#YNaija2017Review: Okorocha’s ridiculous statues, The return of Maina, Dino Melaye’s ‘invisible’ certificate… See the 10 worst political scandals of the year

2017, a year coming after two years of ‘political surprises’, was awash with one scandal after another. In fact, it was a weekly phenomenon. The most prominent have been listed.

  1. Mainagate: Tales of a bold fugitive

This was quite prominent and virtually everyone waited for President Muhammadu Buhari to act swiftly or as it was said, “it would stain his reputation for the 2019 Presidential election”.

The former Chairman of the Presidential Pension Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina was mysteriously reinstated into the Ministry of Interior and subsequently promoted.

This is someone declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) two years ago and, Interpol for fraud and other related financial crimes.

President Buhari immediately ordered his sack but it was belated. The whole world was amazed that a wanted man seemingly walked back into the country ‘unnoticed’, and was handed security details by the Department of State Services (DSS).

The case is yet to be resolved. There is a continuous back and forth of accusations on who really spearheaded and signed the document that led to his reinstatement. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Abubakar Magaji took responsibility for the scandal that involved the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; the Head, Civil Service Commission, Winifred Oyo-Ita; and the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau.

  1. Ikoyigate: The kinetic liquid cash

The ‘whistleblower policy’ might have moved a concerned Nigerian to lead the EFCC to one a mega stash of cash in an unclaimed house in Ikoyi, Lagos.

Hands pointed to several big names but the Nigerian Factor has kept the truth from seeing the light of day.

The EFCC went to court and was granted permanent forfeiture of the cash but, the controversy did not end there.

The policy grants a 5 percent bonus to the whistleblower and Nigerians awaited the new millionaire to emerge and give his testimony.

It, however, took the intervention of a lawyer for the EFCC, and the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun to speak out on when the whistleblower will be paid and that he might actually be paid less than the promised 5 percent commission.

The height of it was when nine Nigerians came out to claim the reward for the found cash. The reaction from Adeosun was that only one person will be paid.

The lawyer has since confirmed that his client has received part of the money and is out of the country.

  1. N49m cash recovered at Kaduna Airport

Exactly one week after it opened for operations, as a temporary replacement for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (which was undergoing renovation at the time), the Kaduna International Airport was in the news for a strange reason.

The sum of N49 million was intercepted by Operatives of the EFCC on its way to being shipped out of the country.

The spokesman of the anti-graft agency said the money is being investigated. Nigerians are yet to be updated on the investigations.

  1. Babachir Lawal, the grass-cutting SGF

The anti-corruption war of President Buhari was questioned after the erstwhile Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal was accused of diverting funds meant for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

Nigerians waited so long for President Buhari’s reaction, which as usual was belated as the presidency dilly dallied on taking any action on the matter.

President Buhari finally suspended Lawal alongside the Director-General of National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ayo Oke, where Lawal later said he is not aware of his suspension.

Lawal was then sacked six months after by the President, who asked that the concerned anti-graft agencies continue investigations on the allegations against him.

  1. Rochas Okorocha and his bizarre decisions

While Nigerians were still acknowledging his new nomenclature, “The statue-building governor”, the ‘world-renowned’ Governor of Imo, Rochas Okorocha came up with a strange decision – creating the Ministry of Happiness and Purpose Fulfilment.

And to cap it, the governor put his sister, Mrs Ogechi Ololo as the head of the ministry.

However, before then, the governor received 27 cakes from women across the 27 local governments on his 55th birthday – there is every likelihood that the governor paid for the 27 cakes – a clear display of the wasteful nature of political office holders.

  1. Senator Bukar Ibrahim’s sex tape

This one blew the internet like a leaked porn video of a celebrity.

In a swift reaction, Senator Bukar Ibrahim (APC, Yobe East), caught in a hotel room with two naked women, said he owed no one an apology and what happened is not something new under the sun.

It is even more surprising that this is the same Senator who introduced Sharia to the state, when he was the governor of the state from May 29, 1999, to May 29, 2007.

  1. Senator Dino Melaye’s Certificate Scandal

While he was fighting the governor of his state, Yahaya Bello, Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West) got caught up in a certificate scandal that sparked adverse reactions and the call for his removal.

The Senator found a way to wriggle out of the situation even when findings from Harvard University, The London School of Economics, ABU and others where he claimed to have graduated from, denied having any Dino Melaye in their records.

To corroborate his claim, Melaye posted a picture of him as a corps member alongside his “mates” – he also showed a certificate.

  1. Baru/Kachikwu memo

This began with a leaked memo from the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu stating that the NNPC boss, Maikanti Baru was destroying his reforms.

The memo highlighted a contract scam of $25 billion which led to widespread reactions. The most prominent, from the PDP, stating that people are stealing to sponsor President Buhari’s second term bid.

Later on, having met with the duo of Baru and Kachikwu, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who was the acting president at the time of the said “reform destruction” said he approved loans for NNPC contracts and never approved the said contracts.

And, after that, in the usual way, the issue entered the history books.

  1. Buhari’s health

After President Buhari spent the first medical vacation and then the second one, Nigerians, and the world thought he would not return.

But why not? He spent the majority of the first half of 2017 in the United Kingdom and did not speak or receive any visitor until later.

It was in this light that a controversial former British lawmaker, Eric Joyce said that he believes that the President is dead.

The President eventually returned but, some elements in the country like members of the pro-Biafra group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Mujahid Dokubo-Asari said it was not the President that returned but, one clone from Sudan.

  1. Russian collusion scandal

Trump’s interactions with Russia go back more than 30 years.

The story of Donald Trump and Russia can be summarised thus: a sitting president or his campaign is suspected of having coordinated with a foreign country to manipulate a US election.

The story could not get bigger, and the stakes for Trump – and the country – could not be higher.

Basically, the investigation has been based on two basic questions: Did Trump’s presidential campaign collude at any level with Russian operatives to ‘interfere’ with the 2016 US Presidential election? And did Trump or another break the law to throw investigators off the trail?

Although, the President has ‘exonerated himself’ from any kind of collusion, Special Counsel, Robert Mueller has continued with the investigation and Trump’s former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn has confessed to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

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