By Gideon Njoku
In an obvious angry outburst that may have surprised many people, a Presidential aide, Mr Okoi Obono-Obla, Chairman, Special Presidential Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property, has pointed to the direction of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s Office for his yet-to-be confirmed sack.
Obla’s office was, at the weekend, sealed by the police, and Obla, allegedly sacked on the orders of the Presidency. The sealing of the office was confirmed by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) spokesperson, DCP Frank Mba.
But sounding defiant in his initial reaction, to the sack, Obla said it was corruption fighting back because his office was investigating highly placed individuals.
Specifically, he disclosed that Amaju Pinnick, Chairman of the Nigeria Football Federation, who, his office is, perhaps, investigating, boasted, after a recent visit to the Vice President, that he, Obla, will soon be sacked. Also, he revealed that in January 2019, a letter from the office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, office of the Vice President, was sent to him, asking him to suspend all investigation cases.
Obla: Sometimes, they write to me that I should suspend my work. In January, I got a letter from the Deputy Chief of Staff, office of the Vice President, that I should suspend all investigations, that government wants to carry out a review, and I said if the President was doing that, it should come from the Chief of Staff to the President
“When I arrested an oil magnate, we investigated the company and discovered that the company has not paid three million dollars to the Federal Government, they have oil block.
“When I arrested him to get the money from him, I had a lot of phone calls from the same people, and they have not been happy with me. That was in July, that I touched somebody who is very close to them.
“These are all the forces and the ICPC has joined them. Why should they go and seal a government office on a non-working day? It is absurd. If they want to sack me, they should sack me and not lock up a government office.
“When I am investigating corrupt people, I cannot be selective, that is my offence, because, I have been very uncompromising.”
In the instant case, he revealed that it is because of a corruption case he is handling at the Petroleum Equalization Fund, PEF.
Then, he emphasized: “l report only to the President”
In an official letter he signed on Monday, Obla also blamed highly placed government officials for his ordeal, saying he has not had any official letter or briefings as to the fate of his office.
Unconfirmed reports say that the petition which precipitated the sealing of his office, emanated from the ICPC.
This is not the first time Obla would be having a problem with a higher authority. While he was working directly in the office of the immediate past Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Malami, he ran into troubled waters with Malami.
A Presidential Spokesperson, Shehu Garba, told journalists that he had no official brief on Obla.
The situation will be clearer, perhaps, by Wednesday when offices resume after the Salman holidays.