President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, Oct. 30th appointed Boss Mustapha as the new Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (SGF) to replace Babachir Lawal who was also fired same day.
The former SGF was suspended on April 19, 2017, over graft and alleged involvement in the N200 million grass-cutting contract of Presidential Initiative in the North East, PINE.
But after studying the report of the panel headed by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, which investigated allegations against the suspended SGF and the Director General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ayo Oke, President Buhari accepted the recommendation of the panel to terminate Babachir Lawal’s appointment.
However, a member of the House of Representatives during the Second Republic, Dr Junaid Muhammed, has revealed that the newly appointed SGF who is also from Adamawa State is a first cousin to Babachir Lawal.
“Before you begin to celebrate the appointment of Boss Mustapha as the new SGF, do you know that he is in fact, Babachir Lawal’s first cousin? This is a continuation of the cronyism and nepotism the Buhari-led administration has become infamous for,” Muhammed told the Punch.
The Cable has also described Mustapha as Babachir Lawal’s ‘Kith and Kin’ given that their similarities weirdly read like reincarnation.
Like his predecessor Lawal, Mustapha is of the Kilba ethnic stock. He is also from Hong local government, Adamawa state, like Lawal. Both men studied at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Both graduated in 1979. While Lawal studied engineering, Mustapha did law.
More so, Mustapha is a Christian, like Lawal. While Lawal is a theologian, Mustapha is the national vice president of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International, Nigeria.
However, given the circumstances in which Lawal was removed from office, it is hoped that the similarities end there.
During Obasanjo’s election campaign in 1999, he promised to scrap the Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund (PTF) set up by Sani Abacha — given that it was a parallel government.
The PTF was established in 1994 after an increase in the fuel prices. The body was allocated N5 on every litre of fuel sold to build or rebuild infrastructure across the country, especially roads, schools, water and medical facilities.
With the transition to democracy on the horizon and many believing that Buhari had too much money under his control, Obasanjo said he would abolish PTF. Consequently, Buhari abruptly resigned as executive chairman of the extra-ministerial body even before he was pushed to do so.
According to the Cable, after Obasanjo perceived that Buhari was going to challenge him in the 2003 presidential election on the platform of the opposition party — All Peoples Party (APP, later re-branded to the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP) — Obasanjo, in a political move, set up an interim management committee (which had Boss Mustapha as a member) to probe the PTF in 2000.
Other members in the committee were: Haroun Adamu (chairman), Abdu Abdurrahim, Achana Gaius Yaro, Edward Eguavoen, Andrew Adegboro and Baba Goni Machina. However, the report of the probe was never made public by Obasanjo.
Moreover, it was gathered that contrary to the impression that Mustapha is a political ally of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, the two men no longer see eye-to-eye. They were political associates at some point, but it did not last.
In fact, Mustapha openly opposed Atiku at the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential primaries which produced Buhari as the party’s candidate in Lagos in December 2014. Along with Lawal, the sacked SGF, Mustapha worked for Buhari at the primary.
In a move that is presumed to be an indirect attack on the presidential ambition of the former vice-president, who is also from Adamawa state, an APC insider told TheCable:
“The appointment, like that of Lawal before him, is a slap on the face on Atiku. You cannot describe Mustapha as Atiku’s associate.”