Ever since his appointment as Attorney-General and Minister of Justice for the Federation, Chief Michael Aondoakaa, SAN, has portrayed himself as grossly incompetent and a moral misfit for the position.
His background as an ally, associate and Counsel to several highly-placed politicians and public officers facing corruption charges easily compromised him and fingered him as having a vested interest in specific cases.
Nigerians and the international community cannot forget his ignoble role in the summary dismissal of the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu. However, the events of the last few days have proved that this chameleon has yet to display its worst colour.
Aondoakaa has proved to be a man of even more despicable character as he now appears to be backtracking from a public statement we all heard him make in the full glare of local and international media.
He definitely said that three former state governors, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (Lagos State), Obong Victor Attah (Akwa Ibom State) and Chief James Onanefe Ibori of (Delta State), had been investigated and exonerated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), over the V-Mobile telecommunications transaction. EFCC quickly contradicted this statement and denied that it has come to such a determination.
These former governors are under the searchlight of the London Met Police in a case involving the cornering, for private use, of shares of the telecoms company that they had used public funds to acquire for their states.
Aondoakaa’s unilaterally-issued reprieve for the governors, while the London Met Police is still conducting investigations, is an international embarrassment that has further cast aspersions on the resolve of the administration of President Umar Yar’Adua to fight corruption.
How can Nigeria’s chief law officer be intent on tarnishing the image of Nigeria, presenting her as a den and harbour of untruthful and corrupt leaders and people? No amount of sloganeering about Nigeria being, Good People, Great Nation, will sanitise us when our ambassadors and leaders behave contrarily.
Prior allegations existed that Aondoakaa had, while in private practice, represented the interests of Chief James Ibori, currently facing over 100 counts of corruption-related offences within and outside Nigeria. The Justice Minister was part of the defence team in some of these allegations; and it appears he cannot separate his private interest from national interest. This makes him unsuitable for his position as Attorney-General and Minister of Justice.
If this latest faux pas in prematurely clearing the three governors is not enough proof that Aondoakaa is grossly unsuitable to hold such an exalted office, then we must all come to accept that President Yar’Adua is part of the conspiracy to protect corrupt public officials, serving and retired.
Afenifere especially disapproves of the AG travelling at public expense to London to defend politicians accused of corruption and money laundering. It makes it appear as if one of this administration’s objectives is to protect and further institutionalise corruption. Otherwise, how can one explain the office of the AG (which is not an investigative office) electing to hinder the job of the London Metropolitan Police and EFCC?
Chief Michael Aondoakaa must be relieved of his post as head of the Justice Ministry and his post reassigned to a nobler person.