Deploying public resources towards political ends is one of the major accusations that have been leveled against the APC by Nigerians who have come to witness impunity, nepotism and abuse of office increase at an alarming rate.
As the 2019 elections draw close, the incumbent is finding new ways to use State funds to win elections in critical States.
The APC gubernatorial candidate for Kwara State, Mr Abdulrahman Abdulrazak, has been enjoying a lot of financial support from his brother, Mr Isiaka Abdulrazak, the Chief Financial Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) through oil contracts and cash gifts.
This ugly trend is not exclusive to Kwara as a LeadersNg exclusive report revealed details of how the spokesperson for President Buhari’s re-election bid, Mr. Festus Keyamo, got a cash sum of
N450 million from the NNPC to fund media and publicity for the Buhari Campaign.
Mr Isiaka Abdulrazak alongside the GMD of NNPC , Mr. Maikanti Baru, are the only two people in charge of the
N373 billion subsidy/under recovery fund that was illegally diverted by the Buhari administration from the NLNG dividends as revealed in a Premium Times exclusive.
The Premium Times exclusive came a week after the Senate had launched an investigation into the subsidy payments under the current administration that had risen to the tune of $3.5bn without any approval by the National Assembly. State governors initially accused the NNPC of fraudulent subsidy payments and questioned how the corporation managed to double the daily consumption of petrol from about 30 million litres to more than 60 million litres in its books thereby skyrocketing the amount paid on the fraudulent scheme.
The elder Abdulrazak was declared the winner of the highly controversial APC primaries in October by the national leadership of APC. Mr. Abdulrazak bragged about funding the elections solely and how his wealth as an oil contractor would be the deciding factor, according to several top members of the party in Kwara State. Mr Abdulrazak was chosen solely because of his promise to single-handedly bankroll the entire party in the State despite a lack of political structure and proper developmental plans.
Mr Abdulrahman Abdulrazak and his brother Isiaka are sons of Alhaji AGF Abdulrazak. Abdulrahman is the CEO of First Fuels Limited, a company he had left for sports and politics until his brother’s rise to the top at NNPC. Abdulrazak had quit the oil business after the subsidy probes of 2012 affected a lot of oil importers that had no real business importing oil.
After his brother’s meteoric rise in NNPC in the Buhari administration, First Fuels is back to receiving dubious contracts from the NNPC. The NNPC recently engaged First Fuels and about 49 other local firms to participate in its crude lifting contracts from 2018-2020 in a move widely criticized by major players in the oil industry for the timing and obvious political undertone.
The money source
A United Kingdom-based public policy assessment organisation, The Oxford Policy Management, interrogated the contracts and alleged that the process had been largely influenced by the political undertones of 2019 general elections. It explained that the rise in the number of lifters to 50 within four electoral months while Nigeria’s oil production had remained relatively at previous levels was unnecessary and highly wasteful, most especially due to the opacity involved in the contracts awarded to government cronies.
The Minister of State for petroleum, Mr Ibe Kachikwu, also previously accused the NNPC of awarding contracts up to $25bn without due process. Mr Kachikwu made this claim in a leaked letter to President Buhari, accusing Mr Baru of illegally awarding billions of dollars worth of contracts without the proper approval process.
The award of dubious contracts to fund several campaign groups is a recurring issue in the 2019 elections. The Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing awarded some contracts to members of the Buhari campaign organisation to fund the President’s re-election bid.
It should be recalled that the President has actively maintained involvement in Kwara politics. He recently met with Kwara APC leaders and gave them a marching order to take over Kwara at all cost. The President’s personal involvement in this State may have led to the funding of the candidate via the illegal subsidy diversion and crude lifting contracts.