Africa

Yar’adua camp spends N20 billion to scuttle his removal

From Saharareporters.com, we have learned authoritatively that the closest associates of missing and sickly Nigerian ruler, Umaru Yar’adua, have gone on a bribing spree to scuttle moves to remove him from office. In the face of increasing local and international pressure on Yar’adua to handover power to his deputy, Goodluck Jonathan, the ailing “president’s” kitchen cabinet has handed Speaker of the House, Dimeji Bankole, the sum of N2 billion and another N4 billion to Senate President David Mark to stop any legislative or judicial initiative to either impeach Yar’adua or compel him to hand over power to Jonathan. Some of the top players in Yar’adua’s unofficial but powerful inner cabinet are his wife Turai, former Governor James Onanefe Ibori, special economic aide, Tanimu Yakubu, Attorney General Michael Aondoakaa, and Governor Bukola Saraki of Kwara. Former President Ibrahim Babangida maintains constant consultation with the group.

It is not known how the kitchen cabinet hopes to impose their agenda on restive Nigerians, but Tanimu Yakubu reportedly told Bankole and Mark yesterday that the Yar’adua group was prepared to spend three times what Obasanjo spent on his third term agenda to stop the popular movement for Yar’adua to resign and hand over power to Jonathan.

The group’s selling point against Jonathan is to tell legislators, judges and Nigerian opposition groups that Jonathan is too close to former President Olusegun Obasanjo and, as president, would be controlled by the hugely despised Obasanjo.

In interviews with several lawmakers as well as sources close to the Yar’adua camp, Saharareporters gathered that the huge pay offs to Bankole and Mark were part payment of a N20 billion campaign to stop the judiciary and the legislature from acting against Yar’adua as he struggles against a deteriorating health condition.

Several sources told Saharareporters that Speaker Bankole has always been a central player in the project to frustrate Jonathan, beginning the day Yar’adua was evacuated from Nigeria on November 23, 2009. We had reported a deal which delivered $5 million to Bankole through an oil lifting company -Addax Petroleum-to stop the lower house from embarking on any debate that would have forced the House of Representatives to take a position. Bankole has also infiltrated and compromised the leadership of a group of 200 lawmakers who made their intention clear last week to ask Yar’adua to transmit the letter to Jonathan to act as president pending his return.

Saharareporters sources said the legislative group had planned to introduce a resolution next Tuesday that would give a definitive deadline for Yar’adua to transmit his letter of handover pending his return.

But Bankole as well as David Mark have been recruited with a combination of lush cash dole outs as well as juicy contracts to sabotage the plans.
Last week, the Senate passed a resolution asking Yar’adua to transmit a letter of handover, but the resolution had no force or traction to it because it deliberately did not include a deadline. In the words of Senate spokesperson, Ayogu Eze, it was “political solution” not a legislative action.

In addition to huge bribes to legislators and judges, the members of Yar’adua’s kitchen cabinet have resolved to deploy a few strategies to handle a restive nation in the days ahead. Part of this strategy is to use the media in a constant campaign to misinform the Nigerian public to the effect that Yar’adua’s return to Nigeria was imminent.

“The plan is to tell Nigerians each week that President Yar’adua is on his way to Nigeria,” said a source aware of the plan by the Yar’adua camp. He added that the ultimate plan “is to keep everybody confused until such a time that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) will decide to have an early convention to pick its candidate for the 2011 presidential election.” Our sources said the Yar’adua camp wants to present former Nigerian dictator Ibrahim Babangida as its presidential candidate with former Governor James Onanefe Ibori is to become his vice presidential candidate.

Our sources said that Babangida has finalized plans to re-enter the presidential race by claiming that it was the “last wish” of his late wife, Maryam, to run Nigeria in her memory. Last week, Babangida reportedly moved into his Kaduna mansion to coordinate a series of meetings with his cronies, military top brass and new political friends, including the former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu.

In the event that Babangida’s plan fails, the group plans to plant former General Aliyu Muhammad Gusau, a close ally of Babangida’s who ran his intelligence operations, as the PDP’s presidential candidate, again with Ibori as VP.

Ibori, who is a member of Yar’adua’s inner circle, has been entrusted with handling the bribing of the judiciary to ensure that no court judgment would change the status quo ante regarding Yar’adua’s continuation as president even in absentia. Ibori is experienced at compromising the judiciary. He was instrumental to bribing justices of the Court of Appeal and, ultimately, those of the Supreme Court who in December 2008 affirmed Yar’adua’s flawed election as legitimate.

The kitchen cabinet felt a great relief when the chief judge of the federal high court, Dan Abutu, ruled two days ago that Yar’adua had not broken any law by not transmitting a letter to the National Assembly regarding his absence. A source told us that the “First Lady” Turai Yar’adua had called Mr. Abutu a day earlier to secure his assurance on the ruling. Turai’s call came after she and the Yar’adua camp was rattled by a letter signed by several former heads of state and former chief justices and sent to the National Assembly asking Yar’adua to go. That same evening Turai called one of the former heads of state to tongue-lash him for accepting to be part of the delegation. Turai was furious that the former president signed the statement after the Yar’adua camp had reached an earlier agreement with him to support Yar’adua’s right to rule notwithstanding his prolonged absence.
Our sources said that the Yar’adua camp was so intent on retaining power that they have designed a “last option,” which is to fly Yar’adua back to Abuja in his vegetative condition, hook him up to life support machines, while kitchen cabinet members commit all sorts of financial shenanigans in his name. “His wife actually seriously weighed this option last week, but it became impossible to implement, as Yar’adua could not be flown out of Saudi Arabia in his condition,” said a source familiar with the plan. Two other sources told Saharareporters that there is no way Yar’adua can walk on his feet in the next two months even with the best medical care in the world, if at all he could again.

Yar’adua has not been seen publicly since November 22nd 2009 when he collapsed and had to be evacuated to a Saudi hospital in Jeddah on November 23rd 2009. Saharareporters was first to report on his emergency evacuation a day before he was ferried out of Nigeria.

Yar’adua’s wife, Turai who heads the kitchen cabinet and directs the affairs of Nigeria from Saudi Arabia, is said to have become “paranoid” over the decision of the former presidents who called for her husband’s resignation as well as a joint letter issued last week by the US, the European Union and the UK expressing concerns about Nigeria’s political uncertainty.

Saharareporters made calls to Speaker Bankole and Senator Mark, but was unable to speak to either of them. Even though we got through to Mark, a voice who claimed to be his assistant claimed that they were travelling in separate cars from Anambra State where Mark led the PDP’s governorship campaign for Charles Soludo, the controversial former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. The “voice” claimed that he couldn’t hear us.

Bankole’s line rang, but he did not pick up. When our reporter made a second attempt at reaching him, Mr, Bankole had shut off his phone.

Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC and CEO of Portia Web Solutions. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
https://www.codewit.com

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