There are more than eight former governors who were once arrested and were being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before their cases came to a gradual halt, SaharaReporters can report.
The EFCC caused a stir on Tuesday when it arrested a former Governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha, in Abuja, over alleged misappropriation of the funds of the state to the tune of N7.9 billion.
There has been a prolonged battle between the former governor and the EFCC in recent months following his claims and counterclaims that his hands were clean and he was only a victim of witch-hunt by his successor, Hope Uzodinma.
Two days later, Okorocha was released by the EFCC, although it was not sure whether he would still be re-invited.
On the list of former governors with corruption cases with the EFCC include:
1. Former Abia State Governor, Theodore Orji
Orji governed Abia from 2007 to 2015 before becoming a senator.
The EFCC had in November 2018 invited Orji, who represents Abia-Central Senatorial District at the National Assembly, over allegations that he mismanaged about N27 billion during his two-term tenure as governor.
The money was allegedly diverted from several state and federal agencies including the Abia State Oil Producing Development Area Commission.
After more than two years of invitations, no charges have been filed against Orji as he continues to enjoy his senatorial role in the National Assembly.
2. Former Kebbi Governor, Danjuma Goje
Goje was governor between 2003 and 2011 in Kebbi State and he was arrested by the EFCC and arraigned in 2011, after he completed his tenure.
The former governor was alleged to have mismanaged over N5 billion while in office.
The EFCC pursued the case against Goje up till 2019, before the then Justice Babatunde Quadri of a Federal High Court in Jos.
In May 2019, in a dramatic twist, Goje, who was also running for President of the Senate, wormed his way into the hearts of the All Progressives Congress chiefs who advised him to step down for Senator Ahmad Lawan who eventually became the Senate President.
Shortly after, his case with the EFCC was taken over by the notoriously controversial office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and subsequently dropped.
Nothing has been heard on Goje till now.
3. Former Sokoto Governor, Aliyu Wammako
Wammako was governor in Sokoto State from 2007 to 2015 but was alleged by the EFCC to have embezzled N15 billion while in office.
Wammako quietly sneaked into the Senate and after becoming a senator, his probe by the EFCC has gone really cold.
The senator, who is the Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, is an APC ally and he played a key role in President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign in Sokoto State in the 2019 elections.
It is not surprising that he has not been charged to court till date.
4. Former Bayelsa governor and current minister, Timipre Sylva
Timipre Sylva, who is now the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, was at the helms of affairs in Bayelsa between 2008 and 2012.
The EFCC in 2012 accused Sylva of laundering funds in the state to the tune of N19.2 billion. The former governor was charged for using three proxy companies to siphon the funds.
The EFCC commenced a court action against Sylva when it filed a motion seeking for an interim order for the forfeiture of 48 houses allegedly belonging to Sylva – the order which was granted by Justice Mohammed.
Sylva was also being prosecuted for another separate N6 billion fraud case.
The former governor then filed a motion challenging the competence of the fresh suit, describing it as an abuse of court process.
In the end, by 2015, the cases against Sylva were struck out, and the houses allegedly seized from Sylva have since been returned to the minister.
5. Former Enugu governor, Sullivan Chime
Chime was governor in Enugu State from 2007 to 2015 and he was alleged to have part of a N23 bilion fraud also involving a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
The EFCC began Chime’s probe in 2016 for mismanaging some state funds.
But Chime’s “breakthrough” came when he defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress before the 2019 general elections.
There has been no update on his case since then.
6. Former Borno Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff
Sheriff was governor in Borno from 2003 to 2011.
The EFCC said in February 2016 that former Governor Ali Modu Sheriff of Borno State was being probed for over N300 billion state funds mismanaged by his government.
He was first arrested in June 2015 and granted bail.
Sheriff also before the 2019 general elections joined the All Progressives Congress and his case with the EFCC appears to have died a natural death.
7. Former Akwa Ibom Governor and minister, Godswill Akpabio
Akpabio was governor of Akwa Ibom between 2007 and 2015.
He is being probed by the EFCC for mismanaging N108 billion state funds. He was arrested and quizzed in October 2015.
The EFCC had gone the extra mile to write letters to Zenith Bank, Keystone Bank, First City Monument Bank, Skye Bank (now Polaris bank), and United Bank for Africa, seeking information on the funds.
Akpabio, amid the probe, switched political camps and defected to the APC.
After his romance with the ruling party which saw him play a role during the 2019 elections, he was “rewarded” by Buhari with a ministerial appointment and his probe was swept under the carpet.
8. Former Ogun State Governor, Gbenga Daniel
Daniel was governor in Ogun State between 2003 and 2011.
He is being investigated by the EFCC for allegedly diverting state funds and also for false declaration of assets to the tune of N211.3 million.
The former governor is facing trial on a 38 counts of stealing and fraudulent conversion of public property.
Daniel, who was the Peoples Democratic Party’s campaign director in 2019, in his latest move, also joined the APC and even met with Buhari.
His probe is gradually being relegated to the dust bin as his “sins” seem to have now been forgiven.
Though Buhari had promised to fight corruption during campaigns ahead of the 2015 presidential election and even after winning elections for first and second terms in office, there is not much to suggest his government is taking the promise seriously.
It is however not surprising considering that the ruling APC’s former National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, had in January 2019 urged members of the opposition party to join the party so that their sins could be forgiven.
At an APC rally in Benin, the Edo State capital, while receiving some members of the opposition PDP into the APC, he said, “We have some PDP defectors. They are, Henry Tenebe, Iluobe….Iluobe means I have done something wrong. Yes, once you join the APC, your sins are forgiven.”