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General News of Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Source: www.mynigeria.com

EFCC's Tinubu probe is a plot to kill 2023 ambition

Bola Ahmed Tinubu has always been in the spotlight for almost the right reasons.

The politician is considered one of a few that changed the face of politics in the Lagos State and arguably the country.

As governor of Lagos States under the opposition political parties; Alliance for Democracy (AD) and Action Congress of Nigeria, he managed to wean off opposition from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for two terms between 1999 - 2007.

His legacy has ensured the PDP remains an outcast to Lagosians.

After the end of his tenure in 2007, Tinubu, unlike every other governor in his time decided against running for public office. It's the norm in Nigeria's political setting that ex-governors run for Senatorial seats to remain relevant in politics.

That wasn't the case for the Jagaban. Instead of fighting to acquire more political power through the ballots, he (Tinubu) set-out to become a political godfather. He set out to create alongside other members of minority opposition parties, a force against the PDP who at the time had ruled Nigeria for decades.

Yes, it worked. The current All Progressives Congress formed in 2013 is a merger of Nigeria's three biggest opposition parties – the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the new PDP - a faction of the ruling People's Democratic Party.

Their combined strength won them power in 2015 with Muhammadu Buhari emerging as President. All this can be credited to the influence of Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

As 2023 draws closer and the struggle for power begins within the party, several names have been flown around as to who should/will take over from President Buhari as the party's flagbearer. Per the APC rotation policy and per investigations by MyNigeria, the APC will be floating a name from the South West. Several names have come up including Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi.

While Yahaya Below has openly come out to declare his intention to succeed President Buhari, Tinubu has not for reasons we believe are political.

The current EFCC probe even makes it more complicated for him to openly declare his candidacy.

What is the probe about?

Former Governor Bola Tinubu is being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) after a complaint by a source who wished to remain anonymous.

According to the complaints, Tinubu was part of a scheme that sought to enrich he (Tinubu)) and his cronies when he was governor of Lagos between 1999-2007.

The probe was a sequel to some petitions written against Tinubu since 2018 which Magu had failed to act on, Punch.ng said.

The source said, “The letter is authentic. The EFCC is in receipt of several petitions against Tinubu, including one involving alleged fraud in Alpha Beta Consulting.”

A former Managing Director of Alpha Beta Consulting, Mr. Dapo Apara, had written petitions to the EFCC, accusing the firm of tax evasion and being run by Tinubu albeit by proxy, according to The Punch.

Apara had also instituted a lawsuit against Tinubu.

In his statement of claim, he stated that Tinubu controlled the company which was receiving 10 percent of the taxes collected on behalf of the state.

The former MD said as the head of the company, he began looking into its finances and he made many startling discoveries such as mysterious transfers of over N20bn to various companies.

He stated, “N550m payment to Ocean Trust Ltd vide payment instruction dated the 15/5/18, N850m payment to Ocean Trust Ltd vide payment instruction dated the 14/3/15.”

The claimant said N960m was spent on purchasing HITV’s 300,000,000 shares.

However, Alpha Beta Tax consultancy firm, Alpha Beta LLP, denied allegations leveled against it by Apara, adding that he had diverted about $5m during his time as managing director by inflating a contract which was worth about $300,000 and then diverted a separate N6bn to personal use.

Is the probe a way to gag his 2023 presidential ambitions?

Despite not officially coming out to declare his intentions to run the upcoming 2023 elections, his name has been echoed as the possible candidate to lead the party in the polls.

With the presidential slot swinging toward the South based on rumors of deals struck within the party and Nigeria's presidential zoning, elements within the Fulani-led party are rumored to oppose the idea of a President coming from the South West.

Word from the corridors of power is that a president from the South West might crack the northernisation policy that was instigated by Ahmadu Bello post-independence.

With no other means to gag Tinubu, the probe was instigated by EFCC Chairman, Abdul Rasheed Bawa. His criticism of the Buhari-led administration on Saturday on micro -blogging platform Twitter has again placed him in more danger of being an outcast in his political party.

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