathan’s administration and the People’s Democratic Party.
Other former Jonathan government officials, including a former Security Advisor, Military Chiefs, and Senior Politicians, are facing charges related to the suspected misappropriation of armaments funds.
Fani-Kayode, who served as Jonathan’s spokesman during his failed 2014 presidential campaign, was apprehended outside the Federal High Court building in Ikoyi as he left a hearing in another corruption case in which he is on trial, according to a court official who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
His detention happened just days after his wife was temporarily held while attempting to withdraw money from an EFCC-monitored account.
In a statement released on Thursday, the former Minister predicted his arrest, alleging he would be charged with mismanaging cash intended for military equipment purchases.
The EFCC, he claimed, was pursuing “false” and politically motivated charges against him.
According to a government source, Fani-Kayode was arrested in 2014 for reportedly receiving $84,000 from the arms funding.
Fani-Kayode formally defected on September 16, 2021, and was introduced to President Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja by Mai Mala Buni, Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee and Governor of Yobe State.
Fani-Kayode, who has recently been seen socializing with APC leaders and bigwigs, claimed that his decision was guided by God.
The former Minister, who was known for his erratic views on public matters, went on to say that he joined the APC to assist bring the country together.
He once referred to the APC as a “filthy, rat-infested sinking ship,” and stated that he would rather die than join the group.
Although Fani-Kayode stated that he joined the APC to help unite the country, the facts and cases listed above plainly prove that he defected due to his EFCC corruption cases.
Femi Fani-Kayode reacted to Obanikoro and Omisore’s switch to the APC in 2018 by saying:
“I do not blame them for joining the ruling party to avoid persecution. Some are strong whilst others are weak. I would rather die than join APC or bow to Buhari.”
Musliliu Obanikoro, a former Defence Minister in former President Goodluck Jonathan’s regime, was detained by the EFCC on Monday, October 16, 2016.
Nigeria’s anti-corruption Agency had detained former Defense Minister Musiliu Obanikoro over the misuse of $2.1 billion allocated for the war against Boko Haram, according to a spokesman.
Obanikoro was detained in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, after arriving from the United States, according to his spokesman Jonathan Eze.
He was suspected and questioned by EFCC Officers about the theft of $6.8 billion in public monies by key officials in former President Goodluck Jonathan’s government and the PDP.
Money for the Military’s fight against Boko Haram in Northeast Nigeria was included in the amount.
Obanikoro was Defence Minister in 2014 until moving to the United States in mid-2015. He was accused of diverting $15.3 million from the armaments fund to his political campaign in 2014. Some of the payments were allegedly tracked to accounts controlled by Obanikoro’s children, according to the investigators. He vehemently rejects any misconduct.
Obanikoro officially announced his defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Saturday, November 25, 2017 in Lagos.
Iyiola Omisore, Senator
The EFCC proclaimed the former Deputy Governor of Osun State wanted in May, and he was detained on July 3, 2016, after N1.310 billion was traced to the accounts of five firms purportedly owned by him.
Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, a former Minister of State for Defence, and his two sons, Gbolahan and Babajide, were claimed to have disbursed N4.7 billion.
The N4.7 billion was allegedly transferred from the Office of the National Security Adviser’s account in 2014 to the Diamond Bank account of Sylvan McNamara, a company whose bank account is signed by Obanikoro’s sons.
Between July and August 2014, Omisore allegedly got the payments in four installments from Sylvan McNamara, only weeks before the Osun State Governorship race, which he lost.
Omisore joined the APC in February 2021 at his polling unit in Ward 6 in Ile-Ife, Osun State, and picked up his membership card.
On the platform of the SDP (Social Democratic Party), the former Deputy Governor ran for Governor in 2018.
Senator Omisore was also a candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party in the state’s 2014 Gubernatorial election.
Azubuike Ihejirika, Lieutenant General (retd.)
Azuibike Ihejirika was detained by the Department of State Services in 2016. His detention was linked to the $2.1 billion arms procurement investigation involving Sambo Dasuki, the former National Security Adviser.
“It is true that the former Chief of Army Staff was picked up. He’s assisting us with the arms acquisition inquiry from his time in the military, but it’s too early to say when he’ll be released on bail”, stated a source in the Department of State Services.
The former Army Chief of Staff had previously refuted the allegations leveled against him.
In a recent development, the retired Lieutenant General who served as Chief of Army Staff, joined the APC in March 2021.
Plateau State Ex-Governor, Joshua Dariye
Joshua Dariye, the former Governor of Plateau State, defected from the PDP to the APC in September 2016, after being convicted of criminal embezzlement and criminal breach of trust.
Dariye was prosecuted by the EFCC in 2007 for misappropriating N1.126 billion from the Plateau State government’s ecological budget.
Dariye was sentenced to 14 years in jail in June 2018 by Adebukola Banjoko, a Judge from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Gudu, who found him guilty on 15 of the 23 charges brought against him.
The sentence was decreased from 14 to 10 years by the Court of Appeal in Abuja in November 2018, and this was affirmed by a Five-man Supreme Court panel in March 2021.
Godswill Akpabio, Senator
Godswill Akpabio, the former Governor of Akwa Ibom State and current Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, defected from the PDP to the APC in 2018, claiming that he discovered President Muhammadu Buhari to be “a man of integrity and a nationalist.”
Meanwhile, there have been numerous allegations leveled against Akpabio throughout his time as Governor of Akwa Ibom State. Between 2007 and 2015, Akpabio was accused of diverting over N100 billion from the oil-rich state.
There have also been charges that he was involved in an N40 billion fraud at the Niger Delta Development Commission, which is under Akpabio’s Ministry’s jurisdiction.
Ex-Minister Of Aviation, Stella Oduah
Stella Oduah, a former Minister of Aviation who recently joined the APC, claimed she did so to shift the political narrative in the South-East on August 27, 2021.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has been investigating Oduah and others for their suspected involvement in a fraud involving over N9.4 billion.
A shady deal for the delivery of security equipment to 22 airports around the country was included in the claims.
Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi
David Umahi, the Governor of Ebonyi State, and members of his cabinet publicly defected from the PDP to the APC in November 2020, claiming that the PDP had treated the South-East geopolitical zone unfairly.
Meanwhile, the EFCC has tied Umahi to an armaments trade that allegedly diverted N400 million into private pockets during the 2015 presidential election.
Before joining the APC and having his “sins forgiven,” the governor’s property was likewise sealed.
Oyo State Ex-Governor, Adebayo Alao-Akala
Adebayo Alao-Akala, a former governor of Oyo State, is said to have switched to the APC from the ADP (Action Democratic Party) in 2019.
The EFCC had accused Akala, Hosea Agboola, a former Oyo State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, and Femi Babalola, an Ibadan-based businessman, of a N11.5 billion fraud case.
The trio was charged with conspiracy, awarding contracts without budgetary provision, getting money under false pretenses, purchasing property with money obtained from an illegal act, and hiding its ownership, among other charges.
Abia State Ex-Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu
Orji Kalu, the former Governor of Abia State, finally joined the ruling APC in November 2016 following a nine-year court struggle to escape being convicted of corruption charges.
While his prosecution by the EFCC for suspected money laundering to the tune of N3.2 billion was proceeding, Kalu quit the Progressives Peoples Alliance for the APC.