- Plots High- Level meeting with Buhari at United Nations Next Week
- N|Delta Stakeholders Laud Buhari, Sylva, Omo-Agege, Oshiomhole, Others
By The New Diplomat’s Political Desk
In an alleged impetuous and desperate dramatic move by Transportation Minister, Rt Hon Rotimi Amaechi to dissuade President Muhammadu Buhari from firing Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) Coordinator, Professor Charles Dokubo, (a lackey of Amaechi) who is currently facing allegations of massive corruption deals running into over N10Billion contract scams, Amaechi has reportedly escalated discreet moves to use the services of a United States based business lobby group to pile both political and diplomatic pressures on Buhari to retain Dokubo, not with-standing the latter’s legion of corruption cases hanging on his neck.
Top-level Presidency sources confided in The New Diplomat, that Amaechi who currently feels embittered and rattled over the emergence of a new political power bloc in the Niger Delta region with the rise of Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege, former Bayelsa State Governor and current Minister of State for Petroleum, HE Chief Timipreye Sylva, who is a long-standing staunch supporter of President Buhari and has demonstrated impressive political capacity in a PDP-controlled Bayelsa State by delivering a Senatorial seat, two Federal House of Representatives and about four House of Assembly seats to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last general elections, Comrade Adam Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the APC and a former Edo State Governor and Chief Godswill Akpabio, current Minister of Niger Delta and a former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, has reached out to a US business lobby group with specialty in African-Nigerian affairs known as Business Council (full names withheld) to meet with President Buhari under the auspices of a high-level bi-lateral meeting in New York during the UN General Assembly which kicks off next week. Their intention is to dissuade Buhari from firing Dokubo who has been enmeshed in a cesspool of over N10bn corruption allegations ranging from alleged contract splitting, awards of contracts without due process and tenders and reported acts that are inimical to the principles of Buhari’s administration’s anti-corruption and transparency philosophy.
It would be recalled that in the last general elections, APC didn’t win a single elective position in Rivers State as the state chapter of the APC reverberated along fragmented, fractured lines with both Amaechi and Magnus Abe laying claim to political leadership. With stakeholders currently call for Dokubo’s outright sack mounting across core States of the Niger Delta region namely Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo and Rivers, sources revealed that Amaechi “who wants to exercise political control over the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) with a Charles Dokubo as head is now doing everything possible to get the President to change his mind on damning reports about Dokubo.
Investigations show that groups allegedly working for Amaechi are being used to contract the US based business Lobby team known as Business Council that already has a scheduled meeting with President Buhari next week in New York where “it intends to raise issues of the Niger Delta, militancy in the region and the strategic importance of the region and ensuring energy security in the larger Gulf of Guinea region of Africa.”
But high-level diplomatic sources confided in The New Diplomat that some Presidency officials have seen “through this smokescreen” by Business Council and are working frantically to yank-off the scheduled meeting from Buhari’s itinerary at the UN. An insider told The New Diplomat: “As I speak to you, I believe I know some presidency officials who are familiar with BC-Business Group as a lobby group are working to take-off that program from the President’s schedule because they are lobbyists doing PR job after being paid handsomely to come and talk about Niger Delta, by those who engaged them. We know them. There are bilateral requests from about 15 Presidents who want to meet with Mr President which are grade A Meetings. And we would recommend that domestic issues of the Niger Delta, and the larger Gulf of Guinea Energy and Oil subject matters be best handled by the appropriate authorities or leaders from the region while Mr President concentrates on Grade A meetings with fellow Heads of States.”
Investigations reveal that Dokubo himself was in the US recently to reportedly firm up this high-wire plan as well as meet with some highly placed interest groups in a last-minute bid to retain his job. It would be recalled that the Presidential Aide has been accused in a leaked video that went viral online by Director of Finance and Administration of the Presidential Amnesty Programme(PAP), Mr Ilem Iyam of scandalously awarding about N4.8billion naira contracts without a single tender or bidding process thereby breaching extant contract procurement laws of the Federal government. Sources hinted that these allegations and a dozen others which are currently the subject of investigations by anti-graft agencies may have further widen the dragnet and tide of affairs against Dokubo.
Said an insider: “The current consensus among the patriotic stakeholders of the Niger Delta region is that Dokubo has failed to live up to the mandate of that Office. Everyday allegations of how he has reportedly turned his office into a contract bazaar for women rather than facing the task entrusted upon him, are rife with total feelings of anger in the Niger Delta. The tense atmosphere can be doused. The youths and ex-militants feel sad that they have been left unattended to by Dokubo and his gangs. That is why if you take a consensus of views across the core states of the Niger Delta, the loud verdict is that Mr President should sack Dokubo immediately and let him go and face allegations of corruption hanging on his neck. It is sad that Amaechi thinks he owns Niger Delta hence he is still rooting for somebody like Dokubo who has failed completely. Go and read the Amnesty Office’s director of Finance and Administration’s reports to the Head of Service. You will shake your head how they have turned that PAP office into a contract bazaar for all kinds of people including women who are now currently fighting to allegedly expose Dokubo…Please let him go so that peace will reign in the region. Let someone with the requisite capacity be brought on board to carry out this job.”
President Buhari is billed to arrive New York next Sunday. He will attend a reception for visiting Presidents being hosted by US President Donald Trump on Tuesday, 24th and thereafter speak as the 5th Speaker at the UN General Assembly on this year’s UNGA theme: “Galvanizing Multilateral Efforts for Poverty Eradication, Quality Education, Climate Action and Inclusion.” On the President’s delegation are about 7 to 9 Governors and some Ministers including Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Health, Environment and Humanitarian Affairs.