Betta Edu/Tunji-Ojo saga: Tinubu’s cabinet under coordinated attack

President Bola Tinubu has been cautioned against allowing scheming and coordinated attack by political opponents and antagonists to undermine his administration’s “Renewed Hope Agenda”.

The warning came in an Open Letter penned by Public Affairs Analyst, OMOGBOLAHAN L.A BABAWALE following the controversies surrounding the recent suspension of Dr Betta Edu from her position as the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, as well as a campaign to implicate the Minister of Interior, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo.

The letter warned that President Tinubu must be circumspect, vigilant and carefully review any action against members of his cabinet, noting that there is a coordinated plan to dismantle performing members of Tinubu’s team with trumped-up and corruption allegations.

Babawale warned that the president must not fall to the schemes of unscrupulous elements who would stop at nothing to ensuring Tinubu’s administration crumbles.

The Open Letter reads:

Dear Mr. President,
Watch It! Your First Eleven Under Coordinated Attack

Your Excellency, sir. The above caption refers. My earlier two write ups on both Ministers Betta Edu and Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo further refer.

I am one individual who always preaches circumspect on issues of governance. For whatever reason – either seeking political correctness or otherwise, I do not pander to emotions or social media obstreperous cacophony on emerging issues within the polity especially when one considers the unequivocal fact that human demeanour depends, largely on a myriad of imponderables. I therefore am discerning when I express views on issues within our polity. Perhaps, it is why, on many occasions, such my perspectives had been described by many commentators as perspicacious and sagacity-laced.

The recent ‘discovery’ (if I can adopt that word) is not in any way bizarre or gonzo in the Nigeria’s public sector. What is stupefying or, rather, astounding is why the hoopla on the Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation Ministry when in actual fact, this is a norm in all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government. In my last 2 different opinions on this ‘ugly’ development within our polity, I alluded to the possible fact that no one could rule out an agenda. A carefully orchestrated plot to get some persons the endemic system saw as threats to their continued pillage of our common patrimony out of the way. Lending credence to such innuendo is the recent move by the anti-graft agencies, the EFCC and ICPC to extend the dragnet of investigations to some senior civil servants in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.

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It is not impossible that the embattled Honourable Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu may have been naive in the way she handled the transactions. However, the Permanent Secretary, who by law is the Account Officer of the Ministry has a duty to guide the Minister who may have been credulous and not too observant of the environment she found herself on the modus operandi of the Ministry. It is another pointer to the systemic rot in our public sector just like you met it in 1999 as the Lagos State Governor.

As somebody with finance background, and with my certification in forensic investigation, the question I have continued to ask which till this moment remains unanswered by many analysts is who’s this Bridget lady, the one in whose private account the N585m was moved to? Is she a staff of the Ministry or that of the Accountant-General office? Either ways, the infraction (if established) suggests a vicarious liability to every senior officer in Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation Ministry as well as the Accountant-General of the Federation office that had interface with the document from the Minister seeking for such payment. The Minister cannot and should not be singled out for punishment.

Your Excellency, sir, as a matter of curiosity, permit me to ask why did they blow the whistle on only the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry when in actual fact, that has been the way ‘we roll’ in our public sector? In year 2022 alone, a whopping sum of N10billion was transferred, across various MDAs in not less than 165 transactions. Alas! These transfers were made into private individual accounts. What does this
suggest? It suggests, in my opinion therefore that, there is a plot to get the Minister out for whatever reason – the obvious of which she may have threatened the ‘how we roll’ anyhowness (sic) in the Ministry. If not, then, such investigation should be extended to other MDAs of government.

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Dr. Betta Edu may have been a victim of circumstance, of envy and resentment (from her party folks who felt she was not deserving of such ‘important’ Ministry), of hatred and callousness (from economic predators we have in the civil service whose interests are equally threatened), and of ‘Pull Her Down’ vendetta (by the opposition which saw her ubiquitous movement across the country as a way to get Mr. President more endeared into heart of Nigerians before the 2027 poll).

It is this very reason that these unscrupulous elements hatched a plot on the need to drag the former member, House of Representatives and now Minister of the Federal Republic from Ondo State, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo into the miasma. Truth remains the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry and the Interior Ministry are two ministries with interface with a vast majority of Nigerians. Like I opined in my write up on Hon. Tunji-Ojo days back, his record-breaking milestones since becoming the Minister of Interior have had him described the best hand among your ‘recruits’ so far by even your fiercest critics. He has earned himself the moniker of the ‘poster boy’. So, this attempt at denigrating his person by the naysayers, for me, should be discarded as no infraction, whatsoever in my private investigation was committed by the young Hon. Tunji-Ojo. He should therefore not be allowed to be led to political Golgotha by those whose economic interest has been put on ‘crucifixion’ by the shackle-breaker – the poster boy.

Dear President, let me conclude by saying the recent travails of the duo of the Honourable Ministers of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation and Interior, Dr. Betta Edu and Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, respectively, have been more of whimsical and impulsive orchestration rather than by reason or unavoidable necessity. Care must therefore be taken so that we do not take hasty decisions that will jeopardise or imperil the #RenewedHope of your administration which has already started yielding the expected results. It is about Edu and Tunji-Ojo today. Who knows whom their next target is?! Alake, Cardoso, Tijjani or who? Baàmi Aṣíwájú, w’ẹ̀yìn wò o. Watch it, sir!

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Public Affairs Analyst

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