It must be Bob Marley who sang….You can’t fool all the people all the time
The sacking of Ribadu has given the impression that many more untouchables will emerge from the Nigerian political landscape, that all living untouchables will go free and the incarcerated ones will soon breathe the air of freedom. Time is a function that will always bring out clearer pictures of everything. Some schools of thoughts have dismissed the anticorruption slogan of the illegitimate government in Nigeria. Whatever happens, no one should hope for too much from a government of opportunists and well known perpetrators of fraud. Time will time in all these things!
No amount of press secretaries or press offices 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. Atiku had a legitimate ambition of becoming the president of Nigeria but some rancor prior to the 2003 elections and Obasanjo’s ambition put paid to that ambition. While declaring his ambition, he highlighted 5 areas of our national life that required urgent intervention. These include
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 1 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 99 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 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. Even Atiku was stunned that he had crooks like Maurice Iwu beating him hands down in this shameful game.
The EFCC accused Atiku of diverting $125m into personal business interests. The report of his involvement in corrupt practices is quite voluminous. Villagers in this square have analyzed it back and forth.
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 a 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.
One of the strongest arguments against the EFCC itself is that under Obasanjo, the commission completely strayed out of the path of duty into the field of witch-hunting. That whoever stood in the way of President Obasanjo during the turbulent days of the ‘Third Term’ project was marked for liquidation. Yet it is not clear how EFCC would have found a man corrupt if he was not corrupt at all. Does the EFCC manufacture bank documents and foreign account? Does the EFCC manufacture looted funds transferred to girlfriends or prostitutes? Does it connive with foreign banks to lodge imaginary funds abroad?
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 his dry, but I don’t know if Obasanjo or Ribadu induced the FBI to carry out the raid on his home in the US. I don’t know how many Nigerians bought this testimony told by Atiku when he faced the senate Ad-hoc committee. The real situation 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?
The popular Jefferson’s story will also definitely be clearer with time. The US Congressman needs to be psychologically evaluated anyway as he continues to give contradictory positions/claims that he gave Atiku USD 100 000 bribe to facilitate a business transaction in Nigeria. Jefferson was filmed taking bribe and he also spoke about giving Atiku USD 500 000 as a motivating factor to make sure they obtained contracts for iGate and Mody’s company in Nigeria.
Atiku, just like his former boss Obasanjo and several other corrupt Nigerian politicians are examples of people who have not given full accounts 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!
Further reading and references:
References from the Nigerian Guardian, The Washington Post, BBC, Nigerian Punch Newspaper, EFCC website and the Nigerian Village Square.