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Thursday, 10 January 2013 14:14

By Salami Adegoke: Understanding the EFCC and Lagos House Speaker brouhaha-setting the records straight

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Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Lagos State House Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Lagos State House Speaker

It is very important to expressly point what brought about the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) investigating the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly. It would be recalled that a group called The True Face of Lagos, a few years back published in The Punch and PM News detailed allegations of financial misappropriation, impropriety and maladministration against the Lagos State government led by Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN).

The group also petitioned the EFCC and later protested at the Lagos State House of Assembly and submitted their protest letter to the speaker of the Lagos State of Assembly. The allegations were very weighty and cannot be glossed over, hence, the speaker in exercise of his constitutional mandate and wanting to authenticate the veracity or otherwise of the allegations set up a five man administrative panel as a fact finding team to unearth the knotty issues about the allegations, however, before the commission could set the ball rolling, the Lagos State Government went to court to halt the working or operation of the panel, claiming that the group that wrote the petition was faceless and to that extent, the panel cannot  investigate the genuineness of the allegations, the court granted the wishes of the Lagos State government twice, thereby putting to rest any attempt to unravel the truth about the allegations.

It is very important to note that, the attempt to get to the root of the matter by the Lagos State House of Assembly has put the speaker in the bad record of the Lagos State government, that is, Governor Fashola (BRF), the Lagos State Government claimed that the Lagos State House of Assembly wanted to upset the apple cart and reasoned that they (LSHA) ought to have turned a blind eye to the whole shebang.

It was therefore not surprising that like Mario Puzo said that, revenge is best served when it is cold, hence, when the matter seemed to have simmered down, out of the blues the EFFC which refused to investigate Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola’s government for alleged financial impropriety on the grounds that the petition was submitted by a faceless group, turned the heat on the Speaker of the Lagos State of Assembly investigating him for allegations of financial misappropriation because of a petition submitted also by a faceless group, purported sponsored by the Lagos State Government .

It would be recalled that, in 2011, when the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) invited the Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly for questioning, the speaker was not in the country then, but as soon as he came back to the country, he voluntarily travelled to Abuja to honour the invitation of EFCC. It was rather unfortunate that, the following day the national dailies were awash with stories that the speaker has been arrested by EFCC, but the question is, can a person who willingly, freely, without force and on his own volition went to the EFCC be said to have been arrested by the EFCC? This is clearly a misnomer.

At this juncture, it is very important to point out that, initially, when the EFCC charged the Lagos Speaker to court, the EFCC claimed that, the speaker has embezzled a whooping sum of N7 billion, which was contained in the petition that was sent to the EFCC. It is instructive to observe that, the petition in question has no names, it has no addresses, it has no telephone numbers, it has no email addresses, yet, EFCC swallowed hook, line and sinker the spurious allegations and claims contained in the petition and went to court without proper investigation, only for the EFCC to amend it charges midway into the trial, saying that, the amount in question is no longer N7 billion as earlier claimed, but N510 million and that, it is even not about embezzlement and corrupt enrichment as earlier stated, but that, the laid down procedure was not followed in collecting and using the sum of N510 million over a period of 14 months for legislative functions and activities. It is not that the money in question was stolen; it is not that the money was missing; it is not that the money was misappropriated; it is not that the money was diverted; it is not that the money was misapplied or wrongly used. So, what is really amiss?

This is the position and claim of EFCC and since the case is still before a court of competent jurisdiction, the court ought to be allowed to meticulously and carefully look at the facts and merits of the case before reaching a decision. So, why would anybody or organization be fishing for evidence to nail the speaker at all cost, even while the trail is still on? Our conscience is said to be an open wound, which only truth can heal, but some have sold their souls to the devil, and continue to pursue issues for the wrong reasons and pecuniary gains. The court of law must not only jettison these falsehoods, but it must not allow itself to be led by the nose by some ignoramus and hatchet men, who are hell-bent to cause needless confusion and acrimony in our midst. It is also on record that all the adjournments in the case, so far, were at the instance and behest of the EFCC, as it is not only ill-prepared, but desperate to nail the speaker at all cost to satisfy their senders.

The point then is how did this matter get to this stage? When the petition by THE TRUE FACE OF LAGOS was first written, it was the Dr. Muiz Banire that helped Governor Fashola to look for the judge that delivered a favourable judgement in the matter, that was why Justice Abiru was transferred from the Ikorodu Division to Ikeja Division, and his brother is today the commissioner for finance in Lagos State, and his other brothers in government are enjoying the benefit of being in the good books of Governor Fashola.

It must be noted that it was through Dr. Muiz Banire acting as a front for Governor Fashola that the EFCC became interested in investigating the speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly; this is because his media coordinator, Femi Babafemi was also the spokesperson for EFCC under Mrs. Farida Waziri, so, it was easy to get the EFCC to be interested in the case. While Babafemi was with the EFCC, he was also handling the publicity of Banire, and he usually host the media at either Planet One in Maryland or Jades Garden the popular Chiense restaurant on Issac John, GRA, Ikeja. And, Banire has been responsible for the negative and bad publicity of the speaker. However, it must be noted that, what really pained Banire in the whole saga was that his mistress, Mrs. Funmilayo Tejuosho was removed from the management of the Lagos State House of Assembly and when the management of the House was reconstituted she was not considered or retained. So, Banire is miffed that his trusted bedmate has been sidelined in the scheme of things and saw this as a gratuitous insult.

This is a man (Banire) whose doctoral degree is even a suspect, he can hardly articulate his position on any subject-matter properly, in fact, he cannot lucidly express himself in English Language. Also, there are facts that Banire is not only a bastard, he does not know where he comes from, he cannot say categorically who his parents are, on several occasions, he has tried without success to claim Kwara state as state of origin, at some other times, he was tried Oyo and Ogun states but failed, now he claims Lagos. So where does this bull in the China shop comes from? Some claimed that he is a descendant of the Fulani cattle rearer, no wonder, he behaves like a cow.

No legitimate born Yoruba man behaves the way he does, this abbreviated figure even openly boast of sleep with married women, of particular mention is Hon. Funmilayo Tejuosho whom he claimed to have bedded several times and even have a love child for him, and he always describe her as tigress in bed that only him can handle. No wonder, most times when he talks and acts, he behaves as if he has forgotten his senses between the legs of Funmilayo Tejuosho.

This is a man, who after he left as commissioner of Environment, burnt a lot of documents to cover up his atrocities, but the diminutive character has forgotten that there are other ways of tracing his records of misdeeds, which will soon be thrown open for all to see. The cost of his several beautification contracts in Lagos are very well known, and no matter, how long the truth is hidden , one day, just one day, the truth will be revealed. It does not matter for how long falsehood is propagated, ultimately, the truth will be revealed at the end of the day.

Banire is also behind the recent misleading news that the PA to the Lagos Speaker collected N1.5 billion from an ex-banker for some transactions just to implicated the speaker and give him a bad image in the eyes of the public. Yet, it was Banire who instigated the EFCC  arrest the ex-banker who was severely tortured to implicate the Lagos, with a promise by Banire to give him N20 million and take him to where no one will be able to trace him, no wonder, the Bible says the heart of men are desperately wicked, who can know it?

It is also important to note that, when the Lagos speaker won his election, it was the same Banire that that instigated the opposition to go to court to challenge the result, when the speaker won in court again, Banire went back to the opposition insisting that they must appeal the ruling which by the grace of God the speaker won again, the question then is, is Banire a loyal party man?

This was a man who as commissioner persistently awarded contracts to girl-friends and woman-friends, a good example is the so-called beautification carried out in Ikeja GRA, after the police college down to Bishop Vikings Memorial Church and beyond, was given to a woman called Mondel, who also has a love child for Banire. The quality of job is not only very shoddy, but was over-inflated.

We must not forget the fact that, the speaker was voted for, overwhelmingly by a cross section of Lagosians, who still repose tremendous confidence in him and he enjoys the massive, humongous and prodigious support of members, staff and management of the Lagos State House of Assembly. Moreover, he has always discharged his constitutional mandate perspicaciously; hence, there is no way the case in court can vitiate his office and functions. And, this is what Banire cannot comprehend and the reason for his bellyaching. This is a so-called politician who has never contested for an elective office, he has never won an election in his life and he wants to be governor in 2015. But he has forgotten that people will remember that he is a very violent man, who armed rival youth groups in Mushin to kill themselves aimlessly while his children are schooling abroad, again the point is, does this kind of character qualify to be the next governor of Lagos State?

It is also very important that up till today, the Lagos State Government has not responded to the various allegations made by The True face of Lagos, not even once and silence they say means consent, also the EFCC has not deemed it fit to beam their searchlight on the finances of Lagos State to find out the truth of the matter including the recent iconic bridge that was constructed in Ikoyi which does not solve any traffic problem at the whopping cost of N38 billion. Is this not a case of double standard? After all, what is good for the goose is also good for the gander.

Yet, this same BRF has the temerity to ban okada, thereby creating monumental unemployment and deprivation in the state, it also created serious problem for commuters as alternatives are not provided. This is not to talk about the astronomical increase in the cost of tuition in LASU, thereby burdening the hitherto overstretched parents beyond reasonable limits,  the toll- gates he puts at Lekki is also there against the wishes of the people of the area, who are already overtaxed, but why these misanthropic policies in a so-called progressive state? What does BRF wants to be remembered for, a traitor, betrayal, confusionist, deviltry, pretender, damager or Janus-faced hypocrite? BRF is even an embarrassment to himself, a very huge disappointment to the people of Lagos State because of his rapacious acquisitive and obstinate oppressive proclivities. This is a man who before he was appointed the chief of staff to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in 2004 was so poor that he was putting his 14 inches television on a box in rented apartment, this was a man who only saw snow for the very first time some few years back, meaning he never travelled out of the country until he became governor. But because God has promoted and blessed him, he has completely forgotten where he was coming from. And, those that the gods wants to kill, they first made mad.

BRF has an innate hatred for the Lagos Speaker because of the quantum of information at the disposal of the speaker about the numerous atrocities of BRF’s financial recklessness in the state, BRF is not just comfortable with the speaker and he sees him as a sworn enemy, though BRF outwardly pretends as if he is friendly towards the speaker. There is no doubt that BRF is a Judas in the midst of the progressives in Lagos State. Eni to ba dale, ma bale lo!

It is also imperative to underscore the fact that, all these orchestrated campaign of calumnies against the speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly is all about who becomes the next governor of Lagos state in 2015, and desperate political actors like Banire and his collaborators like BRF are muddling up the waters and running rings round those they view as a threat to their vaunted ambition, using elimination by substitution strategy, desperately covering up their mess, frantically running about without anyone pursuing them  and some media organizations have unfortunately become a willing tool in the hands of these demagogues and manipulators to satisfy their political subterfuge as well as narrow, selfish  vested and ignoble interests.

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