by Dolapo Adelana
Speculations are rife that the $9.8m cash seized from the former Group Managing Director (GMD) of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, was being kept for the purpose of funding his 2019 political ambition, The Sun reports.
According to reports Yakubu was already making moves with the founders of the yet-to-be registered mega party, on which ticket he was planning to run for the governorship of Kaduna.
An associate of the ex-NNPC GMD said reports that Yakubu was eyeing the Southern Kaduna senatorial seat were false as he was interested in the governorship position.
“I am aware that he is eyeing the 2019 gubernatorial race of Kaduna State and not the senatorial race as some people are speculating,” said the associate.
Speaking on the source of the money, a senior NNPC staff who spoke on the condition of anonymity said Yakubu could have gotten the money legally due to his position at the corporation.
He added that Yakubu was out of the country when the news broke.
“He was in Atlanta, USA, when he heard the news, but he flew back to the country and submitted himself to EFCC. In fact, within few days, he met all the bail conditions, but at the time I am speaking with you now, he has not been released by the EFCC. Maybe they will soon release him since he has met the bail conditions,” the source said.
An associate of Yakubu’s said all those involved in reporting the matter would be fished out, adding that some residents in the area where the money was discovered complained about his lack of generosity.
“All the persons involved will be fished out. However, I want to add that even if he has political ambition, why was he not generous to his neighbours. Of course, he may have been generous to some people, but in the wake of the discovery of the seized hard currency, majority of the people have said that he was not generous to them,” the associate said.
Residents lamented the lack of social amenities in the area.
“With just N50 million, he could have made a big difference in the life of people in this area through provision of social amenities. That of course would have advanced his political interests and connect him to the grassroot people,” a resident said.
A resident, who simply gave his name as Uncle Sam, said, “People are saying Andrew Yakubu is saving money for 2019 Senatorial ambition, but I disagree because I am from Southern Kaduna like him, he doesn’t have senatorial ambition. I don’t know his political life, I remember that former president Goodluck Jonathan removed him from office, but I don’t know whether he has decamped to APC or not.”
Speaking on how the raid took place, one of the neighbours said, “I was in my house on that fateful day, and I discovered that EFCC officials, police and army came to the house to evacuate the safe where the money was kept. But what is baffling me is how the security agencies get to know that that particular room was where such huge amount of money was kept.
“So the security operatives came with the younger brother of the ex-GMD. The security operatives came in the morning hours, about 11a.m when most people had gone to work, so there was not much crowd. They operated smoothly, there was no scuffle.
“It was Andrew Yakubu’s younger brother that opened the door for them, they brought him from his house along Abuja street to open the door where the money was kept. Nobody lives in that house. Only the sister lives in the room next to where the money was kept.
“Let me tell you one thing: this is the man I begged to give me N20,000 to make up and pay my rent, but he refused to help me, saying he had no money, but unknown to us, he kept big money here.
“Yakubu’s sister, a retired nurse is my friend. She lives in the house where this money was kept, and she was not aware that there was money in the house.
“She sponsored his education in school, she is now aged. I have lived in this street for more than 15 years.”
Dolapo is a writer and journalist who works with YNaija. He has interests in Christianity, politics and sports.