Diezani: The Shame of a Regime


I have not ceased to wonder about the tons of bad and shocking news we are daily served concerning Mrs Diezani Allison Madueke, former Petroleum Minister, under the Goodluck Jonathan regime.

As my late father would say, the murderer would have been set free, but what about the person he killed? How do you discount that?
Even if Jonathan’s regime is discharged of all malfeasance, how do we discount the Diezani plague?

No woman, in the history of Nigeria’s public service, has been woven round with such odious tapestry of fraud and shame. Her name now collocates with fraud, or allegations of huge fraud. She seems to have denominated the mess of the Jonathan regime. While she reigned, she was a prized peacock that paraded the gait of the sacred and untouchable specie. And she enjoyed the public scare. Not even Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who then was the Finance minister and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, dared to dabble or pry into the transactions of the petroleum ministry. It was a no-go ministry. The auditor-general of the federation, and the president himself all became mentally benumbed with Diezani and the petroleum ministry. But what else was left of the Economy for Okonjo-Iweala to coordinate if petroleum was not to be looked into? Those were some of the ambiguities of the Jonathan administration which they all lived with, albeit with under-breath grumblings.

Diezani had an inexplicable grip on the person of Jonathan. The latter handled her and her issues only with a third of his senses. The result was that she carried on with borderless freedom.
That was why Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the former CBN governor (now Emir of Kano) was sacked, because he dared to raise the alarm that some $50 billion (later reduced to $20billion) was missing from the petroleum funds.

The story was then told of how, in the last two years of that regime, she practically lived in London and flew in every Wednesday in a private jet, to attend FEC meetings and flew back immediately after. Little wonder she was accused by the House of Reps that she spent over N10 Billion, drawn from NNPC treasury, in chartering private jets. Who would have imagined that such an educated, charming lady, seemingly urbane would yet scale down to the level of greed and base acquisition of what is altogether mere vanity?

The latest accusations against Diezani and her ill allies like Jide Omokore and Kola Aluko of how they maintained vagrant life style at the expense of the Nigerian treasury, as well as the recent high court forfeiture order of the $37.5m worth of property in Banana Island, Lagos (plus the rent realised from the vast property), including even foreign currency in various banks, are only a confirmation that indeed, all that glitters is not gold.