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April Polls: OBJ Panel Bars Five Governors-PM News

February 12, 2007

The five-man panel tagged "Administrative Panel of Inquiry on Alleged Corrupt Practices by Certain Public Officers and Other Persons" set up by President Olusegun Obasanjo last week to screen politicians indicted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has recommended that five serving governors should be barred from holding public office in future. The panel also recommended that the quintet should not be allowed to stand for the April polls. P.M.News exclusively gathered this morning that the recommendation was contained in the report the panel submitted to President Obasanjo yesterday in Abuja. And the president immediately set up another panel to produce a white paper on the report. Members of the panel include Mr. Ad’Obe Obe, Special Assistant to the President on Servicom; ACP Tunde Ogunshakin of the Nigeria Police; Hajia Najatu Mohammed, a human rights activist; Ebelo Goodluck, a journalist; and Mr. M. F. Mmakwe of the Ministry of Justice who served as secretary.

Sources told P.M.News today that the affected governors who have also been recommended for prosecution over alleged corruption are Governor Orji Uzor Kalu of Abia State, Governor Chimaroke Nnamani of Enugu State, Governor Ali Modu Sheriff of Borno State, Governor Mohammed Shekarau of Kano State, who was indicted over the N4.2b fertilizer scam, and the Lagos State Governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was accused of false declaration of assets. The other governors were accused of rampant corruption by the panel. The governors are among 135 politicians indicted by the EFCC last week. The indictment of Orji Kalu, may hinder his dreams of running for presidency on the platform of the PPA. The action may also put in doubt the quest for second term election by governors Shekarau of Kano and Ali Modu Sheriff of Borno. Both are ANPP governors. The wife of Barrister Fred Ajudua who is also contesting for an elective position in Delta State was also indicted for advance fee fraud (419)-related offence by the panel.

Going by the panel’s recommendation, the governors cannot participate in the forthcoming April polls as they have been barred from holding public office. After their immunity lapses, following the expiration of their tenure in May this year, the governors will face trial for their alleged offences. Altogether, 19 persons including the governors, were recommended for prosecution by the panel. Although the panel entered a no case submission for some politicians indicted by EFCC, all others who failed to appear before it were indicted as recommended by EFCC. There were indications that the federal government will today gazette the list of politicians indicted by the Obasanjo panel. The President gave this hint while receiving the panel’s report yesterday. The panel was, however, silent on Vice President Atiku Abubakar who topped the list of the 135 politicians indicted by EFCC.

Sources said it did not review the case against Atiku because the matter was in court and that already, there was a federal government gazette on his indictment. All the indicted governors have reacted to the original accusation by the EFCC, describing it as a witch-hunting exercise. The governor of Lagos, Bola Ahmed Tinubu said he was never interrogated for any offence and wonders the basis of the indictment.

The Offences Of The Governors

•Orji Kalu: Rampant Corruption
•Shekarau: Corruption (N4.26 fertilizer scam)
•Tinubu: Indicted for false declaration of assets
•Ali Modu Sheriff: Rampant Corruption
•Chimaroke Nnamani: Corruption (Owns 172 Houses)