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Why Obasanjo is mad with Wabara • Says not even oil bloc could quench his greed

Posted by By STEVE NWOSU on 2005/03/31 | Views: 569 |

Why Obasanjo is mad with Wabara • Says not even oil bloc could quench his greed


More facts have emerged as to why President Olusegun Obasanjo moved so decisively against Senate President Adolphus Wabara over the disgraceful N55 million bribery scam.

• Says not even oil bloc could quench his greed

More facts have emerged as to why President Olusegun Obasanjo moved so decisively against Senate President Adolphus Wabara over the disgraceful N55 million bribery scam.

Daily Sun exclusively gathered that the president may have been angered into moving against his erstwhile protégé and political creation as a result of what Presidency sources described as the latter’s embarrassing greed.

"It was not necessarily because the senate president took bribe", a presidency source explained, "but rather because the presidency had done enough to ensure that Wabara is comfortable enough not to get attracted to such a small amount of money that has the likelihood of eventually messing you up".

According to the source, the raging N55 million scam was only a last straw that broke the camel’s back in the political romance between the President and the embattled Senate President, since Obasanjo appears to have got fed up with the greed of his seemingly insatiable protégé
The president is said to be particularly pissed off because he had dreamed a big future for the Ohambele politician, especially in the post-2007 years.

Daily Sun confirmed that Wabara was supposed to be part of the speculated third term agenda of the president and was supposed to be effectively hoisted as a credible power base – not only in Abia State, but in the entire South-East geo-political zone.
But despite all the money lavished on him by the government, Wabara has not built any viable alternate political base, he has only accumulated greed.

Greed oil bloc could not quench
To push up the profile of Wabara, Daily Sun gathered that an oil bloc was arranged and allocated the Senate President to shore up his finances. Although the same favour was said to have been extended to a former female senator who is very close to the president, that of Wabara was given to ensure that he was never in want. It was to ‘empower’ him for the role that Aso Rock had mapped out for him.
To further enhance his political profile, the authorities are believed to have equally cleared the way for the Abia State-born politician to lift crude oil. They equally looked the other way as Wabara got his fingers into the importation of petroleum products and fuel oil.


Apart from the oil business, Daily Sun also learnt of other deliberate efforts of the Presidency at financially empowering the embattled Senate President. For instance, Wabara was said to have been allowed to nominate the contractor who is now executing the Alaoji (Abia State) power transmission line project – a 132 KVA power project put at about N3 billion.
The same Wabara was also said to have nominated the contractor for the NDDC-funded transmission line in the Ukwa/Ngwa West area of Abia State. That project is valued at about N2.2 billion.

Similarly, the contractors for the N1.3 billion Aba Water Scheme, a federal government project, were also believed to have been nominated by the Senate President.
Although there might appear to be nothing much to nominating a contractor for a project in other climes, in Nigeria it is a huge fertile field for all manner of commission agents. Consequently, those who were making it possible for Wabara to nominate contractors were probably doing so in the belief that a percentage cut of the contract sum might get to the Senate President. It was deliberate.

N500 million
But if Wabara did not make any money from nominating contractors, another Presidency source confided in Daily Sun, the same cannot be said of an alleged half a billion vote annually put at the disposal of the Senate Presidency.

"He has an untouchable, unaudited vote of about N500 million", the source said. "He is the one that presides over the disbursements and does not account to anybody on how the money is spent".
The source said that the President might not be unaware of all these and is, therefore, piqued that Wabara would still be stooping as low as sharing 20 million, when he could actually ‘dash out’ that kind of money.

Third term in mind
The reason for all this benevolence, the source restated, was that Wabara was part of the third term project and needed to be sufficiently empowered. The source said the presidency was, therefore, very angry that the Senate President’s name would be mentioned in such a demeaning scandal, saying that his involvement clearly shows "limitless greed…He is greedier than greed itself".
But for this insatiable greed, the source alleged, Wabara is already a billionaire and had no desperate need for N10 million, N20 million or even N55 million.

Third term project, a cursed project?
The case of Wabara would not be the first time Obasanjo would get his fingers burnt after empowering a seeming protégé. In a related but different circumstance, the Presidency was said to have ‘spoilt’ immediate past Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim silly with contracts and all with a view to unleashing him on the polity for its own ultimate goal.

Anyim was not only supposed to give bills of the presidency smooth sail through the National Assembly, but to also play a huge role in the pre-2003 election days. But the Ebonyi State-born lawyer soon outsmarted them, got wise, asserted himself, gave everybody a bruised nose and got away with it - refusing to seek re-election, thus denying them the opportunity to get even. And to confirm how much this still hurts, the president, in his ‘television trial’ of Wabara and others, made allusion to some people who are today living in obscene wealth simply because they occupied public office for a few years. He went ahead to literally invoke the gods of the land on them.

But followers of the unfolding third term project are beginning to raise questions as to why everything about the project is back-firing. "Why must they continue to raise Frankenstein?" one former presidential adviser asked Daily Sun on the telephone. The very fact that it is all back-firing is the confirmation that even God is against the third term agenda. So He has turned them against themselves", the former aide reasoned.

How Wabara lost out
The President’s spin-doctors had gone for the Senate President in their bid to create alternate power bases in the South East. They had long been flirting with the controversial Anambra godfather Chief Chris Uba for the same purpose.

Although Uba who was to be the alternate power base in Anambra was increasingly becoming a hard-sell, it did not stop Presidency from equally investing in Wabara.
But Wabara suddenly began to ‘act funny’. First, it was that he failed to deliver on ‘clear instructions’ not to swear in Chief Ben Obi as Senator and to also ensure that the case of Senator Abana was resolved in his favour. But Wabara faltered on both assignments.
Wabara was to worsen his case when, a few weeks back, he began to test the waters to launch his own bid for the presidency, come 2007.

As exclusively reported by the Daily Sun, the Senate President had hosted all but two of the 15 senators from the South East in his country home in Ohambele, Abia State, where he intimated them of his ambition to run for president in 2007.
Some of the senators who attended the meeting had told Daily Sun how one particular senator from Imo State had assured Wabara of their support and readiness to work for him as the highest ranking Igbo man in the country.

For their support, each of those who attended the meeting was said to have been given N500,000 which was supposed to be for fuel and accommodation. It did not matter that none of them spent the night in Wabara’s village nor that none needed more than 25 litres of fuel for the to and fro journey to Ohambele.


Wabara’s group fights back
While not making efforts to debunk the murk being raked up against Wabara, his aides, friends and associates are pointing out that neither Obasanjo nor the entire Presidency machine has any moral justification to fight the Senate President. They insist that the President is no saint, especially as it relates to the issue of corruption.

They readily point to the Makanjuola case over which a case of nolle prosequi (no prosecution) was entered to save the man accused of corruption. They say the resolve not to prosecute Mr. Makanjuola might not be unrelated to the fact that Makanjuola is a relation of the president.
One senator whose name was also mentioned in the senate bribery scam also asked this writer to "go and ask the president: ‘who is the petroleum minister?’"
"After he has answered that, also ask him if there is any parastatal in the country today that is more corrupt than NNPC which he directly supervises".

He continued: "Both the NNPC and NEPA are stinking. Nobody is asking questions. Billions are pumped there every year, nothing comes out and yet we pump more money in"
"What did we do to the man who spent his whole tenure as NNPC GMD living in two NICO NOGA suites? Has the presidency even bothered to find out how much was spent?" the senator queried.
He said the president has refused to appoint a petroleum minister because the rot – which extends from NNPC to the very core of the Presidency – would be exposed as soon as a new person is appointed to head the petroleum ministry.

He said that although he is not against the fight against corruption, "it is sheer lapdog syndrome when a president gets talked down upon by foreign creditors and he rushes back to the country looking for who to use as scapegoat to impress his Western masters. Just to create the impression that he is serious in his fight. But we know he merely looks for a safe and harmless sacrificial lamb."
Whither the ID card scam

The equally embattled senator also recalls that the case of the national ID card scam which he said has yet to be pursued to a conclusion. "That one appears to have died with (Chief Sunday) Afolabi (erstwhile Minister of Internal Affairs)."

"But we still remember what Afolabi said he did with the money. We still remember what party’s purse the money was alleged to have been put. We also remember whose re-election bid the money was spent on. We also remember who was said to have given the final order on what company to give the contract – even when there were other better qualified bidders for the job", the senator reeled out.

He told Daily Sun that the reason this particular scam was not being pursued any further was that "when the thing is traced to the root", a few presidency officials would be implicated, alongside a powerful former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice.
He said that, not being a saint, therefore, Obasanjo should either stop bringing "down the roof over N55 million that has already returned to government coffers" or if he must insist, let him go the whole hog and tackle the other reported instances he now seems to be sweeping under the carpet."

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.