Bola Ahmed Tinubu, yet again, has jetted out of the country to Europe to meet with business moguls and foreign investors even when he has not formally taken the oath of office on May 29.
Tunde Rahman, his media aide, disclosed that Mr. Tinubu will use the opportunity of the trip to finetune the transition plans and programs and his policy options with his essential aids without unnecessary pressure and distractions.” Mr. Bola Ahmed Tinubu, according to reports, is also expected to hold strategic meetings with potential investors in Nigeria and set a new agenda for the nation’s economic development.
Parallel Facts can authentically report that Tinubu’s frequent visits to France in recent times are to hold talks with Gilbert Chagoury, a convicted money launderer in Switzerland, and his cronies on the roles they will play in the incoming Bola Ahmed Tinubu Administration. The billionaire owner of Chagoury Group, a conglomerate with an interest in Power, Construction, and Real Estate business, has been a long-time ally of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, years even before he became the Governor of Lagos State in 1999.
Tinubu is willing, Like most contemporary African Leaders, to trade Nigeria again to the Chagourys just as the family now controls the Lagos economy and, by extension, the political scene of Lagos.
Interestingly, Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s medical records are in the United Kingdom, just like President Muhamadu Buhari, a frequent medical tourist to the United Kingdom. Tinubu’s switch to France in recent times for medical care is not unconnected to Gilbert Chagoury, now a permanent resident of France.
Gilbert Chagoury, aside from being the political Godfather of Tinubu, also has a lot of influence on Nigerian business tycoons. For example, when the French President, Emmanuel Macron, needed to set up the French-Nigerian Business Council, he turned to Gilbert Chagoury because of his Nigerian connections to help set up the council. Members of this council include Aliko Dangote, Albert Wigwe, Femi Otedola, Tony Elumelu, and Abdul Samad of BUA Group, who co-chair the council.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu is in Europe to meet with the Chagoury Family to discuss the family’s interest in his renewed Nigeria. The same Chagoury family that helped plunder our national wealth under previous military regimes. Bola Ahmed Tinubu is seeking the services of the Chagoury brothers, Gilbert and Ronald, to steal the commonwealth of Nigeria when his administration comes on board on May 29, 2023
The Dirty Politics of Gilbert Chagoury in Nigeria
Gilbert Chagoury was a close associate of Nigerian Dictator General Sani Abacha, through which the Abacha Regime laundered billions of dollars. After the sudden death of General Sani Abacha, Chagoury returned an estimated $300 million of Abacha’s loot to the Nigerian government in return for an indemnity from possible criminal charges.
Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, former Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC) Chairman, described Gilbert Chagoury as corruption personified. He said, “You couldn’t investigate corruption without looking at Chagoury”.
An Editor of Africa Energy Intelligence, an energy-based newsletter, Mr. Vasset opined, “he [Chagoury] was the gatekeeper to Abacha’s Presidency”. Mr. Chagoury is a highly influential international corrupt business executive whose wealth was mainly from shady government contracts in Nigeria.
In Nigeria, Vasset explains further, Chagoury was just such a figure in the mid-1990s when Abacha ruled the country and held the key to Nigeria’s oil well.
In America, Chagoury is also a friend of the Clinton family and is top of the donor list of the Clinton Foundation. He donated millions of dollars stolen from Nigeria through Abacha to the Clinton Foundation to put Abacha in the good books of the Clinton administration. He has continued to do so even in recent times.
In 2008, he donated about $1 million to $5 million, according to foundation documents. Interestingly, he also made the list as a top donor in 2009. Mr. Chagoury pledged $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative and donated $500,000 to an independent voter registration drive for Bill Clinton’s re-election campaign in 1996.
According to the wall street journal, Mr. Chagoury’s $500,000 donation followed a conversation with top Clinton aides on influencing Abacha’s regime. This donation comes months after Nigerian political activist, and rightful president, the Abacha regime, assassinated Mashood Abiola in front of American diplomats, escalating tensions between Washington and Abuja. Observers have noted that severe discussions of sanctioning the Nigerian government for human rights abuses, and the assassination of Mr. Abiola, dissipated following meetings with Mr. Chagoury and top aides of Bill Clinton.
In the 1990s, Chagoury was the chief lobbyist of Abacha’s regime.
Bola Tinubu was heavily involved in the drug business in Chicago. According to David Hundeyin, a Nigerian Investigative journalist, “Tinubu was able to own a shell filling station in Washinton DC, less than four years after he claimed his entire income was $2,400/month as an accountant raises questions about where all these monies came from”.
During this period, there were reports that Bola Ahmed Tinubu secretly worked for the Abacha’s regime as a spy, informing the dictator of the moves of his co-democracy fighters code-named NADECO. His close relationship with the Abacha regime cemented his affinity with Mr. Chagoury.
Mr Gilbert Chagoury is as controvial as his puppet Mr Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
No wonder Bola Ahmed Tinubu is now a serial visitor to Europe, particularly France, where Gilbert is now permanently residing. In 2000, Mr. Chagoury was convicted of laundering money in Geneva, the Swiss capital, which serves as a haven for stolen wealth across third-world countries. In addition, he was accused of aiding a criminal organization in connection with millions of dollars stolen during the Abacha era.
Luc Argand his counsel, also conceded that the money was “stolen by Abacha and had to be returned”. He later entered a plea bargain deal and handed over $66 million to the Nigerian government.
As a media organization, we are concerned. Why does Bola Ahmed Tinubu have a penchant for trusting, working with, and striking deals with well-known documented individuals with questionable character? Not to forget the role of Atiku Bagudu, the current governor of Kebbi State. Whose active role in aiding Abacha to fleece our national wealth is also well-known and documented.
Just weeks after the flawed February 25th presidential elections, Bola Ahmed Tinubu rewarded Governor Atiku Bagudu by nominating him as a member of the Transitional Council headed by the Secretary of the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha. Is Bola Ahmed Tinubu giving us a snippet of his administration if sworn in on May 29?
How The Chagourys are Milking Lagos State Through Awards of Inflated Contracts
To consolidate this relationship, Tinubu greatly lobbied for the Chagoury Group to execute contracts running into Billions of dollars in all APC-controlled states of Lagos, Ekiti, Ondo, Edo, and Osun states during the Administration of Adams Oshiomole and Gboyega Oyetola respectively.
The most visible of these contracts is the Development of Eko Atlantic City in Lagos, which was awarded to the Chagoury Group as the leading Developers in a private-public partnership PPP agreement between the federal and Lagos state government and the Chagoury Group in the twilight of Bola Ahmed Tinubu’ ’s administration in Lagos State.
The Chagoury Group was also awarded several contracts by the Lagos State government, such as contracts for the construction of an 8.5 km long sea wall; residential neighborhoods with a mix of high-rise apartments, townhouses, and detached houses; a marina with a capacity for 1,000 boats; a waterfront promenade with restaurants, cafes, and retail outlets; a 10-lane boulevard that connects the city to the mainland. These projects have been ongoing since 2008 at the Eko Atlantic City.
Apart from the Eko Atlantic City project, Chagoury Group has also been involved in other major real estate projects in Lagos State. Orange Island, a 150-acre mixed-use development project located in Lekki; Atlantic Resort, a luxury residential development project located in Victoria Island, which includes a 25-floor residential tower and a 5-star hotel; Twin Towers, a mixed-use development project located on Ozumba Mbadiwe Avenue, Victoria Island; Eko Energy Estate, a 500-acre mixed-use development project located in Epe, and a solar farm to provide renewable energy for the estate among others.
As events unfold in the coming days, Nigerians anxiously await to see if, like Lagos, the Chagourys will have the entire National cake meant for over 200 million Nigerians. Most of this population lives in poverty and lacks basic social amenities.