Tinubu's Shocking Move: Bello Matawalle Nominated Amidst ...
Home News Politics Tinubu’s Shocking Move: Bello Matawalle Nominated Amidst N70 Billion Corruption Probe
Politics - August 3, 2023

Tinubu’s Shocking Move: Bello Matawalle Nominated Amidst N70 Billion Corruption Probe

Nigerian President,  Bola Ahmed Tinubu recently submitted Bello Matawalle’s name as one of the ministerial nominees in his second list. Tinubu’s nomination of the former Zamfara Governor comes as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC probes him for an alleged N70 billion fraud.

Tinubu’s unexpected decision has made several Nigerians wonder if his cabinet is a means of rewarding party faithful and loyalists or an avenue to nominate competent persons. 

In this gripping exposé, we examine Tinubu’s ministerial appointments and what Matawalle’s nomination could mean.

Tinubu compensates ex-governors with ministerial appointments

Tinubu’s first ministerial list featured former Ebonyi State governor, David Umahi; former Rivers State governor, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, former governor of Jigawa State; Muhammed Badaru Abubakar and former Kaduna State governor, Nasir El Rufai.

As if that was not enough, he nominated five more in the second list sent to the Senate yesterday. The former governors include the Former governor of Osun, Adegboyega Oyetola, Former Kebbi Governor, Atiku Bagudu, former Zamfara governor, Bello Matawalle, Former Yobe Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam and Former Plateau governor, Simon Lalong.

While it has been perceived that Tinubu nominated these governors as compensation for their contribution to his victory at the polls, Deji Adeyanju, a socio-political activist told Tinubu to appoint qualified technocrats as ministers because he owes former governors nothing.

In a tweet, Adeyanju wrote, “I know the pressure the president must be facing to appoint these formal governors so that he can secure a 2nd term but these former governors are already irrelevant. Tinubu should begin to partner with current governors ahead of 2027. Nigeria is in a very bad place currently.”

His 47 Nominees and the cost of governance

With 47 nominees, Tinubu has set the record for the highest number of ministerial nominees in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic (1999 to date). This is as his nominees exceed the 42 ministers appointed by the former president, Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.

Tinubu’s 47 nominees come after Nigerians and observers called for an urgent reduction in the cost of governance. They noted that if Tinubu is keen on making progress in the management of the nation’s economy, he would have to cut down on the number of appointees and ministers that steal development from Africa’s largest economy.

Also, workers under the aegis of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC and Trade Union Congress, TUC, who held a nationwide strike on the 2nd of August, asserted that cutting back on wasteful spending and repurposing money would help Nigerians in general, who are struggling financially.

Bello Matawalle and the N70 Billion Probe

In May 2023, the EFCC revealed that it was probing Matawalle for allegedly diverting N70 billion meant for contracts in the state. The EFCC’s director of public affairs, Osita Nwajah said, “Matawalle is being investigated by the EFCC, over allegations of monumental corruption, award of phantom contracts and diversion of over 70 billion.”

He further noted that “The money which was sourced as loan from an old generation bank purportedly for the execution of projects across the local government areas of the state, was allegedly diverted by the governor through proxies and contractors who received payment for contracts that were not executed.”

Nwajah also hinted that “Some of the contractors who had been invited and quizzed by the Commission, made startling revelations on how they were allegedly compelled by the governor to return the funds received from the state coffers back to him through his aides after converting the same to United States dollars.”

Tinubu’s nomination of Bello Matawalle amidst a N70 billion corruption probe could lead to a loss of credibility in his governance, political backlash, and heightened scrutiny on his government.

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