OPINION – Emefiele: 150 days in Tinubu’s gulag

By Steve Osuji


▪︎This President is a bully

THE WAY OF A BULLY: Nothing has so far defined President Bola Tinubu’s persona and presidency more than the Emefiele Saga. In short five months, Tinubu has been typecast as a non- respecter of the rule of law and also as a bully.


Not even past military leaders like Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha are remembered to have detained citizens for five months and defied orders from the courts of the land so serially. Can a so-called elected president who allows security agents to brazenly disobey court orders be rightly called a democrat? Nay, Tinubu has in a very short time portrayed the very nature of a despot.

However, the gutless bully in Tinubu has also come to the fore with the extended detention of Godwin Emefiele, the persecuted Central Bank of Nigeria governor (note that Emefiele remains the CBN governor as his tenured term has not ended. An appointee cannot be forced to resign while in detention).

As Yoruba say: the bully is always eager to beat up on the weak and defenceless (eni a le mu ni a nle’di mo).

WHY IS HADI SIRIKA NOT IN DETENTION?: Godwin Emefiele proves to be the weakest link in the Buhari 8-year brigandage that’s why Tinubu has literally been pummelling him since May 29th! Expresso dares President Tinubu to detain a certain felon known as Hadi Sirika! For eight years, Hadi as Aviation Minister was rapine with Nigeria’s aviation sector. Hadi was a brazen thief who organised all sorts of scam and carted away billions of dollars. His final act before the eyes of the world was to hire an Ethiopian Airline plane, branded it and present it to the world as one of the craft in the Nigeria Air fleet. Hadi the scammer enacted his farce in the purview of the whole world not giving a damn about the image of Nigeria.

In a recent interview, Mesfin Tasew, the Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines told told Hadi’s dirty story to The Punch:

“At one point, the leadership of Nigeria Air … asked us to bring an aircraft painted with Nigerian logo to facilitate the progress of the AOC (Air Operations Certificate). So, we agreed with that, we took out one of our aircraft, and we painted it with the Nigerian logo, we flew it (to Abuja) for demonstration and for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority’s (NCAA) inspection. So after two days, we brought back the aircraft (to Addis Ababa), repainted it with Ethiopian logo and it’s flying.”

Never has a country been so hoodwinked by a public official. While Sirika lied to the ET Airlines that the hired plane was to facilitate certification of NigeriaAir, he lied to President Buhari and Nigerians that the plane was part of the new NIGERIA AIR he had set up after eight years of deception and sheer brigandage. He actually planned a fake inauguration ceremony of the Nigerian carrier. A make-believe, a scam presented less that 24 hours to the expiry of Buhari’s final term. We ask: why is Hadi Sirika not in detention? Why is he gallivanting between Abuja and Dubai living like a shiekh?

Simple. Because he’s related to Buhari; because he is Fulani and because Tinubu has no liver to investigate and try him!

WHAT’S EMEFIELE’S CRIME?: Let it be said upfront that just because Hadi has been left to enjoy his loot unmolested doesn’t exonerate Emefiele of wrongdoings if any. But again, what’s Emefiele’s crime? Surprisingly, nothing so far. At least in the face of the law, he has not been convicted of any. Not after five months in DSS detention and unmitigated investigations and scrutiny. All sorts of ‘fake’ charges have been brought against him but non stuck. When the DSS got tired of its fruitless pursuit of Emefiele, the secret police decided to do the right thing and hand him over to the financial crimes body (EFCC). They are on the verge of arraigning Emefiele for the umpteenth time. It remains to be seen what charges would be brought against him.

And lest we forget, Tinubu also needed to clear the CBN to make way for his “boys” to take full charge of the treasury.

GOVERNANCE BY WITCH-HUNT: Discerning Nigerians know that what’s going on is open witch-hunt by President Tinubu against Emefiele and it must be stated that this is the worst of its kind in the history of Nigeria. Political watchers know that Tinubu vs. Emefiele is unmistakably a political diadem. The crux of the matter is that Emefiele dared to obey President Buhari’s instructions to redesign the naira in the run up to the February 25th presidential election. That singular move stymied the ability of many presidential candidates, especially Tinubu, to deploy warehouses of cash in the bid to buy votes. This is the crime of Emefiele and this explains why only Emefiele is being persecuted in a Buhari era that was nothing but eight years of a raucous criminality.

Under PMB, it was said that corruption was fighting back. Today, under PBAT, corruption has taken over: this is why a man who tried to stop vote-buying is being punished with vengeance and the people couldn’t be bothered.

What more can we say about the the Tinubu- Emefiele tango? Evil is now battling good; darkness furiously seeks to overcome light… rule of law is kept in abeyance, the judiciary is castrated, as pronouncements of the courts are viewed with contempt; security agencies are mere gigolos of the presidency…

To think that this is just five months of the Tinubu presidency.

* Osuji is a newspaper columnist and public affairs analyst.

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