I've looked for it quite a bit on the web, but I don't quite understand.
What evidence do you have that the 53 suitcases:
1) Belonged to Buhari
2) Buhari was transporting the 53 suitcases of money so that he could enrich himself
3) What evidence do you have that he was responsible for the missing N2.8bn oil money as chairman of NNPC?
If you have compelling evidence please make it be known. otherwise you are doing a diservice to us all by tainting the name of the greatest ant-corruption leader Nigeria ever had.
It was difficult for me to come to that conclusion as well, but aside from his government being involved in the transportation of 53 suitcases of Naira (at the time, it was 85 cents to 1 Naira), Buhari was also involved in very stratospheric scandals as Minister For Petroleum and Natural Resources, Chairman of the NNPC and Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF). At the Petroleum Trust Fund, he was directly involved in the scandal of N2.8 billion missing in oil money.
Who is the author of the wikipedia article.
Which source could be more authoritative on nigeria events: wole soyinka or wikipedia faceless author.
There are two sides to this 35 or 53 suitcases scandal.
Atiku Abubakar is obviously on the side of justice, perhaps his motive may not be justifiable.
This coroborate Wole Soyinka's account that Atiku was actually on the side of justice.
I can see that some suitcases - exact numbers in question - were smuggled into the country.
And the Emir of Gwandu and some other government topshots were at the scene.
But let truth be told in this particular case Atiku was on the right course. we learnt he stood his ground against the entrance of the suitcases until orders came from above and he has to bow out of the way.
That wikipedia article was written to discredit Atiku. I don't know the reason for this anyway.
Atiku might not be good news all the time, he sure has some positive parts.
Nigeria is sure an interesting country.
Wole Soyinka was a by watcher just like every other Nigerian. Why will he be the one to tell the correct story. Mustapha Jokolo himself a principal actor in the saga has come out to comment on the issue why did we not hear any reply from Atiku or his men?
Forget Soyinka that was how he allowed IBB to trick him into accepting that he actually meant the transition programme.
from reading prof. soyinka paper i could tell that in the 53 suitcase saga, Atiku was a hero and not a villian as some people are trying to betray thim
this administration in a bid to prolong it self there was some clashes between obj and atiku
as atiku has refused to back the presidency in its evil plot they have decide to use black mail and character assasination against him
let us not be fooled at this if not we would be helping them achieve their evil deeds
GUYS HERE GOES ANOTHER VERSION OF THE 53 SUITCASE SCANDAL OF 1984 TOLD BY ONE OF THE ACTORS AT THE TIME MUSTAPHA JOKOLO, THE THEN ADC TO BUHARI AND SON OF EMIR OF GWANDU, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH THE SUN.
Here are the excerpts:
Let’s talk about the controversial 53 suit cases you claimed for your father, the then Emir of Gwandu, in 1984. What is your version of the story?
I have said several times in the last twenty something years that I was innocent of everything. Now, it has turned round that somebody like Prof. Wole Soyinka wrote a book saying that I was smarter than Vice President Atiku. It was wrong of Wole Soyinka to say it happened in Kano. Look, in 1984, my father traveled to London for medical check up. He had an entourage of about 13 people. After his operation, he moved to Saudi Arabia for Umrah, the lesser hajj. On his way back, he was on the same flight with Ambassador Dahiru Waziri who was the Ambassador to Saudi Arabia for six years.
He was appointed State Chief of Protocol and so, was moving back with his entire family. So, he decided to come with them on the same aircraft. Around that time, there was currency change because of the poor economy of the country and the naira was all over the place. We had no control over our economy. The government planned a secret operation to change the colour of the currency. All borders were closed and that was the time when this aircraft was landing. When it came in, I remember we were about to play squash with Buhari, Idiagbon and others.
Then Buhari asked me if my father was not coming back that day. I said ‘Yes sir, we have already sent people to bring him back’. He said ‘Are you not going to receive him?’ I said ‘No sir’ and he said I should go and receive him. He gave me orders to go and receive him.
So, I asked Captain Maitama who was the Commander of the Brigade of Guard to accompany me. So, two of us drove to the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos. While there, I saw some officers who were going on course to the United States. Colonel Walbe was the one who arranged that course.
While we were there, I was told that the aircraft had landed and was also told that they had some problems at the baggage area. When I went with Captain Maitama, I saw some Customs officers with some of our people and I asked what the problem was. They said that the Customs said that they were not allowed to check the luggage. I asked why, every luggage here should be checked. They said those ones on the ground had been checked, but that there were some that were taken away from the aircraft itself in a truck direct from the State House without coming through the customs area. I said whose luggage were they and they said it belong to State Protocol.
One ASP Saidu Gella who also was from Adamawa state like the Chief of Protocol was the Luggage officer in the State House. He was the one who went with Maigari to collect the luggage direct from the aircraft without coming through the Customs. I said ‘Is there anyway you can call them?’ Unfortunately, we do not have the mobile telephone at that time. I asked if they had walkie talkie and the said they had none.
So, I said I was not here for him and asked if they had cleared these ones and he said they had cleared them. ‘Can we go?’ and they said ‘You can go’. I swear to Almighty Allah, if there is anything other than this, may God strike me dead. May he not forgive me my sins. That was all that I knew about all that happened. The following day, we read in the newspapers that there were 35 suit cases that passed through Customs without clearance.
The Emir did not come with 35 suit cases. It was the Chief of Protocol, Dahiru Waziri, whose luggage were taken away from the aircraft straight to his house without going through customs. The Emir’s baggage were not more than 12. All of them had one piece each because they had landed them there. Whatever shopping they did before, they transported them from London in an aircraft and they received them. So, we had cleared their luggage before. At this time, they were in London when there was this ban. When they finished, before they left, there was this border closure.
They had nothing to do with the 35 suit cases. When we cleared their luggage, they had not closed the border and so, they came with single baggage of their dresses. We did not allow what was going on. Then, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the present Vice President was Area Administrator at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport. He was the one who came on air to say it was an Emir from the North who brought not 35, but 53 suit cases. Onalaope Soleye was the Finance Minister. To date that I am talking to you, nobody has asked me to answer anything.
I think there was power play at that time and there were many interest groups. There were people who were trying to bring Buhari down. Buhari’s half brother was on the Emir’s entourage who was father to Alhaji Mamman, same mother with Buhari. People knew about it. So, he was the target. Then, they started mentioning the Emir of Daura, but it was Buhari’s brother who was in the group. Now, Ambassador Dahiru Waziri was colleague to Ambassador Rafindadi who was the Director General of NSO. On their own part, they were trying to cover the Ambassador.
Another angle to it was that Atiku was aiming to be Director of Customs, while Abubakar Musa was Director of Customs. If he was painted in bad light, if Atiku presented himself as the champion of the discovery, Abubakar Musa being from Sokoto, would be painted black and possibly he would be removed and automatically, Atiku would be made Director of Customs. So, you see, there were three interest groups. One, people who are trying to paint Buhari black by referring to the Emir of Daura in the accusation. There was a mention of the Emir of Daura, but they knew it was Buhari’s brother, but they didn’t have the courage to mention Buhari’s brother, Alhaji Dauda. There are people like Atiku who were out to get the Director of Customs and there was Rafindadi, the Director General of NSO who was trying to protect his own friend, the State Chief of Protocol whom he brought to Buhari.
He never knew State Chief of Protocol and since I was there, my father was not the victim, but me. To get access to Buhari, they had to get me first. This is all part of power play and the whole thing was like that. It was being sponsored within the military itself. For example, when Chief Awolowo’s house was searched, Buhari never knew about it. He read it on the pages of newspapers. It was carried out by a group of military officers who arranged for Chief Awolowo’s house to be searched. They knew Buhari would not come out to say ‘I didn’t order it’. So, it was power play and I had no opportunity to defend myself because I was not allowed to speak.
Mckren, Vizion and Jaybaba,
I throway salute. You guys are a living testament to the greatness of this our Nairaland website. In my version, I said that Atiku wanted to report the suitcase issue to the authorities. This is the version of events I read at the time, not until now, was I aware of a totally opposite report. That is why Nairaland is the greatest. If I was aware of two versions; I would definitely have mentioned both in my write-up.
Thank you guys, for provoking more thought about this. Of course, there can only be one truth, Atiku was either in on the deal or against it. In a nutshell, I accept that my version may be totally wrong, or totally accurate. I am as eager as everybody else to find out the truth of what happened on that fateful day. I'll do more research and post any info as soon as I get it.
Long live Nairalanders!!!!!!!!
We really need a correct or more precise version of this story scandal of the 80s. The two versions in this thread seem to be contradictory with someone claiming Atiku reported the matter to the FG while another claiming he waived all formality to let the suitcases be taken abroad.
Information is not really reported with maximum precision in this country, no wonder a lot of people cannot make intelligent reading to form factful opinions.
This story should be brought up again. One of the ingredients of democracy is the credibility of aspiring candidates being questioned over and over again about their actions of the past. If Atiku had shown or demonstrated to be a man without ethical principles 20/30years ago, it should be made known to the public today. If he was one who insisted on due process, it should be made known to the public today. These information will help the voting public determine and or decide the fate of their candidates. It will equally go a long way to ensuring we have only people of good repute running. Past police reports on politicians, etc should be put on the media. Take it or leave it, democracy is only good as having men of integrity run for public office. Anything less than that amounts to electing lawless people and giving them immunity to exhibit more lawlesness.
Interesting thread indeed. I remember the scandalous episode in the 80's, I think, but the information was quite hazy then. Thanks to all for refreshing my memory about those mysterious suitcases. Yeah, indeed, this was a blemish on the regime of the Buhari/Idiagbon, because those duo had publicly distanced themselves from 2nd republic officials, jailing some of them on grounds of corruption. So, indeed, it was quite puzzling that Buhari and Idiagbon may have been somewhat connected to the mysterious suitcases.
@my2cents. It was actually Gowon, and not his finance minister who made the infamous quote, "Our problem is not with money, but on how to spend it".
Here is the link.
Mr Abubakar came up the ranks of the ruling PDP primarily, due to the pivotal role he played in its formation. He was also an ardent opponent of President Sani Abacha, the late dictator. Atiku's source of wealth has caused some curiosity among Nigerians but that also goes for many other wealthy Nigerians, including his boss - Olusegun Obasanjo. He has said in a new biography yet to be published that he made his money, "through wise investments, hard work and sheer luck of being at the right place at the right time," but many think this statement is just a smokescreen.
He worked as a Customs Officer for twenty years, rising to the rank of Deputy Director before turning to business and politics in 1989. While serving as a Customs officer in charge at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos in 1984, the infamous "53 suitcases" scandal belonging to the late Emir of Gwandu happened. He was alleged to have waived all formality to let the Emir and his entourage through without even searching one suitcase. Most customs officers at the scene were shocked and appalled. It was also later alleged that many of the suitcases were filled with money. This incident incensed the then Head of State, General Buhari and his Deputy, Brig. Tunde Idiagbon, who ordered an immediate and thorough investigation into the matter, to the chargrin of the Head of State's then ADC, Maj. Mustafa Jokolo, who was also the Emir's first son.
The Finance Minister at the time, Onaolapo Soleye and another young but influential Army Officer, Col. Chris Alli, tried in vain to plead Atiku's case before Buhari and Idiagbon. Fate conspired in Abubakar's favour just as his trial was all set to go ahead: General Ibrahim Babangida, in an effort to save his own skin, overthrew the Buhari regime. This worked perfectly well for Atiku Abubakar, who was eventually eased out of office (effectively sacked).
I HOPE IT IS CLEARER NOW, IT IS ONE OF THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF NIGERIA'S PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRANT. THAT IS THE SOUGHT OF PEOPLE WHO ARE ASPIRING TO RULE 2007 NIGERIA. THE OTHER ONE IBB HAS BEEN PART OF EVER SUCCESSFUL COUP IN THE HISTORY OF OUR NATION. THOSE ARE THE EXPERIENCE THE OLD FOLKS CAN BOAST OF.
O and before someone asks where the 53 suitcases with naira notes came from, it was from our foreign reserve plundered by northern illiterates during the regime of a grade 2 teacher now masquerading as an elderstatesman! The very man under whom our just cleared debt began! Alhaji Sheu Shagari!
Emir did not come to the airport if my memory serves me right. His son Major Jokolo, then the ADC to General Muhammudu Buhari demanded for the release of the seized pieces of luggage. His son later became the Emir and was dethroned for casting aspersions on the person of OBJ during a northern elite forum last year!
I'll try my best.
It was way back in the day. Buhari was the Head of State, his sidekick was the military hardliner Tunde Idiagabon. The govt decided to change the currency, I can't really remember the reason why, maybe to revamp the economy. Ialso think they wanted to force the politicains they had deposed to come back with their stolen loot (I may be wrong about this, all of this happened circa 1984). Anyways, I definitely know that the Naira was trading at N1.50 to the £1, and 85cents to the dollar. (Yes, this was the exchge rate in those days!!!! If you can lay your hands on a copy of Punch, Daily Times or Punch newspapers from 1985, you can check these factsout for yourself).
As part of the currency conversion excercise nobody was allowed to take any money outside Nigeria's borders. Lo and behold it was reported that the Emir of Gwandu successfully smuggled out 53 suitcases of naira notes, presumably to change into foreign currency abroad before it becomes worthless.
The press and social critics raised a lot of dust about this, but nothing concrete was done about it. Nevetheless, the credibility of the Buhari regime suffered terribly as a result of this.
I think he took the suiotcases to the airport, but the customs officer on duty, a certain Alhaji Abubakar Atiku wanted it confiscated and reported to the military govt. However, the Emir came to the airport with some army officers, I think two Colonels who insisted that the Emir must fly out with his Naira laden luggage. In case you were wondering, yes, the customs boss in question is no other than Alhaji Atiku, the current VP.