By Etim Etim
The Director General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Mr Ben Akabueze has stated that Farooq Kperogi’s recent article in which he alleged that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo favours mostly RCCG members in his appointments ”is full of inaccuracies”, adding that the Atlanta-based university teacher is just out ”to paint Osinbajo in bad light”.
Responding to my inquiries on Kperogi’s controversial and ill-motivated article, Akabueze stated that the VP was not even the one who nominated him as the DG of the Budget Office, contrary to the claims made by Kperogi. In 2016, then Minister of National Planning, Budget & Finance, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma had told me that he was the one who had sought out Akabueze and nominated him as the DG Budget because of his expertise and experience. Senator Udoma has reconfirmed this account to me this afternoon.
Akabueze had also been the Managing Director & Chief Executive of NAL Merchant Bank (1996 – 2005) and later, Commissioner for Budget & National Planning in Lagos (2006 – 2015). For the sake of transparency and openness, I should state that Akabueze did hire me in NAL as the Head of Corporate Communications in December 2000.
”I am too busy to get involved in rejoinders, but I cannot let Kperogi get away with his falsehood”, Akabueze told me, adding ”it is evident that Kperogi was simply handed a script to which he attached his name and some of his flowery language by which he masquerades as an academic”.
Akabueze notes that the VP was not also instrumental to Okechukwu Enelamah’s appointment as Minister in 2015. I had made this same point in my article last week titled ”Why they are moving against Osinbajo”. In it, I wrote that Enelamah was nominated as Minister by the Obi of Onitsha at the request of the late Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. Abba Kyari. This, I know for a fact.
Buttressing his point that the VP was not responsible for the appointments of many of the people Kperogi mentioned in his article, Akabueze further told me that Prof. Osinbajo was not ”even given the privilege of nominating the Minister from his own home state. That privilege went to Senator Amosun in 2015 and again in 2019”.
Says Akabueze, ”Kperogi’s so-called list of the 80 people who work in PYO’s office is grossly outdated, as about half of them are no longer there while some of those who currently work there are not on the list. Jumoke Oduwole is not a member of the RCCG as Kperogi claims. Afolabi Imoukhuede is not a member of RCCG.
Kperogi’s attempt to trivialise the appointments of Ben Akabueze, Alex Okoh and Kayode Pitan, all of who have been reappointed for second terms in their positions by President Buhari on account of their stellar performance, is regrettable”.
Akabueze continues: ”It is also noteworthy that each of these three gentlemen had served as MD/CEOs of Nigerian banks for over 10 years before PYO became VP in 2015. Kperogi has unwittingly diminished the credibility of his allegations with the powers that be who made these appointments, and who know exactly how they happened. These are the same people Kperogi is targeting in his attempt to paint Osinbajo in bad light. It is evident that Kperogi was simply handed a script to which he attached his name and some of his flowery language by which he masquerades as an academic, but is sadly just another ‘brown envelope’ motivated columnist”, concludes Akabueze.
Farooq Kperogi had written an article two weeks ago in which he falsely claimed that many of the staffers in the VP’s Office are members of RCCG. Many people, including veteran journalists like Ms Donu Kogbara have condemned the piece as a hatchet job meant to ridicule the VP.
With this rebuttal from Mr. Ben Akabueze, it is obvious that Kperogi’s agenda is less than noble.