It’s Like We Had a Fraud Promo

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POLSCOPE

I have not ceased wondering how Nigeria has managed to remain a diplomatic going concern. Everything needed to ruin and imperil the country has taken place. From the stretch of bad governance, through poor leadership, down to the all-wrecking malaise called corruption, Nigeria has had more than a fair share of these vices to cause it to go under. I do not know of any nation, not even Hungary that can survive the degree of mindless pillaging the Nigerian treasury has suffered, and perhaps continue to suffer.

Almost everyday, we are assailed with tons of recovered loot from those who held offices yesterday. It is as if Nigeria once ran a fraud promo. And all the participating contestants struggled to win the premium prize.

And you wonder what kind of system we run. What kind of system makes it that easy for rogues in government to cart away our commonwealth unchecked and undetected? Haba!

Already, many of the accused persons, from whom huge sums have been recovered, still have the effrontery to go to court to challenge one thing or the other in the name of exercise of fundamental human rights. Arrant nonsense! What right does a treasury looter have?

With a fraction of what they looted, they hire the best of lawyers who sure know how to throw spanner into the wheels of the prosecution in such a way that the prosecution takes almost forever, while they gallivant round town in the allure of their lucre.

Pray, where are/were the internal and external auditors when the nation was being robbed blind by these persons?

It is either the auditors are collaborators in the raid of the nation’s treasury or they do not know their work. Either way, they deserve to be put in the dock and dumped.

We do not all need to be economists to know that the signs and symptoms of the present economic recession have been activated long before now. How can a country be this robbed and raped and not go into a coma? Nigeria is a living paradox. We wallow in the poverty of our wealth and in the wealth of our poverty.

Nothing else but bad leadership and sickening corruption explains why we are as we are: abjectly poor. For a country to be this blessed and endowed, yet this depraved and degenerate, bespeaks of something fundamentally wrong with our collective gene. That is why I am convinced that the crave for restructuring of the polity will not necessarily end our woes as a people. Will restructuring of the polity, for instance, mean that all the wizardry in corruption will cease? No, I dare say!

In other words, corruption and unbridled roguery, and not an unrestructured polity is our greatest threat to growth and development. The terribly depraved persons in high places will be restructured into somewhere, where they will continue their nefarious acts.

I have always advocated a crusade for moral re-armament. I admit that I do not know, in finite details, how it will work, but I know that there is something verily wrong with our attitude to life and living. And unless we change our attitude radically for the better, Nigeria will continue to be tethered to the poles of penury and stagnation.

What kind of restructuring, for instance, will make all the Andrew Yakubus (former GMD of NNPC) of this world not to mass up and store away in fireproof cabinets, the sum of $9,772,800 (Nine Million, Seven Hundred and Seven Two Thousand, Eight Hundred United States Dollars) and another sum of £74,000 (Seventy Four Thousand Pound Sterling) cash, in a facility belonging to him in downtown slums of Sabon Tasha area of Kaduna? This is a man in his 60’s. What does he need that staggering sum for? This is a man who has more than the basic necessities of life, given the privileges attached to his former office. What does he need that sum for? Indeed, it is because he does not need it that is why it is hidden away in a bunker, while the nation groans. He practically ran a mono-transactional cottage bank.

But Yakubu claims it is a gift from an unnamed friend. Gift my foot! Even if it is, he must have compromised his office most dearly to land such a humongous and embarrassing gift. And that same Yakubu, has shamelessly gone to court to challenge the forfeiture order granted by the court.

Few days after the recovery of the Yakubu cash, another huge sum of $37.5 million was recovered from a house (in Banana Island, Lagos) belonging to the former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Diezani Allison Madueke.

This is apart from the several other sums that have been recovered from her since she left office in 2015. She has indeed been in the mire of several fraudulent controversies whilst she battled her cancer affliction in the UK. She recently spoke, admitting that she may have made mistakes, like all human, while in office, but denied being a thief. That declaration was however closely followed by the discovery of the $37.5 million in her Lagos mansion on February 10, this year, whereas she has been in London for nearly two years. Another stashed away fund!

There is no gainsaying that the NNPC has been over-milked by those minding it over the years. And that is why it has failed to replenish the nation.

The NNPC is the equivalent of Brazil’s Petrobras. Both oil corporations have essentially the same history and functions, but parallel result. While both corporations handle about the same volume of oil production (2.3 mbpd), the income they rake into their various countries are very different.

As at three years ago, Petrobras had nearly 81,000 staffers. But Nigeria’s NNPC is yet struggling with about 5,000… all because the NNPC is not growing, unlike Petrobras with ever expanding subsidiaries.

In Norway, the country is busy saving up all her earnings from oil. But in Nigeria we are not only hugely indebted to other nations and global financial institutions, we are unable to justifiably manage even the funds we borrow. Something is wrong with us!

But our NNPC is wracked down by corruption. Every and anybody appointed into the NNPC as anything believes he/she is been given a ticket to automatic wealth. That is why the corporation has produced wealthy crooks rather than a wealthy nation.

When the then governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and now emir of Kano, HRM Sanusi 11, raised the alarm that some $20 billion was not remitted by the NNPC into the federation account, he was harangued and sacked. Today, we are gradually seeing where those monies went.

Canticles

The Metamorphosis of a Sick Narrative

Hello, my brother, you have been scarce. I suppose you travelled. Which of the two destinations did you travel to?

Two destinations? What are they?

Need you ask? For most Nigerian politicians seeking relevance both now and in the future, there have been a swarm to either  Oghara or London.

Oghara and London? What is the connect?

Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem?

Are you not aware that the great man of Delta politics, Chief James Onanefe Ibori imprisoned by UK authorities is back and he is hibernating in his hearth, Oghara, Delta State, while the great man of Nigerian politics, President Muhammadu Buhari is held up in London? Are you not aware that these two destinations have been playing host to many Nigerians in the last three weeks?

Why should I waste my time going to London to visit a hale and hearty man who just went on 10-day holiday but decided to extend it ad infinitum?

Why are you talking like that? You mean you have not been praying for the quick recovery of our president?

Were you told that he is/was sick? Were we not told that Mr President is going on his annual vacation for just ten days and that while he is resting, he will just undertake routine checks with his doctor and that there is nothing to worry about? Did they not deny that the president was not going for medical vacation but just mere holiday?  Did the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and the Information minister, Lai Mohammed not declare that the President is “hale and hearty”? So why should we be fasting and praying for a “hale and hearty” man enjoying the British autumn weather?  Did Shehu Garba, one of the president’s spokesmen, not declare that the President was fine and was even home sick and would be back home sooner than later?

Didn’t they all create the impression that nothing was amiss?

Don’t forget they are to say only what they are permitted to say. Remember they are not the principal themselves, but the principal’s subordinate.

What kind of argument is that? Should subordinates not have the courage to tell the truth or keep their lips sealed? Look, we are talking about the health of the number one citizen in the most populous black nation in the world. Why can’t there be transparency about it?

Indeed, if the president had been able to return after the initial ten days, there would have been a strong denial that he was ever sick by his handlers.

Look, Mr President is a human being, just like you and me.  Yes, he has immunity from court litigation while in office, but he is not immune from sickness. So, like all mortals, he can take ill at any time.

Nobody is arguing about that. He is as vulnerable like any other human. But as a public votary, there is a limit to which his so-called private issues will remain private. To cover up the sickness of Mr President is to suggest that he is superhuman. He is not. So if he is ill, he should say so and not dance around the bush.

But he was the same person who formally wrote the Senate to say he has some medical tests to take, hence he is unable to return after the initial ten days. He then wrote again to say the results of some of the medical tests he had taken demand that he rests a little longer in the UK than he had envisaged. Is that not transparent enough?

 You don’t get the point. There is no total disclosure. It is piecemeal information. Nigerians need to know what is wrong with their president. Not just saying he is taking some tests and the results thereof demand longer rest period. For God’s sake, what kinds of tests have the president taken? Just what is wrong with Mr President? We need to know. He is 74 or so. It is normal for a man of such age to get weak and have troubling ailments. We should know. But there are older people in power. President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe just had his 93rd birthday in office. He does not hide his sickness. He is also African!

I don’t think Mr President has really hoarded information about his health. When he had ear problem, he announced it and went for treatment. When his body chemistry gave him sign that he needs some rest and medical check, he said so.  What’s more, he not only transmitted relevant letter to the National Assembly, he handed over power to his Vice, who has been carrying on the business of government. And I think, that is a refreshing difference from the previous ugly experience we had under the late President Musa Yar’Adua.

Do you know the visit of politicians to

 London to see Mr President, not the Queen, is just to dispel the strong rumour that he has passed on? Is that not why there is serious effort, by those visiting, to take photographs with the president to reassure Nigerians that he is not dead?  Did the pictures not show a very lean President Muhammadu Buhari, thus betraying the seriousness of the hidden sickness?  And is that not why many Nigerians are demanding that he should speak to them live, to be sure he is not merely photo-morphed in those visits? The nugget of information being miserly pitched in has turned many Nigerians to present day Thomas. Thus far, it has developed from just looking in to see his doctor to being literally detained medically in the UK , for an undisclosed sickness and for a period no one can determine.  In all, the metamorphosis of the sick narrative has heightened the curiousity of Nigerians.

Ok. Now that the whole truth is inadvertently popping out, will you join the band of prayerful Nigerians interceding for the quick recovery of Mr President?  

Sure, I will.