The “letter leaker” in Aso Rock

by | October 17, 2017 1:51 pm



The ease with which ‘confidential’ letters are leaking out of Aso Rock makes you think that there is a professional letter ‘leaker’ in residence who is excelling at his or her job.

In the last four years, there have been several incidences of letters addressed to the president, meant to be confidential and with a potential to be embarrassing to the president, getting leaked to the media. Each time, there has been a leak, the aim seem to ensure that the president is embarrassed. It happened on two different occasions under former President Goodluck Jonathan, and in Buhari’s two years in office, it has already happened twice.

Under Jonathan, the first major letter that was leaked to the public was a confidential memo written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo accusing Jonathan of lying and promoting sectional divide in the country. The letter was leaked to the media in December 2013.

Not long after Obasanjo’s letter was leaked to the media, another letter written by the then governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)  and now Emir of Kano Sanusi Lamido Sanusi alleging that almost US$50 billion was missing from the NNPC was also leaked to the media. Both letters caused significant embarrassment to then President Jonathan.

Fast forward to March 2017 and a confidential memo written by Nasir El Rufai, the governor of Kaduna state to President Buhari expressing his thoughts on how the APC has fared in governance the country was also leaked to the media. In the memo, El Rufai bluntly told the President that “APC has has not only failed to manage expectations of a populace that expected overnight ‘change’ but has failed to deliver even mundane matters of governance outside of our successes in fighting Boko Haram insurgency and corruption.” Such blunt words in the leaked memo did not do much good to the image of President Buhari.

The latest leak from the Aso Rock leaking ‘professional(s) is the Minister of State for Petroleum Ibe Kachikwu’s memo to Buhari accusing the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru of insubordination and award of about US$25 billion of contracts without board approvals. As usual this latest leak has not done much good to the image of  President Buhari also.

It is interesting to note that in all the leaks, no one has been exposed as being responsible or prosecuted or for mishandling confidential information.

It is clear that confidential information is not confidential in Aso Rock and there is a significant loophole in the handling of information that should be plugged on time before it does significant damage to the country. While transparency in government business is encouraged, it is also a known fact that it is not all government business that are for public consumption.
Aso Rock should be able to handle its confidential information in a more professional manner. Currently, like its many shortcoming in providing leadership to the country, the frequency of information leakage from its office is an obvious failing that needs to be corrected.
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