After having served their country meritoriously in various capacities, no one has heard of them again, even if they are very present; ELEOJO IDACHABA asks where they might currently be and what they are doing.
Salisu Buhari, a former Kano state legislator, was also the first speaker in the House of Representatives when Nigeria returned to full democratic rule in 1999. His emergence as a speaker was like a thunderbolt as he caught almost everyone off guard judging by the fact that he was not the preferred choice at the time. However, due to the weakness that former President Olusegun Obasanjo would have had for him, his emergence did not pose any problem unlike what happened in the Senate.
Before his election, 36-year-old Buhari was an itinerant businessman in Kano, but politics propelled him to prominence. Shortly after he was sworn in as a speaker, the defunct News Magazine discovered infringement against him in what was then called the Toronto Saga. During this discovery, it was discovered that he entered the room with false certificates regarding his age and the higher institution he allegedly attended. The magazine said that contrary to Buhari’s claim that he was born in 1963, he was actually born in 1970, thus violating Section 65(1) of the 1999 Constitution which prohibits anyone under the age of 30 years of applying to become a member of the lower house.
Other than that, his claim to have graduated from a university in Toronto was false. Because of this, he was branded in the media with the badge of “The Face of a Liar”. In the process, he was forced to resign as president and by this he lost the immunity attached to the office. Unable to continue as a legislator, he voluntarily resigned. Subsequently, he was arrested, found guilty and sentenced to two years in prison, but with the option of a fine which he paid and was pardoned by Obasanjo. Since then, he went into hiding until 2013 when former President Goodluck Jonathan appointed him as a board member of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Just before leaving the House, while delivering his letter of apology, he said: ‘I apologize to you, I apologize to the nation, I apologize to my family and friends for all the distress I have caused them. I was misled by the zeal to serve the nation. I hope the nation will forgive me and give me the opportunity to serve again.
Dr. Tom Adaba, born in Okene in present-day Kogi State, is of Ebira ethnicity which is the third largest ethnic group in the state, according to a demographic report. As a nationalist, he does not hesitate to support the Ebira cause whenever he has the opportunity. For example, under the administration of Captain Idris Wada, the former Governor of the State, Dr Adaba was one of the leading voices speaking out against what he called the marginalization of his people in insisting on the change of power.
In a public outburst shortly after Wada left office, he said, “What really worried me was that when we in the other parts of the state complained very bitterly about the marginalization, the Wada government was telling us there was nothing like that in the state which to me was an insult to all kinds of people. It was the zeal with which he served his people.
A prominent broadcaster and administrator, Dr. Adaba is the first Nigerian to earn a doctorate (PhD) in mass communications. However, he has something unique about him as he is credited with pioneering the establishment of some important organizations in the country. When the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) training school was established in Jos, he was appointed as its pioneer director. That was not all; in 1991, when he was Deputy Director of NTA Lagos, his name was listed among those who would be affected by an outright cut, thus ending his career in public service prematurely. Luck, however, smiled on him when former President Ibrahim Babangida appointed him in 1992 as the pioneering CEO of the newly created National Broadcasting Commission (NBC); a position he held for seven years before finally retiring from public service in 1999.
His wealth of experience is still needed in modern Nigeria, especially in his home country which seems to lack credible leadership. Dr. Adaba’s current whereabouts and what he is doing is unknown.
Senator Effiong Bob previously represented the people of Akwa Ibom North Constituency in the Senate between 2003 and 2011 on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) platform. Senator Bob, a lawyer, began his political career in the 1990s as a local government councilor before being elected to the Akwa Ibom State Legislative Assembly between 1992 and 1993, just before the regime Abacha’s military does not dismiss this democratic administration.
Upon the return to democratic governance in 1999, Bob was appointed Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State by then-Governor Victor Attah. It was from this position that he challenged the senatorial position in 2003 to represent his people on the PDP platform. This is actually when his fame came to light. While in the Upper House, he was one of the vocal senators for whom he had the privilege of leading several committees like Senate Services, Finance, Culture and Tourism as well as Foreign Debt. To that extent, she was part of the Senate delegation that witnessed the epic signing of Nigeria’s final exit from Paris Club debt in France.
Moreover, when former Governor Godswill Akpabio signed into law the then-controversial pension law, he was one of those who spoke out against it, even though they all belonged to the same political family. He followed it up by writing a letter to Akpabio in which he allegedly castigated him for rushing to sign a bill that would put a colossal sum of 200 million naira in his pocket per month.
In a protest letter he wrote to Akpabio, he said, “I am writing to express my surprise at the conception, drafting and passage of the Governor’s/Deputy Governor’s People Bill of 2014 whereby your consequent consent has now become law. I am also amazed that such a critical bill can be passed less than seven days after it is received in the House.
His last known public appointment was in 2011, when former President Goodluck Jonathan appointed him pro-chancellor of the University of Benin, a position he held until 2015.