Feb 10, 2014 – President Jonathan Fires Chief Of Staff: Mike Oghiadomhe Forced To Resign
It has been gathered that a huge dossier prepared on the activities of the erstwhile Chief of Staff of President Goodluck Jonathan, whom he fired today, revealed an extensive corruption profile.
But the former Deputy Governor of Edo State is unlikely to be asked to answer to any of them because Mr. Jonathan does not want to open a Pandora’s Box involving persons at the highest levels of his administration, analysts have told SaharaReporters.
Mr. Oghiadomhe’s bag of tricks includes Kerosene subsidy fraud at the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to the magnitude of millions of dollars with a controversial businessman, Jide Omokore, owner of oil companies Atlantic Energy Limited and Seven Energy.
Both companies are at the center of the $6 billion fraud cited by the Governor of the Central Bank, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, in his recent revelation to the Nigeria Senate that the NNPC has not been able to account for $20 billion of the $67 billion worth of oil it lifted between 2012 and 2013.
Mr. Jonathan reportedly asked Mr. Oghiadomhe to resign after security agencies revealed his deep involvement, first, in a Rice waiver scam used to fund Mr. Jonathan’s Presidential Election in 2011; the security reports traced billions of naira to the duo, showing that they did not declare or remit a greater portion of the “profit” from the Rice waiver to the Jonathan campaign.
The campaign treasurer the was Ms. Stella Oduah, the current minister of Aviation, enmeshed in various financial and ethical scandals in her ministry.
In recent days, it also emerged that Mr. Omokore and Oghiadome benefited immensely from the N1 billion-naira-a-day Kerosene subsidy fraud.
Last week Tuesday, Omokore sent his wife, Angela, to meet with President Jonathan in order to explain that her husband did not partake in the fraud, but Mr. Jonathan appeared unconvinced as the CBN governor buffeted the nation with further revelation of massive fraud in the petroleum sector. Angela Omokore is Oghiadome’s goddaughter.
Also, Nigeria’s Petroleum minister Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke reportedly washed her hands off the fraud case claiming that Oghiadome and Omokore shortchanged Nigerians in the deals.
When the former Chief of Staff showed up for work at the Presidential Villa in Abuja this morning he was told to submit his resignation letter. After complying, he returned to his residence.
He was not subjected to any questioning or surveillance, leaving him free to do as he pleases with his time and resources.
In order to fend off inquiries, presidential spokesperson Reuben Abati told some reporters today that Mr. Oghiadomhe “voluntarily resigned” to go and participate in politics.
The spin is aimed at deflecting public outrage that could force Mr. Jonathan’s hands in taking action against others involved in the NNPC fraud, particularly the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Alison-Madueke. She is currently reported to be “sick,” and is maintaining a low profile in far away London.
The challenge facing Mr. Jonathan is that, particularly in an election year, it would be impossible for him to claim that Mr. Oghiadomhe carried out his full briefcase of alleged corruption activities at the NNPC all the way from Aso Rock without the knowledge of the Minister, and that he has done all of it since 2010 without the knowledge of the presidency and the security agencies.
Mr. Jonathan is also likely to face questions as to why, each time a top official of his government is accused of corruption, he or she is at best removed from office, as has happened in the cases of Mr. Oghiadomhe and the former chairperson of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Farida Waziri.
Most of the time, such an official is shielded from any investigation, as has happened in the cases of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohamed Adoke; the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah; Alison-Madueke, and now Oghiadomhe.
In recent times, Nigerians have increasingly accused Mr. Jonathan of boosting corruption and impunity in Nigeria by, among others, failing to take action against his corrupt officials. Only yesterday, the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties called on Mr. Jonathan to institute a comprehensive investigation into corruption in the NNPC since 1999.