For the former Interior minister, Patrick Abba Moro, nemesis is quick in coming, writes KUNLE SOMORIN
Sued to court for fraud over a botched recruitment drive, which resulted in stampedes that left 20 people dead in 2014 Comrade Patrick Abba Moro incarceration penultimate Monday surprised not a few.
After wriggling out of the controversy of the Nigerian Immigration recruitment in March 15, 2014, he would have thought the worst was offer, especially with palliative promises to assuage the bereaved families provided by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Not so for the reinvigorated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Like a swarm of bees, the operatives of the anti-graft agency swooped on him while the ex-minister was still basking in the euphoria of the senatorial election of Benue South won by his leader, teacher and mentor, former Senate President David Mark.
Hardly had the celebration cooled before the frontline educational administrator, politician and former honourable Minister of the Federal Ministry of Interior, was clamped first into the anti-graft agency facility in Abuja.
For a week the EFCC officials sought to establish a prima facie case against Moro and three others – a deputy director in the ministry of interior, Anastasia Daniel-Nwobia; F. O Alayebami and one Mahmood Ahmadu (who is at now large) that they connived with an unregistered company, Drexel Tech Nigeria Limited, over scam unemployed Nigerian youths and fleece them of N650m for recruitment into the Nigerian Immigration Service.
Before long, the currently the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman Governing Council of the University of Agriculture, Makurdi, was denied bail over an 11-count charge, include obtaining money by false pretences, procurement fraud and money laundering. Denied bail by the court on two occasions, Moro found himself joining other prominent Nigerians in Kuje prison.
Reprieve came on Thursday when the court granted him bail. The battle is now for Moro to convince the court that he has legal rights to conduct such a contract especially without an advert contrary to 40, 42 and 43 of the Public Procurement Act, No. 65 of 2007 in order to escape the punishments under section 58 of the same act.
It is not the first time Comrade Moro will be facing charges. He was once accused of gun-running during the 2011 electioneering process.
Though a self-professed comrade, not much his known about Moro and life of self-denial beside his father’s early death and unionism, prison has not been his abode for this long. A comrade in his own right from secondary school, he was a unionist at a very low scale. He became deeply involved in student unionism in the university. He was the pioneer Secretary-General of the National Association Political Science Students while at the same time he served as the Publicity Secretary of the University of Lagos Political Science Students Association.
This continued until he joined the academia and became chairman of the Senior Staff Association of the Polytechnic, local chapter and later the national vice president of the Polytechnic Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and later became the body’s national president.
He is well known and respected as a grassroots politician who commands the love and support of a large followership in his native Benue State. This political base came in handy when the responsibility of coordinating the 2007 PDP Presidential Campaign (Benue State) was thrust upon him as well as when he was appointed the Director-General of Senator David Mark’s re-election campaign in 2011. Easily approachable, he is at home with his local folk as he is comfortable with the high and mighty.
Moro’s political profile is rooted in his primordial Idoma homestead. This son of a farmer began his political career as Chairman elect of Okpokwu Local Government Council in 1998. He was the People’s Democratic Party candidate for the April 2007 Benue state governorship election but lost to the opposition party and on July 2011.
Born to the family of Chief and Mrs. Moro Agbamu in Okwungaga, Ugbokolo in Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State, Moro had a humble beginning. He said he “wasn’t born with silver spoon in my mouth…And I had to go through some hard times in life as a child.”
His elementary education was fraught with a lot of difficulties. He had to trek over eight kilometres on a daily basis to and from, his hamlet (Okwunga) to Ugbokolo, where he was enlisted in a special primary school. His secondary education was at Emmanuel Secondary School, Ugbokolo.
Then, it was compulsory that the first 10 students in the final examination from the secondary school write the examination, instead of common entrance examination to the unity schools, the federal government colleges. He incidentally fell into the group of 10 qualified students to write the examination. Interestingly and ended up at Federal Government College Kano for Higher School Certificate.
He didn’t quite have the luck of getting admission into the university straight and had to do a little bit of teaching at the Methodist High School, Igumale before the University of Lagos admitted him to study political science in 1977. In 1983, he earned a Masters degree in Public Administration from the same institution. After the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme at Baptist Grammar School, Kwara State, he was enlisted in the services of the Second Republic National Assembly in Lagos as a legislative assistant, which he combined with his postgraduate programme.
He relishes reading books on Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi. He is happily married with children.
MUST READ: Abba Moro’s March To Prison
Reviewed by Link Naija