Babachir Lawal is the SGF!
Or at least, that’s the popular way to describe him in a chat with friends who are passionate about Nigerian politics.
Up until the PINE scandal gained its place as the end of the year trending scandal, we did not hear or know much of the man who holds the Office of the Secretary General of the Federation.
Babachir David Lawal is the name. He studied Electrical Engineering at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and graduated with a Bachelors degree in 1979. Upon graduation, Lawal moved on to work as an engineer with The Delta Steel Company till 1984. Aiming higher, he worked at the Nigerian External Telecommunications Company from 1984 till 1989, at the time he was leaving, he had climbed to the position of Regional Manager.
Ten years of engineering experience must have done it for Lawal as he went on to register his own ICT company in 1990 under the name Rholavision Engineering Limited in Kaduna. The company specialises in providing cable installation and maintenance services, engineering and technical support services, software development and deployment and systems integration and customization services. Rholavision’s expansive list of high profile clients include: Independent National Electoral Commission Abuja, Lagos State Government Alausa, Federal Road Safety Commission Abuja, Adamawa State Government Yola and the Central Bank of Nigeria Abuja among many others.
A registered member of two professional engineering bodies: The Nigeria Society of Engineers and the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, Babachir Lawal was the Managing Director of his company until his appointment as the Secretary General of the Nigerian Federation in August, 2015. He was preceded in the office by Anyim Pius Anyim.
However, Lawal did not miraculously happen upon that appointment. He had been in active politics since 2002 as a member of the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) and has since then, been a Buhari loyalist and a committed member of the Buhari Campaign Organisation. Over the years, he held several positions in the Adamawa state chapter of the campaign organisation. Starting out as Deputy State Coordinator, Lawal is now the National Vice Chairman, North East of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
In October 2015, Babachir Lawal made a rather controversial revelation that APC elder statesmen, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Adebisi Akande made his appointment into the Office of the SGF possible. “I am Secretary to the Government today, because those people that I mentioned were the very first to put the idea in the mind of the President. They were the ones that made it possible”.
Now that Babachir Lawal’s journey to political prominence has been established, why is he suddenly a newsmaker?
His company, Rholavision Engineering Limited was awarded a contract by the Presidential Initiative for the North East (PINE), the agency set by the presidency as part of the humanitarian intervention efforts to restore normalcy to the North East and ensure the rehabilitation of the victims of insurgency.
The company was awarded a grass clearing contract that news reports have estimated as costing between N200 and N270 million. In October, the House of Reps said the SGF was responsible for the failure of the house committee to proceed with investigations into the diversion of IDP funds. At the time, Babachir Lawal refused to appear the House to explain the mismanagement of funds as PINE works under the office of the SGF.
On Wednesday, the Senate called for Lawal’s resignation and prosecution over an alleged breach of the law. For them, it was more about a company owned by a top government official receiving a government contract. According to reports, the contract was awarded to Rholavision in March 2016 and Babachir Lawal did not resign his position as Managing Director until September same year.
SGF Babachir Lawal responded to the calls for his sack by describing it as an attempt to rubbish his person. “The Senate is talking balderdash, it has developed the habit of Bring Him Down Syndrome,” he said. It is not known the course this fund diversion drama will take but Babachir Lawal seems ready.
Babachir David Lawal is a native of Kwambia in Hong local government of Adamawa. He is a Christian and even has a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Theology from ECWA Theological Seminary, Jos.