By Salihu Moh. Lukman
Progressive Governors Forum
I hereby sincerely express appreciation and gratitude to God Almighty and our APC leaders for the successful Public Presentation of APC Litmus Tests: Nigerian Democracy and Politics of Change. In particular, I want to restate that the objective of the book is to contribute perspectives to APC leaders and members on challenges facing the party, government and the nation. As much as possible, effort is made to objectively analyse challenges and recommend responses.
It is gratifying to note that our leaders in APC, especially President Muhammadu Buhari have acknowledged these challenges and have been working to address them. Unlike politicians in other parties, especially the PDP who live in permanent denial of challenges faced by their parties and therefore do everything possible to reduce Nigerian democracy to electoral contest, APC leaders recognise that the foundation of every democracy is determined more by the scope of representation and responsiveness of political parties. Once parties are not representative and responsive to the interest of members, elected leaders on the platform of such a party cannot be representative or responsive to the interest of citizens.
APC leaders have been working to address these foundational issues of our democracy and APC’s Litmus Tests is a contribution to support initiatives of our leaders. All leaders and members of APC are therefore invited to engage challenges facing the party, government and the nation with every confidence and belief in the capacity of Nigerians to support every patriotic and nationalistic initiative. We much never allow the loud noise of selfish political entrepreneurs to hoodwink Nigerians into believing that our party and governments produced by our party have failed.
It will be a mockery of our political history to allow any narrative in the public space, which suggest that comparative to previous administrations since 1999, APC controlled administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari has failed. Like President Muhammadu Buhari himself has acknowledged, there are no doubt challenges facing the country, but no administration since 1999 has succeeded in completing projects, whether initiated by previous or current governments. Just on Thursday, June 10, 2021, President Buhari commissioned the Lagos – Ibadan railway, a project started and completed by his administration. And because leaders of PDP are shameless, they had the temerity to make a public statement calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to ‘stop taking credit for projects not initiated by him.’ May be they also want President Buhari and APC to acquire all their scandalous records, which include abandoning the construction of the PDP National Secretariat after mobilising billions on Naira.
PDP leaders and Nigerians should be reminded about the scandalous records of PDP administrations between 1999 and 2015. Part of it is already documented in the publication Power of Possibility & Politics of Change in Nigeria. Find attached the excerpt from that publication – Patently Political Fact, which illustrate graphically how efficient PDP was in mismanaging public resources. With such record and without any attempt to reform themselves, PDP leaders want to take advantage of the challenges facing Nigerians to win elections.
The challenge before all patriotic Nigerians is to ensure that Nigerian democracy is responsive to the need of citizens. This is beyond elections. This is what APC’s Litmus Tests is all about. APC’s Litmus Tests is an advocacy tool. It will be widely circulated among party leaders and members and also Nigerians interested in engaging national issues beyond the narrow prism of electoral politics. The electronic copy of APC’s Litmus Tests will be made public.
I am grateful to Progressive Governors for the opportunity to serve the party and our country in a very challenging environment. In particular, I am very grateful to His Excellency Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, our PGF Chairman for his leadership. I will remain indebted to all our party leaders, especially President Muhammadu Buhari and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu for creating the required environment for intellectual engagement in the APC. This hardly exist in other parties, including the PDP.
Our Caretaker Committee has succeeded in changing the toxic mood in the party. The Chairman, His Excellency Mai Mala Buni and all members of the Caretaker Committee should be commended for their selfless services. As we move into the final phase of reconstituting the leadership of our party, we must appeal to party leaders and members at all levels to respect and tolerate one another. The spirit of give and take must guide the process of leadership election at all levels.
Like the Caretaker Committee, the National Assembly led by His Excellency Ahmed Lawan and Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has also created a new atmosphere of teamwork, both within members of the legislative arm as well as with the executive arm. Healthy inter and intra party legislative debates are now being conducted with higher degree of decorum. As APC members, we are gratified by the successes of the 9th National Assembly.
May God Almighty enrich the wisdom of our leaders and guide them to produce a new leadership for the party that will be capable of meeting the expectations of party members and Nigerians.
This position does not represent the view of any APC Governor or the Progressive Governors Forum
Patently Political Facts
What has been the anti-corruption scorecards of successive governments since 1999? What are the achievements and challenges? What are the necessary reforms needed for an efficient, effective and result-oriented anti-corruption campaign? How is APC approaching the fight against corruption since 2015 different from how PDP has handled it between 1999 and 2015?
Many would argue that both PDP and APC are the same, which is not valid. Between 2006 and 2013 alone, it was reported that N1.34 trillion was stolen by about 50 people; N146.84 billion by 15 former State Governors; N654 billion by 11 people in business; N524 billion by 8 bankers; N146 billion by 12 federal and state civil servants; and N7 billion by 4 former Ministers.
How have the nation’s anti-corruption agencies fared with respect to high levels of theft of public resources? What could be the estimated scorecards of PDP and APC? Looking at how both parties are managing themselves and how they handle the business of government, here are some interesting findings.
• First, INEC audit report for APC and PDP for the 2015 general elections reported by Premium Times of May 25, 2018, revealed that PDP spent N2.9 billion, while APC spent N4.8 billion. The APC’s audit report, filed by Mai-Alheri and Co., disclosed that the party derived its 2015 income from the sale of nomination forms which generated N329.5 million, while donations and gifts generated N275 million. The APC also spent N296.3 million on administration, N56.5 million on repairs and maintenance, N485,800 on welfare and N15.4 million on financial charges.
• The audit report further noted that while the APC spent N2.9 billion on the 2015 polls, it generated only N604.5 million in the same calendar year, leaving a deficit of N2.3 billion. The APC disclosed that this was covered by its surplus from 2014 when it earned about N6.4 billion and spent only N4 billion. The report highlighted that the party’s fixed assets including office equipment were valued at N5.1 million, APC’s Data Centre equipment at N300,000, furniture and fittings at N6.8 million, motor vehicles at N20 million and library books N3.4 million, all totaling about N35.8 million.
• In the case of PDP’s audit report, prepared by Paul Akinade Adebimpe and Co., it showed the party’s income for 2015 derived from donations and levies totaling N200 million and other expenses amounting to N599.2 million. While the PDP spent N4.8 billion on the 2015 elections, it also spent N1.7 billion on administration, N2.8 billion on its National Secretariat and N54 million on other financial expenses. Unlike the APC, the PDP had a surplus of N9.4 billion from 2014, as it spent only N3.6 billion from the N13 billion it reportedly earned.
• Ahead of the 2015 elections, as a ruling party in control of the Federal Government, on Saturday, December 20, 2014, the PDP organised fundraising dinner and generated whooping N21 billion for former President Goodluck Jonathan’s 2015 re-elections campaign. Although owing to public criticisms, and of course legal implications, the PDP subsequently denied that the fundraising dinner was meant to support former President Jonathan’s re-election campaign. The N13 billion, therefore may be the net earning accrued to the PDP from the fundraising dinner.
Let us for the purpose of analysis assume that the reported N13 billion represents both what was redeemed from the pledged N21 billion at the December 20, 2014, PDP fundraising dinner and all other incomes received. This leads us to the second issue, which relates to the construction of a new National Secretariat for the PDP. Nigerians may again recall that on November 14, 2008, the then National Chairman of PDP, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor, organised a fundraising dinner in Abuja to raise N10 billion in the first instance, to finance the construction of a 12-storey new PDP National Secretariat, located on Muhammadu Buhari Way, Central Business District, Abuja. Quoting Premium Times, Sahara Reporters of January 22, 2017, reported that the dinner, which was chaired by Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, then Vice President, raised over N6 billion for the project.
Some of the donors include Mr. Femi Otedola who donated the highest amount of N1 billion and his late father, Chief Michael Otedola, who donated N25 million. Other big donors included Alh. Aliko Dangote who offered to supply cement worth N3 billion; the PDP National Working Committee, N1 billion; Mrs. Bola Shagaya, N25 million; Strabag Construction Company N100 million; Ogun State Government, N10 million; and an anonymous donor, N100 million. Late President Umaru Yar’Adua and his Vice President, Dr. Jonathan, contributed N527,205 and N454,735, representing 15 per cent of their basic salaries, respectively. Each of the party’s 28 State Governors at the time was reportedly levied N50 million by the party.
The contract for the PDP National Secretariat project was awarded to BNL Limited. The party paid an initial sum of N2 billion while BNL Limited was billed to complete construction of the National Secretariat project in 126 weeks. Sahara Reporters further reported in January 2017 that because of construction variations over the years, the project cost rose to N16 billion from 2008 estimated N10 billion out of which the party had paid N6 billion before work stopped.
In contrast to PDP, the APC has already acquired the property located at No. 40 Blantyre Street, Wuse 2, Abuja to house the APC National Secretariat. The APC first rented the property in 2013, and in 2016, the Chief Oyegun leadership of the party bought the property from the owner at the cost of N2.5 billion and agreed to make payment in instalments. So far, as at March 2019, the party has been able to pay more than N500 million with about N1.9 billion outstanding. Significantly, this has been achieved without any fundraising funfair.
The narrative of the PDP National Secretariat project underscores the reality of PDP’s financial recklessness in managing the affairs of the Federal Government for the 16 years it governed the country (1999 – 2015). Allegations of mismanagement and corruption were frequent and unfortunately reduced to public noise. For instance, in 2012, following the January national protest against increases in the prices of petroleum products, there were allegations of oil subsidy fraud. The House of Representatives eventually had to set up the Hon. Farouk Lawal ad-hoc Committee to investigate the actual subsidy requirements of the country.
At the end of the investigation, the Committee reported that “contrary to official figure of subsidy payment of N1.3 Trillion, the Accountant-General of the Federation put forward a figure of N1.6 Trillion, the CBN N1.7 Trillion, while the Committee established subsidy payment of N2.587 Trillion as at December 2011, amounting to more than 900% over the appropriated sum of N245 Billion. This figure of N2.587 Trillion is based on the CBN figure of N844.944 billion paid to NNPC, in addition to another figure of N847.942 billion reflected as withdrawals by NNPC from the excess crude naira account, as well as the sum of N894.201 billion paid as subsidy to Marketers. The figure of N847.942 billion quoted above strongly suggests that NNPC might have been withdrawing from two sources especially when double withdrawals were also reflected both in 2009 and 2010.”
The report of the 2012 subsidy probe threw up issues of accountability especially on the part of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) with the strong charge that “NNPC feasted on the Federation Account to bloat the subsidy payable, some of the marketers were involved in claiming subsidy on products not supplied.” In particular, the report also indicted the Accountant-General of the Federation that served in 2009 for making payments in equal instalments of N999 million for 128 times, totaling N127.872 billion.
Following the release of the House of Representatives subsidy investigation report, the Chairman of the ad-hoc Committee, Hon. Farouk Lawal was reportedly enmeshed in a $3 million bribe scandal allegedly demanded from Mr. Femi Otedola, a major oil marketer.
There were also claims and counterclaims of missing oil revenues. In October 2013 for instance, former CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi alleged that $49.8 billion from the sales of crude oil between January 2012 – July 2013 was missing from NNPC accounts. Following series of audits and reconciliation meetings involving NNPC, CBN and Ministry of Finance, the former CBN Governor reported the missing amount to be $20 billion while the former Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala reported $10.8 billion. On February 20, 2014, former President Goodluck Jonathan suspended Mallam Sanusi from office over allegations of financial misconduct. After the suspension of Mallam Sanusi, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) confirmed that about $20 billion was missing.
Throughout the tenure of the Jonathan administration (2010 – 2015), allegations of corruption against public officers were regular features. In 2012, there was the case of Police Pension Task Force, which was investigated by the Senate Joint Committee on Public Service and Establishment and State and Local Government Administration. Some of the revelations include withdrawal of N24 billion for payment of pension that required about N3.5 billion — the Chairman of the Pension Review Task Team, Alh. Abdulrasheed Maina, informed the Senate Committee of two accounts in Lagos where police pension funds were lodged, each amounting to N21 and N24 billion. Alh. Maina reported daily withdrawals of various sums of money from these accounts ranging from N200 to N300 million. A total sum of N273.9 billion was reported by the Senate Committee to have been looted in 6 years from the police pension fund.
Other cases of corruption charges against public officials under PDP (1999 – 2015) include the case of $180 million Halliburton; $1.1 billion Malabo Oil; Princess Stella Oduak N255 million Aviation Ministry bulletproof cars; N10 billion jet scam involving the Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Dizieni Alison Madueke; and House of Representatives Capital Market probe; and N360 billion service-wide scam.
What is the anti-corruption scorecard of the APC since it took over the Federal Government in 2015? The Acting EFCC Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, in December 2018 told journalists that N794 billion, $261 million, £1.1 million, €8.2 million, 86,500 CFA and 407 properties were recovered. Also, Mr. Magu disclosed that EFCC had secured 703 convictions. Other similar cases include the recovery of N93,558,000, $530,087, £25,970 and €5,680 from 5 serving judges (Justices Adeniyi Ademola, Kabir Auta, Muazu Pindiga, Mohammed Tsamiya and I. A. Umezulike) following sting operations by operatives of Department of Security Services (DSS) in October 2016.
There was also the case of $2.1 billion arms deal involving Col. (Rtd) Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser under the Jonathan’s PDP administration. The breakdown showed that N1.5 billion was paid to Alh. Bashir Yuguda, which was reportedly disbursed in respective sums to the following PDP chieftains – N600 million to PDP 2015 election campaign Contact and Mobilization chairmen (Chief Bode George, Amb. Yerima Abdullahi, Mr. Peter Odili, Alh. Attahiru Bafarawa, Chief Jim Nwobodo and Col. (Rtd) Ahmadu Ali); N300 million to BAM properties linked to Alh. Bello Haliru, former PDP National Chairman; N200 million to Alh. Bello Sarkin Yaki, former PDP Kebbi State 2015 governorship candidate; N100 million to Alh. Mahmud Shinkafi, former PDP Zamfara State Governor; and N100 million to Dalhatu Limited linked to Alh. Attahiru Bafarawa.
Other disbursements were N750 million to Reliance Referral Hospital Limited for special prayers; N380 million to support re-election of PDP members of House of Representatives; N550 million to Thisday Newspaper allegedly as compensation for attacks on the newspaper’s offices in Kaduna and Abuja in 2012; N120 million to Nduka Obaigbena allegedly as compensation for copies of various newspapers seized in June 2014; N170 million for the purchase of four-bedroom duplex; N260 million paid to Chief Tony Anenih; N345 million paid to Sen. Iyorchia Ayu; and N90 million for Dasuki’s son’s house.
There was also the discovery of $9.7 million by the EFCC in May 2018 and £74,000 from Mr. Andrew Yakubu, former Group Managing Director of NNPC concealed in a building in Kaduna. Similarly, in April 2017, the EFCC discovered sums of $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23,218,000 in Ikoyi apartment linked to Amb. Ayodele Oke, the DG of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). Around the same period, there was the reported N272 million “grass cutting” contract awarded by the former Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF), Engr. Babachir David Lawal to companies allegedly owned by him.
There was, of course, the case of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen, who did not declare the $3 million lodged in five accounts that belonged to him, which led to his suspension from office and subsequent conviction on April 18, 2019 by the Code of Conduct Tribunal, stripping him of all offices he earlier occupied, forfeiture of the money in the five accounts he failed to declare and banning him from holding public office for 10 years.
From these accounts, what is very clear is that while under PDP’s sixteen (16) years in control of the Federal Government, the country witnessed long lists of suspected cases of corruption, endless investigations, low convictions, and hardly any recovery, in the case of four (4) years of APC, it is a different narrative. Indeed, the evidence speaks for itself as best summarised by the EFCC Chairman’s account of the recoveries so far made which comprise N871 billion, 407 mansions and 703 convictions.
A realistic estimation of the differences between the PDP and APC is represented by how the two parties handled the challenge of acquiring their National Secretariats. After ten years of work, the PDP abandoned the 12-storey National Secretariat project having expended over N6 billion. In contrast, within three years of existence (between 2013 and 2016) as a party, the APC was able to acquire a National Secretariat at the cost of N2.5 billion and has paid more than N500 million with about N1.9 billion outstanding.
A second reality is the cost of campaigns. INEC’s Audit Reports indicated that PDP had spent only N2.9 billion while APC spent N4.8 billion for the 2015 campaigns. Just looking at the $2.1 billion (or about N756 billion) Dasuki arms deal money, which substantially was expended to fund the 2015 PDP campaigns, it is clear that the N2.9 billion was just a fraction of what was actually spent. In fact, Premium Times of May 25, 2018, reported former President Obasanjo, at a press conference on Thursday, May 10, 2018, disclosing that PDP spent almost $3bn (or more than N1 trillion) on 2015 elections.
Related to campaign funds, the speculated expenditures of PDP Presidential aspirants at October 6, 2018, Port Harcourt Convention would readily come to mind. According to media reports, Alh. Atiku Abubakar, one of the PDP Presidential Aspirants spent about $5,000 (or N1.8 million) on each of the over 3,000 delegates at the convention. It was also speculated that Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal with the support of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike spent about $10,000 (or N3.6 million) on each delegate.
In the case of APC, beyond logistical costs of organising the direct primaries in the States, the Abuja National Convention of October 6, 2018, which was incurred by the party, President Buhari who emerged as the Presidential candidate of the party did not incur any personal cost. This, however, may not apply to other candidates at governorship and other lower levels. There were undoubtedly reported cases of vote buying incidences also in APC, but hardly anywhere near the scale in PDP.
Underpinning extravagant costs for campaign expenditures as reported in the case of PDP require that we ask some questions: are campaign donations just generous support? Alternatively, are they business investment? Looking at the reality that some of the donors to PDP projects (both Secretariat project and campaigns) also feature prominently in some of the reported corruption cases such as the subsidy fraud, for instance, it is easy to make the connection that in reality these donations are business investments to be recouped.
With high incidences of corruption, it is only logical that national development will remain elusive. This explains for instance why despite higher prices of Nigerian crude in the international market between 1999 and 2014, at more than $100 per barrel, producing an average 2.1 million barrels per day, Nigerian media quoted Mr. Waziri Adio, Executive Secretary of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) indicating that although Nigeria earn N77.348 trillion from oil between 1999 and 2016, ‘Nigeria has one of the lowest natural resource revenue savings in the world.’
In contrast, since 2015, the highest price of Nigerian crude recorded was around $74. In November 2018, a report of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) indicated that Nigeria earned N1.68 trillion from oil between 2015 and 2017.
The temptation to ignore some of these realities could be high especially given a politically charged atmosphere. Partly on account of such temptations, some leading PDP chieftains and their apologists have been making claims that some of the completed projects by the President Buhari administration were projects initiated by the PDP past administrations. While it may be true that some of these projects were started by PDP administrations between 1999 and 2015, the fact is, if PDP had remained in government, these projects would not have been completed. They will simply have been subjected to contract variations, that would entail the release of more money which may end up in private accounts of public officials and PDP leaders. With such scenario, it would be difficult to expect any tangible progress towards completing the projects.
This would have been the story of the following projects: Abuja – Kaduna; Itakpe – Ajaokuta – Warri; Lagos – Abeokuta – Ibadan; Abuja Metro rail lines; Port Harcourt and Abuja airports; 2nd Niger bridge; Abuja – Kaduna – Kano highway; Ilorin – Jebba Road; Abuja – Keffi – Lafia – Makurdi roads; Suleija – Minna road; and so many others. This is in addition to other social investments in school feeding, N-Power, tradermoni, and several other initiatives. For the first time in the history of the country, around August 2018, power generation was reported to have reached 7,000 Mega Watts. Maximum output under the PDP was below 4,000 MW.
Also, unlike under the PDP administration when billions of dollars disappeared from NNPC accounts, under the President Buhari APC led government nothing of the sort has happened. In addition to FAAC allocations to States, Paris Club refunds amounting to N760.18 billion have been paid to the 36 States governments, as bail outs and fiscal support to enable the State governments pay salaries and meet their contractual obligations as at December 2018.
Many PDP leaders and apologists will continue to claim that the projects being commissioned by the President Buhari administration as their achievements. Arguing that these are PDP achievements would only have some comic entertainment value. Maybe Nigerians should accept that they are genuinely PDP’s achievements, in which case it would be expedient to ask PDP leaders, when will they be commissioning their new 12-storey National Secretariat? Perhaps, in order to speed up work on the 12-storey PDP National Secretariat, the PDP leaders can invite the APC leadership to take over management of the contract to help them complete it. Without any new valuation and with the same contractors, at the same cost of N10 billion, with only outstanding payment of N4 billion to the contractors, the APC leadership should be able to get the project executed given its managerial capacity to execute projects to completion.
It is such a patently political fact that PDP’s record in public service only disburses public resources to personal accounts of public officials and party leaders, while APC can disburse resources to contractors and ensure the completion of infrastructural projects.
Excepts from the book Power of Possibility & Politics of Change in Nigeria pages 125 – 132