Nigeria Matters

Examining Elendu Reports – Tale of Cynics Exploiting Prevailing National Irritation

I fully understand the import of writing this article: more so I am aware that the final judge of any academic discourse is the reader. This article will be controversial in content and I ask you the reader to be ready for the home truth coming from an ordinary Nigerian that does not claim moral sanctity or high ground. All I humbly seek to do is to do what is right by my conscience, and what I have asked God to allow me use my gift of carving words in writing for – for the advancement of mankind, for the defense of the defenseless and for expanding the frontiers of free speech and decency.

In the past few months the underground media and later the mainstream Nigerian media have been inundated with stories of corrupt Nigerian officials putting up residences abroad, buying mansions in foreign lands and supposedly sabotaging the war that we all have declared against corruption. Against all odds, most of these stories have emanated from web based journalists especially those situated in United Kingdom and United States: two countries that have become overnight refuge for confused and dislocated citizen-refugees, most of whom will truly prefer to be back home in their country were it not for the profound decadence of a nation of such huge potential like ours.

Down to the crux of the matter however, this onslaught on allegedly corrupt officials have been led mostly by a group of young men that publish their essays (that is the most honorable description I can give it at this point) on www.elendureports.com . Initially, when their stories first appeared, their works were glorified by citizens at home and abroad, and in all due respect earned the attention of the already pocketed national mainstream media in its own right as a true and tested work of amateur journalist – a product of the raw breed of journalism that have spurned blogs and web based pseudo-journalistic frenzy. It was a true brand of democracy – voice for the voiceless, opinion for the opinionated. However, in recent days I have been examining where we were about six months ago and where we are now.

Recent stories that have appeared on Elendu reports leave much to be desired both from the stand point of true professionals as well as human decency. The seeming direction the activities of these men who have taken the crusade of a nation to the internet as a two man brigade is very ominous, and it is my opinion that it needs to be saved from itself. The success that the early stories on Elendu have had seems to be consuming them slowly but surely (Remember the story of the elephant? Ao merin joba – ereku ewele).

The website with its salvo against Dr. (Mrs.) Okonjo-Iweala the indefatigable finance minister appears to be the first shot in the leg. Examining the story of an hardworking former World Bank chief who built a house in America and continues to be normally domiciled there (at least most of her family does) shows that Elendu and his cohort (Sowore) have begun to be derailed from the real task of fighting truly corrupt official. A simple examination of the said story that was supposedly on Vice President Atiku, shows that the address of Mrs. Iweala has no place in that story. Indeed, while I subscribe to the fact that her occupancy of a public position of such sensitivity deserves some level of public scrutiny, the publication of her address seems in my opinion to have been willfully done to expose her to ridicule and the consequent dangers associated with disclosing such confidential details. I truly side with the minister, her brother and her husband in their rejoinders to the Elendu boys. While their contribution to the topic of corruption is highly appreciated, a libelous or semi-libelous (as it might indeed be implied) publication like this is not good for the general discuss of ingrained corruption that have threatened to sink the ship of the Nigerian state. The salaries and sources of income for the financial minister have been in the public realm for a long time, so also have her long years of professional career that is admittedly well deserved, well paying and honorable for Nigerian women in particular, and Nigerians in Diaspora generally. This sort of publication directed against her person, or intended to do so willfully or not shouldn’t be tolerated by true journalists that worth their salt.

Another one of such actions was taken against the President’s immediate family when against all known convention the President’s son was accused of corruptly buying a house in New York. For God’s sake, the state of the President’s relationship with his children is public knowledge – he is known to have even ordered some of his own children not to see him in Aso Rock and reportedly caused one of them to be literally bundled out of Abuja at one instance; this is a man that has never been known to tolerate nonsense from his own immediate family and he has not hidden this from all Nigerians. Indeed, the back up to these stories were never provided. As a resident of the United States it is a known fact that most information related to the purchase of private property is protected by various privacy laws of the land, and I am still skeptical of the sources of this information or the legality of obtaining them. May be we are using illegality to fight illegality and may be it is Olu Obasanjo that should cause Elendu and his boys to be investigated for infringing on his privacy rights by the FBI!

Indeed, in addition to these obvious gaffes the recent publication, amendment, recants and stories associated with the Sokoto State governor goes to show the limited time the Elendu boys are putting into their fine art. It is my opinion, that anything worth doing is worth doing well – and it will indeed remove from the credibility of their opinion if they keep coming back with amended facts after the initial damage on people’s character has been done. An examination of the rejoinders to their articles on this website ( www.nigeriansinamerica.com ) shows that most readers will like them to fully check their facts before rushing to the press.

Also, the recent Bukola Saraki case is another one of such essays which has further dented their status at least from the stand point of most readers I have been opportune to talk to. While I will not in a million years attempt to defend the rights of governors or past public company directors to acquire property abroad, the premise of the articles which are based on a seeming false hood that the Nigerian Constitution prohibits the purchase of assets (foreign or local ) is a gaffe that is one too many. Undeniably, the section of the constitution containing such clause read as follows in the 5th Schedule, Part 1, section 11 clauses 3:

“Any property or assets acquired by a public officer after any declaration required under this Constitution and which is not fairly attributable to income gift or loan approved by this Code shall be deemed to have been acquired in breach of this Code unless the contrary is proved.”

A mundane knowledge of law would reveal to any reader that this section only prohibits buying properties with income whose source(s) cannot be proven. If the President earns 10 millions naira a year as I suspect he does and he erects 10 million naira property at home or abroad then he does so legally within the confines of the law. In any case the state takes care of the living expenses of most chief executives across our land. Whereas a governor has previously been blessed by God, luck or just plain Nigerian factor (you know what I mean, without been caught which I abhor by the way) materially before assuming office, such governors can legally claim that they still reserve the rights to acquire assets at home and abroad provided the sources of such income cannot be traced to pilfering state money. In any case, while the Sokoto Governor and indeed the Kwara state governor can prove their sources of incomes it appears to me that Governor Dariye and Guv. Alams have not met this threshold. Indeed, Governor Saraki purchased his property before assuming the seat of power and using his name in the said article is just stretching our imaginations too far. In my opinion, the inability of the story to gain traction like the Atiku or Alams scandals shows the shallowness of this often time out of context reports.

As if these gaffes are not bad enough the most recent article in Elendu reports really casts doubts on their intentions and stated aims. The article supposedly shows Mrs. Remi Oyo the President’s press secretary limping and being helped by certain police officers. However, the website conveniently claims that the picture was taken after she was manhandled by certain police officers. No prove, no real story – just plain gibberish! This story has nothing to do with corruption or the person of Mrs. Oyo (who fought gallantly and is still doing a very good job in her present position). It just shows a pattern that can be seen in recent stories on Elendu Reports that the website has taken a high ground – staking out against all government officials regardless of creed, stance or ideology. Methodologically seeking to ridicule anyone they can ridicule and cause embarrassment to anyone that is obviously an easy moving target to their tirade, including our nation Nigeria.

Their recent theatrical display at the New York Independence celebration that saw them burning our dear national flag further bolsters this point. As a Nigerian I consider it an insult not just on the flag but on every Nigerian it represents; it is the flag we fly in honor of our war dead, heroes and men who does us proud in sport meets around the world, and burning it makes no respectful political statement in my opinion. How do you expect Americans to treat us, if they see us burning our own dear flag? What manner of patriotism is this? When did we degenerate to acting in the tradition of the far right or left of the American society that are largely confined to the fringes of a truly democratic society?

This brings me to the point I have been trying to make, that the Elendu reports appears to be exploiting a gap that have existed in our nation courtesy of long years of rule under militricians– which is , a basic distrust of power and those who wields it. In the seeming no win position that Mrs. Iweala finds herself, she is part of a government that will be naturally distrusted while in power (since it is our natural instinct as Nigerians) and her defense will generally fall on deaf ears which makes her interestingly a voiceless person in this difficult times for her family.

While I would have done well to just commiserate with her privately like most other people will do, I think it is only right if the Elendu boys are called to order. A fundamental distrust of our government should not turn to a systematic belittling or disrespect of the office these people occupy. If we hope Nigeria will get better we all would have to join hands to make it better by either being in government or keeping an honest tab of government actions without degrading our public offices. My fear is that one day, my children or I will be occupying an already soiled public position that has been degraded by cynical stories, shallow journalism and unwarranted attacks on previous occupiers. Is it not true that the reason most activists in government fail is that the position they occupy was the same one they denigrated so much that they are hard to trust when they occupy it? (Ask Ebenezer Babatope and Oronto Douglas now defending Governor Alams of Bayelsa state.)

Nigeria will only move forward if we are all committed to a true fight against the evil first, and then the evil doers. Every nation deserves the leaders they get, and I posit to say that the thieves occupying our state houses across the land are our brothers, our sisters, our aunts, our uncles, our cousins etc. They grew up in a Nigerian society that glorified money above integrity and worshipped personalities over ideas- these are simply sad commentaries of a society gone really bad to a point of seemingly non-redemption. A society that made praise singers like Sunny Ade and Ebenezer Obey overnight millionaires, while they sing the praises of thieves to high heaven! A society that will demand that a newly appointed commissioner first distribute government contracts among his kinsman and then his local government and then the state. Haba! A society that will have someone defending a kleptomaniac governor in foreign land as a true son of the land – what a country!

In conclusion, I hope while my article will evoke some good honest debate on the motives of our modern day instant noodle journalists, we will concentrate on the facts of the matter – that the work of killing corruption in our national life will be significantly slowed down if we degenerate to unwarranted name callings, libelous publications and half baked truths in our struggle to unearth the festering worms of public decadence that have overtaken our national life. I have questioned other people’s motives, and I wait that mine be questioned – all I ask for his fairness, equity and unemotional discourse of the subject matter. I rest my case.

Last Line:

When rumors increase, and when there is an abundance of noise and clamor, believe the second report.
Alexander Pope

32 Comments

  1. This is an excellent article.

    You just need to be able to read between the lines and you will get the message, whether the flag was burnt or not, the message remains the same.It is like the yoruba proverbial saying, a'boro lanso fun omoluwabi,…………….

    I repeat you just must be able to read between the lines, this writer does not hate Sowore and Elendu as Mr. Ighodaro feels. Sowore, Elendu & Michael Oluwagbemi II all have same view that Nigerians need to fight corruption, but only disagrees on how to go about it.This is quite normal.

    Oluwagbemi has not said that we should be praising corrupt leaders like musicians do, we should however be constructive while criticising.

    I therefore leave you with his concluding remark "my article will evoke some good honest debate on the motives of our modern day instant noodle journalists, we will concentrate on the facts of the matter that the work of killing corruption in our national life will be significantly slowed down if we degenerate to unwarranted name callings, libelous publications and half baked truths in our struggle to unearth the festering worms of public decadence that have overtaken our national life"

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  2. Why they may have made some mistakes, you cannot criticise thier efforts. It's interesting that the same examination is not given to other nigerian newspapers that are in comparison, biast and lack boldness. I think that as nigerians we should encourage people with the right spirit to improve their skills…afterall these are two guys vs the rest of the gov media. And if they are so 'poor' at it why are they such a threat? This debate needn't happen simply b/c there are media focused on:

    – politics because there is a demand for it,

    – fashion b/c there is a demand for it

    – business b/c there is a demand for it

    – gossip b/c true or not there is a demand for it , etc

    In this case there is clearly a gap or more like a hunger in the market for 'cynicsm', expose's, qualification (or not) of rumours & investigative journalism that perhaps needs to be filled by not only these guys. After all bias is an inherent human nature.

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  3. I'm giving the author this low rating not because I disagree with his views as they are not worth disagreeing with. The low rating is for the poor choice of content and Naivety or is he just being sinister and mischievous In any case, the article is a joke. He couldn't even deliver efficient propaganda!! Cant believe Im actually commenting on this.

    Get a life!!

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  4. Well done for your article, i did know that there was another person that felt the way i felt about elendure reports. I am not a journalist but i can recognise bad journalism. I actually wrote to tell the editor off when i saw what they wrote about the Finance minister. I actually want to be a write but do not have the resources.

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  5. The writer is being used by the fraudulent Nigerians to fight back.All they want to do is to intimidate the elendu group.The patroitic Nigerians know whom to listen to. Ekhonmun Uromhunjaje

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  6. Your comment was: For the first time in the history of the country we seem to be moving in the right direction.The fight against corruption due process debt cancellation transparency less reliance on govenment etc though we still have a long way to go. As Nigerians do we really deserve what we get the answer is yes. If we continue chasing shadows then we shouldnt complain about bad roads poor infracstructure poverty etc.The above achievements by the obasanjo administraton are laudable and the govt needs all the support it can get from every well meaning Nigerian citizennot the usual fundermental distrust of govt that has been prevalent due to several years of military rule. We must remember that the most vocal critics of this government are people who have benefited from a corrupt system and want to make sure corruption continues. As a nigerian where do you belong are you one of those who criticize these current effort as a result of not being properly informed or simply wanting to make sure that corruption is not eradicated I suspect the Elendu boys belong to the former. The mentioning of Okonjo-Iwealas name in the elendu report was in bad taste and mischief was intended since it had nothing to do with the fight against corruption. The writer in my opinion is in order.

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  7. There's no doubt that "Elendu Reports" is being derailed. The information about the Finance Minister has no bearing on the focus on corruption. Elendu claims to be reporting the news and he is but the report on the Finance Minister has no place in his rports on corruption.

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  8. To the writers of comment numbers 16 18 19 and 20 you need some elementary lessons in democracy.

    So anyone who dares thinks or writes differently from the fabu writers such as Sowore and his alter ego are paid agents of government! So we all have to be so childish and be promoting rumor mongering in order to avoid being seen as looking for government's positions! You people of little minds should please grow up!

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  9. This is how it normally starts praise-singing then backside licking then a government post and then stealing one's own share of the national cake. I will definitely keep this piece to prove it when you get to that stage.

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  10. who is this guy oluwagbemi He should get his head examined by a shrink and if he is declared ok he should be investigated this guy has an agenda a calculated attempt to distract the attention of the intension of nigerians with good intension.

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  11. The issue at stake here is Bukola Saraki was an executive director of a bank when the bank went under and at the same time aquired such a stependous property in London.

    Nigerians should not loose sight of the fact that the former managing director of the Bank of the North has been explaining to the various courts and EFCC where all the money went and it is the same question the likes of Bukola Saraki should be answering.What is good for the former MD of Bank of the North is also good for Bukola Saraki.

    It is more than ridiculous for Dr Femi Ajayi in Atlanta to say that "Bukola was born with a silver spoon in his mouth".

    I am not suprised about this statement because each time these governors come to the USA it is the likes of Ajayi that organise all sorts of image laundering for them.

    The depositors of the bank have been short changed and all those responsible should explain what happened as well as confiscate/forfeit all their ill-gotten wealth.

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  12. Is there the possibility you may be close to OBJ family or seeking Government favour You are no different from your Yoruba fence sitting and praise singing brothers Ade and Obey you mentioned did you not praise yourself as a gifted man with words in your introductory rubbish of a mediocre writing. We know OBJ and the Iweala's of his administration are only into window dressing fight against corruption. Theirs is a convoluted semblance of justice with intentions being metted out to perceived political enemies in the fight against corruption. Nigerians and the West cannot be hoodwinked. Iweala receives visitors from the insitution she worked with before entering and living Nigeria with diplomatic cover we are interested to know what brings them incessantly to Nigeria and what they take along in their luggages.The Iweala's have been only reactive to the Elendu reports not credible.Having once served as an expatriate in World Bank is no cloak for fantastic wealth.They are corrupt on board how often do you go to Nigeria take a trip you will come face to face with the monster of corruption and those heralding itI mean its major and true players don't make a paid armchair comment from the comforts of America through the shrouded net.

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  13. Good job!

    Commentators numbers 9 and 10 and that one calling himself Segun Akinyode or whatever should go back to elementary schhol. The article is well-written in simple English and clear enough!

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  14. "It just shows a pattern that can be seen in recent stories on Elendu Reports that the website has taken a high ground staking out against all government officials regardless of creed stance or ideology"

    Isn't that what the role of the press in a democracy should be

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  15. This article is not about common sense. After reading through and going back to read it again to be sure of the intention of the writer I came off more dazed. This is in bad taste. I question the motive and sensibility of this writer. As someone reeled out all the points to the article is false. The facts are wrong. So also are the conclusions. Sounded like the writer was having a bad day and then woke up to write an article. In a democracry there are still rules tenets and virtues. If there are abuses of these rules society has a right to mobilize shame against those who take away those virtues. I am not following Elendu and Sowore because of their writing skills. It is more of their passion for reporting accurate information about corruption in Nigeria-North and South of River Niger. This article belong in the "Hall of Shame". Ignorance should not be excused as the reason why the author did not do his research before coming out with this thrash this is a "double whopper" disgraceful journalism.

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  16. I am highly impressed by the objectivity that this writer shows and equally appallled by the vitriolic responses it has generated. The kind of analysis done here is what each Nigerian at home and abroad should be aiming for in every sphere of life. Especially those who are interested in the truth free speech and transparent government. The era of passive information reception is gone and Nigerians should realize that. What we need to ensure that our fledgling democracy is not aborted is a citizenry that can discern the wheat from the chaff and a citizenry that that values and encourages free thought and not mass hysteria. As for Elendu reports their true motives will never be known – voyeurism nationalism gone awry or even good-old-fashioned unbiased journalism. The intent isnt as important as the means used to achieve it. It is ironic that in today's Nigeira two people can get up and scrutinize the rest of the world reckelssly generating a cult following and no scrutiny along the way; while anyone who even thinks of questioning them – as they are beholden to the public – becomes a scapegoat. Even if this analysis turns out to be suspicion gone overboard the reponses that we have given as a nation -responses that show our worst our ugliest our lowest – should give us room to think.

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  17. What u have just written cannot be understood by people like me. this people are doing well with their write-ups u should write ur own they are talking about people buying houses and stealing money they are saying the truth how can a vice chairman of a failed bank lay claim to a 4.5million pounds house on the issue of Mrs.Iweala they did not say she stole money they only said she has a house in potomac how can her family and friends be complaining that they are exposing her household to attack thats falsehood and misinterpretaion.Go and write ur own most of ur write-ups are not news but abstract writings

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  18. The write-up reays to all reasons why we are taking too long to progress. I am used to journalists being blamed for writing "without facts". In this article you are leading a lynch mob against two patriots who have written so many articles with precise and accurate information. You are blaming them for giving too many accurate facts. I hate to pour venom on you but you deserve to be whipped in public. Not with an impressive self-serving bio you put beside your article. I agree that you are entitled to your opinion but remember that stupid "opinions" are like eggs if they brush against a hard surface they will break. Be careful brother this article might hunt you forever. Please why are you doing this to yourself. If anyone paid you to write this give them back their money. It is not worth it. If I gave you money to defend me and you screw up like this I will sure sue your damn behind for a lot of money. Get a good life.Nigerians deserve better than your current heroes.

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  19. Instant noodles yes but please remove the word journalists!

    For God's sake it's not everyone that writes some trash on the internet (for that matter) that should be described as a journalist. Those boys are NOT journalists (instant noodle or not!)

    Unfortunately for them even the rank of their cheerleaders is fast crumbling now that their appetite for cheap publicity through reckless sensational fabu is becoming insatiable.

    Excellent piece!

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  20. Much ado about nothing. Reminds me of the James Brown song about "talking a lot and saying nothing". You don't defend ElenduReports and you don't quite defend the targets of ElenduReports. The proverbial sitting on the fence. My brother please take a stand so that your ruminations may have some substance.

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  21. Very wellNigerians should all go to Kano and apologise to Sanni Abacha;let us enthrone him in 2007;at least Mr Oluwagbemi 11 has insinuated thus.

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  22. The rights of this author to reply and negate cynics have simply be derided by the many comments on this site indeed – let it be known that not everyone that believes in their country is a hired gun. Talking of grammar this is a well written piece and the reaction of the naysayers shows that they who preach democracy cannot truly practice it; today we see the PRONACO camp in dissaray simply because these activists cannot be demoractic exact same thing they blame obasabjo for..

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  23. Hogwash!

    A classic example of where clumsy lousy grammar couples with horribly warped logic to produce a disastrous piece.

    Outright bunkum!

    Nigerians like this fellow have guts I must tell you. They have perfected the truly nauseating art of saying the most stupid things with the most brazen impudence once they can string some words together to produce some clumsy sentences.

    Those who hired you for this job have got no value for their money.

    What are you really saying

    In which part of the US are living in where information regarding purchase of property is protected under privacy laws You think the US operates the crude "Babacracy" we have in Nigeria where government operates like a cult

    What is secret about the information about Saraki and Bafarwa's house No your article is not "controversial"…It is outright silly and wrong-headed.

    Why is Okonjo-Iweala fuming

    Did Elendureports.com say she bought the house while in government

    Can't every fool with access to a computer get the information about her house Was it why she must be railing like a market woman b/c no one told her: "Honourable minister sorry" What are we really talking about

    Every fellow in government wants to be a sacred cow. Can Okonjo-Iweala call up a US journalist and display such pure bad habit Once they are in Nigeria they part ways with their manners.

    Again what is our business if the president bundles his countless children mistresses and concubines out of Aso Rock What has that got to do with the facts of the story about his son's scandalous purchase of house in the US

    Where on earth did Stella a former hair dresser get the money to buy such a house for her son Initially they claimed the boy got a mortgage to buy the house until available information exposed their shameless lie. So we must all keep quiet and let the common criminals in the corridors of power steel Nigeria blind Every thing must come out in the open now and I commend the two young men for the great job they are doing. Those who have nothing to hide should have no reason to be scared of daylight. Nigeria's is still where it is today despite its abundant resources because of the robbers we have in government.

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  24. Excellent you have expressed the mind of many. Not every public official with a house abroad is necessarily corrupt.

    If indeed these run-before-you-crawl duo burned the National Flag then they need to apologize … for it conotes an intent to destroy everything nigerian.

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  25. You are the greatest lier and hypocrite there is. The garbage you just wrote is exactly an example of how bad journalism exist-poor grammar shallow research tabloid speculation faulty conclusions-poor knowledge of subject e.t.c. Your article contained lies innuendoes mudslinging praise singing and plain stupid conclusions.

    I just have a few to point for readers:

    1. The Nigerian flag was not burnt at the independentce Day protests if so Paul Adujie would have reported it in his own article he hates Sowore and Elendu as much as you do.

    2.Private Property information is public information in the US moreso in New York city and the state of Maryland it is available on the internet for free- don't know which planet you live in.

    3. The address of the finance minister is also public information not protected by any privacy laws she too knows that. You can find it in any zip-search browser go to school!

    4. Olu Obasanjo's property issue became popular when Fani-Kayode (Presidential spokesperson) publicly defended its acquisition by saying he is a lawyer and that he earns 200000 a year. And that he bought the house with a loan from a bank-Happened he just graduated from law school (not yet practising) there is still no loan information available on that property (meaning he paid cash for it). If Obasanjo were to be opposed to this actions of Olu G. Obasabjo why did he use his office to defend the acquisition of this property and still unable to provide any further info to dispel the impropriety so far-you need some more truth training!

    5. On Saraki- question in that report if you ever read it is why did he buy will buy 4.5 million pounds house as his father's bank-of which he was V. chairman-going down with depositors money. ..And why hasn't anyone been punished by EFCC for robbing that bank SBGN-no answers so far!

    6.On Bafarawa-a sharia practicing governor buys a house in London worth N183 million from the proceeds of a house he sold for N100 million-pls help calculate the difference. officially governors earn less than one million naira per year making his total income for 6 six years less than ten million naira. The difference is till huge we need answers.

    I could go on and on to point your blind spots to the readers from this maliciously written article. You have just demonstrated you're a blockhead perhaps a hired gun recruited by powerful people who are aching from these reports.You have just been exposed for whom you are. As a writer I understand your frustration you have written several articles on this site that no one pays attention to it is human to be upset with those who are amking waves.

    I commend the "Elendu boys" for their contributions to our nation's development.

    They have fufilled for me an important task. They are the small people using modern technology to shape power in Nigeria.

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