James Onanafe Ibori is a Nigerian convicted for crimes in both Nigeria and the United Kingdom but who later became the governor of Delta State in 1999.
His stories have been well documented the latest being a BBC report on the extent of his criminal records/criminal life (www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-17181056)
This story of a criminal who found his way to the highest office in Delta State is not unique or peculiar. Many Nigerian politicians are crooks and thieves before they get into offices. Several others join the bandwagon and became part of the looting syndrome. Dimeji Bankole is a proven classical example.
As I have written several times, the worst thing is that these thieves get away to enjoy their loots. The laws in Nigeria are useless or non-performing. Those who stole big now live big. Even ordinary personal assistants in government offices in Nigeria are thieves.
One way or the other all these crooks find ways to enrich themselves and cart away millions. Sometimes it’s just simply sharing money.
Several people have told me that I will never make it in Nigerian politics if I don’t loot and that I will be brushed aside. Whoever told them that I have a Nigerian political ambition? They have no idea I’d cursed the day I was born if I steal public loot.
Unless Nigerian politicians are executed or beheaded there is no solution for the looting syndrome. All Nigerian politicians will remain thieves as long as the power and privileges they enjoy remain the same. They have one special and stupid immunity clause that makes crime legal. And when they are out of offices, they still enjoy the immunity in 99,9% cases.
Not even a Ribadu-boast in the run-off to the botched third term agenda could ignite a mass prosecution.
The situation will NEVER change because it is accepted in Nigeria that you have to be rich after your political sojourn. It is okay to be a thief and governor or president because that is what your family, community and associate expect from you. It is what the political parties expected. Nigeria is a program invented to fail.
It was Obasanjo who used James Ibori to sponsor late Yar Adua and Goodluck Jonathan to Aso Rock in 2007. The ring of looters (Obasanjo, late Yar Adua and Jonathan) knew that Ibori was stealing money from Delta State to sponsor a presidential campaign and it was okay.
If the judiciary was effective in Nigeria and if there are no useless immunity clause, the Ibori confession should lead to the arrest of both Obasanjo and Jonathan without further delay. But since Nigeria is program to fail as a result of massive corruption, this will not happen.
Obasanjo and Jonathan have their own individual crimes which are still in progress but these men lead Africa Union negotiations and Nigeria respectively. There is no hope for the future under the present arrangement of things in most part of Africa and locally in Nigeria. We are ruled by gangsters and thieves.
Nigeria under Jonathan is a joke. This guy has taken new loans to finance his personal extravagancy and clueless regime. Nigeria under Jonathan, with the persistent of corruption and the rise in terrorism, is heading for an expected disintegration. Nothing has happened in the last one year to prove otherwise.
The National Assembly is even a bigger joke. Together with the executive these bunch of thieves run the most inefficient yet the most expensive government in history. Despite all complains and agitations they have not seen any reason to cut out their expensive salary and pay packets. The looting continues.
There will be no expectation from Nigerians that their lawmakers should pass a law that looters should be executed because it is tantamount to committing mass suicides. No one will come out alive of the National Assembly and the House of representatives. David Mark would lead the pack of awaiting death sentence if such law is passed today.
This is the severity of the calamities in Nigeria. More than 50 years of executive recklessness and outright stealing and looting.
It will not end because Nigerians are used to it and have come to accept such as norms.
It will not end because Nigerians put their hopes in Gods (Jehovah and Allah).
It remains a tragedy that 160m people think that it is okay. The common prayers have been that everybody’s time to (steal, loot, and benefit) from government should come.
Amazingly the churches and mosques are beneficiaries. Millions of stolen funds are paid weekly as tithes. This makes religious organisations in Nigeria to rank among the most successful business enterprises in Africa and Nigerian pastors especially are ranked among the richest men in the world.
Nigeria is a box of irony and metaphor.
Now and when Nigerians have gone their separate ways through true federation or outright split, it remains a pertinent question of how to solve this social malaise called corruption. Corruption has no tribal marks and it will continue to remain a stumbling block to progress.
Unless something radical is done to all the public servants and politicians who steal and loot, more and more people in that geographical zone will slip below the poverty level and the abundant resources will continue to lie in ruins and waste.
Today more than 100m Nigerians are poor and live day in day out with limited hopes. The situation will be worse if all the Iboris in the local, state and federal houses are allowed to continue to enjoy the useless immunity clause.
Nigerians need to stand up and they can start by asking the blood sucking Jonathan government to stop stealing. They can gather the momentum from the Ibori trial in London and ask the sleeping judiciary in Nigeria to wake up to its responsibilities. It is easier for the camel to go through the eye of the needle than to expect the corrupt Nigerian judiciary to be effective. How did I miss that?