The Man Dimeji Bankole
Dimeji Bankole was born on the 14th November, 1969 in Lagos. He was educated at the Baptist Boys High School, Abeokuta where he graduated in 1985. He also holds a degree in Economics from Reading University, England and another in Military Technique which he obtained from Oxford University in the United Kingdom. He also had a stint at Harvard University.
It may not be wrong to say he comes from a politically inclined family, his father; Chief Alani Bankole, a prominent Egba chief has been a big time politician as far back as the Second Republic. He was with the NPN, and more recently the APP and later ANPP. He was at a point the National Chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples’ Party. Hon. Bankole’s pastime is playing polo and he plays as a defender. Street Journal found out that he is an active member of the Lagos Polo Club.
Between 1998 and 2003, he was the Executive Director of Operations of the West African Aluminum Products Limited.
He was elected into the House of Representatives in 2003 to represent Abeokuta South Federal Constituency. Positions of responsibility he held before becoming the Speaker included the Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, and that of the Chairman of the House Committee on Land Transport.
He rose to the position of the Speaker on 1st November, 2007 after the impeachment of Hon. Patricia Etteh.
True to the saying that power changes people. Street Journal’s investigations revealed that as a businessman and a politician, Hon. Bankole was a man of simple but classy taste before he became Nigeria’s number four citizen. Street Journal’s also gathered that right from his days at the Baptist Boys High School, Saje, Abeokuta, Bankole was a person that never spoke much, rather, he did more of thinking and calculating.
His most expensive car as a member of the House of Reps was an E-Class Mercedes-Benz. Everything however changed with the office of the Speaker and all the trappings that came with it. He suddenly became a different man and a power broker at the national level.
His Rise To Power
One of the things that probably worked for Bankole was his superb educational background as against his predecessor, Patricia Etteh. His critics were however of the opinion that academic degrees notwithstanding, Hon. Bankole was more or less anonymous in his first four years as a member of the House of Reps.
The circumstances that brought Hon. Dimeji Bankole to power cannot be divorced from the ones that sent Mrs. Patricia Etteh off the Speaker’s seat. After just five months in the Speaker’s office, Bankole’s predecessor was enmeshed in a multimillion naira scandal. Not only was she accused of approving the renovation of the Speaker’s official residence and that of the Deputy Speaker for a whooping sum of N 628 million, she also allegedly approved the purchase of 12 cars for the official functions of the two top people in the House of Representatives. She was eventually consumed by the heat generated by the scandal.
Bankole’s Many Scandals
The Bankole years in the House of Representatives were not uneventful. With his youthful looks and upbeat image, controversies seemed to find their ways to him easily. He obviously had more than his fair share of them. They came from all aspects of life, politics, money, romance and many more.
He was romantically linked to a ravishingly beautiful member of the National Assembly. Street Journal’s information revealed that when the lady in question celebrated her birthday sometime ago, the former Speaker went in company of his spouse who eventually left in annoyance having seen that her man was almost becoming the co-host at the party. The way the celebrant doted on Bankole further infuriated the Mrs. Bankole to be.
There were stories that also linked the former Speaker with a top rated Nigerian movie star, though the beautiful actress denied vehemently.
Between 2009 and 2010, the Integrity Group alleged that Hon. Bankole misappropriated about N 2.4 billion meant for the purchase of 370 cars for the House committee members.
In 2009, the former Speaker and two of his brothers were also allegedly involved in a rural electrification scam that saw Hon. Elumelu and members of his committee becoming guests of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The matter was eventually jettisoned as the reports of the Elumelu Committee was damning on some “powerful forces” within the nation’s polity.
Another scandal came with the purchase of computers and printers for members of the House of Representatives. Bankole allegedly misappropriated about N 9 billion as a result of inflation of the prices of the goods. Facts are also emerging that he bye-passed tender procedures for the purchase of at least two bullet-proof Range Rover and three Mercedes-Benz S600 cars in 2008.
The N 10 billion loan that was allegedly shared by members of the House of Reps is also staring the former Speaker in the face.
He has been in the custody of the EFCC since last week and his bail application was heard today after which the judge fixed ruling for Monday.