Connect with us

Headline

End of the Road For Justice Onnoghen

Published

on

By: Ajibade Morakinyo

When the 80s boy band, Boys II Men sang the song, End Of The Road, they described a loving relationship that had gone sour but one of the parties was living in denial pleading and hoping that the relationship continues though it was teaching what was technically it’s last bus stop.

This scenario can be likened to the situation that has occurred in the life of Nigeria’s Chief Justice, Justice Walter Onnoghen.

His love affair with the judiciary which hit its zenith with him ascending the No.1 role had ended but he was holding on tight, hoping for a miracle or a turnaround of fortune but it is now obvious that it is over and he had reached the end of the road with a reported resignation.

THE GENESIS

It all started on Friday, January 11, 2019, when the presidency presented a 20 point text which revealed that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mr. Walter Nkanu Onnoghen, has committed chronic offences as alleged by a petition by a whistle blowing NGO.

The reaction was that of incredulity in some quarters while others doubted.the motive and asked if this was not a politically motivated witch hunt of Justice Onnoghen.

On Monday January 7, 2019, a petition was written by the Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative (ARDI); on Tuesday January 8, the petition was submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB); on Wednesday January 9, the petition was received by the office of the CCB Chairman; on Thursday January 10, charges against CJN Onnoghen were filed by the CCB; and on Friday January 11, the CJN was served at his official residence in Abuja.

According to the petition, Onnoghen is the owner of sundry accounts primarily funded through cash deposits made by himself up to as recently as 10th August 2016 which appear to have been run in a manner inconsistent with financial transparency and the code of conduct for public officials.

The group, in the petition, said Onnoghen made five different cash deposits of $10,000 each on March 8, 2011, into Standard Chartered Bank Account 1062650; two separate cash deposits of $5000 each followed by four cash deposits of $10,000 each on June 7, 2011; another set of five separate cash deposits of $10,000 each on June 27, 2011, and four more cash deposits of $10,000 each the following day.

Aside this, they said Onnoghen did not declare his assets immediately after taking office, contrary to section 15 (1) of Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act; and that he did not comply with the constitutional requirement for public servants to declare their assets every four years during their career.

Another allegation against him was that his Code of Conduct Bureau Forms (Form CCB 1) for 2014 and 2016 were dated and filed on the same day and the acknowledgement slips were issued for both on December 14, 2016 — at which point, they said, he had become the CJN – Onnoghen assumed CJN office on March 6, 2017.

ARDI alleged that prior to 2016, Onnoghen appeared to have suppressed or otherwise concealed the existence of these multiple domiciliary accounts owned by him, as well as the substantial cash balances in them and that these domiciliary accounts were not declared in one of the two CCB Forms filed by Justice Onnoghen on the same day, 14th December 2016.

The cash balances in them were as follows: The Standard Chartered Bank dollar account 1062650 has $391,401.28 as at January 31, 2011; The Standard Chartered Bank Euro account 5001062686 has 49,971.71 Euro as at January 31, 2011; and The Standard Chartered Bank pound sterling account 5001062679 has balance GBP23,409.66 as at February 28, 2011.

THE EFCC ANGLE

As if this body punch was not bad enough, the Chief Justice got a blow yo the face from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

In the commission’s petition which no doubt cast more aspersions on Onnoghen’s intergrity, it disclosed that he refused to declare his assets upon his appointment as a judicial officer in 1989.

The EFCC also made various discoveries including hidden accounts and undeclared houses and businesses.

As a result of the weighty allegations, he was dragged before the Justice Danladi Umar-led Code Of Conduct Tribunal.

In one of the sitings, the State Prosecutor, Mr. Aliyu Umar (SAN) asked that Onnoghen steps down or be suspended while the trial was going on.

The CCT had adjourned sitting but it was started that it had granted the prayer of that he should step aside.

This was challenged at a high court by Onnoghen’ s lawyers and before you could say Jack Robinson, President Muhammadu Buhari relying on the CCT recommendation suspended Onnoghen and swore in Justice Tanko Muhammed as Acting CJN.

The battle for his survival now began at the CCT

THE CCT DRAMA

At the CCT, it was discovered that the CCB had not conducted any investigation rather it was the EFCC that investigated Onnoghen.

The Commission had been contacted to investigate the petition and said Onnoghen had no evidence of ever declaring his assets until 2016 and upon his appointment as a judicial Officer in 1989 as Justice of the High Court of Cross River State.

EFCC stated that further that the respondent has not ever declared his asset until 2016 when he filled annexure E and F of exhibits R 6 and R7.

In exhibit R7, the Respondent admitted that he failed to comply with the Constitutional provisions requiring him to declare asset on the ground that he forgot due to pressure of work.

“My lords, even in the conventional court where rules of evidence is applicable every admitted facts need no further prove. See Agbakoba v. SSS (1994) 8 NWLR (Pt.351) p. 475 and the case of Gov. of Akwa-Ibom State v. John Amah (2002) 7 NWLR (Pt.767) 730 at 778,” the commission revealed.

Also, he was accused of depositing the sum of $1,716,000 in a United State Dollars account operated with the Standard Chartered Bank in 2009, marked as exhibit P4 C, between 2009 and 2016.

According to EFCC, Onnoghen’s earnings as a judicial officer could not satisfactorily account for the amount found in the account.

They also said the Respondent (Onnoghen) failed to declare all the accounts and funds in exhibit P4-P4D when he declared his 2014 asset in November 2016. And that he only declared his Salary account with the Union Bank exhibit P3 and failed to declare P4-P4D, which are the accounts that warehoused funds that are far above Onnoghen’s known and provable lawful income.

It stated that by the provisions of Rule 1.2 of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers, it is clear that because members of the public expect a high standard of conduct from a judge, Onnoghen is under the obligation to avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all his activities both in his professional and private life.

Insisting that any conduct of the Respondent that give rise to the appearance of impropriety is a judicial misconduct and same is punishable under the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers.

The EFCC said that having studied the petition,

“It is our humble submission that the petitioner proved before this Honourable Panel that the Respondent was in possession of funds which are fairly not attributable to his known, provable and legitimate source of income.

“The evidence shows that my lord earned a monthly salary in the sum of N750,819.87 which is about N9,000,000.00 per annum,” the petition read.

As shown in exhibit P10A page 14 paragraph XXVI from the petition, the Respondent only earned the sum of N91,962,362.49 as salary between September 2005 and October 2016, and that the exhibit P3 is the salary account wherein his salaries are paid.

The commission further said, “the evidence before this Honourable Committee shows clearly that the Respondent opened United State Dollars account with the Standard Chartered Bank in 2009, exhibit P4 C, which was opened by Mr. Joe Agi SAN and the first cash depositor of United State of America Dollars into the said account with entry of the 29th day of June, 2009.

Responding to this, Onnoghen claimed he gave the learned SAN, Joe Agi the $30,000.00 to deposit to exhibit P4 C. Although he could not give any reasonable explanation as to source of this money, he admitted under cross-examination that the USD was not his salary and that he only received dollars as estacodes which is meant to for his official trips.

The commission also made it known that upon the opening of the USD account exhibit P4C, a lot of cash deposits in Dollars were made to this account between 2009 and 2016.

The amounts in the said account were deposited as follows: $74,200 (2009); $291,800 (2010); $340,000 (2011); $625,000 (2012); $298,000 (2013); $40,000 (2015) and $47,000 (2016). The total was $1,716,000.

The suspended CJN was quoted to have stated that: “The sources of these are from my savings from my days as foreign student and a successful private legal practitioner, as well as estacodes for annual for annual vacations, medical expenses, international conferences, my earnings as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Gambia (See Annexure “B” referenced as ZD 129/186/01/P.II/(148), among others; and the conversion of Naira to Dollars which sometimes ago was very favorable.

According to him, returns from his off-shore investments in the foreign currencies which are clearly documented by the bank with an overdraft of $500,000 approved for me in the USD Dollars account in November, 2018.

He disclosed that up till now, the proceeds from the investments are paid into the account as and at when due, and that his investments with Standard Chartered Bank also include Federal Government Bonds as can be seen from the records of dividends.

The commission however said Onnoghen’s explanation was “laughable” and that when he was a foreign student in Ghana he accumulated such amount of money but was not stated to the Panel.

It was said by the commission that the respondent who purportedly cannot afford to pay N7,000,000.00 to Joe Agi SAN in 2009 wanted the Panel to believe that he accumulated dollars to the tune of $1,716,000.00 in his house.

In addition, it was said that he never declared having $1,716,000.00 in his asset declaration form as cash in hand and was therefore inexplicable that he wanted the panel to believe that he accumulated the said sum in his house and only deposited them in the bank between 2009 and 2016 in cash.

Also Onnoghen attempted to suggest to the panel that the $1,716,000.00 cash deposit in exhibit P4C was earned by him upon his part-time appointment as Justice of the Supreme Court of Gambia, but was accepted because he was appointed on the 22nd day of November 2012.

On the face of his appointment letter, it is clear that Onnoghen was entitled to the Five Thousand pounds Sterling (5,000 GBP) and Twenty Thousand Dalasis which is payable per session to be determined by the Chief Justice of Gambia in line with the Rules of the Supreme Court of Gambia.

However, he failed to show the panel that consequent upon his appointment in November 2012 and the assumption of that office in 2013 the number of sessions he sat as a member of the Supreme Court of Gambia.

Onnoghen also failed to state how much he earned from Gambia, how he was paid whether cash or through his account.

The petition concluded that if Onnoghen is to earn any fee from Gambia it will be GBP and not USD, and that he has failed to show with credible evidence how he legitimately earned the sum of $1,716,000.00 which is far above his lawful and provable income.

The Prosecution went on with his case declaring that it was going to call six witnesses.

The prosecution presented three witnesses before closing its case against the suspended judge.

Witness 1

The first persecution witness, James Akpala, an investigative officer with the bureau, told the court that the CCB received the petition against Mr Onnoghen from a petitioner, Denis Aghanya, on January 9.

Mr Akpala, whose testimony was given on March 18, said he was asked to investigate the content of the petition from Mr Aghanya, a member of the All Progressives Congress, on January 10.

With Mr Akpala in the witness box, the lead prosecution lawyer, Aliu Umar, admitted six documents said to have been investigated by the first prosecution witness.

The documents included Mr Aghanya’s petition, which gave rise to the six count charge against Mr Onnoghen, and two of Mr Onnoghen’s asset declaration forms, which were both filed by Mr Onnoghen in December, 2016.

The other documents admitted were Mr Onnoghen’s Supreme Court identity card, his traveling passport and a Standard Chartered Bank document which all made up Mr Onnoghen’s account opening package.

Also admitted in evidence was Mr Onnoghen’s handwritten statement taken by a team of investigators at his office on January 11.

According to the witness, one of the declaration forms submitted by Mr Onnoghen had two bank accounts while the other had seven bank accounts.

He said the bank accounts included two Union Bank details and five others with Standard Chartered Bank.

Mr Akpala was asked during cross examination to read out the dates written on the charge sheet earlier submitted at the tribunal.

The information read out by Mr Akpala proved a point made by the defence that the charge sheet was prepared before the investigation team visited Mr Onnoghen at his office.

That submission was not objected by the prosecution.

Asked whether the charge sheet was filed within 24 hours of commencement of investigation, Mr Akpala responded in the affirmative.

Mr Akpala declined comments when asked to speak on the reason the bank statements shown to Mr Onnoghen by the CCB was addressed to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC).

Witness 2

During his testimony, the second witness, Awwal Yakassai, also a staff of the bureau, testified that the asset declaration forms submitted by Mr Onnoghen were yet to be verified by the Code of Conduct Bureau.

Mr Yakassai was presented before the tribunal on March 21.

He reiterated a point made by Mr Akpala that the forms were both submitted the same day by Mr Onnoghen, and also confirmed that the forms were the basis upon which the charges against the suspended Chief Justice were filed.

Mr Yakassai was the CCB officer who collected the forms when they were filed by Mr Onnoghen in December 2016.

During cross examination, Mr Yakassai was shown the portion of the forms expected to have been signed as a measure of verification by the CCT. The portion shown to Mr Yakassai were confirmed blank by the witness.

Mr Yakassai also admitted, when confronted with a submission by the defence, that the content of the petition written against Mr Onnoghen was a ‘practical duplication of the details entered by Mr Onnoghen in his asset declaration forms.’

Witness 3

In her testimony, the third prosecution witness, Ifeoma Okagbue, a staff of the Standard Chartered bank who was also presented on Thursday told the tribunal that Mr Onnoghen did not have as much as $1million or £1 million in all the bank accounts, a denial of a major plank upon which the charges against him were built.

Ms Akagbue, who told the tribunal that she started to manage Mr Onnoghen’s account in 2015, added that all five accounts mentioned in the charges had the Bank Verification Numbers.

The witness also told the tribunal that the various accounts were domiciliary, not foreign. It was after this that it said it was not calling any other witnesses and decided to close the case.

Defense counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), led in evidence one Lawal Busari, who is Justice Onnoghen’s driver.

In his evidence, Busari told the court how he drove Onnoghen to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) Office on July 28, 2010, to obtain an assets’ declaration form, saying he paid N200 fee for Onnoghen’s form on November 3, 2010.

Busari, who told the court that he was a chief driver and mechanic with the Supreme Court, added that while he was still with Justice Onnoghen at the CCB, he (Onnoghen) asked him to also get his own assets declaration form.

He explained that he obtained his form as directed, adding: “When we got back to the office, I filled my own form and on November 3, 2010, my Lordship gave me N200 to pay into the treasury account for the form.

“I collected the receipt from the cashier and I gave the receipt back to my lord and on November 4, 2010, I did mine by paying N200 to the cashier.”

The testimony of the 60-year old witness aimed at countering the prosecution’s charge that Justice Onnoghen did not declare his assets between 2005 and 2016 in line with public office law.

But when Awomolo sought to tender the receipt as exhibit, the prosecution counsel, Aliyu Umar (SAN), objected to its admissibility.

He hinged his objection on the fact that the ‘Revenue number’ was not on the receipt, insisting that its authenticity was doubtful, and that Busari, not being the originator of the document, was not the right person to tender it in court.

The prosecution was, however, overruled and the receipt admitted as an exhibit, after which the tribunal adjourned for that day.

It was also to call Mrs Theresa Nwafor, a Director of the CCB now based in Benin, after asking that she be issued subpoena to appear, the Defence counsel, Chris Uche (SAN) informed on the next trial date of the tribunal that the defendant was done with his case.
Uche, while addressing the tribunal Chairman, Danladi Umar, said:”My lords, today is for continuation of trial.

“But my lords, after a deep review of the evidence led by the prosecution and the defence, the defence has come to conclusion and we have closed our case.

He stated “Pursuarnt to paragraph 14 of the Practice Direction of this honourable tribunal, we apply to file our final written addresses.”

Uche prayed the tribunal for 14 days to enable him file his client’s final written address.
Lead prosecution lawyer, Aliyu Umar (SAN), said the defence informed him before hand that it would close its case.

Umar urged the tribunal to allocate time to the parties as it wishes.
The tribunal’s chairman directed the defence to file and serve its address on or before April 8.

THE NJC ANGLE

Following an uproar by Nigerians on the case, especially that his trial did not follow due process and his suspension too was wrong because he could only have been suspended through the recommendation of the National Judicial Council ( NJC), the NJC stepped into the arena.

It stated that it has received two petitions, one was the one that formed the basis for the CCT trial against Justice Onnoghen and the other was by Olisa Agbakoba, SAN against Justice Tanko Muhammed for accepting to be sworn in as Acting CJN

The NJC summoned bith men to respond to the petitions after which it would take a decision.It set up a 5-man panel to handle the matter.

The council however decided that the allegations relating to assets declaration that were levelled against Hon. Mr. Justice W. S. N. Onnoghen, GCON were subjudice and therefore abstained from considering them.

Thereafter, the Council reached a decision on the petitions written by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and others, of which it has conveyed its decision to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Also, the council resolved that by the nature of the decision reached, it would be inappropriate for it to publicise it before conveying it to Mr. President.

THE END

Every film.or drama, there must be an end.And it seems the one involving Onnoghen is gradually cruising to an end with his reported resignation.

Though no official statement has so far been made by the Presidency, it was widely reported that Justice Onnoghen had tendered his resignation on Thursday and now we all await what will certainly be his final farewell from the exalted position of Chief Justice of Nigeria.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Headline

Behold! The Asiwaju of Edeland, Gov Ademola Adeleke

Published

on

By

By Eric Elezuo

The ancient town of Ede in Osun State is set to host the who’s who in Nigeria’s political and traditional institutions as the Executive Governor of the state, His Excellency, Senator Ademola Nurudeen Jackson Adeleke, is installed as the Asiwaju of Edeland.

The one in town event is scheduled to hold on Monday, May 13, 2024 at the Grounds of the Palace of the Timi of Ędę, HRH Oba Adesola Munirudeen Lawal (Laminisa 1), on the same day the governor, who has been termed as ‘performing’ will be celebrating his 64th birthday.

The Asiwaju title was previously held by Governor Adeleke’s elder brother, Isiaka Adeleke, who passed away on April 23, 2017.

Among dignitaries expected at the event are the former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, members of the Osun State executive and legislative councils, federal legislators, members of the diplomatic Corps, business men, politicians across the nation, entertainers and the general public.

THE MAN, ADEMOLA JACKSON ADELEKE

He has one of the most jovial personalities, combined with a mien that is down to earth and thoroughly enterprising. Many call him ever smiling senator; some others call him dancing senator while a whole lot of others call him the incoming governor. He is the Senator, who represented Osun West Senatorial district in the Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber between 2015 and 2019. He is Ademola Jackson Adeleke, a distinguished contender for the Osun governorship seat. 

Born of the Adeleke family of Ede in Osun State on May 13, 1960, Adeleke commenced his primary education at Methodist Primary School, Surulere Lagos State before he was privileged to relocate to Old Oyo State to continue his education at Nawarudeen Primary School, Ikire.

Adeleke was born Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke to a Muslim father and Nnena Esther Adeleke, an Igbo Christian mother. Like him, Adeleke’s father, Raji Ayoola Adeleke was a Senator and the Balogun of Ede land in Osun State. His father, Raji Ayoola Adeleke was also the leader of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN).

On completion of his primary education, he moved on to The Seventh Day Adventist Secondary School, Ede to begin his post primary schooling. In the later years however, he attended Ede Muslim Grammar School Ede, where he completed his secondary school education and subsequently relocated to the United States of America, joining his two older brothers, who were also studying there.

In the United States, he joined Jacksonville State University, Alabama, and studied Criminal Justice, with minor in Political Science.

To prove doubting Thomases, who wiped up controversies around his educational qualification, wrong, he went back to school and got enrolled at Atlanta Metropolitan State College in the United States, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice in 2021.

A businessman and administrator of no mean repute, Adeleke was the humble Group Executive Director at his brother’s company, Pacific Holdings Limited from 2001 to 2016, where his credible performances shot the company to enviable heights; a height it is still enjoying till date.

It is imperative to note that before he joined Pacific Holdings Limited, Senator Adeleke worked with Quicksilver Courier Company in Atlanta, Georgia, US, as a service contractor from 1985 to 1989. His dexterity to work earned him a progression in career, and he berthed as Vice President at Origin International LLC, Atlanta, Georgia, US, a flavours and fragrance manufacturing company. His meritorious stewardship lasted a period of five years, from 1990 to 1994.

Not a few has described Adeleke as the philanthropic capital of Ede, as his influence in aiding the less privileged and downtrodden remains top notch. He is a voracious believer in community development, and has not spared any expense to see that his community receives global influence.

Politically, Adeleke is a beacon of light and hard nut to crack, having remained an albatross to opposing powers and a reference point to ideal administration.

Shortly after he lost his brother, Senator Isiaka Adeleke, who died in April 2017, he contested the Osun West 2017 Senatorial by-election after the death of his brother, emerging as the winner under the Peoples Democratic Party, where he decamped to from the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Having emerged senator, Adeleke’s political influence waxed stronger, an on July 23, 2018, he emerged as the governorship candidate of PDP in Osun State after defeating Akin Ogunbiyi by seven votes. Efforts made to deprive him of the mandate was twated by the courts.

Adeleke’s lawyer in his defense claims his secondary school hasn’t come out to deny his testimonial asking the court to dismiss the Case. The court dismissed the suit stating that the plaintiff could not prove Adeleke’s forgery.

Adeleke ran for Osun state governorship election under the PDP against top contenders Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola of APC and Iyiola Omisore of SDP on 22 September 2018. The election was declared inconclusive by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) while Adeleke was leading, and a rerun slated on September 27, 2018. The candidate of the APC Oyetola was declared winner after the run-off. Adeleke protested the result describing the election as a “coup”.

Much as on March 22, 2019, the tribunal sitting in Abuja declared Adeleke the winner of the election, the Supreme Court later affirmed Gboyega Oyetola as the authentic winner of the 2018 Osun State governorship election on Friday, July 5, 2019

Popularly known as the Dancing Senator because of his penchant to joyfully react to the sounds of music, Adeleke is uncle to one of Nigeria’s popular musicians, Davido.

Governor Adeleke is married to an equally successful businesswoman and a self-made boss. They are blessed with three children who are all entertainers. They are B-Red and Shina Rambo and a daughter, Nike Adeleke. He is the uncle of one Nigeria’s primus inter pares in entertainment, Davido.

As expected, Adeleke is moving Osun State to the greatest of heights as he promised, and many who know him agree that there are still very many more in the offing.

HIS EXTRAORDINARY EASE OF DOING BUSINESS STRATEGY 

The governor has shared good news on the ease of doing business in the state as follows:

In continuation of our administration’s effort to improve the state economy and encourage the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), we have completed the harmonization of multiple taxes and levies collected by different government departments, agencies, and ministries across all business sectors of the state economy including the informal sectors into a single bill. This Harmonized Bill curates all levies, which businesses are expected to pay on an annual basis as a single bill.

This initiative is to promote ease of doing business by ensuring seamless and convenient payment of levies and taxes due to individuals and businesses across the state in equal or unequal tranches and ensure the issuance of Harmonized Bill Certificate upon completion of payment of the total amount.

I hereby note to all business owners in Osun state both in formal and informal sectors that the official online payment channels for the state is pay.irs.os.gov.ng; POS machines in Tax stations across the state; commercial banks across Nigeria; and Money Transfer Services for those outside Nigeria.

In addition, we have also completed the deployment of Automation System for improved service delivery on payment of rent and lease on government properties; processing of Certificates of Occupancy (C of O) in 45 days; Electronic Affidavit System; Electronic State of Origin and Local Government Area of Origin portal; Mobile tax stations; Online Tax payment system etc.

OFFICIAL PROFILE OF GOVERNOR ADEMOLA ADELEKE, THE NEW ASIWAJU OF EDELAND

Governor Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Adeleke, the Executive Governor of Osun state and the new Asiwaju of Edeland is a pan Nigerian by birth, by philosophy and by worldview. Born at Enugu as a son of independence on 13th May, 1960, the new Ede frontliner widely acknowledged as the Olosun of Osun is a tactical politician, a businessman, show business activist and a humanist within philanthropism. The ever lively, urbane scion of the Adeleke family of Ede North Local Government is an innovative entrepreneur, a grassroot political figure and a strong advocate of good governance, then as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and now as the Governor of Osun State.

From his childhood, the Asiwaju is a man of complex character, a young man with multiplicity of talents and an adult with widely praised open heart, strong will and constancy of adaptation to ideas and innovations. From his secondary education at Ede Muslim Grammar School to his sojourn to the United States and tertiary education at the Jacksonville State University, Alabama where he majored in criminal justice, the Ede frontliner demonstrated deep business interest, unconventional approach and a rare mastery of intricacies of politics, business and social life.

Despite hailing from a well to do family, the Asiwaju was in the United States and Nigeria, a man in search of opportunities for self growth and advancement. His passion for self development and business prosperity occasioned his joining the Quicksilver Courier Company in Atlanta, Georgia, US, as a service contractor between 1985–1989. He progressed to Origin International LLC, Atlanta, Georgia, US, a flavours and fragrance manufacturing company where he served as Vice President from 1990 to 1994.

A suave businessman and administrator, he served as a Director of Guiness Nigeria Limited between 1992- 1999 where he contributed immensely to the expansion of the multinational company. He was later appointed Group Executive Director of Pacific Holdings Limited from 2001 to 2016. Senator Adeleke is also an acclaimed creative Industry entrepreneur and mentor. As a talented creative figure, he mentored world rated ace musicians while his family members and children are leading stars in the global music industry.

As a man ever restless in pursuit of self growth and opportunities, the Asiwaju again opted to restart his educational sojourn which he suspended because of business and entrepreneurial preoccupations. In 2019 after he was rigged out of a governorship election he clearly won, Governor Adeleke, in a can do spirit, re-enrolled at Atlanta Metropolitan State College in the United States and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice in 2021.

All along and considering his family background, the frontliner was for years both a political servant and leader, learning the rope from his father (Senator Ayoola Adeleke) , a second republic progressive Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and his brother, Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke, the First Executive Governor of Osun State. His business teeth were sharpened by his brother, the global business mogul, Dr Adedeji Adeleke while his political potency was strengthened by his sister, the Yeyeluwa of Edeland, Chief (Mrs) Dupe Adeleke- Sanni. The celebrant of today was eventually elected the President of the Adeleke dynasty, representing the sons and daughters of the great Adeleke family at home and abroad.

Having been thus fortified by his innate personality, his family background and his multifaceted experience, his political participation predated 1991 but he took the front seat in 2017 when he was elected with a landslide victory as a Senator for Osun West Senatorial District in 2017. His popularity reached a peak when he won the Osun 2018 governorship election before the open rigging and manipulation that was globally condemned.

As a man of steel character, the frontliner took the gauntlet again in 2022 and beat the incumbent to reclaim the stolen mandate of 2018. Imole as the Governor is popularly known has since been delivering on good governance, winning applause and praises from far and near.

In December 2023, he was honoured with a doctorate degree by the Valley View University, Accra, Ghana. The Vice Chancellor lauded the Governor’s multi-million naira education scholarship as a Senator, his sterling records on workers welfare as a Governor, his performance on infrastructure upgrades and his commitment to due process, rule of law and fear of God.

He has received several awards including the Governor of the Year Award by Champion newspapers in 2023, Sahel Standard Man of the Year in 2022, Vanguard Newspaper Governor of the Year on Infrastructure and a host of other recognition. The frontliner serves on several national governmental committees including being the representative of the South West on the National Minimum Wage Committee.

The new Asiwaju of Edeland is a strong family man, an avid sport lover, a man of God and a David of our time with incessant passion for praise singing and adulation of God Almighty.

Courtesy: Governor’s Office, 2024.

By this new office, Governor Adeleke is now the one who leads in Edeland, and is expected to use his office to better the lot of the people of Ede.

Congratulations sir!

Continue Reading

Headline

You’re Non-Existent, Fubara Tells Amaewhule-led Rivers Assembly

Published

on

By

Rivers State Governor, Similaya Fubara, has taken a swipe at the Martin Amaewhule-led group of lawmakers at the state House of Assembly and declared that they do not exist anymore in the eyes of the law.

“Let me say it here, those groups of men who claim that they are assembly members, they do not exist. I want it to be on the record,” Fubara declared

The governor stated this when he received on courtesy visit the Bayelsa State delegation of political and traditional leaders, led by former Governor of the State, Senator Seriake Dickson, at Government House in Port Harcourt on Monday.

Fubara and 26 members of the assembly loyal to former governor, Nyesom Wike, have been at loggerheads after the move to impeach the governor was thwarted.

He told the delegation that he has been showing restraint since the political crisis escalated in the state.

The governor further stated that despite wielding state powers that he can deploy to achieve his aim, he has continued to act as the big brother in the face of intimidation and unwarranted attacks.

“So, I want you to see the sacrifice I have made to allow peace to be in our state. I can say here, with all amount of boldness, I have never called any policeman anywhere to go and harass anybody.

“I have never gone anywhere to ask anybody to do anything against anybody. But what happens to the people that are supporting me? They are being harassed, they are being arrested and detained.

“There is no week that somebody doesn’t come here with one letter of invitation for trump-up charges and all those things,” he said.

The governor added, “I am saying all these because of what my senior said here. I don’t think the other party has shown any restraint. I am the one who has shown restraint in the face of this crisis.

“I am the one that is badly hit, even when I have all the government instruments to shake up the table. But, why will I do it? I believe that peace is the best relationship to cultivate.”

He revealed that he had always been present at any meeting that was called to resolve the crisis in the state but after each meeting, he was met with a new dimension of the crisis from the opposing side.

He, however, vowed to continue to be peaceful, acknowledging that power is transient.

“We might have our division, but I believe that one day, we could also come together, but it has gotten to a time when I have to make a statement that they are not existing. Their existence is me allowing them to exist. If I de-recognize them, they are nowhere. I want you to see the sacrifice I have made in allowing peace to reign in our state,” he concluded.

The Punch

Continue Reading

Headline

Yahaya Bello vs EFCC: The Tussle Continues

Published

on

By

By Eric Elezuo

With the declaration of the Apppeal Court, sitting in Abuja over the weekend, ordering a stay of proceedings in the contempt charge instituted by Yahaya Bello, former Kogi governor, against Ola Olukoyede, chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the stage seems set for an elongation of legal fireworks between the two feuding entities.

The declaration was a follow-up of Bello, who approached the Kogi High Court, seeking an order to issue and serve the respondent (EFCC chairman) with “form 49 notice” to show cause why an order of committal should not be made on him.

The judge, after listening to the arguments of the applicant’s counsel, the submission and the exhibits attached in the written address, granted Bello’s prayers and ordered Olukoyede to be summoned to appear before the court to answer the contempt charge.

However, while it is believed that the crisis of apprehending the former governor for prosecution is an institutional matter, many on the other hand, has accused the EFCC chairman of attaching a lot of personal interest in the matter going by the way he is fighting tooth and nail to see Bello in custody.

In a chat with editors at the EFCC Headquarters, Jabi, Abuja, the anti-graft agency chairman swore to follow the prosecution of Bello to the logical conclusion.

He also vowed that all those who obstructed the arrest of the former governor would be brought to justice.

The EFCC is seeking to arraign Bello on 19 counts bordering on alleged money laundering, breach of trust and misappropriation of funds to the tune of N80.2 billion.

“If I do not personally oversee the completion of the investigation regarding Yahaya Bello, I will tender my resignation as the EFCC Chairman,” Mr Olukoyede had vowed, adding that those who obstructed the arrest of the former governor would be brought to book. This was a veiled accusation against the governor of Kogi State, Usman Ododo, who used security agents to forestall the arrest of Bello in Abuja.

Olukoyede had also accused Bello of paying his children’s school fees upfront with funds from the atatae coffers.

“A sitting governor moved $720,000 directly from the government account to the Bureau de Change and used it to pay for the school fees of his child in advance in a poor state like Kogi, and you want me close my eyes under the guise that I’m being used. Use by who? At this stage of my life? By who for crying out loud?

“I didn’t initiate the case, I inherited the case file,” he retorted.

The EFCC had sought to arrest Yahaya Bello following his absence from court, and an order by Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court in Abuja after his absence in court.

He was absent from court for his arraignment on a 19-count charge of alleged money laundering to the tune of ₦80bn.

The judge relied on sections 384(4) and (5) of the Administrative and Criminal Justice Act 2015, directing the counsel to the immediate past governor to receive a copy of the charge.

The court held that where it had become impossible to effect personal service of a legal process on a defendant, such could be done through substituted means.

Justice Nwite further held that it was clear that the former governor failed to appear in court for his arraignment.

Notable minds including veteran journalist, Dele Momodu; human advocate and constitutional lawyer, Mike Ozekhome among others have said that the brazen nature with which Olukoyede is going about the matter smacks of personal vendetta, noting that now that the court of appeal has ordered a stay of execution of the contempt of court charges against Olukoyede, everyone must maintain status quotes, and allow Bello to respond to court summon, as the case is now between him and the court of Justice Nwite.

On his part, Momodu has lashed out at the EFCC for selective prosecution, wondering if Olukoyede has any personal stake in the matter, adding that generally the EFCC misfired in the Bello saga.

He said in part, during his Instagram live show:

“I don’t work for EFCC but from all the things that I have read, a lot of them, they misfired. That is the honest truth. They misfired. They didn’t do their due diligence. When you said a man took out money and paid for his children’s school fees, just as he was about to leave power, and you go and check the documents and you see that these things started happening from 2021, 2022 (laughs); I am not an illiterate.

“How do you expect me to believe everything they said when they were too much in a hurry to prosecute him that they did not take their time to check the file. Once you allow a lacuna in law, everything will fall flat.

“That is it. I am not one of those people who will say because I don’t like APC and because I supported Dino Melaye in the last election in Kogi State. Dino is my guy. But, I will not because of that be blinded by hatred for Yahaya Bello and say yes, he should go and surrender himself to EFCC when there is an existing injunction.

“And he is not the only governor who went to court and if the court has granted him that, so be it. We all know that our judiciary is not so perfect but you know, even at that, law is law, it must be obeyed. If we disobey the rule of law, then, we will have to obey the rule of the jungle. So, I never said that they are lying, it is their own statement that shows that they didn’t do their due diligence.”

TheCable, in its report, recalled that “a Kogi State high court presided over by Isa Jamil Abdullahi, had ordered Olukoyede to appear before it on May 13 to show why he should not be committed to prison for allegedly disobeying its order restraining the EFCC from arresting or taking any action against Bello.

“However, the EFCC chairman filed an appeal against the court summon.

“Olukoyede filed two motions, one seeking a stay of execution of the summon, and another one asking to serve processes on Bello via substituted means by pasting the process at his Abuja residence on No 9 Bengazi Steet Wuse Zone 4.

“In its ruling, a three-member panel of justices led by Joseph Oyewole granted the two motions.

“The appellate court fixed May 20 for the hearing of the substantive appeal marked CA/ABJ/CV/413/2024.

“Bello had on February 8, 2024, instituted a fundamental rights enforcement suit, asking the court to declare that “the incessant harassment, threats of arrest and detention, negative press releases, malicious prosecution” by the EFCC, “without any formal invitation, is politically motivated and interference with his right to liberty, freedom of movement, and fair hearing”.

“The former governor also sought an order “restraining the respondent by themselves, their agents, servants or privies from continuing to harass, threaten to arrest or detain him”.

“On February 9, the Kogi high court granted an interim injunction restraining the EFCC from “continuing to harass, threaten to arrest, detain, prosecute Bello, his former appointees, and his staff or family members, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive originating motion for the enforcement of his fundamental rights”.

On March 12, the EFCC filed an appeal against the interim injunction because the court could not stop the commission from carrying out its statutory responsibility.

The Kogi high court delivered judgment on the substantive motion on notice on April 17 wherein the presiding judge granted an order restraining the EFCC “from continuing to harass, threaten to arrest or detain Bello”.

However, the judge directed the commission to file a charge against Bello before an appropriate court if it had reasons to do so.

The judgment coincided with the recent “siege” laid on the Abuja residence of  Bello by EFCC operatives seeking to arrest him.

The commission had also obtained a warrant of arrest against the former governor from the federal high court in Abuja.

The EFCC is seeking to arraign Bello on 19 counts bordering on alleged money laundering, breach of trust and misappropriation of funds to the tune of N80.2 billion.

At the scheduled arraignment on April 18, Bello was absent.

At the court session, Abdulwahab Mohammed, counsel to Bello, told  Emeka Nwite, the presiding judge, that the court lacked jurisdiction to grant the warrant of arrest in the first instance.

He referenced the February 9 interim injunction issued by the Kogi high court, adding that the appeal filed by the EFCC was still pending.

However, the EFCC has filed a notice to withdraw the appeal.

In the notice filed on April 22, the anti-graft agency said the withdrawal was predicated on the fact that events have overtaken the appeal.

The commission also admitted that the appeal was filed out of the time allowed by law.

With the present status, legal minds are of the opinion that matters have returned to status quo, and Justice Emeka Nwite, reserved the right to order Bello’s appearance in court, and await his appearance before any other injunction can be  made.

“For now, it is not about who won or who did not. The matters of the case rest with the invitation of Bello by Justice Nwite. Bello was absent during his first summon, and the case was adjourned. So, everyone has to keep the calm and wait for the next hearing and see if he appears or not as directly by his lordship,” Ozekhome noted.

As it is therefore, May 20 will be a deciding factor for both Bello and EFCC as the tussle for who laughs last continues.

Continue Reading

Trending