You can’t list 10 aides of President Muhammadu Buhari who are active in the media without mentioning the name Okoi Obono-Obla.
The lawyer from Cross River state, who until his suspension on Sunday, was the senior special assistant to the president on prosecution, featured in the news regularly.
“I am humbled by my appointment and by the fact that the president considers me and my services worthy of serving this nation along with other Cross Riverians who have also been so appointed in sharp contrast to the dedication of Cross River state to the PDP for 16 years with practically little or nothing to show for it,” he had said when he joined the Buhari government in April 2016.
He lent his voice to many issues and was caught in a web of controversies. Below are five issues which were considered controversial.
CRITICISED BUHARI ON MAINA’S SACK
There are unconfirmed reports that one of the reasons that the federal government moved against Obono-Obla is because of his position on the reinstatement of Abdulrasheed Maina, former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT).
Embarrassed by the reports of Maina’s recall, Buhari ordered his sack but Obono-Obla said Buhari should not have sacked Maina since “no court had found him guilty of any offence.”
He also said the president had no business in the discipline of civil servants.
“If he has not been found guilty of any offence, I do not see why some people are outraged by his purported reabsorption into the federal civil service,” Obono-Obla had said.
“The president has no hand in the discipline of public servants. The discipline, promotion, and recruitment of federal public servants is the responsibility of a body created by the constitution known as the Federal Civil Service Commission.”
TAGGED JONATHAN A DISHONEST MAN
Speaking during the PDP non-elective convention on August 12, Jonathan said, “Despite the devastating effects of this natural disaster, there were no food shortages or arbitrary increase in prices, because of what we were able to accomplish with our agriculture transformation agenda, which considerably boosted food production.”
Reacting to this, Obono-Obla said Jonathan was not honest. He accused the former president of running a “voodoo” government.
“Only a very honest man will say his mother’s soup pot is not good and Jonathan is not a very honest man, with due respect to him,” Obono-Obla had said.
“If he were honest, how can he say that food prices stayed low? It is not true. It is not true that the Nigerian economy was very sound.
“He said the economy was sound when there were a lot of leakages through which billions of dollars were siphoned from the economy.
“He ran a voodoo economy, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
‘SARAKI SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN FREED’
In June, Obono-Obla described the victory of Senate President Bukola Saraki victory at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) as a setback for the nation’s anti-corruption war.
Danladi Umar, CCT judge, had said Saraki did not have a case to answer on the false assets charge, dismissing the 18-count charge against the senate president.
But Obono-Obla said there was overwhelming evidence against Saraki that could not be dismissed on a no-case submission.
He described the verdict as “outrageous”.
ACCUSED NJC OF PROTECTING CORRUPT JUDGES
The presidential aide had accused Nigerian Judicial Council (NJC) of being biased and not doing enough to address the allegations of corruption involving some judges.
After it recalled some suspended judges, Obono-Obla accused the council of corruption. He said the council ought to have heard the petitions against the judges.
He alleged that one of the judges whose name was not disclosed received gratification worth N90m from 100 lawyers.
“The impression is that they are trying to protect some people because there are petitions against these judges, half are criminal allegations against them, why has the NJC not looked into these petitions,” Obla had said.
BLAMED EFCC, ICPC FOR LOSS OF CORRUPTION CASES
Obono-Obla also accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) of sabotaging the anti-corruption war.
According to him, the agencies delay in submitting the high profile corruption cases to the office of the attorney general of the federation (AGF) caused the federal government to lose its cases.