How Echocho Squandered Afribank’s Resources On Kogi Guber Ambition

Anytime the name Jibrin Isah aka Echocho is mentioned, most
people recall that he is a serial contender in the Kogi gubernatorial contest.
Very few people however remember that he was one of the Executive directors in
the defunct Afribank.
As Executive director in charge of treasury and operations,
Jibrin Isah Echocho was alleged to be one of the masterminds behind most of the
atrocities that brought down Afribank leading to the loss of its shareholders

During his heydays, Echocho was the toast of politicians of
Igala extraction because of the reckless way he dished out money, doled out
cars, sponsored people on pilgrimage and the likes.
A PDP stalwart, Alhaji Hassan Usman said, “In those
days, all it took for a young beautiful girl to make it was to make a trip to
Lagos to see Echocho.” He added, “our youth were ecstatic about the way Echocho
and his cohorts used to come to town and distribute money at beer parlours.”
At that time, Nobody cared to know what the source of the
funds was, all that mattered was that he was in the business of spending it
with reckless abandon – hence his nick name Echocho.
Another commentator from Dekina, Johnson Atabo said, “in
those days it did not matter whether you were qualified or not, one phone call
to Echocho and he will get you employed in Afribank as long as you are Igala.
That was how many of our friends got employed.”
Funny enough, our findings revealed that the popularity of
Echocho is limited to a tiny people who directly benefited from his
And from his Islamic sect whom he supported with a lot of
finances. He is reported to have built a school which he banned Christians from
Even then, his generosity was not enough to help him win the
January 2011 primaries against Alh. Abdurazaq Kutepa. It was his connivance and
pact with Muhammed Ibro, son of former Governor, Ibrahim Idris that helped him
overturn Kutepa’s victory at the primaries. It was reported then that in order
to clinch the ticket, Echocho had to swear to an oath to hand over to Muhammed
Ibro after he had completed his tenure.
Whether Echocho would have kept his pact to hand over to
Ibro cannot be proven now. Another party member, Abubakar Kassim doubts if
Echocho would have kept his promise because of his “track record of betrayals.”
It will be recalled that Echocho stopped relating with party
officials immediately after he clinched the ticket. Calls to his phone were
ignored. Cabinet positions were shared among his cronies even before election.
They in turn advertised their new status with a brazen display of arrogance.
Little wonder therefore, that when the supreme court cancelled
the January primaries and ordered new primaries in September of the same year,
most party faithfuls shifted to a newer and more humble Captain Wada candidacy.
Echocho could only muscle a paltry one vote at the rescheduled primaries.
Another case of betrayal was the fraudulent way he
resurfaced as prosecution witness against his former colleagues in Afribank
even after entering a plea in the EFCC case against them. It was rumoured that
he got off the hook after allegedly ‘settling’ the Farida Waziri led EFCC.
Hadiza Farouk, a PDP women leader from Kogi Central told our
correspondent that, “Echocho is only popular amongst a tiny amount of
people from his village area Dekina, we in the Central don’t know him, because
all the money they say he spent, he spent it on his Igala brothers.”
She went on to add, “If Echocho comes to Government
house, no non-Igala will be able to enter Government House. If not Igalas, how
can they even allow somebody like Echocho to say he want to contest for
Governor, somebody that squandered Afribank money and many staff were
retrenched because of him?”
Despite many petitions to get Echocho to account for his
mismanagement of Afribank, he was shielded by the past PDP administration. Now
that there is a renewed commitment to fight corruption with the change of baton
at the center, it remains to be seen whether Echocho and his co-conspirators in
Afribank will be brought to book.

Culled From

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