It is common practice for public office holders to award lucrative contracts to cronies and allies to either enrich them or reward past favours, despite the fact that this action violates the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Such is the situation with Ogbemi Daibo Shola, a former commissioner to ex-delta State Governor Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa.
Recall that Ogbemi was once a member of the Delta State House of Assembly, representing the Warri South Constituency 1. She was sworn in as a Commissioner by Okowa in 2021 and led the Ministry of Technical Education.
An investigation carried out by TheTimes on the Delta State Procurement portal revealed that her ministry, on 18 February 2022, awarded a contract for the renovation of “2 nos single story block with connecting walkway and common room at Sapele Technical College, Okirhiwhwre, Sapele LGA”, to Ani Corporate International. The contract was worth N76,361,923.65.
Investigations revealed that the former Commissioner of Technical Education, Ogbemi Daibo Shola, is one of the key owners of Ani Corporate International.
The company was registered in Warri on 30 October 2007, with registration number 715833. The company is located at flat 1 Macasore estate, Warri, Delta state.
Part 12, section 10(b) of the Delta State Procurement Law 2020 states that a conflict of interest exists when a person has either direct or indirect interest in or relationship with the bidder, supplier, contractor, or service provider that is inherently unethical or that may be implied or construed to be or make possible gain due to the person’s ability to influence dealings, constitute an offense.
Section 6(B) of the Code of Conduct Bureau forbids public servants who are employed on a full-time basis from engaging or participating in the management or running of any private business, profession or trade, “but nothing in this paragraph shall prevent a public officer from engaging in farming or participating in the management or running of any farm,” a law that apparently bars Ogbemi Daibo Shola from running Ani Corporate International.