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NIGERIA’S WAR AGAINST CORRUPTION 1

November, 2016

SubTopic: EX-PRESIDENT, GEN OBASANJO VS THE NASS ROUND 2

This is No Bullshitting!
And, there seems to be no bullshitting at all in the current war of words between Nigeria’s National Assembly and Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo. There seems to be no holds barred! There is no question that Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo is a phenomenal factor in Nigeria. But, is he a positive or negative factor; or a positive or negative phenomenon? Now, that’s a whole different question altogether, and Nigerians are divided on the answer.

My answer is that Obasanjo is a factor that should be blown to oblivion, period! He should no longer be taken seriously in Nigeria, or anywhere in the world for that matter. I mean, the son of Adam had a chance to mold Nigeria into a great democratic nation at the end of the nation’s protracted devastating military rule, but he completely blew it with his complex ugly characteristic makeup of corruption, dictatorship, unforgiving and vindictive spirit. He laid a terrible foundation of corruption for the new democratic Nigeria!

Obasanjo left the seat of the president in 2007, but he seems to think that he is still in control of the country. He never really wanted to leave power anyway; he was forced out, virtually booted out after the failure of his final plot to perpetuate himself indefinitely in office. Now he grudgingly sits on his private throne in his multi-billion-dollar Ota farm calling the shots, or attempting to call the shots on all the affairs of the country. From the late Yar’Adua to Jonathan, and now Buhari, Obasanjo has fallen out with all his successors because they resisted his attempts to impose his will on them. 

When he left office in 2007, he turned into a holier-than-thou critic of corruption; turning himself
into an example of the proverbial pot that calls kettle black. This is so ludicrous because when he was president, Obasanjo the “pot” actually ignited the smoky fire that painted the many kettles of Nigeria black, and now he shamelessly condemns them. Putting it differently, the man created all the monsters that are currently ravaging Nigeria, and now he is calling them names.

His trending condemnation is directed at the country’s National Assembly, and this is not the first time that Obasanjo has described the national lawmakers as very crooks. So, equally trending is the response from the House of Representatives, delivered by Speaker Yakubu Dogara himself. Among many other ugly words, the Speaker called Obasanjo “the grandfather of corruption.” But, seriously, Obasanjo truly does sometimes behave and speak like a senile old man who has forgotten all his corrupt practices when he was president. Or, has he repented from his corrupt ways; has he woken up from a spell and realized that all his corrupt practices while in power were actually sinful after all? If so, why doesn’t the conceited stubborn old man simply get of his high horses and confess to Nigerians and seek forgiveness? Why does he choose the holier-than-thou attitude, vehemently condemning corrupt persons that learned the trade from him? Yes, indeed; I do agree with the Nigerian National Assembly (aka NASS) that Obasanjo is the “grandfather of corruption” in contemporary democratic Nigeria, and I have commented severally on this fact even when it was unfashionable to do so. 

The evidence of Obasanjo’s entrenchment of corruption in Nigeria is abundant in many forms. The highlights include Ghana-must-go bags of money that he consistently, severally, distributed to lawmakers as bribe to pervert the law. For the benefit of my readers that may not know, I must mention that evidence abounds. This includes video footage of a drama on the floor of the NASS; the climax of one particular scheme by Obasanjo to bribe the lawmakers. Bags of money were displayed on the floor of the National Assembly by anti-Obasanjo faction who rejected the bribe and the scheme. And, when bribery failed in any of Obasanjo’s schemes, he resorted to his favorite tool of blackmail. Blackmail worked for him because too many leaders were compromised in various forms, and, Obasanjo always has complete blackmail file on everybody that is anybody. Where blackmail failed, he employed other forms of intimidation tactics of an Army General.

 And, let’s not forget his scheme to perpetuate himself in office, which is popularly known as “Third Term Agenda;” nor should we forget the billions of naira (Nigerian money) that he spread as bribe to execute the agenda!!! How about the sources of his present wealth? Facts are clear that the man was bankrupt (worth merely 20 thousand naira) when he took office in 1999 as ex-convict; and now he is worth well over 2 billion US dollars (about 700 billion naira), which was acquired in just eight years in office as president: http://www.nigerianinfopedia.com/olusegun-obasanjo-net-wor…/ Actually, I have seen other sources that place Obasanjo’s wealth way beyond 2 billion dollars, but let’s just leave it at that sum for now. I am not a lawyer, but I dare say that I would love to prosecute Obasanjo as a novice prosecutor because it is so easy to nail him for something. Much thanks to the current Buhari Fever amongst judges due to the current anti-corruption focus on the judiciary, I am less likely now to encounter all manner of fraudulent technical huddles to protect Mr. Ex-President. 

If I fail to make my case on looting or anything else, I am sure to succeed on charges of CONFLICT-OF-INTEREST LAW violations. By this law a sitting president is not allowed to engage in any private business of his own, especially not to use his presidential influence to profit his private interests. Also, the entire world knows that nobody in the present world can possibly earn LEGITIMATE SUM of 2 billion American dollars as president in eight years; not even in eight hundred years!!! So, Obasanjo’s present 2 billion dollar wealth has all the trappings of loots, or equally illegal conflict-of-interest sources.

Notwithstanding, Obasanjo actually has the audacity to flex muscles and act as if he owns the country. The guy has guts, I can tell you that any day! He consistently challenges the nation’s law enforcement agencies and every successive president to dare to probe and prosecute him for corruption. But they all seemed/seem subservient to him; none has dared to prosecute him. Rather, they all pretend or pretended that they can’t find evidence to prosecute him; yet a ten-year old child in a corruption-free judicial system can easily lay hands on a mound of evidence against the man. If nothing else, the child can easily extrapolate that acquisition of 2 billion-dollar wealth in eight years as president of any country whatsoever has got to constitute a crime in one form or another! Now, check this out—the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is currently in a tussle with former First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan. She is accused of possession of mere fifteen million dollars on the bases of conflict of interest and unexplainable source. But they cannot find anything against a man with billions of dollars; how ridiculous!!! Now, here is my dilemma in the ongoing war of words between Obasanjo and Nigeria’s national lawmakers. And, I’m sure it is a dilemma for many other Nigerians, too, thus: Does one support Obasanjo’s hypocritical criticism of the National Assembly, or support the rotten National Assembly? Sure, I do agree with the recent statement of Speaker Dogara of the House of Representatives that “Obasanjo is the grandfather of corruption in Nigeria.” However, it is dangerous to even as much as seem to side Nigeria’s rotten National Assembly in any form whatsoever! The lawmakers are simply too rotten and criminally self-serving!!! Indeed, I would rather pitch my tent with the devil himself against them.

 I would personally enter the battle trench any day alongside Obasanjo the hypocrite to fight the lootmakers, I mean lawmakers who have grabbed all the wealth of Nigeria. They virtually own the country, well, I mean along with the 37 state governors, of course. Worse than the lawmakers’ atrocities, though, is that the rest 170 million and odd Nigerians are simply sitting back and doing nothing to effect changes. 

Nigerians are only whining—like a nation of hopeless wimps that have been subjugated into slavery by a handful of crooks!  Well, actually, I should say that Nigerians complain about the looters of our common wealth only a little fraction of the time; the rest of the time is spent in battles of words between the two factions that always unfailingly emerge each time any Nigerian looter is accused of a crime. One faction condemns the accused looters while the second faction defends them. Meanwhile, attention is diverted from the evil deeds of the looters; this is exactly their strategy. Their ‘engine room’ or propaganda machinery is well funded with stolen funds; hence, it is powerful and vocal. 

The object of the propaganda machinery is to win the support of the uninformed masses of Nigeria through one nonsensical nepotistic sentiment or the other, which commonly include sentiments of religious, tribal, or political party affiliation. Even murderers or suspected murderers easily manipulate the Nigerian public to divert attention from their crimes to nonsensical arguments on “witch-hunt” based on nepotism.

The Senate President was indicted for corruption and the senators are accusing the presidency of “witch-hunting” him. They want him freed, regardless if he is culpable. The trial is still on and the senators are still relentless in efforts to set him free; not because they think he is innocent, mind you. Speaker Dogara of the House of Representatives has also been accused of a crime or two in conspiracy with some other members of the House. Again, the entire House has rallied around Dogara in defense, and the man who exposed the crimes has been victimized and expelled from the House. Mind you, many Nigerians, indeed, most Nigerians are aware that these accusations are not baseless; they all have a lot of merit, but the lawmakers are getting away with the atrocities. Nigerians are virtually hopeless in their grip. They bluntly refuse to make any law that contradicts their selfish interests. With impunity, they make it clear that they are totally against the current anticorruption campaign in Nigeria; they fight against anticorruption strategies or moves for fear that they would be caught in the web. Those guys are there to make laws for themselves; laws that give them more power and privileges every day. 

If you don’t believe me, then explain the fact that as soon as the Senate President Bukola Saraki got indicted for corruption, the Senate put other pieces of legislature on hold and swiftly swung into action to tamper with the law that Saraki is currently being tried under. The senators are in a hurry to emasculate the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), the federal institution that is prosecuting Saraki. They are giving it unprecedented speedy deliberations, apparently to pass a new retroactive law to protect Mr. Senate President from the ongoing criminal prosecution by the CCB. And, of course, they want to make sure that they gain control of the CCB. What impunity!!! If those people had any shame or fear of the public at all, they would not exhibit such impunity. Even if there are any reasons to review that particular law, they should have waited until after Saraki’s trial, so that their selfishness may not be so obvious. Do they even have anybody in the NASS that tries to reason in this sensitive direction at all???

More recent (few days back) was the pronouncement of the Senate that it would not support any attempt to punish people that hoard dollars and other foreign currencies in Nigeria. It was a swift response to a new move by federal law enforcement agencies to investigate and check the causes of the crash of Nigeria’s currency and the resultant negative economic effects in the society. The Nigerian public is aware that the position of the lawmakers is largely self-serving; but, like I said, the lawmakers don’t give a hoot about what Nigerians think or feel about their atrocious misrule! They don’t give a hoot when they fight every anti-corruption law in Nigeria. They are too apprehensive to give a hoot, because many, if not all of them are compromised in various ways. For instance, they are likely to be hoarding a lot of foreign currencies themselves; so, they fight to stop or thwart any law against it. It is common knowledge that high-powered bribe payments and other illegal financial transactions are conducted in Nigeria mostly in strong foreign currencies, because they are safer and easier for money laundering than the Nigerian naira. It is also common knowledge that the big Nigerian politicians belong in this group of Nigerians that cherish foreign currencies. Mind you, there probably won’t be much serious social problem if only these monies are in accounts in Nigerian banks where they would circulate and benefit the society. The problem is that, unfortunately, much of the wealth of the political elites is dirty money, which the owners would not deposit in banks because they cannot explain the sources legitimately.

So, the monies are hidden everywhere but the banks—in sewer systems, in wells, in house basements, in water tanks; you name it! It does not take a astral scientist to extrapolate that this trend is among the major reasons for acute scarcity of foreign currencies and the consequent fall in the value of naira. Nigerian lootmakers, I mean, lawmakers don’t give a hoot about how all this is killing Nigerians; rather, as usual, they have the audacity to openly challenge the move by the government to check the problem, because they are part of the problem!!! 

And, what is the reason for the impunity of Nigeria’s lawmakers? Easy answer—the lootmakers, or lawmakers if you insist, capitalize on the complacency of Nigerians. They are aware that Nigerians are not revolutionary; that Nigerians do not fight for their rights. The lawmakers’ impunity in acts and words thrives on this weakness. If you find yourself within some inner circles, you would actually hear politicians make jokes of this poor national trait. But then, you don’t even need to get into any inner-circle to hear such jokes from the uncouth mouth of President Obasanjo; he would just blab it out openly anywhere he chooses. For instance, once upon a day during his reign, Obasanjo summed it all up at an airport on his way to the Bahamas. Media reporters questioned the wisdom behind his jetting out of Nigeria to the Bahamas on a day that Nigeria was virtually on fire with protests and riots over his policies. The man retorted with something like—“Which protest and riot? Una dey protest? (meaning, are you people protesting?)” He teased the reporters that Nigerians would soon give up, and the protest would be over in another day or two, then he disdainfully turned around and boarded his jet for the Bahamas. Sure enough, the protest died out before Obasanjo returned to Nigeria; and not one demand of the Nigerian people was addressed. And, life just went on as if nothing had happened. This is the general disdainful attitude of the Nigerian lawmakers towards the Nigerian people, which can be said to have come out of Obasanjo’s mentorship. In all, the people can be said to deserve the rotten National Assembly that they have; the people of Nigeria are too complacent for anything better!!!

So, you see, despite my agreement with the NASS that Obasanjo is Nigeria’s “grandfather of corruption,” I am willing to put his past deeds and present hypocrisy aside and support his call to grab Nigeria back from a rotten National Assembly. Anybody, and I mean anybody (even the devil himself) who speaks up and proffers solution against Nigeria’s self-serving national lawmakers has my support any day!!! This is the second, or is it the third time Obasanjo has traded verbal missiles with them on matters of corruption. Each time, he is right about the rot in the NASS. This time I pray that he can actually lead a revolution to clean up the rot, despite his hypocrisy. At least the man is shamelessly courageous, or should I say courageously shameless to speak out; where are all the past and even present socio-political leaders?

What are they doing to give Nigerians a better National Assembly? Or, is there any sane Nigerian who does not know that the NASS is rotten? Never mind the unscrupulous Nigerians who support evil—but even they still cannot swear not to know that the NASS is rotten—they only pretend and lie because they benefit from the rot. Now, after defeating the current devastating enemy—the NASS—then we may urge President Buhari to muster the political will to probe Obasanjo, too. Once again, it would be great if Obasanjo comes out clean to confess his many corrupt practices as the pioneer-president of Nigeria’s new-found democracy. He should tell us that he is now a new man; that he wants to atone his past sins by lending the nation the benefits of his experience as the designer of corrupt practices. 

As they say, it often takes a crook to catch another crook. I would personally try to forgive Obasanjo if he ever comes clean, and I know that many Nigerians would, too. Sadly, until baba confesses, his criticism of anybody’s corruption does always come across to me and many Nigerians heavily as the words of a shameless hypocrite! But, hey; like I said, even before his confession I still do want him to keep hitting the lootmakers with his verbal missiles. Indeed, I want him to take it to the next level of effecting some sort of action against the lootmakers…No more Bullshitting!! 

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