Eze Ibekwe ‘s poem “Questions and Answers” examines the issue of Sharia in Nigeria, and people’s reactions to it. Ibekwe is of the opinion that the issue of Sharia is one that opinions are divided. The most interesting part of the poem is the response that one of the personae gets from the question; “Is Sharia a monster, hanging above an agbada, like the sword of Damocles?” The response goes: “Yes it is, no it is not, yes-no—no-yes/ a cacophony of discordant voices.” Today, we are faced with the same situation: “Is the anti-graft war of Baba Shege an honest one?” Discordant voices still reply with yes-no-yes-no.
The 55million naira drama, with Senator Wabara, Adighije, and Professor Fabian Osuji as major characters, is no longer news. What will probably be news, is the outcome of the whole drama. Who will be disgraced, and who will be elevated. Who will lose his office, and be compensated with monetary rewards. What we all know is that t nobody will go to jail.
But the truth is that the Baba Shege administration is one that is very dramatic. We have seldom had a drama-free one month since the inception of the administration. From disgracing former speaker of the house of representatives, Buhari, through the dramas of removing Enwerem, Okadigbo, the Oputa panel, NLC strikes, ASUU strikes. Transparency International’s rating, and recently the National Confab, Inspector Tafa’s scam, and the 55million naira scam, it has been one drama after the other. How can one forget the Anambra crises, and the Audu Ogbeh saga? So while we focus our attention on discussing these issues, the questions of bad gonernance are somehow relegated to the background. What I call the tactics of an Army commander:what only a cunning and scheming (and we must admit, wise man) can carry out.
So Professor Fabian Osuji gave 55million naira to certain members of the Senate, to up the budgetary allocation of his ministry? If so, what is the crime there? At least,it was not for any selfish purpose.I know of one man too, who offered billions of naira to up the votes he got both at the PDP National Conventions, and the eventual presidential elections of 1999, and 2003. So who is going to dismiss the one that offered “kola” to inflate his votes? Well, the power of immunity perhaps is his own armour. An armour Osuji had not worn, before he decided to imitate his boss. I do pity Osuji, while at the same time, I commend him for his brave attempt at fighting for the educational sector. That sector has always been Baba Shege’s most despised sector. The man suffers from chronic educationphobia, so Osuji would not have been his most cherished son.
In the future, we will probably learn the REAL reason behind this latest drama. I pity Osuji because his tragedy is that of a puppy who had not mastered completely the war dance, and in a moment of carelessness, flung himself headlong into battle. The question is, what is Osuji’s fate now?
Then, Senate President Adolphus Wabara. So the great one finally received the Kayoo punch? Who in this wide world told Wabara that he was going to make history as the only Senate President in Obasanjo’s administration, that served a complete term of four years? Baba Shege had picked Wabara from the lowest echelons of the senate, and had converted him to Senate President. Reason: Wabara had all the makings of a stooge. Now that Wabara has begone to get used to his powers as the No 3 man in the country, he has probably started questioning the powers of Baba Shege. Wabara has probably ran into a book that explains the principles of separation of powers, checks and balances, and indeed, the independence of the three arms of government. Quickly, his employer (or was Wabara voted in?) has been quick to remind him that like God, he made him, and can also unmake him. But the question still remains: what is the truth about this aspect of the drama? Is Wabara’s case (if in truth he collected the ‘egunje’) different from the 300 million naira bribery Senator Arthur Nzeribe confessed to having received to check the impeachment of Baba Shege? What about El Rufai’s open condemnation of senators as having demanded bribes from him before he could pass to be the minister of the Federal Capital Territory? What stopped our ‘oga’ from mounting the podium and publicly sacking all involved in the two mentioned issues? Okay, the 300million naira bribe that Nzeribe claimed to have received probably came from the Presidency, and the Presidency is our ‘oga’-Baba Shege. So how can one go on air ad tell his children that he has been offering bribe to keep his position as their “father”? So does this stupid Nnaemeka Oruh want the president and so many other governors to openly tell the world that they bribed their ways to their positions? Eh-eh if they confess to graft, and dismiss themselves, how will their families feed? After all, their stomach is more important than the growing hunger in the belly of the nation. Okay, if they dismiss themselves, who then will rule the country? Don’t we all know that the “ruling family” would have exhausted her stock of members, if we decide to dismiss all the people involved in bribery?
Then comes in the one they call Adighije who claims “he decided to tell the whole truth when he observed a conspiracy to rope him in alone.” From a confession of innocence in the whole drama, Adighije turned around and explained how they “shared” the N55million. Wabara says that Adighije is being used by his political detractors.Adighije fires back that he was only serving the interest of the nation, and goes on to say that Wabara has no political base. Did anybody notice the venom inherent in that assertion(he has no political base)? So after spending more than two years in the Senate, sharing money, Adighije has suddenly woken up to the reality that his job in the senate is to serve the citizenry. The question on my lips and that of many other Nigerians is how much was Adighife paid to rope Wabara(assuming Wabara is innocent in the first place)? What more was he offered?
I walked into a restaurant on Thursday April 7th, with a copy of The Guardian, with the headline, “How we shared N55m, by Adighije”, and immediately two youngmen eating requested for the paper. Immediately they saw the headline, they said to each other in Igbo: “okay, so that is the new plan? Adighije sef, Ndi-Igbo sef.”
Well, whether stupid people like us believe it or not, the anti-corruption fight is on, from the No 3 man down. This administration is clearly committed to fighting corruption to a standstill! But one thing I have learnt is never to completely trust Baba Sege. That man is so cunning that like the proverbial witch-rat, he bites and blows air at you at the same time. Anybody in doubt of Shege’s scheming, should ask Audu Ogbeh, and the spirit of Chuba Okadigbo. In the long run, the real reason behind the enactment of the 55million naira scam drama will be made open to us all.
For now, let us remain smart, and consciously seek answers to the many questions that the drama poses.