The Adamawa Impeachment Saga: Lamorde’s Complicity
The impeachment of the then Governor Nyako of Adamawa State in July, 2014 came with mixed reactions. While few believed it was long overdue and justified others protested and were adamant that it was a clear indication of influence from external forces in the seat of power.
Whichever argument holds more water, one factor remains definite. The major actors were on a mission either for themselves or for their principals but clearly not for the people of Adamawa state.Political instability is the norm in this state and the thirst to settle political scores takes the front burner among politicians with Nyako being the main target since he ventured into mainstream politics. The elites have always had selfish reasons to castigate and undermine him among his people. Anyone who is prepared to be a ready tool to achieve these elites’ aim is adopted and drafted into their selfish motives. This trend is common among politicians and their kingmakers and is seen as anything being fair in war.
But when public servants, especially those saddled with the responsibility of arresting and prosecuting erring and corrupt politicians who have stolen our commonwealth get involved in this madness, then it becomes a cause for worry.
The sudden resurrection of the EFCC which have been virtually non-existent since the present chairman took over its leadership has continued to raise eyebrows on the real motives behind such summersault. An agency which could not secure a single conviction against any politician or public servant in the last five years due to poor and negligent prosecution is now jumping from pillar to post trying to do what it deliberately refused to do owing to its insincerity of purpose.
What is most baffling is the retention of Ibrahim Lamorde, one of the few remnants of the last administration by President Buhari. Why would the present government still keep a man who isn’t justified to remain there due to his inability to vigorously and sincerely fight corruption? Why would Buhari allow agency under the leadership of a man who is still using the charges and allegations trumped up during a government that was known for political witch-hunt and vendetta?
Buhari’s anti-corruption stance was his main selling point during his campaign and Nigerians expected that the first point of call will be the EFCC but I guess they would have to put up with this charade for a bit longer. So many media outfits have at various times in the past reported some wrongdoings of the present chairman of the EFCC, especially his involvement in the impeachment of former Governor Nyako of Adamawa.
Ibrahim Lamorde played a prominent role and served as a link between the Presidency and the Adamawa state House of assembly. Monies meant to settle the legislators usually went through him.Such financial settlement for impeachment of Nyako was done from the Presidency and coordinated by Hassan Tukur,the Principal Private Secretary(PPS)to President Jonathan.Such funds were disbursed directly to the legislators by Lamorde himself on two occasions while the third disbursement was done by the PPS himself.
The speed at which Lamorde sprang into action in the case against Nyako almost immediately he was impeached leaves people wondering if he (Lamorde) wasn’t involved in the whole dubious process.Most of these legislators are ready to testify against all those who were involved in the impeachment saga including Lamorde. They claimed they were shortchanged and betrayed.The impeachment notice was signed in Lamorde’s office with cash inducement and patronage and a threat of arrest should a member refuse to sign the notice.
A former member of the Adamawa House of Assembly and Chairman Committee on Information, Adamu Kamale in the Punch newspaper in November 2014 gave further insight on how they were used and dis carded by those they worked for to get rid of Nyako. He stated “We were promised automatic tickets for any elective position of our choice in return for the ouster of Nyako, which the presidency was so desperate to achieve as of then”. This promise unfortunately wasn’t kept as none of the members who were part of this plot secured their party’s ticket for any elective position.The late Regional Manager(Northeast)of Zenith Bank was also subjected to such treatment of blackmail based on reliable information from sources close to him.
Another pointer to Lamorde’s romance with the legislators and closeness to the former Speaker of the Adamawa House of Assembly and later the Acting Governor of Adamawa state after the ouster of Nyako, Ahmadu Fintiri is the deliberate refusal of the EFCC to investigate and prosecute him despite allegations of misappropriation of state funds when he was acting governor. There are reports going round that he and the EFCC boss share business interest with their joint ownership of a Tea plantation ,factory building, plant and equipment for tea production and processing located at the Mai samari(Mambila)in Taraba state which were bought from SM Nguroje through the Bank of Industry is one of such investments. This was acquired by Mayim Construction and Properties limited, a company which Fintiri and Lamorde have interest cost ₦650million. That itself is a crime as federal laws prohibit government officials from setting up business.
If this news is anything to go by, then it wouldn’t come as a surprise that Fintiri still walks around freely and enjoying his loot while those who governed the state before and after him, Murtala Nyako and Bala Ngilari respectively are now guests of the EFCC. While Nyako, sensing the bias and underhand attitude of Lamorde in his (Nyako’s) corruption case insisted he be taken to court, Ngilari on the other hand has also been invited for questioning. Why is Fintiri with several allegations of theft and corruption still not on their list of those to be invited or arrested?
An online media outfit, Premium times reported that the state government under Governor Ngilari petitioned the EFCC with a view to investigating and recovering the mismanaged funds under Fintiri. When Fintiri took over in July 2014 the Adamawa debt profile stood at ₦8.7billion but by the time he left in October the debt had risen to ₦13.85billion with nothing to commiserate this outrageous amount borrowed. There are also reports that Fintiri mismanaged public funds amounting to about ₦18billion. Lamorde’s complicity in the impeachment of Nyako is just one of several accusations against him. There is the news in the public domain that Lamorde is a proud owner of a private jet which he leases out to interested users. Even his take home pay for sixty years isn’t enough to get him such an investment.
One glaring fact on Lamorde’s unusual interest in the case against Nyako is the representation of the EFCC for the first time by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria(SAN)Rotimi Jacobs against Nyako.Even more celebrated cases didn’t have SANs standing in for the EFCC.Lamorde has his hands soiled in many corrupt practices and his continued stay at the helm of affairs of an agency which is supposed to find and fish out corrupt people for prosecution is totally unacceptable and undermines the integrity of the institution and the present government.The administrative staff of the EFCC aren’t left out of this wrangling against their boss.A reliable source within the commission confirmed that Lamorde collects estacode and allowances for trips he never embarked on.How more corrupt can a supposedly anti- corruption czar get?
The recent protests by The Civil Society Organizations and public outcry on the sudden awakening of Lamorde confirms his inability to keep heading such an institution.Isn’t it curious that he was not on the delegation of President Buhari to America?A trip that has insecurity and corruption on top of its agenda for discussion but the head of the anti-corruption agency wasn’t there to even present his findings on monies stashed away in foreign accounts?And just maybe the present administration is beginning to doubt his sincerity and ability to fight corruption.
Buhari should as a matter of urgency send him packing and also rid his administration of any remnants of the last administration which was synonymous with impunity and corruption.
Hamza Yaro, wrote in from Kano.