So many questions unanswered. Endless posers. We are lost in confusion. The more we look, the more we see. The more we listen, the more we hear. This has been our lot since one Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina surfaced like a whirlwind. He needs no serious introduction. He is self-introductory and self-explanatory.
Within days, he again took the nation by storm. He first achieved that awkward feat in 2012. Since then, there is no stopping him and the storm. And the storm is wreaking great havoc on the country unabated.
Maina became the weird rave of the moment when the pension scam broke loose. He was drafted by ex-president Goodluck Jonathan to tackle corruption as chairman, Pension Reform Task Force (PRTF). He was asked, “to sanitise a corrupt pension system.”
And he got it totally wrong from the onset. He worked assiduously upside down. He instantly hit the nation’s airwaves unrestricted. His name was everywhere. He became a national discourse in the negative. He made a mess of his terms of reference.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), roundly accused him of spearheading “a massive pension fraud scheme amounting to more than N100billion.” Imagine what that “meager” amount would look like in 2012!
Prof. Itse Sagay, chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), gave a graphic implication of Maina’s unholy action:
“This man was accused of embezzling billions of naira meant for pensioners who had spent all their lives serving this country. One man took the money they should rely on in their declining years, subjecting them to misery and hopelessness. This is a moral and criminal issue.”
The Senate waded in and wielded the big stick. It ordered Maina’s arrest. But he was not scared he did not care a hoot. He comfortably chose to ignore the order and went to seek “justice.” He had the uncanny effrontery to sue the Senate and the then Inspector General of Police Mohammed Abubakar.
With that caveat, he disappeared from the nation’s radars abandoning his duty post. He erroneously believed time and season would heal his wounds. He was to appear on July 21, 2015, in a major corruption suit instituted by the EFCC. He refused to show up, still counting on time and season.
Less than a week ago, Maina was convinced the coast was clear. So, he literally sneaked into the country and became acting Director, Human Resources, Ministry of Interior, over night.
He was tactical in all his actions and inactions. He knows the game inside-out. That is why he kept a safe distance from his new office last Monday. His cronies and hangers-on had gathered in the office waiting for him to merry and party. He never showed up.
For his uncommon guts, Maina’s reinstatement was backdated to 2013. And he got N22million in the kitty as salary areas for his “deserved” promotion. The news reverberated throughout the land. There was uproar. And that brought us to the ongoing MainaGate.
That is the reason EFCC retains its post on its website at the time Maina sneaked into the ministry under the guise of reinstatement:
“Dark complexioned Maina is allegedly complicit in the over N2billion pension biometric scam in the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF). He remains at large…”
Imagine the insult by one Mohammed Manga. He calls himself Assistant Director (Press), office of the HCSF. He elevated arrogance to the highest level when contacted:
“You journalists should start reading civil service rules and be properly informed so as not to misinform the public. Nobody will dismiss a director from service just by commendations.”
But less than 24 hours, the music changed, so did the dancing steps. President Muhammadu Buhari came on rescue operation.
He did this through his spokesman, Femi Adesina. He ordered the immediate sack of the infant terrible Maina. He then raised the big axe against the HCSF, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita:
“In a memo to the HCSF, the President equally demanded a full report of the circumstances of Maina’s recall and posting to the Ministry of Interior.
“The report is to submitted to the office of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, before the end of work on, Monday, October 23, 2017.”
What followed were denials, counter denials and shameless buck passing. Nobody wanted the buck to stop on his or her table.
Manga was caught napping. He ran back to the journalists he insulted, cap in hand. He begged them to bail out his embattled boss. He voluntarily ate his words and swallowed his stinking vomit. He came crashing from his fake Olympian height. He was sober:
“The HCSF wishes to inform the public that the re-instatement and posting of Maina never emanated from the office of the HCSF. Consequently, the purported re-instatement and posting by the office of the HCSF is totally erroneous and misleading.”
But the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Abubakar Malami (SAN), on whose advice Maina’s recall allegedly anchored is still keeping mute. We are dazed he is holding on to siddon look.
The Department of State Service (DSS) earlier implicated denied involvement. The Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC), simply asked to be given more time.
Trust Nigerians, kudos and kicks are still flooding in. And in such situation, the restless and restive Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose is as constant as Northern star. That is his core area of great competence. He dug deep, and called the attention of the President to the unfinished jobs. Samplers:
“When the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, raised allegation of award of $25 billion contracts without due process against the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, the Presidency was the one that defended him (Baru)
“It was under this government that Ahmed Gambo Saleh, the Supreme Court Registrar, was put on trial for alleged N2 billion fraud. The case was withdrawn almost immediately and he has been appointed Secretary of the National Judicial Council (NDC). Not only that, he was made Secretary of the Corruption and Financial Crime Cases Monitoring Committee, headed by retired Justice Isa Ayo Salami.”
He closed his case with the words of Senator Shehu Sani, APC, Kaduna Central: “When it comes to fighting corruption in the National Assembly, Judiciary and larger Nigerian sectors, the President uses insecticides, but when it comes to fighting corruption within the Presidency, they use deodorants.”
We are not being told the whole truth. There are glaring gaps left uncovered. To tell us Maina is on the run again is quite laughable. It is making huge mess of the fight against corruption.
All said and done, will the President’s axe fall on the embattled HCSF? Will Manga be around as the undertaker?
With yesterday’s outing by Maina’s family in Kaduna, we are in for a very long distance race in this MainaGate. The end is certainly not in sight.
We wait anxiously with our fragile fingers crossed.