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Chris Garuba, Farida Waziri: Where are they now?

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chris Garuba

After they served the country meritoriously in various capacities, not much has been heard about them again. ELEOJO IDACHABA writes on where they could be at the moment.

Chris Garuba

Chris Abutu Garuba is now a retired Army General; he was once the military governor of Bauchi state (when he was of the rank of Colonel) from August 1985 to December 1988. This was during the military regime of former President Ibrahim Babangida. This Idoma-born ex-military General spent his entire life-time serving the country as a military officer.

At a point in his career, he was Commander of 34 Self Propelled Artillery Brigade Jos in 1985, when the coup that removed Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari was staged. In that capacity, he lent his support to the bid that brought Babangida to power. This he did by leading the team that arrested Brigadier Salihu Ibrahim, then GOC 3rd Armoured Division in Jos. During the attempted coup of April 22, 1990, by Major Gideon Orkar, the then Brigadier Garuba was Corps Commander, Artillery. While the centre of the military command in the Dodan Barracks was being re-taken, he deployed additional units within and around Lagos on standby in case of any eventuality.

While in Bauchi, he initiated and completed a number of projects; the Rural Transformation Programme to develop roads, water, electricity, agriculture and education. He also upgraded the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium and built the multi-purpose Indoor Sports Hall and various other sports venues within the stadium. Garuba established, among others, the Bauchi State Polytechnic (now known as Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic), Inland Bank, Bauchi State Television Authority and Bauchi Printing and Publishing Company. After his deployment from political appointment, he returned to core military duties and held a series of local and foreign appointments before he rose to the rank of Major General until he retired.

At various times, he was Chief Military Observer to the United Nations Angola Verification Mission from July 1994 to February 1995 where he monitored the ceasefire agreement between the rebel UNITA forces and government troops. He was later appointed Commandant, National War College, Abuja and was a member of the Provisional Ruling Council in the Sani Abacha regime. During the regime of General Abdulsalami Abubakar, he was Chief of Staff for a brief moment and was also touted to succeed Maj.-Gen. Mohammed Abdullahi as Chief of Staff to the late Yar’Adua, but that arrangement never saw the light of day. In 2006, it was rumoured that Garuba wanted to buy his official residence in Lagos when it was put up for sale, but the Presidential Implementation Committee under the chairmanship of then minister of state for housing and urban development, Grace Ekpiwhre, rejected his bid. Long after that incident, not much has been heard about him again.

Farida Waziri

Mrs. Farida Waziri is a retired Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) and a former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) under the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, but was removed in 2011 by former President Goodluck Jonathan over accusations of selective investigations by the anti-graft agency. Apart from that, it was alleged that she was involved in what analysts call conflict of interest with the then minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, under whose jurisdiction the Commission operates.

While speaking at an event in Lagos about her removal by Jonathan in 2010, she defended her saying that she remained grateful to the former president for the sack because she would have, according to her, been traumatised by what she called the grand corruption going on in that regime.

“I am only glad that those things didn’t happen under my watch as the EFCC chairman because it would have been so traumatic for me. That is why if I see former President Jonathan today, I will kneel down to thank him for the honour done to me by removing me as the EFCC chairman at that time. My first, strong premonition of what was ahead was when I began the probe of the monumental oil subsidy fraud going on then. I came to Lagos on a vital intelligence on the scam and as soon as I arrested a key suspect, I got a call from the Presidential Villa asking me to release the suspect because in their words, ‘he is our person’ but I refused to let him go off and days later, I was removed from office,” she said.

Mrs. Waziri has since then maintained a low profile thus prompting the question of where she could be.

Emeka Wogu

Chukwuemeka Wogu hails from Abia state. He was the former minister of labour and productivity under former President Goodluck Jonathan. He, however, resigned from the cabinet in 2014 to contest the governorship election of his home state, but lost due to what analysts call party politics, a development that he cannot forget having paid what he called a supreme price for the survival of the party right from its formation in 1998 to date. He is a trained lawyer, but turned to politics where he thinks is greener. Prior to this time, he was the vice chairman of Aba South local government area of the state until he later became the chairman.

At one point, he was also in the House of Representatives and later as political adviser to Orji Uzor Kalu. What can be considered as Wogu’s first baptism of fire on being appointed minister was when he came to contend with a nationwide strike by federal civil servants, a strike that was planned to start in April 2010, barely a month after he was appointed? The negotiation that followed involved a meeting with the Joint Public Service Negotiation Council which represents the eight unions involved in that negotiation as well as other parties. He was however able to swim through the storm until the strike was called off.

Wogu was one of the strong members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led government, but in early 2018, he reportedly dumped his party that brought him to reckoning and joined the All Progressives Congress (APC). While justifying his exit from PDP during an interview, Wogu said the decision was borne out of what he called the injustice he suffered which the party leadership both at the state and federal levels failed to address. He has been out of the public scene since his last public appointment that ended in 2014.