Following the raid on No.9, Kagarko Street, Ungwan Sunday, Sabo Tasha area of Kaduna metropolis by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) where $9.8m cash, belonging to the former Group Managing Director (GMD) of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, was recovered on February 8, 2017, the tale making the rounds is that the stashed money was kept for the purpose of funding the 2019 political ambition of the ex-NNPC boss.
It is also being speculated that Yakubu was romancing with founders of the yet-to-be registered mega party, on which ticket he was planning to run for the governorship of Kaduna State, hoping to dislodge Governor Nasir El-Rufai of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Suspiciously, the raided house, which is believed to belong to Yakubu's brother (name withheld), is about a kilometre from the house of the ex-NNPC boss, located at No.29 Bourmidine Street, Narayi High Cost, Kaduna.
As the tales continue to swirl, a close associate, on condition of anonymity, gave Sunday Sun an insight to the real intention of Yakubu, stating that the embattled ex-GMD was actually preparing to take a shot at the Kaduna State governorship race in 2019. Prior to this, it had been speculated that Yakubu had his eyes on the Southern Kaduna senatorial seat, but his governorship ambition appeared to have overtaken the senatorial quest as confirmed by the associate.
"I am aware that he is eyeing the 2019 gubernatorial race of Kaduna State and not the senatorial race as some people are speculating," said the associate.
On the issue of whether he legally earned the money, a senior staffer of the NNPC told Sunday Sun in confidence that it was possible for Yakubu to have access to such a huge sum, given the position he held at the NNPC, but he quickly added that it was how and where the money was kept that raised the question as to the legality of the money.
Perhaps, this was why Yakubu quickly flew back to Nigeria from Atlanta, United States of America a day after the EFCC moved the money away from the private house.
On returning to Nigeria, Yakubu reported to the EFCC at its zonal office in Kano and made statement, admitting ownership of the recovered money, and claiming it was a "gift" from unnamed persons.
"He was in Atlanta, USA, when he heard the news, but he flew back to the country and submitted himself to EFCC. In fact, within few days, he met all the bail conditions, but at the time I am speaking with you now, he has not been released by the EFCC. Maybe they will soon release him since he has met the bail conditions," the source said.
The dumbfounded Yakubu was said to have vowed to unearth whoever blew the whistle that led to the discovery of the staggering amount.
However, Sunday Sun learnt at the time of filing this report that a female staffer of one of his companies might have been the whistleblower.
"All the persons involved will be fished out. However, I want to add that even if he has political ambition, why was he not generous to his neighbours. Of course, he may have been generous to some people, but in the wake of the discovery of the seized hard currency, majority of the people have said that he was not generous to them" the associate said.
Meanwhile, residents have continued to lament over the non-availability of pipeborne water as well as the deplorable state of the streets and the epileptic power supply in the community where the huge funds were recovered. "With just N50 million, he could have made a big difference in the life of people in this area through provision of social amenities. That of course would have advanced his political interests and connect him to the grassroot people," a resident said.
A resident, who simply gave his name as Uncle Sam, said, "People are saying Andrew Yakubu is saving money for 2019 Senatorial ambition, but I disagree because I am from Southern Kaduna like him, he doesn't have senatorial ambition. I don't know his political life, I remember that former president Goodluck Jonathan removed him from office, but I don't know whether he has decamped to APC or not."
Recalling the day that EFCC officials stormed the house to evacuate the money, neighbours were shocked to hear that they were living close to a house with hard currencies in fire-proof safe in a room kept very cold by air-conditioners.
One of the neighbours said: "I was in my house on that fateful day, and I discovered that EFCC officials, police and army came to the house to evacuate the safe where the money was kept. But what is baffling me is how the security agencies get to know that that particular room was where such huge amount of money was kept.
"So the security operatives came with the younger brother of the ex-GMD. The security operatives came in the morning hours, about 11a.m when most people had gone to work, so there was not much crowd. They operated smoothly, there was no scuffle.
"It was Andrew Yakubu's younger brother that opened the door for them, they brought him from his house along Abuja street to open the door where the money was kept. Nobody lives in that house. Only the sister lives in the room next to where the money was kept.
"Let me tell you one thing: this is the man I begged to give me N20,000 to make up and pay my rent, but he refused to help me, saying he had no money, but unknown to us, he kept big money here.
"Yakubu's sister, a retired nurse is my friend. She lives in the house where this money was kept, and she was not aware that there was money in the house.
"She sponsored his education in school, she is now aged. I have lived in this street for more than 15 years."