Philip Shuaibu and the falsification of history
By Odion Kodalo
Philip Shuaibu’s vomit, for want of better label, which turned out to be an interview in the VANGUARD of January 23 2016, does not deserve a second look, and any wise-thinking Nigerian who has followed the political development of Edo state before the arrival of a Lilliputians of the likes of Philip Shuaibu, will readily agree. The reason is that the content is a sad commentary, a misrepresentation of facts and a deliberate attempt by a drowning opportunist to survive on straws.
Reading Shuaibu’s response to a question that a Kindergarten pupil could have dealt with, devoid of emptiness, was mind-boggling What was necessary was his provision of simple comparative analysis of how much Oshiomhole has collected from the Federation account as statutory allocations or claim to have generated as IGR since 2008 and how much Lucky Igbinedion’s administration received from 1999 to 2007 in relation to their levels of performance. Philip Shuaibu as hollow as he is, I suppose did not comprehend the question and did not request an expatiation or perhaps he was suffering from amnesia during the interview. Anyway that is understandable considering the trauma he has always faced as an individual devoid of character, owing to his avowed attempt and commitment to stand truth on its head. Therefore he brimmed with such ignorance and stupidity that left readers like me utterly bewildered.
To get a better grasp of the stuff Philip Shuaibu is made of, one needs to know that he is not a stranger to controversy. That has been his middle name since he joined politics. That he is a drowning man is not news either what is, is the fact since November 2014 Philip Shuaibu has been on trial at a court in Benin City proffered evidence that he never graduated from the University of Jos as he claimed. Also, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Zaknote Ventures Nig. Ltd, Mr. Zakari Ayonote told the same court that Shuaibu never worked in his company as he claimed. Shuaibu is standing trial for criminal falsification of University of Jos certificate and the criminal falsification of his tax clearance certificate and his claim that he worked for Zaknote Ventures Nigeria Ltd.
Testifying before the court, a witness spoke of the additional discovery that Philip Shuaibu falsified his tax clearance documents and never worked with Zaknote Ventures Nig. Ltd, which prompted his petition to the relevant anti-graft agencies. Another prosecution witness and owner of the firm, told the court that. Philip Shuabu, the accused person was never a staff of his company of which he is the Managing Director/CEO.
As the case progressed, the Court recently issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Philip Shuaibu, over his absence from court. Counsel to the prosecutors, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), also told the court that persons suspected to be agents of the accused were threatening some witnesses. He asked the court to summon witnesses who do not want to appear before the court voluntarily.
Shuaibu is facing 6-count charge instituted against him by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) over alleged forgery of his tax documents in 2006, while contesting for Etsako constituency 2 seats in the State House of Assembly. He is accused by ICPC to have in November 2006 lied to officers of the Edo state Board of Internal Revenue that he was an employee of a the firm, Zaknote Nigeria Ventures limited from 2003 to 2006 and fraudulently obtained a tax clearance certificate from the revenue board.
He was also accused of false statement he knowingly made to the Internal Revenue officers in Abuja in 2006, that he was an employee of Zaknote Nigeria Ventures. The charges read thus, “Making false statement knowingly to the officers of the Commission contrary to Section 25(1) (a) and punishable under Section (1) (1) of ICPC Act. Making false statement knowingly to the officers of the Edo State Board of Internal Revenue, which is also punishable under the ICPC Act. The case has been ongoing since 2013. At the resumed hearing of the suit, counsel to ICPC in his application urged the court to issue the warrant of arrest for the accused for his failure to appear in court. In granting the application, the court ordered that the accused be produced in court by the authorities of Nigeria Police on the next sitting day, which it did. The court then granted Philip Shaibu bail in the sum of N3million and also asked for one surety, who must be residing in Benin City and a worker in like sum.
This is the fate of a loquacious man like Philip Shuaibu who should be licking his own wounds and taking the log out of his own eyes so he could see the speck in another person’s. Much as I have sympathy for Philip Shuaibu, I am gravely worried about the future of a young man that consciously peddles falsehood and mis-educate his generation. This piece is neither a sadistic analysis of Philip Shuaibu’s myopia nor is it one that seeks to make a caricature of him. He is one already. Whilst I empathise with him, I enjoin him to be humble to admit his stupidity and ignorance.
In his response to the question about the funds available to his master Mr Adams Eric (?) Aliyu Oshiomhole and chief Lucky Igbinedion before him, Philip Shuaibu makes outrageous claims. My initial temptation on reading his response was to ignore his claims and move on to addressing important issues of our state as Edo people. But, it would be defeatist of knowledge to allow his kind to haul falsehoods and untruth as totems of worship, or to allow pathological liars, or those the renowned French historian, Joseph de Maistre once described as ‘’la secte’’- ‘’all those who throw dust in the eyes of the people’’- or seek to pull wool across the eyes of consumers of knowledge-to pass themselves off as the purveyors of truth.
Therefore, I find it morally binding and important to scrutinise Philip Shuaibu’s claims and to expose them for what they are: falsehoods. Next I will present the facts.
Falsehood 1: “Lucky Igbinedion was governor during the era of the oil boom. When the Comrade governor took over in 2008, what was a barrel of oil to (sic) compare to (sic) when Igbinedion was governor? What was the dollar to the naira as at that time? You cannot compare Igbinedion’s government with that of the Comrade governor”.
Fact: Right, let’s assume Philip was not born when Gowon was head of state and later when the Udoji award came. This was the era of the oil boom in Nigeria and not when Igbinedion held office. This was when Gowon said Nigeria had so much money from oil and did not know what to do with it. The statutory allocation for Edo during igbinedion’s tenure is an open book. The Federal Ministry of Finance Abuja has it for all who care to take a look. Igbinedion did not borrow money locally or international like Oshiomhole has done from local banks from the World Bank and other lenders, thereby mortgaging Edo’s future. Every concerned Edo person have wondered why a governor who got so much did so little. I dare Oshiomhole to publish his statement of account in seven years. The stench will be deafening.
Falsehood 2: “The worst part of this government is better than the best part of that regime. When he was in charge of the state with Igbinedion, they killed Edo Line, Bendel Brewery, sold all the industries they claimed they built. They deceived Edo people that they were building industries such as the Ehor fruit juice company, the Cassavita plant at Uromi, Fertilizer Company at Okpilla but none of these companies survived even under their watch. All they did was to sell them and you think Edo people will forget?”
Fact: Rubbish. It’s ironic that Philip Shuaibu acknowledges that Edo Line was functional throughout the period Igbinedion was in power. The Edo line was not closed, while its workers with all their dependants were sent home without salaries for two years, like Oshiomhole did. What is the fate of Edo line today? Philip Shuaibu knows that Igbinedion set up industries as he mentioned. Did Oshiomhole establish any? What did Oshiomhole do to these industries which he inherited? What of the foreign investors who Oshiomhole -who holds the record of being the most absentee State governor in Nigeria – claims he often goes abroad to invite?
A purposeful leader on assuming office reads his take over note. Did Oshiomhole read Igbinedion’s handover note? Philip Shuaibu knows that if he did, the blueprint for the future of the Ehor fruit juice company, the Cassavita plant at Uromi, Fertilizer Company at Okpilla and others was contained therein. Rather he chose to allow the industries die. The factories were sold, but as a governor was Oshiomhole interested in revisiting them? Obviously no! As a tailor many felt Oshiomhole would have attracted many garment factories to Edo in eight years or even promote tailoring as a skill so posterity would remember him! But what do we have, the man has since taxed tailors out of business since he took office in Edo.
Falsehood 3: ‘’Edo is viable today. Salaries are being paid, projects are being executed despite the economic crisis and that is why we need a governor that will sustain the progress. And we are happy that the governor is following that slogan of let the people lead and he is consulting with everybody’’… Fact 3: Philip Shuaibu knows that Oshiomhole in over seven years has mortgaged the future of Edo state with his penchant for borrowing; Edo state liabilities today are more than her assets. This is why Oshiomhole as Philip Shuaibu said perhaps, unconsciously, that the governor is abandoning his own slogan of let the people lead: the truth is that the governor is today’s godfather in Edo. He has since forgotten about the slogan of let the people lead. For Oshiomhole to be imposing a successor, when he knows how he was drafted to the office of governor is pathetic. Oshiomhole’s tracks in over seven years are littered with deep gullies which he needs a stooge to help manage because covering such man-made disasters will be difficult. He needs a zombie, a neo-phyte, one who cannot look him in the face and tell him the truth about his atrocities in office like Ize-Iyamu did even while he was in the APC. Oshiomhole’s morbid fear of Ize-Iyamu is borne out of the fact he cannot cover the governor’s tracks.