One of Those Weeks…

36
6022
The Verdict By Olusegun Adeniyi, Email: olusegun.adeniyi@thisdaylive.com

I knew from Monday morning that I was not going to write this week; not only because I feel mentally exhausted but also because the issues dominating the headlines are not particularly of interest to me. Unfortunately, when I asked Dr Chidi Amuta whether he would help fill this space today by writing, he was non-committal; and when by last night I got no feedback from him, I concluded that this is just one of those weeks. But to put my dilemma in perspective, let us look at some of the issues that I would have commented on, assuming I felt compelled to write this column today.

On Monday, the Bayelsa Police Command paraded before newsmen in Yenogoa the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) state chapter chairman (I never heard about such office before) and seven other undergraduates of the Niger Delta University, Amassoma in connection with alleged cultism, armed robbery and murder. According to the State Commissioner of Police, Mr Asuquo Amba, some of the recovered arms and ammunition from these students included two locally-made single barrelled pistol, two live ammunition, five .9mm live ammunition and some charms.

The question is: Why would undergraduates need guns and charms?
Well, it had to do with the bid to hold student union positions which, like all political aspiration in our country, is always at all cost. The tragic incident in question occurred at the Zone B election for NANS coordinators which took place at the Federal University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State, between November 25 and November 26. “It was a situation whereby students representing universities and higher institutions in the South-South zone degenerated to the use of firearms that led to the death of a student” said Amba who explained the desperation with which the election (for NANS coordinators!) was fought by undergraduates.

However, as shocking as that may be to some people, those who follow the news are quite aware that campus politics these days mirrors that of the larger society where dirty money, violence and diabolical means are weapons of choice. While in the past those who seek to be student leaders would memorise all the quotes from Aristotle to Plato, it is incantations that most student union leaders now chant because such positions have become avenues to stupendous wealth and political powers.

That then explains why two months ago, the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Students’ Union Vice President and the Director of Socials engaged in a serious fight with one breaking a bottle to stab the other in the course of an exco meeting. Not surprisingly, it was over money. A few weeks before that, the student union president of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and two members of his cabinet were impeached for allegedly helping themselves to the sum of N4 million. From the University of Abuja to the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto to University of Calabar and other campuses across the country, the stories are the same: student unionism is now mostly about self-enrichment.

While the decadence that pervades our campuses is an issue we may have to address one day, I still do not see how such intervention can be considered important, especially in a season where the never-ending saga of the former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, keeps throwing up interesting revelations. For those who may still not know him, we are talking about a civil servant who absconded from duty when the heat was turned on him and his enablers, eventually got dismissed following public outcry and a Senate ultimatum, reinstated after two years under a dirty deal by a government supposedly fighting corruption, promoted by two ranks in the process, dismissed again after another public outcry and yet still earning some jumbo salaries from the treasury, according to his lawyer!

In the home video he released last weekend, Maina claimed that President Muhammadu Buhari was aware of, and gave approval for, his recent meeting in Dubai with the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami. “When this government came in, the President [Buhari Muhammadu] gave the nod that ‘go and sit down with Maina, I’ve given you the approval’. They sat down with me after the security agencies had cleared me”, said Maina who has exposed the hypocrisy of this government and the joke called war against corruption.

Quite typical, the presidency has not reacted to the claim by Maina, just as it is still mute about the statement by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita that President Buhari cannot feign ignorance about the whole saga. “I sought audience with His Excellency, Mr. President on Wednesday, 11th October, 2017 after the FEC meeting where I briefed His Excellency verbally on the wide-ranging implications of the reinstatement of Mr. A. A. Maina, especially the damaging impact on the anti-corruption stance of this administration,” she wrote in a recently leaked memo whose veracity has not been disputed.

However, since the Maina drama is still playing out, and he has promised to release more salacious details, we may have to wait to get the full picture before we can make sense of the whole ugly episode. The challenge, however, is that it is not only the Maina scandal that raises questions about the anti-corruption war of this government, there is also the reported mismanagement of the forfeited assets from proceeds of corruption. On Tuesday, Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki spoke about “the opacity shrouding the management of recovered funds, which in many cases get re-looted by the agencies that investigated and recovered them” before he added: “An ad hoc committee of the Senate, which is investigating some administrative infractions in the Executive, has discovered that many properties recovered from a fugitive from the law have not been accounted for by the investigating agency”.

Coming from the Number Three Citizen, and a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), no allegation can be weightier but before somebody says “it is corruption fighting back” which is the only defence by this administration for every infraction, let us leave that matter and look at a few other issues that Nigerians are talking about. I know someone will suggest I comment on the resignation from the APC by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar but how can I do that without hearing from ‘Mama Taraba’? We must never forget that it was the Women Affairs Minister, Mrs Aisha Alhassan, who sensationally declared a few weeks ago: “We hope he (Atiku) will contest in 2019, that’s why I said so. Once he declares, I’ll do just what I said (resign). If Atiku comes out to contest and I remain part of Baba Buhari’s cabinet at the same time, then I become a hypocrite.”

If the minister chooses to be silent at this moment in time, why should I dabble into what does not concern me? Okay, as someone also suggested yesterday, I could write on the coming wedding between Prince Harry and his African-American actress, Meghan Merkle. While I hope my friend, Ebuka has already alerted his tailor to start making a special wear for the big-do, I honestly fail to understand why a wedding between two people should attract such global attention.

Meanwhile, there is this story of different persons laying claim to being the genuine whistleblowers that gave information which led to the recovery of about N13billion belonging to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) recovered from Flat 7 Osborne Towers, Ikoyi. Even when whistle blowing is supposed to be a secret business, no fewer than four men are already in court asking the federal government to pay them their cut of the loot. While we wait to see how the whole controversy will be resolved, that some Nigerians are candidates for Aro mental hospital is no longer in doubt. Who will not run mad if you pin your hope ‘for making it in life’ on acquiring such enormous wealth for ‘blowing whistle’ only to end up being short-changed by a policy clearly lacking in integrity?
While the whistle blowers continue their battle in court, I am sure there are readers interested in the drama in Harare. When I wrote last week that “the military commanders and their political collaborators, led by the man who has now inherited power, merely used the people to achieve a predetermined end”, I got some harsh reactions. With reports that former President Robert Mugabe may get a golden handshake of $10 million aside having his birthday become a national holiday, it is now evident that the whole coup was designed only to checkmate the inordinate ambition of Mrs Grace Mugabe. But let us leave Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans.

Incidentally, it is a sign of the time that Nigerians are practically cut out from the rest of the world in the current campaign to end violence against women and girls. But from last Friday night, when I was a guest of the Abuja Literary Society (ALS) Book Jam, I knew this would happen. Along with Mr. Ikeogu Ike, the 2017 NLNG Nigeria Prize for Literature winner, who gave a commanding performance by singing his poems, it was an enjoyable night made more fun by the inimitable spoken word and performance poetry artist and rave of the moment, Dike Chukwumerije, who anchored proceedings. But shortly before the whole session ended, a lady reminded us of the significance of the next day (November 25): the United Nations International Day for the elimination of violence against women.

It is instructive that this year’s campaign is to last 16 days till 10th December, the United Nations Human Rights Day, with the overall objective of galvanizing action to end violence against women and girls. And the lady made that point. Not surprisingly, there were murmurs from many of the men in the audience that perhaps the thrust of the campaign in Nigeria this year should be the protection of husbands from their wives. In the past three weeks, there have been several social media memes on that and perhaps, justifiably so too.

With the sentence, on Monday, to seven years in prison of an Ibadan based lawyer who stabbed her husband to death against the background of the ongoing murder trial in Abuja of a wife who also allegedly stabbed to death her husband amid another case in Gusau, Zamfara State (where a man is similarly battling for his life after being stabbed by his wife) there are reports that the fear of knives in the hands of wives has become the beginning of wisdom for all husbands in Nigeria.

From the foregoing, I hope readers can understand my dilemma and why I chose not to write today. Sometimes, the burden of journalism in a society like this can be very tough. In the absence of a clear national direction to meaningfully engage, our diversity throws up conflicting signals and issues. For instance, each of the subjects that have come up in the course of this week testifies to the confusion we find ourselves in. Some of them, like Saraki’s lament about the looting of previous loots or the audacious claims by serial fugitive, Maina touch on the very credibility of the current administration.

The silence around these issues from the very top further confounds an already cynical public. In our new normal, we have gone beyond shock. Yet, who knows what heavier matters the coming week will bring up?

• You can follow me on my Twitter handle, @Olusegunverdict and on www.olusegunadeniyi.com

  • Salmon Omokanye

    Segun Adeniyi is articulate. But this salad of unrelated events is mediocrity in journalism.
    Better not to write than write badly because you are one of the very few left in whom we pin the hope for good standard.
    Read ” Atiku, Atikulation”by Reuben Abati (Ph.D) and you want to weep for the abysmally low standard Reuben has dropped to. He should be ashamed of himself.

  • Ade Omowest

    Since Olusegun Adeniyi has decided to swallow hook line and sinker the rubbish emanating from the rogue Senate President Saraki that EFCC relooted the properties seized from the pension looters without finding out the facts from EFCC, he should read below the response from EFCC to refresh his brain.

    EFCC BOSS, IBRAHIM MAGU’s TESTIMONY ON #MAINAGATE ASSET RECOVERY

    “The EFCC has no record of any collaboration between it & Maina-led Pension Reform Task Team in investigation of pension fraud & Maina did not hand over a single asset, supposedly recovered from pension fraud suspects, to the Commission.”

    “EFCC did not receive any assets from Maina its officials could not have shared what never existed. Those who claim there was ‘sharing’ of assets are at liberty to state which assets were ‘shared’ when ‘sharing’ took place who supervised ‘sharing’ & who got what.”

    “All the assets recovered from pension fraud suspects are products of EFCC’s independent investigation. They were recovered from suspects of pension fraud in both Police Pension & the Pension Office of the Office of Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.”

    “Suspects investigated in the Police Pension fraud from whom assets were seized include: Atiku Kigo, Esai Dangabar, Ahmed Inuwa Wada, Veronica Oyegbula, Uzuoma Cyril Attang, Sani Habila Zira, John Yusuf & their associated companies.”

    “Those from whom properties were recovered are Shaibu Teidi, Phina Chidi, Abdul Mohammed, Emmanuel Olanipekun, Aliyu Bello & their associated companies. Only assets recovered from John Yusuf convicted under a plea bargain have been permanently forfeited to FG.”

    “Assets both under interim forfeiture & final forfeiture are being managed in transparent arrangement put in place by Assets Forfeiture Dept of EFCC. Etudo & Co. Estate Surveyors & Valuers a reputable estate management firm was engaged to manage the assets.”

    “Assets recovered from Essai Dangabar are being managed by Court Registrar based on Court Order. The proceeds of rent on the properties that had successfully been let out by the firm are fully documented and available in the recovery account of the EFCC.”

    “Other recoveries not captured in the interim/final forfeiture analysis, include those that were recently recovered from Abdulrasheed Maina in Abuja and Kaduna.”

    “Maina is under investigation by the EFCC for fraud and money laundering. He is the arrow head of complex web of illicit deals that saw hundreds of millions of pension funds allegedly ending up in his private pockets.”

    “Cash element of recoveries is also carefully documented & stands at N2,886,743,016.71; $3,017,556.73 & €3,385.40; N16,185,131,847.09 recovered from an illegal account in an old generation bank has since been remitted to office of the HoS.”

    #LastWord on #MainaGate “There is no opacity regarding the EFCC’s handling of the assets recovered from suspects of pension fraud. The fact speaks for itself.” #Focused #SayNoToCorruption

  • Mystic mallam

    Segun Adeniyi, We are not fools and we are not fooled by your claim of mental fatigue or writers’ blank. Your real problem is political correctness, pandering and discomfort writing about important trending issues. You wrote a word or two on MAINAGATE – an outbreak you very well is bigger news than all previous corruption scandals involving this administration – this one involves President Buhari personally and directly. If proven, the impact wouldn’t just be on the already shambolic anti-graft war, it would do irreparable damage to Buhari’s much touted brand of integrity and incorruptibility, especially now he is indicating a wish to run a 2nd term. If he loses the over-stated and now dubious aura of personal integrity, what is left for him to run on – his present performance, his qualifications, compassion, vision, charisma, oratory, what? Of course we can’t expect Segun to write on the pretensions of his “egbon”. He’d never dare to write about his peer “human rights” lawyer – Mr Femi Falana whose hypocrisy is not unknown to many of us, but who has thrived and made good on that false image for years, hoodwinking even astute and usually discerning people. It’s not that Segun Adeniyi didn’t have what to write on, it’s that he wouldn’t dare.

  • Fidelis A.

    Thisday please release the comment of Grelia. O. I received his reply to my post but you people have refused to publish his comments because he called out the media. You people are failing this country, Nigerians deserves non politically correct intervention at this time and season.

    Thisday moderator, release the comments of Grelia, this is an unwanted distraction on your comment board today.

  • Grelia O

    I don’t know why Thisday, Vanguard, and Guardian refuse to allow most my responses to articles they generate in their columns. My posts on national issues are no where near as in-depth, incisive, thought-provoking and controversial as those from John West, American Abroad, and many other bloggers, and the pieces from the duo of Akin Osuntokun and Shaka Mamodo.

    Why are these print media houses picking on insignificant me?

    • Fidelis A.

      They will fail. Thisday release the comment of Grelia. We say no to gagging of free speech.

      • Grelia O

        Thanks.

        I was fresh out of secondary school when Buhari struck and clamped down on the press with decree 4. I was an undergraduate shortly after and participated in demonstrations against those draconian laws against the press, and suffered police brutality and school closures. The same press is now doing to me what the military did to it for which I and many other patriotic Nigerians endured serious consequences to secure the freedom it enjoys. Shameful.

  • Fowad

    Sad to see how student union leadership is fast becoming lawless, rendering the whole concept of university education meaningless. The same way that poor governance skills at the national level renders the state powerless and the people impoverished.
    This is what happens when emphasis is on wrong targets and priorities and not on productive skills. That is, the skill you get while working on the job and raising family. Nigerian government will be hard pressed to structure the economy for the youth to prosper without dependence on endlessly attending schools to receive certificates. Ultimately frustration sets in as these youth contemplate a hopeless future. Political leadership should take all the blame for putting these youth through years of frustration and despair. Government maintains a high level of expenditure and hardly plan for the future of the youth who should take over from them. As a matter of fact, they don’t foresee these youth taking over. What do you then do if not to take the law into your hands? No. I’m not suggesting lawlessness. Students are in the university to study and later make themselves useful for changing their country, not to commit crime.
    As in everything else concerning politics and money in Nigeria, for the student leadership too, human lives are at risk.
    No wonder you lamented the estrangement of Nigeria from the rest of the civilised world
    In fact, that is the reason why you could not lay hold on a subject. In spite of the open goal of stories to tell about all kinds of activities that could promote development and cultivate national transformation. Instead, we are all engaged in a scenario akin to the State of Nature, where lives are nasty brutish and short.

  • Full blooded Nigerian

    Which way Nigeria?

  • the masked one

    Vintage Segun! Random musings? Is this an escapist indulgence? Anyway, got it! If only you will keep it this way always- short cuts but direct and instructive, and yet touching every trending topic. Not the usual lengthy and windy treatise on national issues, full of political correctness or some say, doublespeak and hypocrisies, and yet devoid of punch.

    In fact, Segun, there was no dilemma at all. We quite understand your circumstances. You are disappointed because the masquerade you helped dress was a huge disappointment. But you have to be sincere about it. You have to be open. You can no longer pretend all is well.

    Of course, you wrote all you wanted to write which would not have been possible(and you know it) if you had chosen a topic. Honestly, this is the not the best of times to be a columnist, especially, for those whose conscience are beginning to prick them for being part of this charade.

    But with the latest movie, “Maina In Dubai”, staring Maina himself as the lead actor, the AGF, the HoS and Mr Integrity, there would not be dull moments even for a novice columnist because the materials for a piece are not in short supply. Maina has promised a continuing reel of shocking episodes.

    So, write you must write, Segun! Even if we do not agree most of the times but you should not keep quiet. After all, you are part of this mess. Segun, you cannot do the Pilate with this government. Or have you forgotten we are talking of Mr Integrity, here?

  • Mr. Abdin

    Politics is all about interest.

  • Christopher

    Except you are currently living in sugar candy mountain, there certainly is a lot to write about the country Nigeria. you failed to beam adequate light on the mainagate scandal. Trending Viciously on our good conscience and governance is the hypocrite Lagos lawyer in the person of Saint Femi falana, one of the 13 shameless SANS that defended the president’s certificate crime. A human right activist who buys properties from looted proceeds is nothing but a shameless cashtivist. Perhaps, this is the reason Saint Falana is in perpetual Support of a president, whose body language is a clear definition of a tyrant. Festus KeyAmo is another criminal waiting to be exposed.
    In due time, it will be obvious that there’s no one standing in this jungle. Not the Lion King. Not the hyenas nor the jackals. Not even the weaker animals! Unfortunately, the likes of Segun, with his social crusader toga is, no doubt, the biggest culprit.

    • Lawrenece Ifo

      Hahaha.
      Saint Falana indeed.

      • Christopher

        Saint falana is in deep shit. it will take all the water in barbeach and the entire detergent In the vault to cleanse himself of this dent.

    • Iskacountryman

      are you sure segun did not also buy efcc property?

      • Ado Ibrahim

        I doubt but sure Segun seats on 800m from Dasukigate as an editor of this newspaper

        • share Idea

          lol

        • Iskacountryman

          dat boy sef…im sabe chop clean mouth…

          • salele

            LOL!

    • KWOY

      Thanks so much! Times have kept exposing the hipocrites & Frauds who over the years have appeared in false cloaks: Bola Tinubu , Femi Falana, Wole Soyinka, the larger Yoruba.

      TINUBU: All the heat in the polity since 2012 is Tinubu’s ambition to be VP – destabilizing the polity with media armarments he acquired with his loots & for the purpose of attaining power;

      FALANA: all this criminal have against Jonathan was not aiding him to become Ekiti governor; a liar who attended the National Conference only for the money & who became its greatest critic & an Antagonist of restructuring afterwards;

      WOLE SOYINKA: A tribalist who was blaming Ojo Maduekwe for OBJs 3rd term project, & lost his sanity the moment Jonathan marginalized the Yoruba;

      THE YORUBA: who have become exposed since 1999 on what they want….

      Adeniyi & his band of Yoruba nepotists will not comment on Falana. And among the things we are waiting to see how they are resolved is how Falana’s case is handled. Let’s see if he will escape the EFCC with his corruption!

      • Fowad

        You never reach your climax until you accuse Yoruba of committing one political crime or the other.

        • KWOY

          It is hard to know who is the greater evil between you, the Hausa/Fulani or any other. Envy is churning the bile for the Igbo out of everybody! In the Hausa/Fulani barbarism & economic desperation are combined with islamic fundamentalism. And hence, an evil ordinarily cannot be worse. But because they do not pass for ANYTHING & hence do not consider themselves as capable of competiting with the Igbo, they naturally accept their place & only fight for economic survival in one Nigeria. They see their domination of politics as a way of guaranteeing the Nigeria.

          But with the Yoruba it is a different thing: Ordinarily the most WASTED race that exists on the map, but having been reasonably upgraded by centuries of education & exposure to civilization, they feel a sense of competition with the Igbo. With the Yoruba ENVY reaches its peak. Awolowo’s poisonous heart & dark policies were all driven by ENVY! And it exists till this day! What go for the Yoruba is just ANYTHING that is anti-Igbo. Even if it will be of mutual benefit let it be destroyed provided the Igbo does not benefit. Whatever or whoever represents Igbo interest or success story beomes an Anathema to the Yoruba. And hence you can see why why Chinua Achebe, Okonjo Iweala, Arunmah Oteh,Stella Oduah, Bart Nnaji, Azubuike Ihejirika, Ojukwu, Soludo, Ekeweremadu, Osita Chidoka, Nnamdi Kanu, etc are outcasts to the Yoruba…

          The Yoruba is no worse than the Ogoni or the Tiv, but because their Impact is more felt – & they lead the others – because of their number & position!
          All hail Biafra!

          • galaxy

            It is obvious who is suffering from inferiority complex.

      • kazkaz

        http://thenewsnigeria DOT com DOT ng/2015/05/the-igbonisation-agenda/
        Read more: http://newsrescue. com/lopsided-federal-appointments-igbo-domination-in-govt-worries-ijaw-yoruba/#ixzz4oPl3whRL

        Then read : THE BITTER TRUTH ABOUT THE IGBO, BY FEMI FANI-KAYODE

    • ychukwuka

      Thanks. I have nothing to add again

    • “Korede

      You are what you called these people. If you cannot substantiate the claims. You cannot ask them not have a different opinion from yours. What certificate crime are you talking about? The man claimed school certificate result and same has been publicized with the master sheet from Cambridge. God help you.

  • Daniel Obior

    Well done Segun Adeniyi for finally ‘shinning your eyes’ on Buhari. The man has never been any use, not even to himself. It was clear for all to see, but some either chose not to see or lied to the contrary for pecuniary, political or other gains. Buhari’s war against corruption is a grand scam and the man is a fraud.

    • Fidelis A.

      I totally agree with you. He is the biggest fraud in the country today. He feigne’s ignorance at virtually every thing, he uses his aides as fall guys. I just can’t deal with President Buhari hypocrisy, it’s just too nauseating. Every scandal tainting his administration all points to him. From the Baru NNPC scandal down to this new mainagate. WHY HIM?

      At what point would the Nigeria media say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH?

      • Grelia O

        I responded to your post but Thisday has withheld it. I’m not surprised.

        • Fidelis A.

          Dear Grelia,

          I received your reply to my post. Thanks, very enriching.

          Dear thisday moderator, this attempt to GAG free speech on this comment board shall fail. Release the comment of Grelia. Was it because his commentary called out you people in the fourth estate? Release his comment and stop gagging free speech on this comment board.

        • Don Franco

          Dear Grelia O:

          You are not alone; I, too, have been victimized by the Moderator for calling out Nduka Obiegbena for his corrupt conduct; by my comments net being posted.

          My take away is that even Thisday isn’t immunized from that noxious peculiarly nigerian disease of supressing ideas that
          Expose their bad behavior…

          • Grelia O

            My biggest disappointment is that Nigerians are individually resourceful and creative, but are still shortchanged due tonfactors that the Press intentionally ignores. Provide them the right enabling environment and they will give a good account of themselves. Step outside our shores and see what individual Nigerians are lawfully doing in Europe, America, and even Asia, where they started venturing of late. It’s the same Nigerians with the same DNA. The difference is the environment in those societies. Even as immigrants, often with limited opportunities compared to natives, Nigerians are competitive. Go back to our history, and you find that we did well when there was local autonomy.

            To the extent that the absence of local autonomy led to the erosion of most the things that should have pushed us to our rightful position in the global community, I will continue to hold those responsible for the abolition of that autonomy responsible.

            The chaps at the newspaper boardrooms or whoever decides what blog is allowed can censor me a million times, they will not make me blind and deaf to that reality. I will continue to express my outrage. You and every other patriotic Nigerian should, too.

            We are where we are today because we keep adjusting to every manner of misgovernance. Where is the collective outrage? The leadership will continue to be lions and prey on us as long as We, The People, continue to be sheep. If the Press will not do it job as the Fourth Estate, you and I should speak up. The country belongs to us as well.

          • Grelia O

            Dear Don Franco,

            I gave you a response but they didn’t publish it. No surprise, I’m used to it.

    • Ado Ibrahim

      On Buhari Segun eyes has never been closed he is consistent critique of Buahri Government

      • Daniel Obior

        You surely have been living in Mars.

    • onyema22ohaka

      Never mind the certificateless daura dullard is now busy polishing his shoes for the 2019 slot and he will be ably supported by his afonja co-travellers even in the face of monumental failure.