Finally, somebody steps forward and names Goodluck Jonathan as the man who authorized… No… INSTRUCTED him to carry out all those ridiculous expenditures. Everybody knew it would eventually come to this. The Classical fable about a marauding cat and a bunch of mice comes to mind. The “mice-in-council” were debating how to install a warning system that would alert them whenever the cat was approaching. One mouse suggested placing a bell around the cat’s net. Everybody applauded the brilliant idea. Then another mouse asked: who will bell the cat? And to that question, there were no answers. But last week, Sambo Dasuki stepped forward to bell Goodluck Jonathan’s monstrous cat, throwing the nouveau riche into pandemonium.
Until Dasuki broke, nobody of note in the immediate-past government dared mention Jonathan’s name in relation to corruption; definitely not Diezani Alison-Madueke. She took the first boat out of town and absconded to faraway UK. She knew that he who allows his head to be used in cracking a coconut will not partake in eating it. Apparently Dasuki did not get the memo early enough. Or he was too corky and still believed in his omnipotence to take a hike. He hung around too long and Muhammadu Buhari showed him who the boss was. After a few hours of “chatting” with folks at the EFCC, Dasuki began to sing like a canary. (I wonder what level of interrogation he endured before he started to cry like a wuss. I can’t believe we entrusted such a weakling with the nation’s biggest secrets. I wonder how quickly he would break if captured by Boko Haram, and how much of our national secrets he would tell the enemy.)
Everybody living in this country – PDP, APC, civil servant, military, business people, men, women, old people, young people, students, and artisans…everybody…knew Jonathan was the man who directed the worst kind of corruption ever visited on Nigeria. But who had the guts to name him and provide evidence? When a cornered and caged Sambo Dasuki broke, it was as if the Kainji Dam burst. Those of us who had labeled Buhari’s anti-corruption war as an inchoate exercise that would be stillborn did not know he was getting all his ducks lined up properly before stepping out. When he began his direct assault with Dansuki, kicking asses…prominent and hitherto untouchable asses…he also was taking names – as the American slang goes.
The titillating list of unpatriotic Nigerians reads like a Who-is-Who of the Jonathan administration and the political party he led. There is Doyin Okupe. Bode George, Attahiru Bafarawa and his son – Sagir Bafarawa – are also on the list. Even Iyorchia Ayu is on the list. Of course, Bashir Yuguda and Raymond Dokpesi are on the list. Ibrahim Wambai, Nduka Obaigbena (chai!), Yazidu Ibrahim, I.M. Bala, S. A. Salisu, Peter Odili, Jim Nwobodo, Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi, Yerima Abdullahi, Ahmadu Ali, Bello Sarkin Yaki and Abdullahi Yauri are all on the list. And the list is not even all-inclusive because investigations are still on-going. Like most people, I am surprised to learn that Jim Nwobodo, who did some jail time in 1984 during Buhari’s military stint, also collected blood money from Dasuki. I am also surprised to learn that one-time corruption prisoner, Bode George, was also still taking reckless risks with corruption. As for Peter Odili, perhaps someone has yet to tell him that he lost the VP slot to Jonathan during Obasanjo’s quest for Yar’Adua’s running mate in part because he (Odili) was found to be too immersed in corruption. Why would he still hang around corruption corridor?
There were also the money laundering front companies: Jabbama Ada Global Nigeria Limited; Jabbama Limited; R.R. Hospital; ACACIA Holdings LTD; Abuja Electricity Distribution Company; African Cable TV; Coscharis Motors (the same company that was embroiled in the Stella Oduah vehicle scandal); Basha Nigeria Limited; BAM Properties; Dalhatu Investment Limited and Stallion Limited. This list too is not all-encompassing.
Then there were the national dailies, under the aegis of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), led by Obaigbena. The newspapers…members of the so-called Fourth Estate of the Realm…those entrusted with the responsibility to watch over government excesses…they also received blood money.
You will notice I have not bothered to provide the amount of money we are talking about here. There is no point. It is such a complex web of extensive and mind-boggling plundering that it does not matter anymore how much it is. It suffices to just believe that Jonathan supervised the brutal rape of Nigeria. The accusations are no longer whispers and they are no longer just dripping. They are flowing…even overflowing and could possibly overwhelm the EFCC to the point that cases like that of Bukola Saraki have become child’s play. Do not be surprised if the anti-graft commission advertises vacancies in the coming weeks. The PDP mouthpiece, Olisah Metuh, usually quick on the horn to counter any negative news about his party men can no longer keep pace with the deluge. In some countries, people are hanged or shot when found guilty of a fraction of what our people have stolen here. In some countries, people are so ashamed of bringing their families’ names into such disrepute that they commit suicide before even being tried in court. Not in Nigeria. Our legendary capacity to bend justice our way with the aid of unscrupulous lawyers and pliant judges will keep us from early penitence.
And with these accusations come shameless admission by culprits that, yes, they did steal for this and for that…for hiring spiritual warriors, for publicity, for electing their friends, for CONSULTATION (haba Iyorchia Ayu!) and for just being who they were. Now they are following up with shameful downward revisions of how much they actually took, as if that would somehow attenuate the impact of the rape on the polity. (Bode George admits he collected ONLY $30,000 and not N100 Million as claimed by Yuguda who delivered the money to him. Did someone steal from the thief?)
Those of us who thought Jonathan was slow or stupid and derisively called him the “Dumbo” and “Clueless One” sobriquets were taken for a long ride. Jonathan was not stupid at all. You couldn’t be stupid in Nigeria and become Deputy-Governor, Governor, Vice President, Acting President and President – all in succession. He knew exactly what he was doing. He cleverly used Dasuki to pay northerners who allowed him to run for reelection. When someone asked him last month in the US about allegations that he was involved in a $2b arms deal, hear what he said: “Where did the money come from? I did not award a contract of $2billion for procurement of weapons.” It was the classic non-denial denial. Read the denial again. He didn’t say he was not involved in a $2b contract for procurement of arms. He said he did NOT award the contract! Which Presidents award contracts by themselves on paper? If you always thought he was not one of the best wordsmiths you’d ever known, how about that for a denial?
And if the questioner expected a Harry Truman-like “the buck stops here” acceptance-of-responsibility answer from Jonathan, he was being overly ambitious. It was not in Jonathan’s DNA to accept responsibility for anything. Did you watch his infamous interviews – first with CNN’s Christiana Amanpour in March 2014 at Davos, Switzerland, and then with a BBC journalist in March this year in Abuja? You’d feel sorry for him and feel ashamed for the President of your country as he struggled to remain calm while lying through his teeth. The one with the BBC was particularly disastrous as Jonathan wore a scowl that suggested he wanted to shoot the reporter. Throughout the two interviews, where both journalists appeared to have done their homework, Jonathan would not accept responsibility for anything. He would not even acknowledge the presence of the issues in question, let alone accept responsibility for not tackling them.
Here is a guy who presided over the pillaging of a country with absolutely no oversight of any kind in any Federal sector; retires home with the title of Ex-President and its benefits after five years and yet wants to be applauded and awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for conceding an election in which he was roundly defeated. How on earth could a government spend with such impunity so much money outside the Federation budget without the head of that government going to jail? Perhaps if the extra-budgetary spending was done on tangible things that we all could see – weapons for our military, specialist hospitals with state-of-the-art medical equipment, long and wide roads with street lights, road signs, drainages and bridges, refurbishing of existing Federal universities, investment in farming and farmers, and concrete investments in science and technology…perhaps if the stolen money was spent on such items, Nigerians might have pleaded for leniency for spending outside the budget. But to violate the nation’s fiduciary practices so crudely and so heartlessly while the vast majority of the people who braved harsh conditions to vote for you are consigned to lives of penury, there ought to be more ways to atone for this than just returning the loot and going to jail. Government should ban all those culpable in this saga from participating in politics for the rest of their lives. The companies and their owners too should be blacklisted forever from doing business with the Federal government. (Saraki, here’s something about which your Senate can enact a law; not the stifling of dissent from social media).
And this is just about the Office of the National Security Adviser. Wait for when investigations into the NNPC files are complete and Nigerians see how Jonathan used Alison-Madueke to reward southerners.