A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, over alleged financial fraud while he served as governor of Edo state.
Justice Anwuli Chikere gave the order on Tuesday, October 9, while ruling on an application brought before the court by Bishop Osadolor Ochei, who claims Oshiomhole diverted state funds for personal use. Justice Chikere stressed that the service should be done within five days from October 9th.
West Idahosa, who filed the case on behalf of the plaintiff said they had 86 exhibits to prove their case including pictorial evidence of houses belonging to the former governor which he could not have acquired through his earnings.
The case was adjourned till 23rd October 2018 when all parties involved are expected to present their arguments.
Ochei said that in 2016 he petitioned the anti-graft agency about Oshiomhole’s corrupt practices, however, no actions were taken by the EFCC.
“On May 4, 2012, one Matthew Edaghese sent a petition to the EFCC, complaining that while serving as governor, Oshiomhole built mansions on a huge expanse of land worth more than N10 billion, in excess of the former governor’s legitimate means of income as governor,” he also said, but the EFCC did nothing about that petition as well.
The court has ordered an investigation as well as mandated the APC chairman, Oshiomhole, to avail himself to be investigated.
But does it matter? That is unlikely. Oshiomhole is the chairman of the ruling party at a time when the party is desperate for an election win in four months time. It would take unusual boldness for the EFCC to make a move against him at a time like this. The anti-graft agency hardly goes after people loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari (some good examples of Buhari’s allies who have been given a pass despite credible allegations against them include the former secretary to the government of the federation, Babachir Lawal, and the DG of the Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organization, Rotimi Amaechi.)
Recall that the head of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, has been sighted on few occasions wearing lapels supporting Pres. Buhari’s reelection. It is unlikely that the commission under his watch has the capacity to take actions that have potential of hurting the president’s aspirations.
There is also the fact that for the EFCC to make proper headway, it needs the support of the Edo state government. The man who heads that state as governor presently, Godwin Obaseki, was literally handpicked by Oshiomhole, and continues to be loyal to his predecessor.
So where does that leave us? Pretty much where we started. No where. But, hey, let’s see what Justice Chikere would do.