Nigerians are too gullible no doubt. They are in the habit of settling for less. They adopt and accept bad people as their rulers. When you argue with a typical Nigerian he says that one bad person is better than another bad person. It baffles me.
Some argue that Jonathan is better than Atiku and some argue that before Ribadu no one prosecuted any thief or looter among the Nigerian corrupt politicians. These arguments to me are senseless. In the end they say, ok, who do you want as the president? In very thoughtless situations some people say, if na you, you no go chop?
When I think about these things and the Nigerian way of thinking, I’m close to tears. Sometimes I still cry. Millions of Nigerians have no idea about the meaning of public service. Obviously it is not based on self-morality but on basic guiding principles that public service involves the selfless service of a few men and women for the enhancement of the society or state or nation.
Public service in Nigeria is part of the biggest tragedies of the 21st century. It is an indescribable monumental disaster. Public service in Nigeria is an insult to common sense. It is devoid of value and lacks sense of purpose. In Nigeria public service is an insult to the existence of man.
Everytime I watch or monitor political events in Nigeria I always conclude that Nigerians are living in the dark ages. Some acts are so unbelievable you begin to imagine, how do Nigerians think? The way they show support to one political group or the other leaves me devastated. When Nigerians begin to talk about the reasons why one governor or politician should be elected or given a second chance, I’m so touched I weep for the extreme level of ignorance and stupidity.
I don’t know all the political parties in Nigeria and I don’t know all the presidential candidates but I know that people like Atiku, Jonathan and Ribadu are extremely bad elements that the Nigerian people should start to look for ways to immediately get them out of the political terrain. Delay is dangerous.
Nigerians should start to look at politicians from their track records, score sheets and sincerity of purpose. The more we continue to settle for less, the more poverty, misery and hopelessness will spread in Nigeria. One day we must leave this attitude of settling for lesser evil. We must settle for characters we can trust. We must settle for men of honour and integrity. They live among us. What we need to do is to create the enabling political environment that will lead to their emergence.
Here is an excerpt of what my views about Atiku (written 6th Jan 2008)
No amount of press secretaries or press officers can cover our eyes with veil such that we do not see how Atiku in his days in public service and in the PDP contributed to the spread of poverty and penury in Nigeria. For 8 years, Atiku paraded himself as the vice-president of Nigerian under the Obasanjo regime. Together, through their corrupt acts and insincerity, they left office with more problems for Nigerian than what was on ground in 1999. The expectation of the poverty-stricken people of Nigeria was far from being met when Atiku was the vice president of Nigeria.
Atiku’s press office may be quite efficient in refuting allegations of corruption against him. I am not perturbed about what they have to say to defend their boss and their own daily bread. They are doing a dirty job for which they get paid even from looted tax payers’ money! Nothing can take away the truth that in Nigeria, Atiku has gone done in history as one of the looters of our common treasury.
In 1999 and 2003, Atiku helped the PDP to power under the leadership of a very cruel master named Olusegun Obasanjo. Atiku fought a bitter public battle with Obasanjo as a result of the latter’s intention to perpetuate himself in office for life.
[New note: In 2007, Atiku warned Nigeria never to vote for the PDP. He said PDP will turn Nigeria to a one party state and that we will be making the biggest mistake of our lives if we vote for the PDP. He ran on the platform of the ACN] and his promises included:
• Employment generation and wealth creation,
• Security and war against corruption,
• Energy and infrastructural development,
• Education and social services
• The Niger Delta Development.
Atiku promised to pursue programs that would ensure that Nigeria’s wealth must be for all Nigerians.
So, what program was he pursuing or supporting before this time? Nigerian politicians and their ridiculous claims!
Nigerians should be grateful for the hand of fate that cause the katakata between Obasanjo and Atiku because that single event that brought governance to a halt for over a year in Nigeria gave us a deep insight into how Atiku participated in the looting to dryness of the Nigerian treasury. Let us imagine for once that everything went smoothly between Obasanjo and Atiku, then, all the allegations and counter allegations of corruption between him and Obasanjo would not have seen the light of the day. At the peak of their roforofo fight (in Fela’s words) Nigerians became tired of both Atiku and Obasanjo and the urge was to see the exit of both of them in 2007.
The implication of not having such a disagreement and subsequent roforofo fight is that power would have been transferred to Atiku and he would have continued to put up the face of an innocent man while stealing behind closed doors.
In Nigerian politics, corruption is the keyword and that was why despite all the allegations of corruption here and there Obasanjo and Atiku still had followers. In civilized societies, both of them would have been under interrogation and possible prosecution and imprisonment. Immunity in Nigerian governance is a license to steal and loot. What a shame?
So, it happened that the PDP automatically became Obasanjo and Obasanjo became PDP; and the two became one. He threw Atiku out of PDP and deprived him of a platform to pursue or realize his ambitions.
Atiku won case after case in the law court and eventually opted for the AC as the platform for his ambition. During his declaration, Atiku who was the architect of PDP’s rigged victories in 1999 and 2003 had this to say “There is no great country without free and fair elections. We must mobilize all Nigerians to ensure that we have free and fair and credible polls. Let them come out to vote and protect their votes. They must not allow those who want who want to subvert democracy to alter the outcome,” he stated. Notable persons at the event included Chiefs Solomon Lar, Audu Ogbeh, Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Alhaji Lam Adesina, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Chief Segun Osoba and Alhaji Lawal Kaita among others.
What a wish and what a bunch of political gladiators! This is what the other parties and the people of Nigeria hoped and cried for in 1999 and 2003, but the likes of Atiku and his PDP cohorts smiled away with stolen mandates with Obasanjo as the lead beneficiary.
The rest of what happened in 2007 (selection) is history. As a serious embarrassment to all Nigerians dead and alive, Obasanjo installed Umaru in the most shameful and worthless selection process since the evolution or creation of man. In Nigeria, rigging and manipulation of election result are acceptable ways of life.
The EFCC accused Atiku of diverting $125m into personal business interests. The report of his involvement in corrupt practices is quite voluminous.
No doubts, Atiku suffered humiliation as he championed the anti-third term struggle against a dictator like Obasanjo. Even a non-performer like Fani-Kayode could afford to spit his saliva on Atiku. He was the person loud enough to tell us such nonsense that the presidential wing of the Airport is only meant for the President, “not to the Vice President or any other member of the public. It was the magnanimity of Mr. President that allows 20 members of family/staff of Atiku. Indeed politics in Nigeria has continued to bring out the animals in men.
But one thing that continues to trail Atiku to this day is the international dimension of the allegations of corruption against him. They
are popular scandals that had taken a substantial part of the World Wide Web. This is as a result of the involvement of the FBI in the case against him. It could have been cheap counter blackmail to say that EFCC was used by Obasanjo to sniff him dry, but I don’t know if Obasanjo induced the FBI to carry out a raid on Atiku’s US home
The real thing is that both Obasanjo and Atiku exposed each other’s corrupt acts and nothing can change that! No amount of haba! or ngbati-ngbati can take those revelations away. Who does not know that reddened eyes cannot light a cigarette?
Atiku, just like his former boss Obasanjo and several other corrupt Nigerian politicians are examples of people who have not given any account of their stewardships in offices to the Nigerian people. Probity and accountability remain alien to the Nigerian society and several attempts to make it a lifestyle have been crushed by the cabal, both seen and unseen.
To this day in Nigeria, there is a class of citizens that are the untouchables because no matter how much we know about their corrupt attitudes and the evils that they perpetrated, they have never been called upon to answer for their deeds or they always find ways to evade being under the searchlights.
For the suffering masses and the downtrodden, hope is not near!
Some Nigerians take this man as their hero. In today’s Nigeria I’m still looking for my hero. I know he is there. My hero is that man of purpose who has been choked by the useless Nigerian political climate.
If I have the opportunity to vote, it will definitely not be for Ribadu and anyone like him with double characters. Millions of Nigerians are suffering because of people who speak from both sides of their mouth and Ribadu is one of those double-talkers.
This was my take on Ribadu written on Jan 2 2008.
…Certain things are too obvious to miss. To continue to deny the obvious things or to continue to polish fallacies to make them acceptable or conventional is crime in itself. Any reasonable person in Nigeria who followed Obasanjo’s intentions knew that he wanted to have a third term as the civilian president.
His greatest tool was the use of Nuhu Ribadu as EFCC chairman to torment ALL voices of opposition or perceived antagonism. Ribadu executed the herculean task with precision. He went after Obasanjo’s enemies and spared the friends. The common thing between the friends and enemies of Obasanjo and Obasanjo himself remains the fact that they are all corrupt. They are all looters!
When the rubbishing game started as Obasanjo’s plot thickened, Ribadu had a choice to resign as the EFCC chairman but he didn’t. He openly and happily executed Obasanjo’s grand design but in the end, both Obasanjo and Ribadu failed. The opposition to the third term bid was too strong to smash.
The ordinary masses who are victims of corruption spoke out loud and clear and the National Assembly had no way around it. They could not amend the constitution.
Ribadu had the opportunity to be a good person but he screwed it up. When he was supposed to nail Andy Uba, he didn’t. The extremely corrupt guy had used Obasanjo’s jet to ferry dollars AND possibly prostitutes across the world. We all knew that was a golden moment for him to cast out the doubts that some of us had about his anticorruption crusade and the mechanisms. He flopped big time!
Ribadu boasted about what he would do to all the corrupt governors in Nigeria after May 29 2007. What he did in the end was to commit very serious crimes against the people of Nigerian and the nation. Plea bargaining of the EFCC under the leadership of Ribadu is equally as serious as the charges of corruption against the governors/politicians themselves. Such a process made Ribadu an accessory to crime.
A thief is a thief and should not be encouraged in anyway no matter the circumstances. Plea bargaining was a tool that encouraged looting and the further spread of hopelessness in Nigeria. The people are suffering and dying in the process. Mass poverty continues to spread like a wild fire.
Corruption is organized in Nigeria. Truly, it is not a job for one man to fight. More so, since nobody would resign in Nigeria even if they are asked to bow to Okija a hundred times over to do a dirty job, there is still a little room to hail Ribadu.
I will not engage in the argument of whether Ribadu should have been retained or sacked. In Nigeria, things are not always the way they seem. Under an illegitimate Yar Adua, joining words with people parading stolen mandates is not wise. What is certain though is that the real fight against corruption in Nigeria is yet to begin.
When it starts, possibly when 140m takes to the street on the same day, the likes Of Obasanjo, Babangida, Atiku, Anenih, Igbinedion, Adedibu (RIP), Odili, Etteh and David Mark would know where they belong. The list would grow to encompass those who demeaned Nigeria from 1960 to 2007. They would land in court or end in jail and the real turning point in Nigeria would begin. Even Yar Adua and Iwu would not be spared in a real fight against corruption. The likes of the Ubas and Aondoakaa at that time when we start to fight corruption will understand the real meaning of the rule of law.
I have not really done an independent piece on Jonathan. But I know that the morning shows the day. Jonathan probably has no good records to show for his time in Bayelsa State. He has not boasted of anything he did as the deputy governor or governor. The man before him in Bayelsa is an international crook and the man after him gave a very nasty report in his first week in office.
The manner of his arrival on the national scene was a disaster to Nigerian politics and he joined Yar Adua in claiming a mandate that was never given. Seriously I don’t like thieves or people claiming what is not theirs in the name of their gods.
In Nigeria, they say it’s God’s work. Since when did God become the father of fraudsters? What was God’s role in Iwu and Obasanjo disenfranchising 140m Nigerians? How did God participate in Yar Adua and Jonathan stealing the people’s mandates?
In a recent blog I have warned Nigerians to leave God out of all these evils that men and women do in Nigeria.
Those who steal or claim false mandates are crooks and they will never play any positive role in the development of Nigeria.
Since the demise of Yar Adua, what has Jonathan done for Nigerians?
Mrs Jonathan’s bad image is even enough for Nigerians to ask Jonathan to step down from his position.
Nigeria must (I repeat-MUST) start to ask politicians and public servants to vacate their positions when serious allegations are made against them or members of their immediate family. Mrs. Jonathan has been involved in criminal activities and therefore that is enough single reason for Jonathan to return to Bayelsa. Nigerians don’t need individuals or families that steal!!!
Unfortunately Ribadu in recent weeks have been talking from the other sides of his mouth. Because of his presidential ambitions he has taken on the whole armour of a Nigerian politician, speaking lies in the process. What a shame! This young man is already treading the paths of the people who destroyed our lives and stole our future.
This piece below (Patience Jonathan: Nigeria’s Most Powerful Woman) was written by Sonala Olumhense for the Nigerian Guardian on Sunday 28th October 2007
ON September 11, 2006, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seized $13.5 million dollars (US) from Mrs. Patience Jonathan, the wife of then Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan.
The International Herald Tribune quoted the EFCC spokesman, Mr. Osita Nwajah, as saying that the seizure was made after Mrs. Jonathan had allegedly laundered the money through an associate.
It was the second time in one month Mrs. Jonathan was hitting the scandal headlines. In August, the EFCC had obtained a court order to temporarily freeze N104 million she had allegedly tried to launder through one Mrs. Nancy Ebere Nwosu. The EFCC said it had reason to believe the seized funds belonged to the public. In a sworn statement, Mrs. Nwosu implicated Patience Jonathan, the EFCC said.
But remember, her husband was the Bayelsa State Governor at the time. And Mr. Jonathan’s government dashed to the defence of the First Lady of Bayelsa, alleging that the reports were part of a “plot to destabilize” the state. Government spokesmen were falling over each other to speak for Mrs. Jonathan. The Governor’s spokesman, Dennis Sami, described the allegations as a “charade,” the target of which was the Governor.
“We are aware that the said Nancy Ebere Nwosu is a very remote relation of Her Excellency who has lived abroad for several years,” Mr. Sami said. “She is a successful businesswoman of no little means whose business concerns do not involve Mrs. Jonathan.”
Mrs. Jonathan’s spokesman, Kenneth Ekpelu, fired an e-mail to Vanguard newspaper in which she spoke of “her husband’s opponents who strangely perceive her as the soft spot in his political armour and won’t stop hammering away at her until their decisions to oust him from office are met.”
It is funny how these canned money-laundering defenses sound alike. Didn’t former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s United States lawyer, Mr. Kunle Fagbenle, say last November that Andy Uba – who used part of some funds laundered by means of the executive jet (allegedly without Obasanjo’s permission) to shop for Obasanjo’s farms – could not be accused of money-laundering because Mr. Uba was “already a rich man”? And did not Obasanjo say the Uba scandal was only a “calculated attempt” to ruin his name?
Anyhow, despite the massive protestations of Governor Jonathan, the EFCC pressed ahead. On August 22, 2006, Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court, Abuja authorized the freezing of the N104 million “pending the conclusion of the investigation of the activities of the said persons in connection with their involvement in the acts of money laundering and other economic and financial crimes related offences.”
And then, barely three weeks later, Mrs. Jonathan was in the news again, reportedly being separated from an astounding $13.5 million in US dollars. She must have been one angry woman. But all that was one year ago.
Since then, the Jonathans have moved up in the world. They have left the relative squalor and poverty of a mere state governorship for the Vice-President’s estate. They have left the petty limitations of Bayelsa for the limitless expanse of Abuja. Only one man now speaks before Mr. Jonathan does.
Yes, Mr. Jonathan is the Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the second most powerful man in the country. He is also the man President Yar’Adua is trusting with the challenge of the Niger Delta, where billions of dollars are expected to be spent over the next few years.
He has also been talking about democracy, corruption, the rule of law, and development. Just over a week ago, at the All-Delta Peoples Conference in the United States, Mr. Jonathan disclosed that President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua had authorised the release of all funds due the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). In addition, “Special funds will be provided for special projects in line with the master plan,” he said.
And Mrs. Jonathan has been speaking, too, telling Nigerian women how they can become more fulfilled citizens. Up in the rarefied air of federal authority, you can preach any sermon, even while you have around your neck diamonds and jewels of $13.5 million, and gold bracelets of N104 million.
This is all quite ironic. The Jonathans are living in a dream state. They moved into the governorship in Bayelsa when Diepreye Alamieyeseigha was consumed in a corruption blaze, and into the vice-presidency when the PDP sought someone to balance Umaru Yar’Adua on the PDP presidential ticket.
But they take quite a few scandals with them. Mr. Jonathan left Bayelsa State in a thick cloud of suspicion. Many Bayelsans believed his government had fleeced the treasury. While Mr. Jonathan said upon assumption of office he had inherited a state treasury N25 billion thick, he refused to say what was left there as he vacated office. Bayelsans alleged he had swept the commonwealth clean, and that most public projects were left uncompleted.
Two months after he assumed the vice-presidency, Mr. Jonathan came under severe national pressure to follow the lead of his boss and make his assets declaration public. It took several nerve-wracking weeks of trying to dodge the responsibility, but he finally released the document, which showed the former university lecturer was worth an absolutely unbelievable N295 million. He had only been the Governor for 17 months, and this means he had been growing richer at the rate of close to N17 million per month. Naturally, wink-wink, he did not include his wife in his declaration.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Jonathan…
In its report of last April’s election, the New York based Council on Foreign Relations observed that Patience Jonathan was generally regarded as the “greediest person in Bayelsa State” and a woman of great cruelty. Last June, the Niger Development Monitoring and Corporate Watch (NIDDEMCOW), a local non-governmental organization, asked the EFCC to publish its report on Mrs. Jonathan.
The EFCC has not. This is not particularly strange; the Commission is not in the habit of issuing such reports. But nothing has been heard from the Commission since the flurry of activities of August and September last year. That coincides with the period before Mr. Jonathan emerged Yar’Adua’s running mate.
Apparently, even scandals of that magnitude are no obstacle in Nigeria. Mr. Jonathan got the vice-presidency, and the only man he is answerable to is about to put into his hands, theoretically for the Niger Delta, all the diamonds and gold a man could want.
And his wife? Patience Jonathan apparently hates that kind of snail-pace to fortune. Indicted by the EFCC in only eight months as First Lady on a charge of laundering a few Naira bills, she moved to dollar bills in the millions the following month. That same month, the EFCC report to the Senate called her by name.
Again, this does not seem to matter in Nigeria: weeks later, in October, the Owu Kingdom, President Obasanjo’s people, honoured the Jonathans with chieftaincy titles. In that culture, Obasanjo is the Balogun of Owu; Mr. Jonathan became the Obateru.
If Mrs. Jonathan was thrilled on that day, she must be over the moon today. An EFCC indictment, and yet she can get on any of our presidential jets at any time and drink champagne at State functions.
And how much taller she must be, these days as she stands on the authority of the vice-presidency! From such heights, not only do you dwarf an EFCC, but you also are invincible. What a country!
What I really fail to understand is: If Mrs. Jonathan can so effectively laugh at the so-called war on corruption, does that not make
her the First Lady? On what basis does she perform her functions – the recommendations of the EFCC? Why has Mrs. Jonathan assumed the status of untouchable, or is she truly the nation’s most powerful woman?
The essays above and that of Sonala Olumhense are collections of essays available online under the following titles:
The untouchables (3): Atiku Abubakar and a swinging fate By Adeola Aderounmu
What Manner of The Man of the Year? By Adeola Aderounmu
Patience Jonathan: Nigeria’s Most Powerful Woman By Sonala Olumhense