Farotimi exposes plots to 2023 highway
OpenLife Nigeria reports that Dele Farotimi, a Lagos attorney and Principal Partner, DF Legal, has added his voice to the growing concerns of many Lagosians who are of the belief that there may be other reasons the State government is vigorously pursuing new law that will empower Lagos State to take over Tinubu’s alleged ‘corruption case’ from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The new law passed by the Lagos state House Of Assembly and signed by the governor , Babajide Sanwo-Olu, is expected to establish an anti-corruption agency that has the “exclusive” rights to probe cases of corruption that have to do with the state.
According to the design, the agency, when set up, will take over cases relating to Lagos from agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC.
Curiously, stakeholders have raised concerns about the timing given that investigations by the EFCC into the stewardship of Bola Amhed Tinubu, Babatunde Fashola and Akinwunmi Ambode, both former governors of Lagos, have advanced progressively.
They opined that if fully operational, any investigative effort would translate to a mere administrative exercise.
Specifically, there is a petition at the EFCC against Bola Tinubu, former Lagos governor who is believed to be nursing a presidential ambition, over alleged corruption.
At various times, insiders and opposition commentators, have pointed out that Tinubu is not leaving any stone unturned to clear all obstacles including alleged unclear financial dealings ahead 2023.
Reacting, Farotimi argued that it is okay within the laws of the land for state government to “domesticate law.”
He stated, like Mike Ozekhome, SAN, that “Lagos State has the right to enact law they believe is consistent with its policies to move the State forward.
The human rights activist who spoke in a live TV, Arise News, however raised concerns about the timing saying that “Lagos finance is the most opaque in Nigeria,” which ought to have been better handled by a federal agency to avoid a situation of Lagos being the judge in its own case.
He explained further that the ex governors of the State who are alleged to have over dipped their hands in the state’s treasury have the political capacity to whittle down the outcome of any financial investigation embark upon by a state controlled agency.
This development, which borders on the integrity of 2023 presidential enthusiasts, may lead to a wrong choice by voters.
In addition, those who are worried about the Lagos government intention pointed out that it is about protecting Tinubu.
They reckon that once the state takes over the EFCC’s role, Tinubu’s clean bill of financial health, which is a major hurdle for presidential aspirants, would be a work over during 2023 general elections.
Dele Farotimi’s comments, therefore, expose Tinubu’s scheming ahead 2023.
Feeling uncomfortable, Lagos government, through its information commissioner, Gbenga Omotosho, on Tuesday came in defence of Lagos government and governor Sanwo-Olu’s action saying the Tinubu’s fears being expressed by the likes of Dele Farotimi are unfounded.
Omotosho expressed joy that those who have interpreted the move as a step to shield Tinubu from prosecution ahead 2023, agreed first of all, that Lagos Assembly has the legitimate right to enact the Lagos and governor Sanwo-Olu has not erred in signing the bill into law.
He however assured that more states in Nigeria would emulate Lagos and set up its agencies sooner than expected.
He added that the presumption is incorrect saying it is meant “to promote accountability in government and Lagos is setting the pace,” Omotosho stated.