Atiku Accuses Tinubu of Conflict of interest In Lagos-Calabar Highway Contract, Raises Concerns Over Son’s Role in Chagoury Group

Former Nigeria VP Atiku has criticised the “rushed” Lagos-Calabar highway contract, alleging favoritism towards Chagoury due to his son’s involvement.


Former Nigeria Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, on Sunday, accused President Bola Tinubu of conflict of interest, because his son, Seyi, was on the board of CDK Integrated Industries, a subsidiary of the Chagoury Group, owned by one of the president’s business allies, Gilbert Chagoury.

Atiku said the development constituted a conflict of interest, given the Chagoury Group’s involvement in the gigantic Lagos-Calabar coastal highway project being carried out by the Tinubu government.

The former vice president had criticised the contract as hurriedly awarded and executed against the country’s procurement laws.

In a statement by his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, Atiku, who berated the federal government, however, advised Tinubu to focus more on attracting real investors than adopting propaganda as a state policy.

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 elections, disclosed that CDK Integrated Industries was into the manufacturing of ceramic tiles and sanitary towels.

Citing a report by a Paris-based Africa Intelligence News Agency, where it was revealed by the Corporate Affairs Commission that Seyi was officially a business associate of Chagoury, Atiku said it was not surprising that the Chagoury Group had become the biggest beneficiary of the Tinubu largesse.

He said, “Thanks to quality reporting by Africa Intelligence, our suspicions have been confirmed that Chagoury and Tinubu are indeed business partners and it has been formalised with Seyi on the board of one of Chagoury’s firms.”

Atiku restated that it had become obvious even to the undiscerning that the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway was being done in a hurry because of the business relationship between Tinubu and Gilbert Chagoury, the owner of Hitech, the contractor that was awarded the contract for the highway project in alleged contravention of the procurement laws.

“It is on record that this project is the most expensive single project ever embarked upon by the Nigerian government. The fact that it is happening at a time Nigeria is facing its worst economic crisis ever is a red flag.

“To add insult to injury, this project that is being done in excess of $13bn was awarded without a competitive bidding. From all indications, the so-called Badagry-Sokoto highway would be awarded in a similar fashion at an enormous cost to taxpayers purely because Tinubu has put his personal interest ahead of the Nigerian people.”

Atiku said the demolition of tourist and recreational facilities and other properties within the Oniru corridor, without ample notice, was one of the reasons foreign direct investments have continued to elude the country.

He argued that rather than improving the ease of doing business, the Tinubu administration had shown to the world that his personal business interest and that of his family would always be prioritised over and above national interest.

“Tinubu has been globetrotting in search of foreign direct investments. He claims to have secured over $30 billion from various companies, but none has been forthcoming.

“Rather, all manufacturing firms have been posting heavy losses while some are exiting due to his poorly implemented exchange rate unification policy with even Aliko Dangote describing it as a huge mess at the recent annual general meeting of Dangote Sugar Refinery.

“The IMF in its latest report stated that Nigeria will by the end of the year become the 4th largest economy in Africa behind South Africa, Egypt and Algeria, a disgraceful development for a nation which was the largest in Africa by a mile when the PDP left the stage in 2015.

“Investors are seeing how local businesses are being treated and will not come to a place where their investments will not be protected. In saner climes, businesses such as Landmark would have been given at least two years’ notice in order for effective planning. But Tinubu’s eagerness to satisfy his business partners impaired his ability to coordinate the project properly.

“The awarding of the Lagos-Calabar coastal highway was rushed; the environmental impact assessment report was not even completed; the right of way for the 700 km stretch of the highway project was not secured; it was converted from a PPP to a government funded project within the twinkle of an eye.

“The N500m that was approved by the National Assembly for the project was ignored, while over N1tn was released by Tinubu’s administration without approval from the National Assembly.

“From falsely claiming to have removed subsidies to secretly paying billions monthly based on the revelation of Nasir el-Rufai, the Tinubu administration has shown a lack of coordination and transparency, failing to even explain to Nigerians why there is petrol scarcity across the country,” the former PDP presidential candidate stated.

He, however, advised Tinubu and his economic team to do less of propaganda and focus on improving the ease of doing business as this remained the surest path to sustainability.

Arise News

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