Aisha Buhari, Magu, Others: Top Political Scandals In 2020

The year has been on the horns of a dilemma for many Nigerian politicians. Many Nigerians believe that scandal and politics are five and six. As usual, the year is replete with scandals from career politicians, political appointees to the first lady.  


SaharaReporters compiles some of the most controversial incidents.  

FACE OFF BETWEEN AISHA BUHARI AND SABIU YUSUF  

There was tension in Aso Villa, Nigeria's seat of power in Abuja, in June over fresh power tussle between President Muhammadu Buhari's assistant and private secretary, Sabiu 'Tunde' Yusuf, and his wife, Aisha, the first lady.  

Aisha had reportedly asked Yusuf to stay away from the Presidential Villa to self-isolate after a visit to Lagos, the epicentre of COVID-19 then but he objected, leading to the involvement of security personnel and shooting at the presidential villa. 

The security aides of the first lady were later arrested and detained by the police.  

Believed to be one of the wealthiest young men in Nigeria, Yusuf until his appointment by President Buhari, was said to be surviving on proceeds from the sale of call cards in his native Daura, a small community in Katsina State in the northern part of the country where Buhari hails from.  

During Buhari's 77th birthday in December 2019, Yusuf is said to have worn a Patek Phillipe leather wristwatch valued at $99,995.00 – about N36 million.  

However, it was not the first time that individuals in the presidency would be quarrelling with the first lady and her family. In December 2019 for instance, Aisha accused the senior special adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, as well as Mamman Daura, a nephew and close ally of her husband, of working against the first family.  

She said that while Daura had continued to give a presidential directive without Buhari's knowledge, Shehu had switched his loyalty from her husband to some cabals within the presidency.  

FLEEING MAINA ARRESTED IN NIGER REPUBLIC  

Abdulrasheed Maina, a former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, was in November rearrested in the Niger Republic after jumping bail for alleged money laundering of about N2 billion.  

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alleged that Maina used the account of a firm for money laundering, part of which he used to acquire landed properties in Abuja.  

Ali Ndume, senator representing Borno South, who stood as his surety, was remanded in prison custody after he jumped bail.  

He was subsequently rearrested by operatives of Niger Republic intelligence service in collaboration with the Nigerian anti-corruption agency.  

DABIRI-EREWA AND PANTAMI FIGHT OVER OFFICE SPACE  

Abike Dabiri-Erewa, chairman and CEO of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), in May, accused Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy of preying on her and her staff by chasing them out of their commission's building sometime in February and seizing their office equipment.  

According to Dabiri-Erewa, the minister's directive was carried out with armed men, evidently looking to intimidate and teach a lesson, she had said.  

Pantami dismissed the allegation, describing it as a lie.  

He said, "This is a fat lie from her: The owner of the building @NgComCommission has faulted her lies on their social media platforms. The minister has never given that directives to any gunman. We need to be very objective in reporting. I have never sent any gunmen there, and I have no one."  

Dabiri-Erewa, however, insisted that the minister was to be blamed for the problem, stopping just short of calling the minister a liar. She accused him of disrespecting her because she is a woman. 

"An Islamic scholar should not lie, Hon Minister," Dabiri-Erewa tweeted, "You did that to me cos[because] I am a woman. Your disrespect for women is legendary. I left the ugly incident behind me since Feb. But pls release all our office equipment. Public office is transient."  

OSHIOMHOLE'S APC NWC DISSOLVED  

The Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was on June 25 dissolved following a leadership crisis that rocked the ruling party.  

President Muhammadu Buhari recommended the dissolution of the NWC which NEC accepted.  

The problem in the APC NWC came to a head when a Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja upheld the suspension of Oshiomhole by the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.  

Then some members of the NWC loyal to Oshiomhole appointed the former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, as acting Chairman who later died of COVID-19 in a Lagos hospital.  

Victor Giadom in a counter move then, together with two other NWC members, addressed a press conference on June 17, when he declared himself as the acting chairman.  

He backed his action with the judgment of the FCT High Court, which in March gave him the go-ahead to be the acting national chairman.  

Despite his suspension by two Port Harcourt-based courts and his replacement as the deputy national secretary, Giadom is laying claim to the position.  

MAGU'S ARREST  

It was indeed a shock to many Nigerians when on Monday, July 6 when the suspended chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, was whisked to the Presidential Villa in Abuja where a panel grilled him for alleged corruption and insubordination.  

The allegations were levelled against him by the Attorney-General of the Federation. Abubakar Malami.  

The panel, which was led by Ayo Salami, retired President of the Appeal Court, has however submitted its report to President Muhammadu Buhari.  

Malami had asked Buhari to fire Magu over some weighty allegations, including the diversion of recovered loot, insubordination and misconduct.  

In 2016, the Senate declined to confirm the appointment of Magu as EFCC chairman after a DSS report indicted him of corruption.

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