Jonathan Goodluck’s Advisory Panel of Fraudsters?

Acting President Goodluck yesterday constituted a 26-man Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) to assist him in discharging his duties. “In fact, the advisory council list looks more like “who is who” in Nigeria pen-robbery book” commented a friend on the facebook. I agree, a look at some of the included names is instructive. Perhaps, the name that will raise the most eyebrows is Kase Lawal, a Nigerian oil magnate based in Houston, Texas, United States.

Jonathan Goodluck’s Advisory Panel of Fraudsters 

“In fact, the advisory council list looks more like “who is who” in Nigeria pen-robbery book” commented a friend on the facebook. I agree, a look at some of the included names is instructive. Some members of the panel like Emeka Anyaoku and Ben Nwabueze are honourable men, but many are corrupt.

Mariam Uwais, wife of former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Muhammed Uwais through whom the Judiciary was allegedly compromised on the 2007 election court petition between President Umaru Yar’adua and Muhammadu Buhari? (Also some would add that through her the Pfizer case was allegedly compromised?)

Theophilus Danjuma, of the “I made $500million but I don’t know what do with it”, fame? Kanu Agabi, Obasanjo’s legal interpreter in disregarding court judgements? Bamanga Tukur, honourable member of the famed AGIP? Bath Nnaji, a member of Shonekan’s discredited Interim Government? MD Yussuf of the Halliburton FAME? Etc etc

Perhaps, the name that will raise the most eyebrows is Kase Lawal, a Nigerian oil magnate based in Houston, Texas, United States.

Mr. Kase Lawal, one of Nigeria’s most controversial economic players, was once a big player in the seamy and corruption-ridden world of Nigerian oil business and one time fugitive from justice from Nigeria.

Saharareporters once commenced writing reports about Mr. Kase Lawal’s fugitive status in Nigeria just as the Nigeria Lawyers Association gave him an “award” that also had the controversial Attorney General of Nigeria, Michael Aondoakaa in attendance. Kase Lawal later hosted Mrs. Turai Yar’adua, Nigeria’s “First Lady” to a lavish party in Houston, Texas offering an undisclosed donation to a yet to be registered non-profit organization.

Before I tell you more of Mr Lawal, here are other members of the group:

T.Y. Danjuma

A retired general and former Minister of Defence in the first term of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, with whom he had been acquainted in their days in the military. He was number three in the Obasanjo military regime, which came into being following the murder of General Murtala Muhammed in 1976. He was one of those who spoke out on the need to resolve the logjam created by the prolonged absence of President Umaru Yar’Adua and is rumoured to be one of those being considered by the North for the Vice president job should Jonathan be confirmed President.

Emeka Anyaoku

A former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations, Anyaoku had once served as Foreign Affairs Minister in the Second Republic. A highly respected Nigerian, he was involved in efforts to start a private refinery in his home state of Anambra. He used his international clout to call for free and fair election in the recently concluded governorship election in Anambra State.

Mariam Uwais

Mrs Uwais is a senior legal practitioner and wife of former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Muhammed Uwais. Mrs. Uwais, who is on the team defending terror suspect Abdulfarouk Mutallab in the US, is one of the promoters of the National Tobacco Control Bill, which is before the Senate Committee on Health.

Muhammadu Dikko Yusufu

A former Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Alhaji MD Yusufu, was Inspector-General of Police (IGP) in the late seventies. He embraced politics after retiring as IGP and tried unsuccessfully to become president. He was one of the few who challenged the former military dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha, by indicating interest in running for president when Abacha, was believed to have perfected a plot to succeed himself. He floated the Movement for Democracy and Justice (MDJ) which he led before slowing down his involvement in partisan politics. He sits on the board of many companies.

Kase Lawal

Lawal is a Nigerian oil magnate based in Houston, Texas, United States. An indigene of Ibadan, Oyo State, he was once rated by Forbes Magazine as the richest black man on earth. He was involved in the electioneering campaigns of former US President Bill Clinton.

Justice Alfa Belgore

Justice Belgore is a retired justice of the Supreme Court who contributed immensely to expanding the frontiers of the law. He rose to become the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) before bowing out of office after attaining the retirement age.

Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa

A respected businessman and boss of Neimeth Pharmaceuticals Plc, one of the country’s most rated pharmaceutical firms. He is the Chairman of the National Economic Summit Group, a body which points the way forward for government in the area of economic development.

Fola Adeola

A top flight banker and pioneer Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB). Adeola is the brain behind Fate Foundation and was one of the few Africans chosen by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to serve on an advisory body he set up while in office. His attempt to run for Senate suffered a set back in 2007.

Bartholomew Nnaji

Nnaji is a professor of Robotic Engineering in the US. He made his mark in the United States before coming home to try his hand in politics, without much success. He has been on the quiet side, until his announcement as a member of the Acting President’s Advisory Council.

Ben Nwabueze (SAN)

A foremost constitution lawyer and one time Minister of Education, Prof Nwabueze is the chairman of The Patriots, a group of eminent citizens, and has once served as Secretary General of the Ohanaeze N’digbo, the pan-Igbo socio-political association. The septuagenarian law expert would bring into the council his deep knowledge of constitution and constitutionalism, intellect and organisational skills.

Basil Omiyi

An engineer and former Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Omiyi has an immense experience in the oil and gas sector and is seen as an astute manager of men and materials. His contributions would be a great asset to the council.

Kanu Agabi (SAN)

A former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Agabi was Special Adviser on legal matters to former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He is seen as a well organised and consistent party man.

Chibudom Nwuche

A very vocal politician from the South South and former deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nwuche was well respected during his stint in the House and has maintained that dignity in his political activities after the expiration of his term.

Bamanga Tukur

A former governor of the old Gongola State and member, Board of Trustees of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, Dr Tukur was once a presidential aspirant. Of recent he has mellowed down his political activities, concentrating more on his businesses. He is the Chairman of African Business Roundtable.

Ismaila Isa Funtua

Funtua, a former President of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), is noted for his courage and public spiritedness.

Back to Kase Lawal:

Major US newspaper later picked up the story on Kase Lawal’s fugitive background in connection with the US elections and a major Democratic Party candidate, Hillary Clinton.

The Texas oilman was accused of defrauding the Nigerian government by illegally pumping and exporting 10 million barrels of oil but later became a major fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Kase Lawal of Houston was at least the fourth person accused or convicted of criminal wrongdoing to help finance Clinton’s political ambitions since 2000 and the second in her quest for the White House. The list also includes Chinese and Pakistani fugitives and a former Miami lawyer who was convicted of defrauding Cuba.

Lawal’s connections with “President” Yar’adua’s wife, and his already cosy relationship with Nigeria’s super-corrupt Attorney General, (Mr. Lawal’s namesake), and the Nigerian authorities is well documented.

Lawal, 53, who holds dual U.S.-Nigerian citizenship and whose energy company has become one of the nation’s largest black-owned businesses,.

In 1999, Nuhu Ribadu, who was then an Assistant Police Commissioner (ASP), brought a case to a Lagos High Court against a group of alleged oil block thieves.

Lawal was indicted and arraigned by Nigerian police authorities on charges of stealing an oil block belonging to the late Maiduguri-based businessman, Mai Deribe. The police charged Lawal and his staff before a Lagos High Court.

Shortly after the institution of the case, Lawal, who is highly connected, reportedly bribed both the then Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General of the Federation to intervene by ‘killing’ the case.

In a curious development, the then Attorney General quashed the case by claiming that only the office of the Attorney General of the federation was empowered to initiate prosecution against criminals.

He escaped from Nigeria several years ago amid a scandal that was going to see him prosecuted.

Nuhu Ribadu, then an Assistant police commissioner later rose to become the country’s top anti-corruption crusader and Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

As the main suspect, Mr. Kase Lawal holds dual Nigerian and US citizenships with which he fled Nigeria, leaving behind his staff members led by one Mr. Osahon to face the consequences. A warrant of arrest was issued against Lawal while Osahon and others were lined up to face trial.

In a bizarre twist, Nigeria’s Attorney General, Michael Andoakaa, whose office should be seeking Lawal’s extradition, was on hand lend in a gala night to lend official imprimatur to the fugitive’s so-called “honor.”

Mr. Lawal Mr. Lawal, a big player in the seamy and corruption-ridden world of Nigerian oil business, and has long been a fishy presence in Nigeria’s oil sector.

During the Ibrahim Babangida regime, Mr. Lawal used his closeness to then Petroleum Minister Rilwan Lukman to broker some questionable oil sector deals. He was also involved in oil deals in South Africa where he reportedly acted as a front for major ANC party stalwarts.

We like recycling leaders in Nigeria. Check out the Jonathan List again and all you see are old faces.

Haba! President Barack Obama aptly said: You cannot keep doing the same things over and over again and expect a different Result.

Acting President Goodluck yesterday constituted the 26-man Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) to assist him in discharging his duties. The council is expected to look into government programmes and projects with a view to making inputs, especially on areas requiring adjustments. According to its terms of reference, the Council will focus on power, economy, security, infrastructure and electoral process, among others. This move is seen by many as parts of effort to chart a new course for the presidency. 

But if Jonathan is not careful, eventually we’ll get same old result!!