- Lawyers, right activists applaud President Jonathan’s action
THE suspension of Ambassador Abdulkadir Fari by the Presidency as Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources for staging an expensive wedding for his daughter in Dubai, United Arab Emirates is attracting comments from lawyers and right activists. Some lawyers and vocal advocates of better living for the masses backed the action of President Goodluck Jonathan for placing the Jigawa born former career diplomat on indefinite suspension as well as setting up a probe panel to look into his case.
Ambassador Fari’s daughter, Faizer got married to Oluwatosin Omokore, son of oil mogul billionaire Jide Omokore in what was described as one of the most expensive weddings in recent times in Dubai and many are criticizing the form at which parents of the couple spent heavily in the face of poverty among Nigerians. This development may have forced the President to suspend Ambassador Abdulkadir Fari.
Constitutional lawyer, Barrister Fred Agbaje, in his words maintained that Ambassador Fari must face the full weight of the law if found culpable.
“What the man did in Dubai in terms of sheer extravagance is just a reflection of what is going on in the civil service. They have no respect for public funds. They launder it on themselves and their families. It has become the norm in the public service and it’s because of the introduction of plea bargaining that’s why corruption is on the increase. Corruption has become 37tg state of the federation getting monthly allocation from the Federation Account. They steal in billions and lavish it on their children’s wedding abroad, that’s why I support death sentence for corrupt people so that the likes of Fari would learn their lesson. If it was his money would he have spent it like that? There are still many Faris in the civil service, it’s only because his case came out in the public.”
An Abuja-based lawyer, Barrister Iyke Igbokwe, who also spoke to ENCOMIUM Weekly on the same issue insisted the President is in order and should do more by fishing out others in public service wasting people’s money. “Yes, of course, it’s the right thing to do, the President appointed him and he is at liberty to remove him if found wanting in the area of corruption.”
Afenifere top shot, Mr. Yinka Odumakin also shared the same view. “It is very wrong for a civil servant of his caliber to host such expensive party outside Nigeria. How much is his salary that he is spending that much on his daughter’s wedding? The President has done the right thing and it must not end there.”
Ms. Yeni Anikulapo-Kuti did not even reserve any word for both Ambassador Fari and his employer, the Presidency. “In the first instance, he (Fari) must not be allowed to go back to his position. It’s only because the media are writing about it that the President deemed it fit to act. There are many of such that goes on without being mentioned. Somebody who attended the wedding told my cousin how they were spending money like it’s going out of fashion. My cousin was narrating the story to me and I couldn’t close my mouth. They said they shared Gucci bags as gift and expensive phones. That is why Obama would not come to Nigeria because corruption is too much. Nigerians party all around the world and we claim we are poor. They better sack the man, I am really upset.”
Meanwhile, Ambassador Fari’s colleagues in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources have been voicing out in defence of their own. They observed that his sin was that he allowed his daughter to marry a billionaire’s son who would have even single-handedly sponsored the wedding without Fari touching any oil money. Many believe that he (Fari) slipped by stepping on the banana peel adding that some of his enemies who are also eyeing the permanent secretary post in that ministry actually told the President about the wedding. The general belief is that it’s very difficult to stay in that office more than two years. Fari’s predecessors also fell by the way side and once you are thrown out, there is no coming back. That is why Ambassador Fari’s likelihood of coming back is very slim. As it is another top rank officer in the ministry has taken over the seat. Ambassador Fari faces dismissal if found guilty and if not he is likely to be redeployed to another ministry.
THE WEDDING THAT GOT AMBASSADOR FARI INTO TROUBLE
According to information at ENCOMIUM Weekly’s disposal, the wedding of Oluwatosin, son of billionaire businessman and chairman of Energy Resources Group, Otunba Jide Omokore and Faizer, daughter of ex-Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Ambassador Abdulkadir Fari allegedly gulped $8 million (N1.2 billion). The beautiful city of Dubai, UAE was shut down from Friday, June 7 to Sunday, June 9, 2013, for the wedding jamboree. Those who attended confessed there has never been any wedding like that in terms of extravagance and opulence. About 42 private jets reportedly flew guests to Dubai. Stepmother of the groom, Angela Egbagua had one private jet to herself which she used in conveying her friends to the wedding venue. Most of the expensive hotels in town were fully booked with about 20 senators, governors, royal fathers, businessmen and government functionaries in attendance.
The pre-wedding party held at Club Cavalli, Dubai with expensive champagnes as the official drink. Entertainers who flew in for the wedding included DJ Jimmy Jatt, Wizkid, Naeto C, Basketmouth, Godbless, the Ebony Band, Lara George and others.
In attendance as special guests were Senators Gbenga Ashafa, Smart Adeyemi, Margery Okadigbo, Governor Godswill Akpabio, Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, billionaire Kola Aluko, Timi Alaibe, Wale Tinubu. Chairman of the occasion was retired Major General David Jemibewon.
Gifts shared included Blackberry Q10 phones, Samsung Galaxy Tabs, Bang and Olufsen sound system speakers, Arabian tea sets and luxury towels.
THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN ENCOMIUM WEEKLY ON TUESDAY, JULY 09, 2013