It is increasingly interesting why President Muhammadu Buhari has kept some undeserving men in his cabinet despite the President’s strong commitment to fight corruption.
As a matter of urgency and national interest, President Buhari should review the membership of his cabinet and let go of some with questionable character and credentials before they further drag the administration’s image into disrepute.
One of such people whose continuous presence in the cabinet is Okoi Obono-Obla, the suspended Chairman of Special Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property. He also serves as the Special Assistant to the President on prosecution.
Despite his suspension last year, it is surprising why up till now he has continued to escape the President’s attention for his final sack.
Many still remember how, in 2017, Obla was overstepping the boundary of his official assignment and making pronouncements clearly outside his portfolio.
When the Presidency was miffed by the several unguarded utterances by Obla who ordinarily by virtue of his training as a lawyer, should know what and what not ought to be said, Abubakar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation announced his suspension.
While Malami had, in a statement said that recent actions of Obono-Obla ran contrary to the enabling act that established the panel, an interview which he, Obla granted Channels just a day before his suspension was the last straw that broke the patient back of Buhari who had seen his actions as not been in tandem with his drive.
In the interview, Obono-Obla argued that the former chairman of the Presidential Task Team on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina is not guilty of any corruption charges.
But that was not the only reason he was sanctioned :Obla who was also seemed not to remember exactly the name of the panel he heads in that Channels interview the Presidency found out was a complete ignoramus when it came to issues of law.
“The president was shocked to realize that Obla knew next to nothing about law. Besides, he was also getting into needless show of power with the Attorney General and minister for justice,” a source in the Presidency said.
The development has raised further doubts about obla’s academic record, which has come under serious scrutiny recently.
If media reports about his forged WAEC certificate are anything to go by, Obono-Obla, is in a serious scam and the Federal Government is into yet another embarrassment.
He is alleged to have forged his West African Examination Council (WAEC) result with which he obtained admission and studied Law at the University of Jos.
According to Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), a civil society asking for his sack and prosecution, Obla’s genuine WAEC result showed that he was absent for Literature examination, but the result he used for admission indicated that he obtained C6 in the subject.
“We proceeded to investigate the complaints and made the following startling findings: Obono-Obla gained admission into the University of Jos with a suspected fake WASCE result. Evidence available to us shows that Okoi Obono-Obla (Ofem Okoi Ofem) sat for May/June 1982 (examination registration No. 09403/247) at Mary Knoll College, Ogoja, where he obtained the following results: English Language – C6, Literature in English- Absent, Bible Knowledge- C4, Government- A1, Economics- C5, Mathematics- F9, Chemistry- F9, Biology- F9. We attach herewith a copy of the result issued by WAEC.
“This result can also be easily verified on WAEC result portal by obtaining a PIN card at the cost of N700.00
“Okoi Obono-Obla (Ofem Okoi Ofem) took Joint Matriculation Examination (JME) conducted by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) in 1985 and was offered admission into the Faculty of Law University of Jos (in the 1985/1986 session) where he presented a statement of result allegedly obtained from Mary Knoll College, which details are as follows: English Language- C6, Literature in English- C, Bible Knowledge- C4, Government- A1, Economics- C5, Mathematics- F9, Chemistry- F9, Biology- F9.
“You will see that whereas the genuine WAEC result has listed the result for Literature as ABSENT, ANNEXURE B, which forms the basis on which Okoi Obono-Obla (Ofem Okoi Ofem) was offered admission to study Law at the university, claims that he obtained C6 in Literature.
“However, on the basis of the forged result, he graduated from the University of Jos in 1989 with a second class (lower division) and proceeded to the Nigerian Law School where he passed out from in 1991 with a pass grade after failing the law school examination in 1990,” HURIWA revealed.
If this allegation is investigated by agents of the government and found to be true, then Obla is as good and as gone.
This is a good reason for the President to kick him out in order not to compromise the administration’s goodwill.
Already, his conduct as the chairman of the panel has given the Presidency some level of headaches because he was very notorious in instigating staffers of the ministry of justice against the AGF.
For a man using such sensitive position for vendetta, instigating the Economic and Financial and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to go after innocent people he had personal issues with while protecting other corrupt elements like JD Agba a former staff of NNPC who fraudulently made fortune from the nation’s petroleum agency because of the continuous patronage he gets from him, he deserves to be completely uprooted from the government.
Those who are close to the corridor of power revealed that the Presidency is particularly angry and scandalized when investigation revealed that Obla was engaged in fraudulent practices with the hiring of lawyers by the ministry in its prosecution of cases of alleged corrupted persons.
According to those in the know of his conducts, they disclosed that Obla was in the habit of demanding 30 percent from the various law firms before engaging them for the the federal government.
This was said to have embarrassed and rubbished the President Buhari war on corruption, leading to the international community insinuating that the government’s war on sleaze was more of lip service and only against opponents of government.
What’s more, he who goes to equity must go with clean hands says the time tested aphorism. The current administration cannot afford to harbour someone like Obla whose intention runs contrary to the goals of the government.
The time is now for the President to show him the way out as his presence in the cabinet adds no value, rather takes away the government’s good will.