On NASS of greed and conspiratorial leadership

by Gbenga Kayode

Leadership and positions of authority are usually held by leaders, in trust on behalf of the followership. But when such trust is betrayed by the former, things naturally go awry and betrayal of trust reigns supreme in human affairs.

Interestingly, Bill Gates, in his well-thought-out Rules of Life 2 and 6 respectively, has declared thus: “The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself. If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault; so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.”

As many would readily agree with one that Nigerians are actually living in an era when most of their supposed leaders can no longer lead. This is predominantly due to reasons of unappeasable greed regarding over-bloated budgetary allocations; huge but hidden salaries and allowances; lack of professional and personal integrity; erosion of societal value system; inordinate ambition to betray people’s trust at will; and a deepening culture of gross impunity among other factors.

Despite sundry other overwhelming allegations of financial misappropriation preferred against the leadership of both houses of National Assembly (NASS) over time, a sorry, fresh case in focus is that involving Hon. Dimeji Bankole and Bayero Nafada, erstwhile Speaker and Deputy Speaker, respectively in last House of Representatives, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

For young Bankole, he had assumed the Number Four highest leadership position in the country at 37, after the equally inglorious exit of former Speaker of the House, Mrs. Patricia Olubunmi Etteh, on alleged misappropriation and corrupt enrichment involving over N600 million then.

Alas, hers was much later considered by many of her fellow representatives as a child’s play. That was possibly, in comparison to Bankole’s purported mismanagement of N2.3billion for the purchase of exotic cars; N10 billion loan from a bank; and another N40billion loan, according to the EFCC’s latest discovery.

After a premeditated conspiracy of silence over her purported financial malfeasance for years, the last House at its final session, instantaneously appeased Etteh, having impeached her for mismanaging “just an amount less than a billion Naira”. The House, as if Nigerians were watching a circus during its last sitting, cleared her of any pecuniary wrongdoing and pronounced her “not guilty” for misappropriating a mere pittance.

And the hairdresser-turned politician then, confounded the citizenry when she sang to high heavens thus: “Today oh…, I will lift up my voice today….” for the last-ditch relief brought her, after years of conspiracy of silence against the masses of the Nigerian populace whom they apparently represented!

Nonetheless, Bankole was not that lucky to bolt away with his. After series of dodgy moves and defensive tactics to evade arrest, the ex-Speaker’s day of reckoning finally came when he was whisked away from his Abuja home at night by a combined team of security operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Mobile Police Unit, who had reportedly been on his trail.

As if suffering from verbal diarrhoea upon his arrest like a common criminal, Bankole effortlessly, is already helping the EFCC prosecution, having given a breakdown of how the N10 billion “loan” was shared between him and his “honourable” colleagues.

Therefore, it is germane to ask some criticising the EFCC for arresting and prosecuting the ex-Speaker these questions: if Bankole had been re-elected to represent his Federal Constituency in Ogun State in the last election, what do such individuals and groups crying foul over possible “scapegoatism” think he and his band of unrepentant borrowers will have done to the national treasury by the time they leave office in 2015?

Another is: Would the truth of the illegal financial “transaction” ever have been divulged to Nigerians on how the N10 billion was got and shared if he had won the election and possibly re-elected the Speaker in the new House, or had escaped arrest and left Nigeria for London unceremoniously, as an intelligence report had alleged?

President Goodluck Jonathan’s Administration, having been reminded to tackle corruption headlong by his United States’ counterpart, Barack Obama, during his recent visit to The White House in Washington, D.C. recently, needs to emphasise competence, experience, credibility and personal integrity when appointing people into positions of responsibilities in the new cabinet.

In fairness to Bankole, the EFCC should equally arrest and prosecute Nafada, other principal officers and members of the last House implicated in the money-sharing bazaar. If convicted, they must be compelled to return the money to the treasury in addition to their punishment. This will serve as a deterrent to potential sticky-fingered members of the newly inducted National Assembly.

The CBN in continuation of its banking reforms efforts must probe the basic conditions and modalities for securing the N10billion from the bank(s) involved. It should ask questions about what Bankole and his cohorts actually used as collateral before securing such a huge amount of money from a financial institution in an economy where the real sector bleeds from paucity of funds and collapsed infrastructure to sustain operations.

In line with Mrs. Farida Waziri, EFCC’s Executive Chairman’s recent submission at a forum for the newly inaugurated legislators, leaders should be made to publish what they earn from the tax payers’ money. The culture of secrecy, blind looting of treasuries, and rising gang conspiracy against the collective will of Nigerians yearning for transparency, accountability, and values-based leadership should be phased out.

You may also like

Leave a Comment