President Yar’Adua is a Burden and a Liability

by Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

“No one will question your integrity if your integrity is not questionable” (Nathaniel Bronner).

President Umaru Yar’Adua is fast becoming a burden: a national burden and a liability. Faster than anyone could spell his names, he is fast becoming synonymous with sleaze, hypocrisy, and inertia. Poor Yar’Adua, he couldn’t even wait a year or so before taking a bath in the cesspool. Abacha waited a while before unleashing cruelty and criminality on the nation, and so did Babangida and Obasanjo — but not so with this president who seem to be in a hurry to engrave his name in the book of ignominy.

Generals Abacha, Babangida, and Obasanjo waited and waited some more before abridging and defacing decency and the rule of law. It took a while before they let their proxies loose on the nation’s institutions. It was a while before they insulted the people’s sensibility. But not this president, not so with President Yar’Adua: He is in a hurry. He is in a hurry to mess up an already bad situation.

From early indications, this president may turn out to be more agreeable to corrupt practices than any of his predecessors. What a shame! Oh what a shame! He seems to give cover and assistance to illegality. He seems to surround himself with criminals and alleged criminals.

Most of his political appointees are either criminally incompetent, had a past full of skeletons, or members of dubious consortiums. What manner of a president is this? What manner of a man do we have in Aso Rock? It is as if he has no sense of history, no sense of time, no sense of right or wrong. Obasanjo must have known the type of man he was to appoint and force him on our political estate. Well, at this rate and direction, he too shall end up in the waterloo, like his anointer and master.

By way of his Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Nigerians are being told to steal and steal and steal as much as they want. The message Aondoakaa and Yar’Adua are sending is simple: (1) no matter your offence, we will not come after you; (2) if a foreign court is after you, we’ll bail you out; and (3) never again shall the EFCC and the ICPC have the audacity and the temerity to go after men like Ibori, Orji Kalu, Odili, Ahmed Tinubu, Igbinedion, Dariye and others. They are now protected: protected by Yar’Adua and Aondoakaa from criminal prosecution.

Nobody — not a low or high ranking civil servant, former and current governors and their aides, ministers, commissioners or anyone else — will ever be afraid of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) again. Never! Well, unless of course you are a petty thief, a lowlife armed robber, or some bored and sick pickpocket.

James Ibori was a petty thief and a wayward ruffian before he became the governor of his oil-rich state; but in eighth short years, he was able to illegally amass an estimated $550 million. Yet, President Yar’Adua and Mr. Michael Aondoakaa “say he must not be probed or held accountable” for his financial crimes. And then there is Peter Odili and Orji Kalu, perhaps third and fourth in line after Olusegun Obasanjo and Abubakar Atiku when it comes to thievery. At this moment, all are walking freely and celebrating — thumbing their noses at Nigeria.

Today, Yar’Adua (the supposed guardian of the constitution) appears to be the leading cheerleader for thieves. And Michael Aondoakaa (the chief law enforcement officer) appears to beats their drums the loudest. Oh what a shame! Don’t the president and the attorney general understand that they should be at the vanguard of probity, transparency, and accountability? Their conduct and their position, stated and unstated, are sickening and embarrassing.

If President Obasanjo was considered a monumental joke and failure, President Yar’Adua is fast becoming a burden and a liability. His liabilities seem limitless. This early and this quick, he is becoming an embarrassment to the people and to the country. This early in his presidency, he seems to be the buffer between thieves and the rule of law. In all of this, there is a supposed Senior Advocate of Nigeria (Michael Aondoakaa), who is aiding him. Both men seem to be aiding and abetting a criminal syndicate that extends from the North to the South through the East and the West.

In today’s world, it is difficult being a Nigerian. Regrettably, both the president and his attorney general make it much more difficult being one.

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