EFCC probes scare northern govs from 2015 presidential race

(m) at 5-03-2013 11:03PM (7 years ago)

(8422 | Hero)

There were indications, Monday, that many of the northern governors currently nursing presidential ambition in 2015 might not be courageous enough to openly challenge President Goodluck Jonathan for the top post.

Vanguard learnt authoritatively that most of the second term governors, who were qualified to vie for the presidency, were afraid of being witch-hunted by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, as an attack dog.

A competent source said that already, EFCC had been mandated by 'orders from above' to take a critical look at how the second term governors were managing the finances of their states, particularly, the local government joint account and the utilisation of Ecological Funds running into billions of naira approved by the Presidency for such states, and report back.

The Nuhu Ribadu-led EFCC had effectively used such a tactic to scare many presidential and gubernatorial aspirants out of the 2007 general elections.

Although the court later cleared most of those indicted by EFCC under Ribadu, it was too late for them to still run by the time they got clearance from the judiciary.

Money laundering

It was learnt that although the operatives of the anti-graft agency had not completed their assignment, they had nonetheless stumbled on credible information that one of the popular governors in the north, linked with the 2015, was using his children's bank accounts to launder state funds.

Security operatives are said to have confronted the said governor, who is believed to be close to a former head of state, with concrete evidence that he had used the names of three of his children to siphon a huge chunk of the state's resources running into hundreds of millions of Naira.

Although the governor used his children's names to open the different accounts into which he routinely pays money, the security operatives were said to be shocked that the three signatures on the accounts were that of the governor.

The source added that it was when the operatives confronted the affected governor with the account details that he reportedly backed down on his alleged presidential ambition, claiming that it was a mere rumour and that he had never contemplated challenging President Jonathan for the plum job.

Four others

Four other second term governors from the north, who were reportedly angling for Jonathan's job in 2015, were said to have become cautious when they got wind of what happened to one of their colleagues.

The source said that given the way the accounts of the affected states were being scrutinised by security agents, it was not likely that any of the governors could get a clean bill of health at the end of the searchlight.

However, one of the governors, who is very popular in the region, is said to have vowed that he would still run when the time comes, insisting that he had been running a transparent administration since he assumed office by publishing a weekly expenditure and revenue accruing to his state.

However, a top politician and member of the Northern Elders' Forum, who pleaded anonymity, said that the north would unfailingly present a credible candidate to challenge Jonathan in 2015.

He pointed out that the names of the governors being bandied about as nursing presidential ambition might just be a decoy and that at the right time, the region would name Jonathan's main challenger.

"We cannot continue to allow Jonathan to run the country the way he and his Peoples Democratic Party are doing," the source stated.