By James Ibechi
Immediate past Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode is in trouble. People watched in shock, mouth agape, as EFCC operatives descended on his Epe residence in an early morning raid today.
Not spared in the raid is, also, the Epe residence of his former Chief of Staff.
Two weeks ago, facts had emerged that the former governor was a subject of an investigation bordering fraud to the tune of billions of Naira by the EFCC.
The EFCC acting spokesperson, Tony Orilade, confirmed the Commission’s interest in Ambode, as well as the raid on his residence Tuesday morning.
Recently, a Federal High Court in Lagos ordered the freezing of three bank accounts, with a credit of N9.9 billon, allegedly, connected to Ambode.The amount was domiciled in three banks – Zenith, Access and, FCMB.
But in a statement after the freezing of the accounts, Ambode had distanced himself from them, insisting they were government accounts.
“These accounts were opened in the course of normal operations by the Lagos state government for its administrative purposes, and not for the former governor’s personal transactions as was being wrongly insinuated, and have been operated to ensure smooth operations of government activities by previous and present administrations”, said the statement signed on his behalf by his media aide, Habib Haruna, a former James Ibechi’s boss, news editor at Daily Independent.
Apparently, the EFCC is bent on confirming his submissions.
With this raid, Ambode has scored another first.
He is the first Lagos state Governor to be denied a second term in office by his party’s stakeholders, headed by his estranged political godfather, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. He is the first to be denied the presentation of the state budget by the House of Assembly. When he eventually did, the Assembly refused to pass it, thus denying him the opportunity of signing it. That task was performed by his successor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu. Now, he has become the first former governor of Lagos state whose residence was raided by the EFCC.
What more is in stock for the Epe-born technocrat-turned politician? Time will tell.