The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has declared a son-in-law to President Muhammadu Buhari, Gimba Yau Kumo, wanted over an alleged $65 million fraud.
Kumo, a former managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), was declared wanted alongside Tarry Rufus and Bola Ogunsola, in a notice published on Thursday, by a spokesperson of the anti-graft commission over alleged misappropriation and dispersion of national housing funds.
According to the release issued by Azuka Ogugua, “anyone who has useful information on their whereabouts should report to ICPC Headquarters Abuja, any of the ICPC State Offices or the nearest police station.” A notice that is coming barely 3 weeks after the Senate Committee on Public Accounts summoned Kumo to explain an alleged irregular award of N3 billion contract while he held sway at the bank.
The development has elicited divergent reactions from Nigerians as some social media users describe it as interesting and a story to watch out for.
When President Muhammadu Buhari along with members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) toured the 36 states of the country during the 2014/15 electioneering campaigns, one of the cardinal promises made by his nascent party was to deal effectively with corruption if elected.
While the party got elected and eventually went on to win a second term in 2019, Nigerians are sharply divided on the performance of President and his party in this regard. For many, it’s largely been a case of witch-hunt against key figures in the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as well as other political enemies of the president.
On the part of the president’s supporters however, every other thing in Nigeria remains ‘stinking’ and full of ‘filth’ except Baba, who they scream to the hearing of others as incorruptible. In fact, the African Union (AU) named him in January 2018, as its first ever anti-corruption champion at the AU Summit in Addis Ababa. A feat the AU says is recognition for his efforts to end graft in his country Nigeria.
All of these have hardly produced a ripple effect on the level of corruption in the country, as reports on largescale corruption (especially in public circles) continue unabated, while Nigeria performs abysmally in the annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) of Transparency International. As legal luminary Mike Ozekhome puts it, “recovering looted funds is different from fighting corruption,” in apparent reference to the need by government to put adequate systems in check (including measures that prevent corruption) to curb the menace.
And so, with all of the drama that has taken place in the course of fighting corruption since 2015 including that which led to the hunter being hunted down. Speaking of Czar Ibrahim Magu, whose ‘public posture’ reflected one who had a penchant for dealing with enablers and perpetrators of the vice, it remains a huge surprise that a fraud of as much as $65 million could still take place. Perhaps, another strong point to show that fighting corruption goes beyond following a certain ‘body language.’
Most worrisome also, are numerous instances of corruption cases involving members of the opposition party taking a nosedive on their defection to the ruling APC. Former APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, even captured it perfectly when he said at a political rally early 2019 that; “in fact, once you join APC, all your sins are forgiven.”
The handling of a number of high profile cases point to this, especially that of former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir David Lawal, a staunch supporter of the President still walks the streets freely without any form of prosecution. Thus raising concerns that an official no less a person as the president’s son-in-law may hardly go in for a crime (if found guilty) without justice been obstructed.
There’s even an argument that the Buhari-led administration is yet to willing fully sack any top official since it assumed power in 2015.
Until we approach that critical juncture for possible trial however, it may be safe to join the Buharists to reechoe their anthem of the President being the only incorruptible being in Africa; while Gimba Yau Kumo, fits into the mould of that proverbial black sheep. The one seeking to cause a stain on the integrity of the continental Anti-corruption champion.
Just maybe that would automatically make it unjustifiable for him to receive any form of help; not even through ‘body language.’ This is as we also pray that the Commander-in-chief who despite coming into office with overwhelming goodwill is largely uninterested in listening to the cries for a national dialogue or restructuring of the country, will apply same ‘hard-heartedness’ to advisers who may want him to fine-tune his ‘body language.’
Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq is a Journalist, Political Analyst and Satirist with major interest in Nigerian Politics, Governance and Sports.