Coalition of Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria has expressed concern over what the call pull-him-down syndrome syndrome being orchestrated by vested interests against the Minister of Interior, Hon Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, urging President Bola Tinubu to ignore the ‘baseless’ campaign of calumny.
Describing the Minister further as the “star boy” of Tinubu’s cabinet, the coalition comprising representatives of 72 civil society organizations insists that Tunji-Ojo is being hounded because of the several reforms he has carried out that has displaced passport racketeers from their illicit trade.
At a press conference in Abuja on Friday where it reacted to the allegation that a company where the Minister had interest benefitted from alleged N438 million designated as consultancy fee from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, the Director General of the Coalition, Comrade Ajagun Opeyemi said it carried out an investigation which indicates that the Minister resigned from the said company about five years ago even before contesting for election in 2019 as a member of the House of Representatives.
“From our findings, a company which the Minister allegedly had a stake in was accused of receiving the sum of N438 million designated as consultancy fee from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation. However, what the peddlers of this rumour have deliberately failed to tell the public is that the minister had since five years ago resigned his directorship of the said company.
“From the investigation made at the corporate affairs Commission, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo ceased to be a Director of the said company as required by law before contesting for House of Representatives in 2019”, it says.
According to the groups, the Minister like the proverbial dog is being called a bad name just to hang it. They insist that no trace of corrupt or financial mishandling has been linked directly or indirectly to the Minister, wondering if there are other things that do not meet the eye, for which he is being antagonised
“Tunji-Ojo at the risk of sounding inmodest is the star boy of this administration by the virtue of the record he has has set so far among every member of the cabinet. He has demonstrated an iron-cast capacity that he came prepared for the job and ready to leave a lasting footprint. We are not surprised at the pull-him-down syndrome playing out at the moment. His resignation from the company in question before contesting for House of Representatives is in total compliance to the Federal Civil Service rule of the Federation”, Comrade Opeyemi said.
He continued by listing some of the achievements of the Minister since assumption of office. “The call for the suspension of the Interior Minister smacks of unpatriotism and insensitivity for Nigerians who have had nightmares attempting to access basic services in their fatherland, including the international passport.
“We are all witnesses to the far-reaching innovations the Minister has brought to bear in the ministry since assumption of office. For the first time in recent history of our country, we saw a minister who mobilized his friends and associates to raise funds, amounting to hundreds of millions of Naira to offset the fines of prison inmates, give them freedom and decongest the prisons.
“Under his leadership, the Ministry has cleared a heavy backlog of passports and implemented a new platform that would allow Nigerians renew their passports from the convenience of their homes. In coming weeks, Nigerians will start receiving their passports at their doorsteps. Who would have believed that this would be possible in this country?”
While commending President Bola Tinubu for not bowing to the emotions being vaunted out on the media spaces with the intention to stampeding him into suspending the “very performing Minister of Interior”, the coalition said he has demonstrated a discerning sense of judgment, character of an excellent leader by holding talks with Minister to clearly understand the issues.
“It is therefore our appeal that the President does not succumb to this orchestrated plot to blackmail his government and project it as a corrupt one. He has demonstrated readiness to allow the Rule of Law take its due course and we have no doubt Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo will be exonerated as he continues in his excellent service delivery for our people”, the coalition stated.