Friday, June 14, 2024

EDITORIAL: Why Tunji Ojo Should Temporarily Step Aside

Following the announcement of the suspension of Dr. Betta Edu, the Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, by the Presidency, a document surfaced on social media alleging that a company associated with Mr. Tunji Ojo, the Minister of Interior, had received payments from the Humanitarian Ministry. The documents disclosed that the company, New Planet Project, received approximately N438,000,000 for consultancy services provided to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.

Mr. Tunji Ojo, appearing on Channels TV’s Politics Today last night, acknowledged certain facts. He confirmed that the company, New Planet Project, indeed benefited from the mentioned contract award. He disclosed that he co-founded the company with his wife and resigned as its director in 2019 when he ran for office. While he no longer has a direct role in the day-to-day operations, he remains a shareholder, and so does his wife.

Yinka Ogunnubi, a member of the governing council of the Association of Corporate Treasurers of Nigeria (ACTN) and a board member of the Christian Financial and Accountability Association of Nigeria (CFAA), argued that even though the minister is not directly involved in the company’s operations, the fact that his wife is still a director and shareholder raises concerns about a potential conflict of interest.

Moreover, the Code of Conduct for Public Officers explicitly states that “a public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts with his duties and responsibilities.” The minister’s admission on national television establishes ample evidence of a potential conflict of interest.

Given the ongoing investigation and suspension of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, it is imperative to extend the inquiry to the Minister of Interior, considering his association with the company that benefited from a ministry currently under scrutiny. In the pursuit of transparency and accountability, we urge the Minister of Interior to step aside until further investigations can either substantiate or exonerate him.

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