The Real And True Enemies Of Nigeria And The Nigerian People

by Akintokunbo A Adejumo

Nigeria in the last 44 years has been stolen by a cabal and turned to their own. These few robbers have created dynasties for themselves and they pass us round. I have to call them owners of Nigeria because that is what I think they are and the rest of us are tenants. Who are these people and why are they owners of Nigeria?”

Seyi Oduyela, in “Owners of Nigeria” August 15, 2004.

The above was a quote from Seyi Oduyela’s lengthy but very informative treatise written in 2004. He had called our political and military leaders “owners of Nigeria”, but with recent unfolding unsavoury events, in concert with what we have always known and experienced for the past 47 years of our nationhood, I would rather call these people “the real and true enemies” of Nigeria and the Nigerian people.

All these decades we have been laying the blame for all our problems on the door of the British colonial masters and those we call American and Western imperialists. We adduced that it was because of our oil that they need to keep us under-developed so that they can have access to the oil and mineral wealth of our land. In as much as I would like to believe this, the fact remains that it is our own people, our political and military leaders who have been deceiving us and grandstanding us. They are the ones who have deliberately kept us in the dark ages, killing us slowly for their own selfish reasons. In order to achieve this, they need to be corrupt, and to be corrupt, they need to be greedy.

“London court freezes Ibori’s assets• It was a restraining order, says Ibori(Please note that Mr Ibori did not deny owning these frozen assets)

“EFCC may arraign Makarfi •Senate, NLC back trial of ex-govs, others”

“I was not quizzed by EFCC, says Egwu”

“EFCC investigates Ibori”

“Turaki, ex-Gov of Jigawa State arraigned by EFCC”

“Chimaroke Nnamani has 178 houses in one town in 8 years”

“Dariye charged for money-laundering”

“Orji Kalu indicted – many foreign accounts and businesses in Gambia, etc”

“Rev Nyame regrets looting treasury”

“Kalu, Ibori, Odili meet Yar’Adua at Aso Villa”

“ICPC to probe 31 ex-Governors”

These are just a few of the news headlines that assail Nigerians on a daily basis since President Yar’Adua came into power and the EFCC suddenly finds renewed energy in carrying out its duties. There is no respite from these continuous scandals, if you can call them scandals. And it seems that Nigerians are so much used to hearing such that we have sort of developed some immunity to the shock of the scandals.

I don’t blame the people. During the eight profligate years of Obasanjo’s administration, and despite the so much publicised fight against corruption (I will commend OBJ that this was at least the first such initiative in the history of Nigeria), it had always been business as usual in our number one industry and pastime; that of corrupt enrichment. Governors, ministers, senators, federal representatives, house of assembly members, local government chiefs and officials, civil servants, etc, all of them were in on the act. And the Nigerian people stood passively by and watched their enemies take them apart bit by bit, complacent, and praying to God in mosques and churches, for deliverance. Heaven, they say, help those who help themselves. We are not helping ourselves.

I am not so much shocked at the fact that corruption is alive and well as the sheer and unbelievable greediness of these political leaders. Military rule definitely brought corruption on a large scale to the fore in Nigeria in recent decades, but at least, the officers were a bit genteel about it, until the advent of Babangida, when nobody cares anymore if they are known to be stealing government money. This is a proof of how degenerate our societal, moral and ethical norms have collapsed. In the old days, thieves are pariahs and persona non grata in the society.

I had always thought Shagari’s administration was the worst when it comes to corruption, but with the sheer incredulous and massive amount of money that Governors during our last eight years of democracy have stolen, I need to re-examine these statistics. Some school of thought are even now saying that what was stole during Abacha’s days was nothing compared to during the second coming of Obasanjo. I am indeed inclined to believe that.

I have always argued that Obasanjo himself will never dip his hands into the treasury. I still believe this is the case, but he has gotten himself so compromised by those that he surrounded himself with and by those he considered his “boys” – many PDP governors and other sycophants and hangers-on, that he, as the President and initiator of anti-corruption drive in Nigeria, cannot absolve himself from their crimes against the Nigerian people. For indeed, the acts of kleptomaniacs in power stealing the people blind to satisfy their own personal greed, is nothing but a crime against humanity. Look at it this way: while Mr Ibori was buying a plane and buying/building a refinery in South Africa with the money belonging to the people of Delta State, thousands of his people are dying directly and/or indirectly on a daily basis due to lack of clean water, good roads, food, good medical care, good education, etc. And Obasanjo must certainly know that this was going on, instead he was chasing after lesser miscreants like Gov. Ladoja of Oyo State.

As Babs Ajayi opened in his article, National Leaders as Looters,” Looting has never been banished from Nigeria; it is actually a national pastime and a way of life. It is how Nigerian leaders make a difference and do as they wish. It is not only unfair to the people; it is unacceptable, greedy and reckless. Recklessness has become what leadership is all about in Nigeria, and millions of the people are worried sick about the lack of transparency, accountability and self-service”.

Yes, our leaders have always been looters. They are utterly unsympathetic, selfish, greedy, diabolical and morally bankrupt. I have written in previous articles that our leaders hate us. Here is the proof, yet again. What does a man and his family wants to do with 50 billion Naira or 178 houses in one town? This is the epitome of greed and selfishness, hard-heartedness, coupled with lack of concern for the common man they swore to serve. This is recklessness, criminal negligence, and mismanagement at best. It is wickedness, immorality and great sin in the eyes of God and disregard for God. They cannot claim to be good Christians or faithful Moslems. But there we have it, they go to church, sing Alleluia and mosques to pray five times a day, and when they come out, they visit suffering, poverty, death and disease on their people. One of them is even a Reverend of the Church. Yes, I am worried sick about this, because I do not believe that despite their recent exposition, the ones in there now would have learnt their lessons and adopt good governance to alleviate the plight of their people. No! It will always be business as usual, and at the end of four years, we will be again inundated with scandals. It will be a vicious cycle, never ending.

Please do not let us leave out the Ministers, Senators, Representatives, Local Government Chairmen, State legislators and councillors, Board chairmen and members, Special Assistants, Special Advisers, top civil servants etc. They are all in it up to their rotten and corrupt necks. None of them is doing Nigerians a favour. Most of them are common thieves and robbers. For example, our Constitution stipulates that a State Governor cannot spend a single kobo of State money without the approval of the House of Assembly. If such checks and balances are there, how are these Governors able to steal? The simple answer is that the Governors can only steal in connivance with the “Honourable” legislators. In most cases, the “execu-thief” Governors have the assembly members in their pockets. One good example was when ex-Governor Fayose of Ekiti State took all the PDP legislators and party top-shots to London and the United States on a shopping jamboree for over one month, (can you imagine how much that would cost and how was the state being governed for one month?) under the pretence of coming to study the Parliamentary system of the United Kingdom and that of the United States. We all now know what they actually learnt, don’t we? Even the State’s Party Chairman was there, all kowtowing to a younger Fayose and trying to outdo each other in their flattery and praises of him. I was there to observe them in London, and it was a nauseating scene. That was before the EFCC forced them to disown Fayose.

Also culpable of these crimes against the Nigerian people are the many unpatriotic Nigerians who front for these thieves. There are many of such front-men and women, living in and outside of Nigeria and who aid and abet in the raping, maiming and looting of the nation.

Hear Babs Ajayi again, Today, it is the Ghana-must-Go lifestyle at the Presidency and the National Assembly that is troubling many. Looting is always the name of the game and cash-and-carry is what elective office is all about in Nigeria. A new president who was bold enough to declare campaign contributions as part of his wealth hold sway in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital! I am not sure many Nigerians bother to look at the declaration document of their president where he declared millions of campaign contributions as part of his personal wealth. The funds do not belong to his personal bank accounts at all; he ought to transfer the funds to his political party. The money should not even have touched his palms talk less of appearing in his bank account(s). Mr. Yar’Adua, I have no doubt in my mind that you have stolen what does not belong to you. You need to return the cash and tender unreserved apology to the nation.

Just about a month ago, Senators and members of that dishonourable House of Representatives collected nearly eight million Naira each to procure a car each. A total of N1.6 billion was paid to these men and women who knew next to nothing about serving the people. But now the same National Assembly plan to spend about N1 billion to buy 200 vehicles for the various committees of the two Houses. Where are those promises to serve and the desire to be responsible with the funds of the nation? The oil money looks so much but placed against the big problems and areas of needs facing the nation, the so-called oil wealth is nothing. Nearly all teaching hospitals are empty and lack facilities, our universities are just glorified primary schools lacking books, equipments, laboratories and basic needs. Senator Effiong Bob who is the Chairman of the Senate Services Committee is from a senatorial district and state where poverty is endemic and lack of basic necessities of life a daily problem to grapple with. But here he is championing the misuse of public funds and reckless spending. The obvious question is: where were the committee cars from the last session of the National Assembly? Will someone account for those cars and give us an update on the matter? For how long shall we continue to do this rigmarole and watch electricity degenerate to weeks without and months in darkness while the self-appointed leaders feast on the national cake with both hands and legs dipped in? This is frustrating and unacceptable, they are not interested in the plights of the masses that are jobless, hopeless, have no access to medical service and suffer in poverty and diseases. I learnt from very reliable sources that a visit to the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi and the Lagos University Hospital in Idi-Araba will mean paying for your own cotton wool, needle, injection, gloves for the nurse, etc. if you need to get an injection! You have to pay for everything and some people sit on high thrones in Aso Rock and preside over the looting of the treasury” (Please compatriots, read Bab Ajayi’s article for more nauseating news from our lawmakers)

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Adejumo August 14, 2007 - 4:09 pm

As the author of this article, I do not really like joining issues with commentators to my articles, but I relly feel i must reply to this unkindness and accusations levied by Mr Paul Odu, that I was defending Obasanjo because Obasanjo is a Yoruba man like me. Far from it, Sir. First of all, I never exonerated OBJ from all these crimes against Nigerians. If I had to mention all the names of those who I refer to as enemies of Nigeria, the article wil be too long. Secondly, my article was not designed to specifically attack OBJ. Thirdly, I have attacked OBJ in previoven during his administration. Fourth, in the same breadth that Mr Odu called me a tribalist because Obasanjo and I are from the same tribe, I could also accuse him of being a tribalist because Obasanjo and Mr Odu are not from the same tribe. You see, we can all interprete issues and views anyway we want, afterall we are humans and as such, susceptible to our own prejudices.

My advice to Mr Odu is as follows: "So many problem could be solved or avoided if more people would make the simple effort to understand and appreciate the perspective of other. So many opportunities and possibilities would be greatly enhanced if those involved would seek to better understanding each other.

Empathy and a depth of understanding are not just nice thing to do. They are powerful strategic tools that will enhance your effectiveness. The better you know and understand the other person's perspective, the more successful you'll be at dealing with that person.

Fortunes have been built because someone understood what people truly wanted. Fortunes have been lost by those who didn't understand.

In our hurry-up world, too many people don't even take notice of the other people around them, much less acknowledge or seek to understand them. That is unfortunate and ultimately take a costly toll.

Take the time to notice, to consider, to understand and appreciate the people around you. It is one of the most powerful ways to enhance your own life. You don’t have to agree with the other person, just seek to understand. It can make a major positive difference for everyone concern"

It is food for thought. Dont make judgements based only on what you perceive or read (everybody reads between the lines, but different interpretation), know the person, and if you cant, dont be hasty in your judgement until you know more about him. I do not support Obasanjo, I am not a tribalist, and I write as objectively as I can, without fear or bias. My concern is for all my Nigerian people, not a particular tribe. I remain standing among people who know me. Thanks

Paul Odu (USA) August 13, 2007 - 8:52 pm

I was really enjoying your write-ups until I came to the paragraph where you seemed to be shielding the ex-president , Obasanjo from corruption. If you're in any doubt that Obasanjo was the ring leader in the corruption business in Nigeria, you need to read the many reports made by the Chairman of the RMAFC on the fraudulent activites that had ravaged the NNPC since Obasanjo became the president and the Minister of Petroleum from 1999 to 2007. Also, if you're a sincere follower of the various reports on the role that Mr. Obasanjo had played in the mis-management of the country's funds, such as his role in the PTDF saga; the establishment of his private University; ownership of a Library, the billions of Naira and dollards that had disappeared from the Excess Crude oil Account (to mentioned just a few), you will agree with me that Obasanjo has been a thief as well as a very corrupt person. I will advise you to read the report published by the RMAFC chairman on Monday, August 13, 2007 titled: How NNPC fleeced Nigeria of N555 billion in three years, you will get better understand of how such huge amount disappeared under the watchful eyes of Obasanjo who was the then Minister of Petroleum. You may want to also read about the disappearance of N502 billion (fruads) that accured in NNPC as a result of the country's excess crude oil sale from the OPEC crude oil allocation to Nigeria under the management of Obasanjo. These are just few embezzlements/corruption that took place while your brother Obasanjo was the President and the minister of Petroleum. Having read all these reports, I am sure that you will no longer be protecting Obasanjo from his fraudulent activites while in office as the president/ Petroleum Minister. He is a BIG THIEF and the EFCC should go after him as soon as possible to recover all the billions that he had stolen from Nigeria. Recently, one of his party member told the world that Obasanjo is worth over N180 billion in assets. If one may ask you sir, where did he get that amount of money from? and what kind of job did he do within 8 years to acquire that amount of money? This is a man that was worth a mere N20,000 in 1998 after he came out from prison. If your brother Obasanjo feels that he is innocent of all these activities or frauds that took place in Nigeria while he was the president, he should be honest enough to come out and defend himself or else, the new government will have no option than to send him to prison a second time for corruption. You do not have to defend a criminal and a thief who is worse than all the ex-governors put together just because he is a Yoruba man from your tribe. Enough of this tribal nonesense in Nigeria.

Anonymous August 13, 2007 - 11:04 am

Great piece!!!

I am going to take up some sniper courses soon, and I think all Nigerians should take the courses and arm themselves.

The day one walks into a "big-man's" office and he asks you for a bribe, and you blow his head off, that is the day these idiots would start to fear God.

We need to fight back, we need to start cutting off these thieves, we need to be bold, we need to educate those that are shouting baba ke! We need to educate the police officers giving these thieves security. We need to call a thief a thief and deal with them accordingly. Enough of the prayers, enough of the wait and see attitude, we need to go postal on these thieves, right now, not later!

oscar August 12, 2007 - 5:15 pm

It's a shame that these traitors never face justice. Even when they do they get a slap on the wrist and continue from where they left off!

Julius August 11, 2007 - 1:51 pm

Your piece sound to me like someone just waking up to the reality of what is happening in Nigeria. When I left the country some years ago I informed my family members that, I love this country but I fear for the future of this land. You see what is happening now, the thievery, the complete disintegration of infrastructures in Nigeria started in the 60s', so imagine what will be happening 10 yrs from now. I don't want war in Nigeria but I think death needs to pay our leaders visit. I don't want anyone of them to go to jail, they deserve nothing short of beheading and hanging. This is the only way these imbeciles will learn.

Toyin August 11, 2007 - 12:32 pm

Mr. Adejumo let me congratulate you once again for this excellent piece. Once again thank you for your article which I personally rate as excellent even as you exhibited some form of annoyance


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