“If you shut up the truth and bury it underground, it will but grow and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it burst through it will blow up everything in its way.” Emile Zola, 1840-1902.
On Wednesday, May 29, 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in for the third time as the Nigerian Head of State; the second time as our nation’s civilian leader. Since journalism has been described as the first rough draft of history let me write one of the first chapters of Buhari’s second term even though I am not a journalist. From that day to the end of time, history will record that standing on one side of Buhari was Mrs Aishatu Buhari, his wife. Standing on the other side the Vice President, VP, Pastor Yemi Osinbajo, and close to the VP is Mrs Osinbajo, VP’s wife. What posterity will not see in the picture is the subject of this column. The picture will not reveal that Mrs Buhari a few days to the end of her husband’s first term, had just joined the staff of UniJankara; she was recorded singing our song about the fraud called Social Investment Scheme, SIS, aka SIP, aka SWP, which is domiciled in Osinbajo’s office.
Before reproducing Mrs Buhari’s testimony, permit me to remind our readers that, since June 2015, nothing less than twelve different articles in the SUNDAY VANGUARD and on Mondays were published warning Nigerians that Social Investment, was a premeditated fraudulent scheme for which Buhari has been deceived to budget N500bn in 2016 and 2017, as well as N350bn in 2018 and 2019 respectively. One day, I will publish a booklet of all those articles in order for readers to realise how prophetic my statements on this scam has been. Thus, on the first day of his second term as President, Buhari is standing on the same podium with his immediate subordinate who is alleged to be running a scam costing Nigeria hundreds of billion of naira, according to Aisha Buhari. I stand vindicated.
“The bigger they are the harder they fall.” Mohammed Ali, the Greatest -1964.
And, that should serve as a warning to other officials who are singled out for query on this page. Invariably, I have the facts to get them indicted if an objective inquiry is ever conducted. If Buhari ever develops the courage to call for a thorough investigation of what happened to his legacy project turned into a shambles, heads may roll and the VP’s head may get a bashing. Before, you exclaim that “Dele Sobowale has gone mad”, let me remind you that one Spiro Agnew, was re-elected VP in the USA along with Richard Nixon in 1972 with the widest majority in American political history. By, 1973 Agnew was gone on account of crimes he committed before then. He was not the first US VP to be sent packing. Aaron Burr, 1756-1836, VP to President Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826, lasted only one term with Jefferson before being bumped off the ticket. People living under a Presidential system need to be reminded that the “Vice Presidency is the most insignificant office, ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.” (John Adams, 1735-1826, US first VP, in VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS, VBQ, p 260).
Osinbajo might not realise his predicament yet because most Nigerian leaders lack a sense of history. So, I will offer him free advice before proceeding to join Aisha Buhari in nailing him for being deaf to warnings offered to him since 2015. He might become the first and biggest victim of the new power struggle shaping up in Aso Rock.
American history, as revealed in a book BURR by great American writer Gore Vidal, that the feud between President Jefferson and VP Burr started with a negative remark made about Burr by Mrs Jefferson. Suddenly, a rift was created between the two leaders of America which resulted in the VP’s departure. Just in case Osinbajo needs any further warning, Mrs Buhari labelling the SIP a failure and alleging various dubious transactions has already declared war on the VP and his staff. The President must now take sides. He will either believe his wife or VP. History in many cases like this has delivered a verdict – the occupant of “the other room” invariably triumphs. He might not say it openly, but Buhari will henceforth regard Osinbajo as a suspect whose office had been allegedly involved in grand larceny and perhaps sabotage of a legacy project. To be candid, Pastor Osinbajo asked for this slap in the face.
“Fooling Nigeria on N500bn” Dele Sobowale, January, 2017, VANGUARD and DAILY INDEPENDENT.
That article which was in response to an utterly false report released by Mr Laolu Akande, Senior Special Adviser to the VP was about the ninth I would publish pointing to the lies that were being released to the public about the Social Investment Scheme. The VP, Mrs Maryam Uwais, Senior Special Assistant, SSA, to the President, and Mr Akande had been challenged by me repeatedly to subject their claims to verification without success. Behaving more like a cult than a group of government officials charged with responsibilities to Nigerians, they even refused to have the accounts of the programme audited by the Auditor General – which by itself is an impeachable offense by an elected official like the VP. Mrs Uwais, wife of a Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, was also warned on these pages to resign before the roof caved in on this grand swindle. She did not heed the warning. She never considered her husband’s reputation which would be tarnished if the truth exploded in their faces as it has done.
“Ee ti po to” meaning “You are too few for me”. UniJankara battle cry.
From 2015 till Mrs Buhari spoke out last week, controversy about the social programme was like a tag-team wrestling match between Osinbajo, Mrs Uwais, Akande, with occasional assistance from Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on one side and Dele Sobowale on the other. Even David had an easier match against Goliath than I. There was no shaking however. I travelled round the country; visited thirty two states in the last four years and asked questions. I followed every detail of the scheme; or more appropriately scam, with diligence and there was no doubt in my mind that billions of naira were embezzled under the scheme. But, as Ernest Hemingway, had reminded us “A man alone hasn’t got a chance.” Against the propaganda machinery of the Buhari administration, my voice was like that of a man crying in the wilderness. Millions of Nigerians went to the polls to vote for Buhari-Osinbajo after being told barefaced lies by the cabal ruining the President’s legacy programme.
“God is always on the side of the big battalions.”
Marshall Turene, 1611-1675, VBQ p 20.
They succeeded in drowning out my alarm to the Nigerian people with television, radio and print media publications and social media propaganda. But, even Marshall Turene forgot one fact. One with God is always worth more than a battalion. Today, Osinbajo, Uwais and Akande stand naked in the court of public opinion accused by the wife of the President of making false declarations and deceiving the public, as well as her husband about the activities of the social programme office, tucked inside the Vice Presidency. Let me now give Mrs Aisha Buhari the floor for posterity. May she live long for revealing the truth.
ON MRS UWAIS
“For instance, she disclosed that Uwais informed her that 30,000 women would be beneficiaries in Adamawa State, four years had passed and there was no evidence that the SA kept her word.” PUNCH, May 26, 2019, p 5.
ON THE SIP
“Concerning the N500bn voted for SIP, that was part of 2015 campaigns where they promised to give out N10,000, feed pupils in primary schools and give N5000 to the poorest of the poor.
“The SSA to the President on Social Investment is a lady from Kano and I am sure my husband decided to put somebody from Kano because of the population and political impact it made….I met Barrister (one of the President’s aides on SIP) once and he promised me that for my state (Adamawa) 30,000 women to be given N10,000. Up till now, I haven’t heard from him.
ON BENEFITS TO NIGERIANS
“I don’t want to raise the alarm that my state does not benefit from it, where the SGF (Secretary to Government of the Federation) comes from, I kept quiet because I don’t want people to say I talk too much.”
Now, if the President’s wife is deceived and her state ignored, what was the fate of other states? I have been searching all over Lagos State, Akwa Ibom, Oyo State, Niger and Abuja etc, for one beneficiary of the monthly stipend of N5000 for four years without success; and I have not met anybody who knows of one recipient of the charity. So, who collects them?
HER ENCOUNTER IN KANO
“Recently, I saw a 74-year-old man selling petty things in Kano; I asked how much is his capital; he told me between N3000 and N4000. Don’t forget we have campaigned to give the poorest of the poor N5,000 every month.”
“So I don’t know where is the social investment? ….May be it worked out in some states. In my own state only a local government benefited out of 22. I didn’t ask what happened and I don’t want to know, but it failed woefully in Kano…
THE NORTHERN EXPERIENCE
“I don’t know the method they used, but most of the northern states do not get it. My state does not get it.”
Regarding the allocation methods being used, Mrs Buhari and our readers can obtain an idea about the absolute cheating that went into that programme from a report issued on behalf of the Federal Government in August 2017. According to that report, a total ofN6.026bn was spent on school feeding. Two states, Ogun and Osun, represented by Osinbajo and Akande respectively received N1.047bn and N1.00bn, totalling N2.047bn – representing 34 per cent of the national expenditure claimed for feeding school children. For Pastor Osinbajo, that lopsided allocation of funds to his state in a 36-state federation is a disgrace and was done with malicious intent. Also, an analysis of the report told us that:
“The South West collected nearly half of the entire amount and approximately eleven times what the South-South received. Where is the justice in this? Despite the obvious inequity, Delta reportedly fed 142,000 kids while Osun fed marginally more, 151,000 while collecting 4.4 times more money. Is there any standard for performance of the states? Is there an average cost against which claims by states are measured or not? The ratio comes to N1.6 per kid in Delta but an astonishing N6.6 in Osun. Why?
How on earth can a “man of God” justify the distribution? Meanwhile, if Mrs Buhari wants to know, her state reportedly received N693 million for school feeding. But, my trip to the state revealed no school in which the kids were fed everyday as stipulated. So, who got the money? The VP, Mrs Uwais and Akande should tell Fellow Nigerians.
LYING ALL THE WAY
“Liars ought to have good memories.” Algernon Sidney, 1622-1683, VBQ p 127.
In their eagerness to publish propaganda and propagate falsehood as fact, the VP’s cabal had actually roped themselves into a bigger scandal than they actually created. Last year, the VP wanting to impress his audience at the annual Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, meeting announced that the FG budgeted N500bn each year for SIP. It was half-truth deliberately dropped. I warned Osinbajo about the repercussions. In actual fact, the FG has never released up to N200bn in any year – less than half of the budget. Now he is being asked to account for N500bn not received. Serves him right!
Buhari should move the SIP from the VP’s office and Mrs Uwais can go home now. Serves her right too! They never listen to warnings.