Friday, September 20, 2019 7:04 pm
By Umoh Edet
Recently, many had frowned upon President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to appoint persons mainly of northern extraction into major positions in government. Notable individuals identified as being abhorrent of such nepotistic tendency were either persecuted or attacked by hirelings of the government.
Currently, feelers from the Presidency tend to suggest a desperation by a cabal to whittle down the powers of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. It is believed that the said cabal would stop at nothing to achieve its carnal objectives steeped in the politics of 2023. Osinbanjo’s sin, as being said, was his asserting presidential powers when President Buhari handed over to him, while recuperating in a London hospital. Some of the decisions the cabal had turned albatross on the VP’s neck included the sacking of then Director of the Department of State Security, Mamman Daura, and confirming the appointment of Justice Walter Onnoghen as the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN. How these actions could provoke so much ire in this power-mongering lot is baffling.
Moreover, there are indications the situation will get messier in the coming days, as there are more people involved in the plot than are known to members of the public. The hawks, as alleged, include President Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari; Daura himself, former minister Babagana Kingibe; Senator Ibikunle Amosun, and Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai.
Also, it is said that the cabal is determined to unleash its onslaught on those believed to have links to VP Osinbajo including the Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Babatude Fowler. The cabal’s interest in Fowler is equally due to his closeness to the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, under whose administration the former served as Chairman of the Lagos Inland Revenue Service, LIRS. It is well known that Fowler’s brilliant performance as LIRS helmsman, which saw the Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, rising astronomically, was the spur for his current appointment. But, to this power mongers, this apparently count for nothing.
Sadly, these individuals have recruited as their foot soldiers some key staffers in the FIRS, chief among them the body’s Director of Finance. The said Director, also a northerner, has continued to sponsor fictitious petitions against Fowler to the Presidency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC; the Independent Commission for Corrupt Practices, ICPC; the DSS, and the Nigerian Police. Contrary to this top staffer’s plan, he believed Fowler’s appointment would terminate August 2019.
Seeing that the plot to tarnish Fowler’s image in order to force him out had failed, the cabal’s henchmen in the FIRS decided to intensify their campaign of calumny against him.
Against all known facts, the hate-filled staffer had falsely claimed Fowler stole N2.3billion from the coffers of FIRS. They had hoped to drag the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, into their selfish game but met a stiff resistance in him and the plan backfired on them. As it would turn out, the masterminds of the specious claims were some of President Buhari’s men who are trying to turn the Presidency into their fiefdom. Indeed, the culprits of the missing billions had merely employed a reverse psychology and were currently being forced to cough out what they had stole.
Sadly, President Buhari had been duped by his men into believing that persons other then they were the looters. The only reason the President believed the dummy sold to him was simply because the masterminds were northern Muslims like him. Frustrated, the hawks began to mobilize people who donated billions of naira to their wicked cause in exchange for Fowler’s job.
In continuation of the Northern agenda to remove Fowler, the Chief of Staff to the President had issued Fowler a querry, in which he claimed the nation’s earnings had dwindled on his watch.
Fowler’s detailed reply became his saving grace, which saw the cabal’s war chest for media propaganda going into the drain. In fact, so pained was the President’s Chief of Staff that he picked a quarrel with editors of two prominent national newspapers for failing to nail their target. Not done, the hawks again went to the President to lie that the FIRS boss was giving tax consultants engaged by the body to drive revenue 20% commission.
Equally, they claimed kickbacks from the consultants were shared among Fowler, Tinubu and the Vice President. Buhari believed them 100% and was about to take action until another northerner, who was guided by his conscience, revealed evidences that FIRS only pay 1% commission to tax consultants. This also threw the hawks into disarray.
The other lie told to the President was that Fowler hates northerners and Muslims.
They had claimed Fowler had been favouring only Southerns in his choice of appointment, since becoming the FIRS chairman. But demographic shows most of Fowler’s closest aides in the FIRS are Northerners including his driver. Also, it’s on record that 60% of those employed by Fowler are from the north, while southerners merely constitute 40%.
Currently, the game to unseat Fowler, rubbish Tinubu, and Osinbajo, and to make the FIRS the exclusive preserve of northerners is at feverish heights. This plot, as claimed, is being heavily funded by persons including a former Lagos governor who had missed out in the recent ministerial appointments. The said ex-governor, alongside a top shot in the Asset Management Commission of Nigeria, AMCON, have so far expended billions to see either of them take Fowler’s job.
These men are bent on sacrificing competence for selfish and clannish interest. Time will tell whether or not they would succeed in their game.
-Umoh Edet writes in from Akwa Ibom.