Some of the 10 stories that made up this list were tragic and demand our collective sober reflection while some just made us laugh out loud. Either way, we recall 2018’s most scandalous moments.
Mr Integrity, Buhari collects unappropriated arms money for helicopter
President Muhammadu Buhari approved the withdrawal of $462 million from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) paid to the United States of America for the procurement of 12 Super Tucano aircraft, without prior approval of the National Assembly. The withdrawal is a breach on the Sections 80 (3) and (4) of the 1999 Constitution which states that: “(3) No moneys shall be withdrawn from any public fund of the Federation, other than the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation, unless the issue of those moneys has been authorized by an Act of the National Assembly.
Coach collecting dollars
A BBC investigative report on sharp practices in African football carried out by the Ghanaian reporter, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, indicted Coach Salisu Yusuf. Head coach of the team that represented Nigeria at the Ghana WAFU 2017 Tournament, Salisu Yusuf, took about $1000 from an undercover players’ agent, and agreed to field two of his players in the upcoming CHAN 2018 Tournament regardless of form. Salisu Yusuf has been banned from all football–related activities for one year with immediate effect and asked to pay $5000.
Wizkid baby mama drama
In September, Shola Ogudu, mother of Wizkid’s son, Boluwatife put out an Instagram bomb complete with screenshots and receipts that accused Wizkid of being pure scum, a deadbeat dad. According to Ogudu, she was both father and mother to their son and received little from Wizkid apart from years of maltreatment and emotional abuse.
After months of unmitigated tomfoolery, the federal government announced the suspension of the costly enterprise known as Nigeria Air. Information minister Lai Mohammed claimed the establishment of a national carrier had to be abandoned because core investors pulled out of the project in the last minute. In a charade that took place in the United Kingdom, government officials led by minister Hadi Sirika unveiled drawings of airplanes, name, logo and imaginary routes without any proper structure in place. The federal government budgeted the sum of N555 million for the establishment of national carrier and N200 million for consultancy for the establishment in the 2017 budget.
Dapchi ransom payment
In an analytical report made public this year, the United Nations said revealed that contrary to reports, the federal government paid a huge sum as ransom to secure the release of Dapchi school girls in Yobe State who were kidnapped by Boko Haram insurgents on February 18, 2018. The report also revealed that cash economy was a major factor fueling the activities of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in the Lake Chad Basin region.
NEMA and the Pastor
The House of Representatives indicted Mustapha Maihaja, Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for mismanaging N5.8 billion earmarked for the North East Intervention Fund. The panel determined the process of authorization for the release of the fund for emergency food intervention in the North East from the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account to NEMA to have contravened constitutional provisions. Vice president, Yemi Osinbajo authorized the fund while serving as Acting President. The legislative chamber called for Maihaja’s dismissal and prosecution for fraud, corruption and embezzlement of N33 billion Emergency Intervention Fund, as well as all the government officials involved in the approval, processing, release and diversion of the fund.
While attempting to solve a biting fuel scarcity problem, the Federal Government was caught pants down illegally paying subsidy without proper authorization. The state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was discovered in October to have illegally diverted N378 billion sourced from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) dividend funds to secretly fund subsidy payment on petroleum products. The fund in question was secretly diverted into payments on petrol supply and distribution when it should have been shared between the federal, state and local governments. The legislature described the payments as illegal and demanded a probe of the major actors in the scandal.
DSS raids NASS
In August, masked operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) took over the internal security of the National Assembly, a move that ultimately led to the firing of DSS boss, Lawal Daura. The operatives barricaded the gates to the National Assembly complex, shutting out lawmakers amid concern by some legislators, especially those in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that their All Progressives Congress (APC) counterparts were plotting to forcefully re-open the premises and impeach the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu.
In a series of videos that shocked and appalled the country, Kano state Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje was recorded received bribes totaling about $5 million in installments from a certain contractor on several occasions. Four different video clips showing the governor accepting bundles of dollar notes and stuffing them into the recesses of his clothes have gone viral and the publisher of Daily Nigerian, Ja’afar Ja’afar who released the videos claims to be in possession of more clips. Speaking through his commissioner of information, Ganduje claimed that the videos were doctored.
Kemi Adeosun resigns amidst certificate forgery drama
Former Minister for Finance, Kemi Adeosun was forced to resign her appointment over allegations that she forged her National Youth Service Corps certificate of exemption. The Premium Times report claimed that the finance minister, who did not participate in the one-year national youth service, allegedly forged an exemption certificate several years after her graduation. This certificate, dated September 2009, was reportedly signed by an NYSC Director-General, Yusuf Bomoi, who had already left the scheme in January 2009. Adeosun was also accused of succumbing to blackmail by national assembly members who were in the know of her situation.
Wilfred Okiche is a medic, reader, writer, journalist, culture critic, and occasional ruffler of feathers. One of the most influential critics working in the Nigerian culture space, his writing has appeared extensively in platforms like YNaija.com and 360nobs.com. Okiche has provided editorial assistance to the UK Guardian and has had his work published in African Arguments, Africa is a Country and South Africa’s City Press. He has received trainings and acquired experience in multimedia and online journalism. He also appears on the culture television show, Africana Literati. He has participated at critic programs in Lagos, Durban and Rotterdam.