Exclusive: Jonathan’s Aides on the run…When will they return?

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They rode the political landscape like a colossus while Goodluck Jonathan was president, some of them were called untouchable but hardly had the former president lost the election that they fizzled into oblivion. LEKAN OKEOWO chronicled their rise and fall.

KINGSLEY KUKU

Kingsley Kuku, immediate past Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta and Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, was one of the behemoth of the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration

A promoter of the Niger Delta struggle, having been part of the Kaiama Declaration of 1998, which set the stage for the agitation for a better region, he participated actively in most of the programmes that subsequently resulted in the granting of amnesty to militants on June 25, 2009.

But, more importantly, Kuku became the driver of the amnesty package from 2011 till the end of the Jonathan administration on May 29, 2015, largely helping to push the frontiers of youth training in the region.

Hardly had power changed hand that Kingsley Kuku was reported to have ran away to the United States under the guise of seeking medical help on his troublesome knee.

Before that, he has been declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for allegedly embezzling and fraudulently diverting hundreds of millions of naira in public funds from Amnesty programs for personal use during the Jonathan administration.

The Ondo State born politician had several times been invited for questioning over the allegations but as failed to show up in person with the fear of being arrested to face criminal charges.

Wilson Uwujaren, the spokesperson of the EFCC, has said the anti-graft agency was declaring Mr. Kuku “wanted” for allegedly refusing to honor the invitation by them for interrogation.

Several months after running to the United States to evade arrest, there are tell-tale signs that he is hoping to contest in the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in Ondo state where he hails from.

He has rented and furnished an edifice to be used as his campaign office while the nook and crannies of the state is filled with his campaign poster.

How he hopes to run for the election with an EFCC arrest warrant dangling over his head like a sword of Damocles is what political analysts are debating.

DIEZANI ALLISON-MADUEKWE

Born on the 6th of December, 1960, Diezani K. Alison-Madueke is one of the most powerful women in the administration of Goodluck Jonathan.

A Nigerian politician who served as the first female President of OPEC, elected at the 166th OPEC Ordinary meeting in Vienna on 27 November 2014. She was Nigeria’s minister of transportation from 26th July, 2007. She was moved to Mines and Steel Development in 2008, and in April 2010 was appointed Minister of Petroleum Resources.

Diezani Alison-Madueke has held three significant positions in the Nigerian federal government. She was appointed Transport Minister in July 2007. On 23 December 2008, she was named as Minister of Mines and Steel Development. After Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan became acting President in February 2010, he dissolved the cabinet on 17 March 2010, and swore in a new cabinet on 6 April 2010 with Alison-Madueke as Minister for Petroleum Resources.

One of the most controversial policies introduced under Alison-Madueke was the government’s plan to remove state subsidies on fuel prices. Alison-Madueke supported the discontinuation of the subsidy on the grounds that it “poses a huge financial burden on the government, disproportionately benefits the wealthy, [and] encourages inefficiency, corruption and diversion of scarce public resources away from investment in critical infrastructure.”

Alison-Madueke was the first woman to hold the position of Minister of Petroleum Resources in Nigeria, and in October 2010 she became the first woman to head a country delegation at the annual OPEC conference. She was also the first female Minister of Transportation, and the first woman to be appointed to the board of Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria. On 27 November 2014, she was elected as the first female President of OPEC.

Sometimes in June 2008, she was subjected to a Senate probe after it emerged that as Transport Minister she had paid 30.9 billion naira ($263 million) to contractors between 26 and 31 December 2007.

In October 2009, the Senate of Nigeria indicted Diezani Alison-Madueke and recommended prosecution for the alleged transfer of 1.2 billion naira into the private account of a toll company without due process and in breach of concession agreement. However, the allegations have never been taken to law, and the Minister maintains her innocence.

A former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Mr. Austin Oniwon also revealed that under the former minister trading companies lifted crude oil worth $24bn from the country between 2011 and 2014 without a formal contract.

She is also alleged to be responsible for some missing $20 billion dollars and was also accused of awarding multi billion Naira contracts without recourse to due process. She is also widely accused of reckless spending of Government funds.

Though, she has never been officially charged or tried for these allegations and has strongly denied any wrongdoing. Diezani Allison was alleged to have spent billions of Nigerian dollars inappropriately on private jets whilst many Nigerians suffer.

Her fall to ignominy started on October 2, 2015, when Reuters reported that Alison-Madueke had been arrested by the National Crime Agency (NCA) along with five other people on suspicion of bribery and corruption offences. Her family confirmed she had been arrested in London.

While she was being arrested in the United Kingdom, her home in Asokoro, Abuja was raided and sealed by anti-corruption agents of the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

She is also undergoing treatments for breast cancer in the United Kingdom.

Her husband, Admiral Alison Amaechina Madueke (Rtd.), a former Chief of Naval Staff was also invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) recently over allegations of money laundering.

NGOZI OLEJEME

Ngozi Juliet Olejeme is a Nigerian entrepreneur, politician and administrator. She sits on the board of numerous companies and Government establishments. Her crowning moment was when she was named the Director of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust-fund (NSITF).

She is one of the most powerful women during the Goodluck Jonathan administration, a Director of Finance in the Goodluck Support Group (GSC), an organization set up for the support of President Goodluck Jonathan re-election bid, she commands the attention and respect of the former president.

Ngozi Olejeme was appointed chairman of the board, Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) in June 2009 by late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, a position she held during the Goodluck Jonathan era.

She is however facing a litany of accusations from her traducers ranging from recruitment scam, Pension Fraud and embezzlement.

Under her watch, hundreds of pensioners on contributory pension scheme of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) have had their monthly pension withheld.

Another fraud alleged to have been perpetrated under her watch was the massive recruitment scam that took place at the organization, tens of thousands of hopeful Nigerian applicants who responded to invitations to apply for advertised jobs in the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) in April 2011 were scammed in a manner that is similar, if not worse than the publicised recruitment scandal in the Nigerian Immigration Service and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.

Those who applied were asked to pay a mandatory N1, 000 application fee, but were left disappointed as most of them didn’t get the job.

What befalls these once political juggernauts remains to be seen.

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