President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday settled for Mr Boss Gida Mustapha as the new Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
Until his appointment as SGF, Mustapha was the Managing Director/CEO of the National Inland waterways Authority (NIWA).
A statement issued by the special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, to this effect also announced the sack of erstwhile SGF, David Babachir Lawal.
The president also booted out suspended Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ayo Oke.
This is coming three months after President Buhari had received report of the probe panel headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, which was set up by the president to investigate allegations of financial impropriety against Lawal and Oke.
In the statement made available to LEADERSHIP, Adesina said, “President Muhammadu Buhari has studied the report of the panel headed by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, which investigated allegations against the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir David Lawal, and the Director General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ayo Oke.
“The President accepted the recommendation of the panel to terminate the appointment of Mr Lawal, and has appointed Mr Boss Mustapha as the new Secretary to the Government of the Federation. The appointment takes immediate effect.
“President Buhari also approved the recommendation to terminate the appointment of Ambassador Oke, and has further approved the setting up of a three-member panel to, among other things, look into the operational, technical and administrative structure of the Agency and make appropriate recommendations”.
About five months after the Senate had called for the sack and prosecution of Lawal over allegations of financial impropriety, President Buhari on April 19 this year suspended the former SGF and the erstwhile NIA DG indefinitely.
The president ordered an investigation into allegations of violations of law and due process against Lawal in the award of contracts he handled as the chairman of the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE).
The president also ordered a full-scale investigation into the discovery of large amount of foreign and local currencies by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a residential apartment at Osborne Towers in Ikoyi, Lagos, which the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) had laid claim to.
Consequently, the president directed the suspension of the Director General of the NIA, Ambassador Ayo Oke, pending the outcome of the investigation by the Osinajo probe panel.
The new SGF, Mustapha, is a lawyer, management consultant, politician, and businessman as well as boardroom expert of considerable repute.
Born in Adamawa State, Mustapha attended Hong Secondary School, in Hong Adamawa State and North East College of Arts and Sciences in Maiduguri, Borno State, crowning it with WASC and HSC in 1976.
He earned his Bachelor of Law (LL.B) from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1979 and was called to bar in 1980.
From 1980 to 1981, he did the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) at the Directorate of Legal Services at the Army Headquarters and was in charge of review of Court Marshall Proceedings.
After his NYSC, he joined Sotesa Nigeria Limited, an Italian consultancy firm, as an executive director in charge of Administration, leaving in 1983 to join the prestigious law firm, Messrs Onagoruwa & Co, in Lagos.
With his law practice fully taken off, Mustapha was appointed principal counsel in the law firm, Messrs Mustapha & Associates, and his legal interests and expertise included privatization, commercialization and Liberalisation of public companies/corporate and government parastatals.
He was also involved in preparation of varied and miscellaneous banking documents such as Debentures, Guarantees, Mortgages, Bonds and Loan Syndications.
One of Mustapha’s career highlights was his appointment as a member of Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the defunct Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund (PTF), serving meritoriously from 2000 to 2007.
At the PTF, he was responsible for production of an up-to-date comprehensive project and programme report, including location, coverage and whether performed, performing or abandoned production of final report of Assets and Liabilities, examination of the Administrative structure and cost effectiveness of Projects and Services among other duties.
Mustapha also played key leadership roles at the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), serving as social secretary and chairman at the Yola branch. After his stint at the PTF in 2007, Mustapha was appointed Principal Partner of the law firm, Adroit Lex.
His law practice and the burning desire to serve the larger society conspired to attract him into politics. At various times, he was member Federal Republic of Nigeria Constituent Assembly (1988-1989); chairman, People’s Solidarity Party in Gongola State (1989-1990); state chairman, Social Democratic Party-Gongola State (1990-1991) and he was even a gubernatorial candidate for SDP in Adamawa State in 1991.
He was the deputy national chairman of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria from 2010 to 2013. In 2007, he played a prominent role, serving as the deputy director general of the party’s presidential campaign Organisation.
His services remained in high demand after the ACN joined forces with other parties to form the All Progressive Congress (APC). He was a member of NCC and Secretary APC Presidential Campaign Organization Mobilization (2015) and member, APC Transition Committee (2015). He is also a member, APC Board of Trustees.
In addition to the NBA, Mustapha is a member of various professional bodies, including African Bar Association (ABA), Commonwealth Lawyers Association, International Bar Association (IBA) and Human Rights Institute (HRI).
EFCC Awaits Osibanjo’s C’ttee Report To Begin Babachir, Oke’s Prosecution
Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is set to prosecute the embattled former SGF, Babachair lawal David and the Director General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ayo Oke.
A dependable source at the EFCC headquarters, Abuja, disclosed to LEADERSHIP that the anti graft Agency is just waiting in the wings to receive the report by the Osibanjo committee, which investigated allegations of financial impropriety against the two former top government officials.
According to the source who did not want his name in print, any moment from now the commission will charge them to court to face trial.
“All is set now to commence prosecution of the former SGF and NIA DG, but we are waiting to get the committee report before we can take legal action against the duo”, he said.
Sack Of Babachir, Oke Insulting To Nigerians- PDP
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday described the sack of former SGF, David Babachir Lawal and former Director General of the NIA, Ayo Oke, as a slap on the face of Nigerians.
The opposition party noted that President Muhammadu Buhari’s reaction to alleged corruption by Lawal and Oke is totally unacceptable.
The party alleged double standard in the anti-corruption war, citing the case of former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), who had been detained for about two years over alleged corruption in disregard to court orders in Nigeria and the ECOWAS for his release.
The party said the double standard adopted in the fight against corruption is a gross violation of his constitutional oath and therefore constitutes a veritable ground for impeachment.
In a statement signed by the national publicity secretary of the party, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, PDP said “It is an insult on the-collective intelligence of our people who have waited patiently for the President’s reaction on the humongous act of corruption by two of his principal aides and this is totally unacceptable.
“First and foremost, we had disagreed with the President last year when he decided to setup the panel headed by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to investigate the matter because we thought that was the wrong course of action to take.
“Ordinarily, cases of corruption or alleged cases of misappropriation of funds are supposed to be referred to institutions that are saddled with the responsibility to investigate and prosecute such matters which is the ICPC and the EFCC if there is any prima facie case against them.
“But it appears not all animals are equal under the Buhari APC administration. Some people are treated with kid gloves while others particularly those in opposition are subjected to all manner of harrowing experiences”.
Lawal, Oke Must Face the Wrath Of Law- SERAP
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to handover sacked SGF, Babachir Lawal and ex-DG of NIA, Ayo Oke, to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for further investigation.
SERAP commended the president over the sack of the duo, insisting that Lawal and Oke must face prosecution if there is relevant and sufficient admissible evidence against them.
In a statement issued by SERAP deputy director, Timothy Adewale, the organisation said, “This is a positive development in the fight against grand corruption, although this decision is coming rather late. Buhari now has to go a step further by making sure that both Lawal and Oke are promptly brought to justice in fair trials.
“Buhari also has to move swiftly to publish report of investigation into the secret reinstatement of fugitive former civil servant, Abdulrasheed Maina, and without delay identify and bring to justice anyone suspected to be involved.
“This government now has a real opportunity to reassure a lot of Nigerians who may be worried about the direction of travel of the president’s anti-corruption agenda that there will be no sacred cow as far as the fight against corruption is concerned.
“What the government needs at this time is a revolutionary approach to the fight against corruption if Buhari is to show his commitment to ‘kill’ corruption before corruption ‘kills’ Nigeria”.
SERAP noted that without effective prosecution of high-ranking public officials charged with corruption, the federal government’s fight against corruption may sadly turn out to be all motion and no movement, which will eventually undermine the legitimacy of the anticorruption efforts”.
APC Laud PMB Over Appointment of New SGF
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday commended President Muhammadu Buhari over the appointment of Mr. Boss Mustapha as the new Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
In a statement by Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi national publicity secretary of APC, the party expressed belief that the president could not have made a better choice.
The statement noted, “Mustapha is a competent, loyal and dedicated leader who over the years has demonstrated that he has a pan-Nigerian outlook.
“With his appointment, the Party is confident that Mustapha being a strong party man will provide the necessary linkage between the government and the Party, and with the other arms of government, especially the National Assembly. The Party congratulates Mustapha on his new appointment”. (Leadership)