Almost every government in Nigeria has launched one variant of an anti-corruption war or another. In fact, most military coups have been justified by claims of intolerable level of corruption. But every anti anti-corruption war in Nigeria has come under attack as a cover for selective persecution of opponents of those in power. To, therefore, rescue anti-corruption wars from the monologue of incumbents, it is important to establish and popularize the corruption/probity sensibility of all those seeking power by turning on what they have already said as well as what others have said about them on, about, for and against corruption before now.
As part of a MacArthur Foundation supported/CITAD guided cohort mainstreaming anti-corruption consciousness in the society, Intervention has already pushed out two reports on the probity consciousness of contestants. The first was published as “Power and Probity in Nigeria After the 2019 Elections”. The second carries the title “Power and Probity Profile of Presidential Candidates in the February 16th, 2019 Election”. This will be the third and it is titled “Power and Probity Profile of Senatorial Candidates in the February 16th, 2019 Election”. The fourth and the last will be Power and Probity Profile of Gubernatorial Candidates in the March 2nd, 2019, Election”.
On this series of compilations would the struggle against corruption and lack of probity in post May 2019 depend because the corruption/probity sensibility of all the main actors in The Presidency; the Senate and the governors would have been available on the virtual space and part of popular consciousness thereto. The concentration on The Presidency, the Senate and the Office of the Governor in the states has been argued in terms of these being the sites with the most concentration of power over public resources. However, only the two leading parties are under focus because, unless the elections change the arithmetic, these two parties still have the critical mass to make things happen in one way or the other.
The methodology for this work is exactly the same as has been explained in “Power and Probity Profile of Presidential Candidates in the February 16th, 2019 Election” except the selection criteria adopted to capture the senatorial space. This documentation covers just thirteen senatorial candidates made up of one from each of the six geopolitical zones for each of the two parties – APC and the PDP. To the 12 from that is added a randomly selected woman.
As much as no editorial efforts were spared to make this a much shorter report than previous ones, there are certain quotations that are just unavoidable. Read on!
North Central Region
All Progressives Congress, (APC): Senator Abdullahi Adamu
- Entanglement in multiple corruption allegations: The EFCC, the Nasarawa State Government, the media and fellow politicians have all alleged corruption against the Senator. He is named among 8 allegedly corrupt politicians working for President Buhari’s re-election, (Saturday Punch, Sept 1, 2018) just as he is among 13 Senators facing trial on grounds of alleged corruption, (Premium Times, May 27th, 2018). That would be the second time Saturday Punch would be reporting that the Senator has a case of N15bn against him for which he was arrested by the EFCC early 2010 followed by appearance in court on March 3rd, 2010 along with 18 others. The Nasarawa State Government inaugurated a committee to probe his stewardship 1999 – 2007 especially on sale of government properties and stalled projects, (Vanguard, Sept 20th, 2018), an action which Senator Adamu, however, called shadow – chasing driven by his refusal to back Governor Al-Makura’s choice of a successor. But he is listed again among 30 allegedly corrupt persons the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, says are working for the re-election of President Buhari, (ThisDay, January 21st, 2019).
- Senator Adamu declares having no case with EFCC after having been discharged and acquitted since 2016: “Each time they talk about Abdullahi Adamu, they say EFCC. I have no case with EFCC. I will give you the documents to see”, was what he told journalists in August 2018, followed by his tendering the ruling of the Federal High Court, Lafia on June 28th, 2016 with reference number FHC/LF/CR/08/2010. What is not clear is whether this also covers his son, Nuraini Adamu’s case with the EFCC.
- Senator Adamu as an Obasanjo specific anti-corruption warrior: For instance, the media elaborately captured the Senator’s February 18th, 2018 advocacy for Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s trial and imprisonment for corruption: “Buhari should have jailed Obasanjo”, (The Cable, February 19th, 2018); “Buhari should have jailed Obasanjo”, (The Independent, February 19th, 2018); “You should be in jail, Abdullahi Adamu tells OBJ”, (Blueprint, February 20th, 2018); “You should be in jail, Abdullahi Adamu tells OBJ”, (Leadership, February 20th, 2018); “Buhari should have jailed Obasanjo for corruption”, (lindaikejiblog.com, February 20th, 2018); “Abdullahi suggests Obasanjo should be tried of corrupt practices”, (www.nigerianmonitor.com, February 20th, 2018); “Obasanjo should be tried for corruption – Senator Adamu”, (www.newsexpressngr.com, February 20th, 2018) and “Obasanjo once bribed lawmakers with 50m – Senator”, (www.pulse.ng, February 20th, 2018). Against the background of the great relationship that Obasanjo and Adamu had with each other, could this be sour grapes or meritorious campaign?
People’s Democratic Party, (PDP): Senator Bukola Saraki
- Self – representation as a leader in anti-corruption: The Senator presents himself as a leader in anti-corruption practice, citing the quantum of bills passed by the Senate under his presidency of the chamber since 2015. Among these are bills such as the Companies and Allied Matters Act, the Secured Transactions in Movable Assets Act, the Credit Bureau Reporting Act and the Warehouse Receipts Bill, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit Bill, the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill, the Witness Protection Bill, the Whistleblower Protection Bill and the Federal Audit Service Commission Bill, all of which are in one way or the other, enhances the fight against corruption. The Senator did not fail to sing his own praises on this: “We are particularly glad that the impact of the Secured Transactions in Movable Assets Act and the Credit Bureau Reporting Act became apparent immediately after they were signed into law as they form the basis for which the World Bank upgraded the rating of Nigeria in its Annual Ease of Doing Business rating”, (ThisDay, June 11th, 2018). Coincidentally, the passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill into law under Dr Bukola Saraki’s presidency of the Senate attracted notable attention as in the headline, “Nigeria passes major oil reform bill after 17 year struggle”, (Reuters, January 18th, 2018). The passage of the law after 17 years of front and back on it and the fact that this was not an initiative of the Executive arm of government tend to make it landmark enough to somehow question the image of Dr Saraki in matters of corruption, the oil industry being the root and hub of corruption in Nigeria, historically. As he was later to put it, “..if you can tackle corruption in the sector, there will be less leakages down the line”, (Daily Post, October 23, 2018).
- Broadly represented as corruption personified: Dr. Saraki has the image of a super corrupt Senator. For instance, Prof Niyi Osundare told SaharaReporters, (May 29th, 2017) that Senator Bukola Saraki is ‘Mr. Corruption Personified’ although the content of the story was actually on politicians. In the same 2017 came the report linking the Senate-President laundering N3.5 billion from the Paris Club loan refund in “EXCLUSIVE: How EFCC linked Saraki, aides to N3.5 billion Paris Club refund”, (Premium Times, March 31st, 2017). Other allegations followed: “2019 Presidency: APC lists Corruption allegations against Saraki” ran Vanguard headline, (August 21, 2018); “Nigerian senators face corruption probe, trial”, (Premium Times, May 27th, 2018), a story in which his name is mentioned. Connected to perceived role in the crash of a bank previously, Dr Saraki comes off with a problematic image.
- Code of Conduct Tribunal as anti-climax: For whatever reasons, Dr. Saraki emerged unhurt from the Supreme Court to where he took his case on appeal from the Code of Conduct Tribunal before which it was dragged in late 2015 in what should have been his day in court. His trial miraculously became an award of a badge of honour of a kind. That angered the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), for example, into open sympathy for the Senator, describing his acquittal in the 18 charges of non-declaration of assets brought against him by the Federal Government as a big indictment on the government’s anti-corruption drive, (Daily Post, July 14th, 2017). “We view the judgment as a political one achieved by the so-called anticorruption-focused APC-led Federal Government for the purpose of settling its intra-party wrangling and discontent. The ruling is a big indictment on the government’s anti-corruption drive given that Saraki’s case had been of the most prominent and most vigorously pursued one out of the several corruption cases being prosecuted by the FG”.
- Saraki as a Buhari specific anti-corruption crusader: It is not clear if it is nature or if it is a response to a sense of persecution, Dr Saraki has since transformed into an anti-corruption crusader but a Buhari specific one. “Buhari has no integrity, his government is corrupt – Saraki” is how Premium Times reported one of his Channels Television appearances, (January 9th, 2019). Earlier on, it was the charge of selectivity and lack of transparency of the anti-corruption war, (Daily Post, October 23, 2018).
- National Assembly budget remains something of a state secret under his presidency of the Senate: This is a major minus from all that could have spoken for him positively in the politics of anti-corruption. The opaque nature of the National Assembly budget makes it a signifier of a thick corruption site.
North East Region
All Progressives Congress, (APC): Senator Danjuma Goje
Everything about Senator Danjuma Goje and corruption fits neatly into his being on trial in the court for alleged acts of corruption. As early as October 19th, 2011, The Nigerian Voice ran the headline, “N24.18bn Corruption Charge: Court Grants Goje, 3 Others Bail”. From the PMNews, for instance, came this report: “Corruption: EFCC Presents More Witnesses Against Ex-Gov Goje”, (September 29th, 2017). In Daily Trust, it was “Again, Court Adjourns Goje’s N6bn Corruption Case”,(November 22, 2017). A different headline is SaharaReporter’s: “EFCC Witness Reveals How Goje Forged House Approval to Secure Loan” (February 7th, 2018). “Alleged N5bn fraud: EFCC Re-arraigns Ex-Gombe Gov, Goje April 10” ran the headline of The Punch, (February 12th, 2018). The fact of his being in court suspends everything about his self-understanding as far as corruption is concerned until a court judgment is available. This is more so that it is difficult to find any corruption related statements to Senator Goje’s credit in the media, a reality that might not be unconnected with Gombe State being outside the radius of intense coverage in Nigeria’s media geography.
People’s Democratic Party, (PDP): Hon Kudia Satumari
Hon Kudia Satumari is retained on this list because all three PDP Senatorial candidates from Borno State have nothing much to their names in terms of statements on corruption by them or by others on them. What is rather interesting in the case of Satumari is the populist anti-corruption narrative he promotes on his Facebook wall: ‘How can we stop corruption in Nigeria cause it begins with you’. His social analysis of corruption is his identification of the political elites as those responsible for Nigeria’s socio-economic woes, (Daily Times, June 12, 2017). For now, he can win the title of one of the cleanest politicians in Nigeria.
North West Region
All Progressives Congress, (APC): Senator Magatakarda Wamakko
- Senator Wamakko as an anti-corruption mobiliser: The Senator carries on a kind of anti-corruption campaign. “Wamakko tasks corps members to fight against corruption” is how The Guardian, (Sept 4th, 2017) captured him, the same story Leadership, (Sept 5th, 2017 titled, “Be vigilant of fight against corruption, Wamakko tells Nigerian youths”. He had vouchsafed for the Senate as an institution being out to fight corruption and was part of the about 50 senators who accompanied Dr. Bukola Saraki for his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal which is taken as an anti-corruption act since the courts acquitted Saraki.
- The Senator faces allegations of corruption. His predecessor, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa who handed over power to him as governor of Sokoto State in 2007 claims to have left N13bn in the treasury. Wamakko has challenged this, leading to a drastic response from Bafarawa. “Bafarawa Drags Wamakko to EFCC Over N13bn He Left Behind in 2007”, (Daily Post, January 5th, 2019). Besides Bafarawa’s claim is Atiku Abubakar’s who listed Wamakko among the 28 persons he alleges to be corrupt people working for the re-election of President Buhari in 2019.
- Foremost with Senator Wamakko is a pre-emptive denial of being investigated or invited by the EFCC: On April 19th, 2018, several national dailies speculated his impending invitation by the anti-graft agency to quiz him over allegations of misappropriation of state resources to the tune of N15bn between 2011 and 2015. Daily Trust, for example, carried its as “EFCC to invite Kwankwaso/Wamakko Over Fraud”. By April 21st, 2018, the Senator addressed members of the Correspondents Chapel in his residence in Sokoto in reaction to the speculations, challenging any claims that deny him credit for building 500 housing units, the state university and a General Hospital in each of the 23 local government areas in the state. PRNigeria, for instance, titled it “Senator Wamakko Lambasts EFCC Petitioners, Reels Out Achievements in Sokoto” (April 22nd, 2018). For Premium Times, the headline is “Wamakko Denies EFCC Invitation”, (April 22nd, 2018). The question his observable hyperactivity raises is why he ended up saying what the EFCC should have been saying as to whether he was being investigated and was due to be invited or not.
People’s Democratic Party, (PDP): Senator Musa Rabiu Kwankwaso
- Generally reported to be under EFCC investigation: “EFCC to invite Kwankwaso, Wamakko Over Fraud” is Daily Trust’s story” thereto, (April 19th, 2018). SaharaReporters followed with EFCC Investigates Senator Kwankwaso Over Diversion of N3.08billion LGs’ Funds”, (November 19th, 2018). The story claims he allegedly collected N70million from each local government area of Kano State when he was governor and the money was towards his presidential contest in 2015.
- Senator Kwankwaso fights back allegations of corruption, as in the story: “Kwankwaso slams N10billion suit on Kano pensioners” (Premium Times, Sept 17th, 2015”). According to Premium Times, Mr. Neuse, Kwankwaso’s lawyer is re-opening an earlier judicial note of the claim of pensioners in the state in their petition in the aftermath of Kwankwaso’s handing over power that the Senator is a “corrupt, criminal governor who is a proper subject for prosecution by the EFCC”. The pensioners reportedly wrote to EFCC on May 30th, 2015, “demanding recovery of N2 billion pension funds allegedly deposited by the former governor in a failed bank”.
- He is enjoying a pastime of mocking his successor, Abdullahi Ganduje: That is mocking him over his alleged video scandal. “Ganduje video make oda Senators dey yab me – Rabiu Kwankwaso”, (BBCPidgin, November 28th, 2018). Similarly, The Nation tells us of “EFCC, ICPC urged to probe bribery allegation against Ganduje”, (October 21, 2018). However, he denies instigating the video recording, saying he had no special relationship with the editor of the online medium behind the publication as in Pulse’s. “Kwankwaso denies involvement in Ganduje’s alleged bribery video”, (pulse.com/ October 17th, 2018”