Before the erstwhile governor of Kogi state, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris left office, some notable members of his cabinet, while piloting the affairs of the state were regular visitors to the headquarters of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abuja. This was as a result of the various petitions filed at the anti graft agency against the administration of Alhaji Idris, which lasted for close to nine years.
The development made some of the people of the state; particularly the opposition to conclude that the climax of it all will be the arrest of Alhaji Idris, the moment he loses the immunity that prevented the EFCC from arresting him.
But that never happened, three months after the former governor left office. The development has stirred controversy in the state, with the opposition and some few elements in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) believing that the anti -graft agency was slacking in taking action against the former governor.
In fact, few weeks after the former governor was removed from office by the Supreme Court, an erstwhile member of the national assembly, Otunba Dino Melaye had placed an advertorial in a national daily, displaying the properties he alleged were acquired by the former governor with the tax payer’s money.
He followed this up with a petition against the former governor at the office of the EFCC. Before then, there were several other petitions which made the anti-graft agency to pick some loyalists of Alhaji Idris.
Worried by the seeming inability of the EFCC to act on the petition before it, Hon. Melaye led a coalition of opposition parties in a protest march staged in Abuja to press home their demand, for the matter to be fully investigated.
He expressed shock that one month after they forwarded the list of properties allegedly acquired by the former governor while in office, both the EFCC and Independent Corrupt Practices (and other related offences) Commission (ICPC) were yet to invite him, or even take his statement.
Melaye therefore called on the anti-graft agencies to expedite action on the matter in the interest of justice. According to him, the coalition would not relent until the right thing was done, more so that their petition was not a frivolous one.
He stressed that the same speed with which the EFCC acted on the investigation and prosecution of former governors Alao Akala (Oyo), Danjuma Goje (Gombe), Timipreye Sylva (Bayelsa) and Gbenga Daniel (Ogun), should be applied on Idris. He equally called for the immediate opening of the case since the former governor is not above the law.
But a non-governmental organization known as Mass Education Against Corruption at a media briefing in Abuja, posited that the former lawmaker got it wrong on Idris. Editorial adviser of the body, Austin Akubo said the allegation against the former governor was false.
He said they had taken the pain to investigate all the issues raised by the Melaye-led coalition but discovered that there was no iota of truth in the said petition. According to him, their decision to dig into the matter was borne out of their desire to stamp out corruption in the society.
Akubo added that they had cross-checked the petition with EFCC and discovered it to be untrue. He stressed that the EFCC had conducted its investigation on the said petition, and found out that some of the properties talked about were long acquired before Idris assumed office as governor of Kogi State.
Similarly, Akubo maintained that the foreign accounts that the former governor allegedly owned were operated by him before he became governor.
However, the state chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria (A CN) and leader of another faction of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), Alhaji Haddy Ametuo described the position of Akubo-led group as balderdash.
Ametuo who is leading 18 different political parties in the state said it was incumbent on the EFCC to invite Idris for questioning and prosecution. At a crowded media briefing in Lokoja, the ACN chieftain pointed out that if those who milked the state dry are allowed to walk freely on the streets, then the state would be in trouble.
He wondered what the anti-graft agencies were still waiting for, after receiving the petition on the alleged misuse of the state resources by the former governor. He posited that long before Hon. Melaye submitted his petition, the EFCC had received several others, from some indigenes of the state.
He decried the snail-speed with which the anti-graft body was working on the matter, saying despite the numerous petitions against Idris, he was yet to be invited for questioning.
Ametuo thanked Hon. Melaye for picking up the gauntlet and being a voice for the voiceless. He therefore assured the former lawmaker that they were solidly behind him, in the collective struggle to free the state from bondage.
He subsequently gave the EFCC two weeks deadline to act on the petition before it or they would occupy its office in Abuja, for failing to carry out its duties accordingly.
As the controversy rages over whether the former governor should be picked for questioning over his alleged mismanagement of the state resources, attention of the people of the state has now shifted to the anti graft agencies, on what happens to the petitions before them.
Obviously, the days ahead will tell who wins in this all-important fight between the former governor and those who strongly believe that he has a case to answer, on how he ruled the state for close to nine years.
There is therefore no denying the fact that the weeks ahead will be very interesting on the battle of supremacy between Idris and his opponents.