War On Corruption, Biafra And The Untrue Claim Of Igbo Marginalisation (Part 1 of 3)

For historically conscious Nigerians, Biafra connotes war, mass starvation and death. However, many Nigerians are afflicted with Alzheimer, a disease that robs its victims of their memories to learn from the past and present

War On Corruption, Biafra And The Untrue Claim Of Igbo Marginalisation

By Salimonu Kadiri (Guest Writer on Thy Glory O’ Nigeria and The Nigeria Village Square)

Mr Salimonu Kadiri

Mr Salimonu Kadiri

For Nigerians, every day is first of April in which they are either fooling someone or someone is fooling them. For Nigerians, December is a month of hypocrites and as usual Nigerians join the rest of the world in wishing one another happy Christmas and prosperous New Year even when in reality every celebrated Christmas and New Year is less happy and less prosperous in ascending order.

Nigerian hypocrites carry their religions on foreheads but their behaviours are inversely proportional to Godliness. They shout the name of God every now and then but act satanically.

In Nigeria, roads are simply non-existing, hospitals have become morgues, schools have crumbled, electricity is epileptic, pipe borne water is away on permanent leave, the streets are filled with filth, dead animals and sometimes human corpses because politicians and civil servants, apart from collecting their salaries and fringe benefits, have stolen monies appropriated for providing essential commodities for Nigerians.

The sixteen years rule of PDP led to so much head ache for Nigerians that they decided to take APC as a remedy at the March 28, 2015, Federal elections in Nigeria. That was the first time a government was voted out of power in Nigeria and the world exclaimed in surprise.

The All Progressive Congress (APC) and its Presidential candidate, ex-General Muhammadu Buhari, had gone into the elections with the campaign to deal with kleptomania which is on the verge to suffocate Nigeria.

As it turned out, the Presidential election was not only won by the APC, but they had majority in the National Assembly encompassing the Senate and the House of Representatives. This implies that majority of Nigerian electorates have empowered the Executive and the legislators to expunge kleptomaniacs from Nigeria.

After election victory the APC decided that the speaker of the House of Reps and his deputy should be Femi Gbajabiamila and Mohammed Monguno respectively while the President of the Senate and his Deputy should be Ahmed Lawan and George Akume respectively.

The Senate contains 109 members but it was reduced to 108 before June 9, 2015, when the 8th Assembly was to be inaugurated as a result of the death of one APC Senator after the election. Thus, APC have 59 members while PDP and allies have 49 members. Democratically and politically, the APC party had decided who among its elected Senators would be the President and Deputy President of the Senate respectively.

The decision of APC did not please Senator Bukola Saraki, therefore he openly connived with PDP, the political antagonist of APC, to become the Senate President against the wish of his party. On June 9, 2015, a compromised Clerk of the Assembly arranged the election of Senate President in the presence of 57 out of 108 Senators.

The 57 Senators consisted of 49 PDP and 8 APC. By the time the Deputy Senate President was about to be elected, the number of APC present had increased to 25, and the PDP Senator, Ike Ekweremandu, was elected with 54 votes against Ali Ndume, APC, who scored 20 votes.

Thus, a Senate President and his Deputy were elected through a process similar to those described under Article 419 of the Nigerian Criminal Code – Obtainment by false pretence! In democracy and party politics, it is an abomination. In explaining their behaviours, Senator Bukola Saraki and his ilk have said that after elections the legislators are free to conduct the affairs of the National Assembly without the interferance of the political parties on whose platform they contested elections and won.

Yet, and in accordance with the constitution, no one can contest election in Nigeria without belonging to and sponsored by a political party. By taking some members of the APC, to which he belongs, and merging them with PDP to form a new majority in the Senate, Saraki subverted the will of the electorates that voted PDP out of power and he has created a real impediment against change and war on kleptomania, the campaign slogan on which the APC went into election. Outwardly Bukola Saraki is an APC but internally he is a PDP.

On September 11, 2015, the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) filed a 13 count charge of financial crime, money laundering, false declaration of assets, owning and operating foreign bank accounts while being a public officer, against Senator Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Abuja. Saraki was to be arraigned before Justice Danladi Umar of CCT Abuja on Friday, 18 September 2015.

Instead of defending himself at the CCT Senator Saraki hired dozens of advocates to file ex-parte motion at an Abuja High Court, presided over by Justice Ahmed Mohammed, on Thursday, 17 September 2015 seeking injunctions to prevent the CCT from trying him.

Justice Mohammed then summoned the Ministry of Justice to appear before him on Monday, 21 September to show cause why the trial should be allowed to proceed. The judge also summoned the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar and that of the CCB, Mr. Sam Saba as well as Mr Hassan who signed the charge against Saraki to appear before him on 21 September 2015 to show cause why Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki should be prosecuted.

However, the CCT commenced the trial of Saraki on the 18th of September 2015 and his lawyer asked the Tribunal for a stay of proceeding on the ground of Justice Mohammed’s summon. Justice Umar replied that the High Court had parallel juridiction with the Tribunal and as such, had no powers to halt a trial in the Tribunal.

Therefore, he issued order of warrant of arrest by the police against Saraki, so that he could be present at the next hearing to take a plea of guilty or not guilty in the court. Although Saraki had pleaded not guilty to the charges he has gone to the Supreme Court to challenge the jurisdiction of the CCT to try him and pending the decision of the Supreme Court, the CCT has laid the case to rest.

Bukola Saraki’s attempt to seek judicial embargo against the investigating authority is rather a norm than exception in Nigeria. The former Governor of Rivers State, Peter Odili, was the first to obtain a perpetual injunction against investigation, interrogation and prosecution over treasury looting of the State he governed from 1999 to 2007.

Others who were sluggish in obtaining perpetual injunction got their cases put into permanent coma by the trial judges. In recent time, Stella Adaeze Oduah, on August 26, 2015, obtained an interim injunction, from Justice Mohammed Yunusa presiding over a Federal High Court in Lagos, barring the EFCC and its agents from inviting or arresting her for questioning over the purchase of $1.6 million armoured cars when she was Minister of Aviation under Jonathan.

In the same spirit, on Thursday, 17 September 2015, an Abuja High Court presided over by Justice Valentine Ashi, in a ruling barred the EFCC, Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Department of State Security Services (DSS), the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and National Security Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), from arresting, detaining and investigating Mr. Kingsley Kuku over his activities as former Coordinator of Presidential Amnesty Programme for Niger Delta under President Goodluck Jonathan. Billions of naira were said to have disappeared over Niger Deltan ghost students purported to have been on scholarships under amnesty programme.

In the 16 years of PDP governing Nigeria (May 29, 1999 to 29 May 2015), the three arms of government – the Executive (Presidency), the Legistilative (National Assembly) and the Adjudicative (Judiciary) – were deeply corrupt. Chinua Achebe once said that Nigeria is not a country but he would have been stating the truth if he had said that Nigerians are not human beings because if one-hundredth of government’s kleptomania in Nigeria were to occur in any country of the world there would be public uproar and outrage.

Since Nigerians have been narcotized with fake religion and false ethnic love, national rogues always attribute their rogueries to the will (blessing) of God and whenever their stealings were exposed they claim that their ethnic group were under attack.

As obnoxious and odious leaders cut across all ethnic groups, the APC government under President Mohammed Buhari has decided to kill corruption before it kills Nigeria. The PDP has accused the APC regime of witch-hunting members and supporters of the immediate past government adding that any true war against corruption should start from 1985.

In a storm where multiple of trees fall on one another would it not be wise to start clearing log of woods from the top? If Jonathan’s PDP regime is at the top of the heap of accumulated corruption in Nigeria, common sense demands that enquiries should start on his regime.

Just as the debate on what happened to the wealth of Nigeria entrusted in the care of Jonathan in the past five years was on-going, a diversionary agitation for the secession of Biafra beclouded the political terrain of Nigeria.

For historically conscious Nigerians, Biafra connotes war, mass starvation and death. However, many Nigerians are afflicted with Alzheimer, a disease that robs its victims of their memories to learn from the past and present. Moreover those who are 45 years of age now may not have heard the true history of the civil war that ended on 15th January 1970.

 

Ogunlakaiye@hotmail.com

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Saraki: Between Politics, Justice And The Common Good

Last week l asked Buhari why his cronies in the Halliburton scandal are still walking free. This week, Saraki’s supporters are asking why the judiciary is digging up Saraki’s criminal cases. Justice served to one must be served to all!

Saraki: Between Politics, Justice And The Common Good

By Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola Aderounmu

There are good reasons why Nigerians should let the law takes its course on Bukola Saraki. If that means that he will be sent to prison for a while or even for the rest of his life, Nigerians should let it be. But many will disagree.

Yet, in my own opinion this is another opportunity to start the long-awaited process of social revolution in Nigeria.

Some people may think l am naive because of my expectations from the country called Nigeria. No l am not. I am just waiting for that final trigger that will gradually or suddenly eradicate all the criminal-parents and criminal-children of the criminal parents in Nigerian politics and military set-ups. These criminals together stole our future on the Nigerian soil.

As you read, they continue to steal the future of the unborn generation.

Nigeria has a long way to freedom as l always write at the end of my essays. The decay in Nigeria’s political arena remains massive and unprecendented.

The systemic decay since Nigeria’s independence in 1960 led to misrule, emergence of criminals in government and application of inappropriate political and military systems in the (mis)rule of Nigeria.

So in Nigeria today we have a confused generation coming on the trails of the persistent wasted generations.

My emphasis of labelling Nigerian politicians as criminals will be relevant until the cleansing process consumes all the consumables. I thought we should have cleansed the system by 2009 but now in 2015 Nigerians are still struggling daily with criminals in political offices spread across the country.

The struggle to cleanse the system will probably continue even when my confused and divided generation is long gone because the confusion and insincerity traits in Nigeria seems to have become genetic.

Sometimes some people ask, what is wrong with black people? They mean what is wrong with Africans? But it is this same people who become part of government and continue with the sickening syndrome of looting Nigeria and enriching themselves and their families.

So, indeed, what is wrong with Nigerians?

Don’t look too far. Some student rulers (not leaders) from western Nigeria made a student union budget recently and made the headlines for the wrong reasons. They blew the expenditures out of proportion and made room for looting. They are just students but already criminals!

This is a confirmation that corruption and political madness have become genetic traits in Nigeria and thereby pass-able from the wasted generation to the confused generation.

Criminality, an offspring of the decayed and corrupt system is seen as a legitimate right in Nigeria. Despite our weekly shout-outs, criminality and corruption continue to fight back, in massive doses.

On Bukola Saraki there is no need to be divided on the issue.

Nigerians have always failed to seize opportunities that could lead them to a social revolution, one that could bring some measure of justice and sanity to the polity.

True, Bukola Saraki is not the only criminal in public office. Almost all Nigerian politicians are criminals. So he can feel violated not because he is not guilty but rather because the police have not been given the go ahead to arrest Babangida, Abdulsalami and Obasanjo. In addition to corruption, there were state sponsor murders under these men!

Why is Saraki suitable for arrest and not the rest of the corrupt politicians in Nigeria?

This is where every government in Nigerians has failed! This is where Buhari-led APC just like Obasanjo-led PDP is adding to the endless problems in Nigeria.

You cannot handpick a criminal in the midst of thousands of criminals. It is wrong to start with one criminal when you have the net that can pick 10, 20 or even 30 at the same time.

You cannot chase one criminal out of a million. If an arrest warrant was given say to 10 or 20 alleged criminals or murderers irrespective of whether they are in service or retired, Saraki and his supporters will shiver even more.

Handpicking criminals and selectively prosecuting them are the hallmarks of political witch hunt. Saraki’s current war will be seen as a political vendetta no matter if that is true or not.

He has disobeyed all the tenets in the APC book since his deceptive cross-over from PDP. His dilemma is right in the face of the law.

However to handpick Saraki alone from a massive pool of criminals in the system is not fairplay.

This is where Buhari and APC are going wrong and perpetrating a system inconsistent with the war against corruption slogan. Make it real, make it total and don’t make it personal.

Last week l reminded Buhari of his friends and cronies in the Halliburton scandal. Why not open their cases parallel so everyone can see justice is universal and respecter of no one?

Irrespective of the interpretation of the Saraki dilemma, my position is that no matter how long it takes the law must be able to catch up with a criminal. Let all criminals go to prisons for a long time or forever. Let it be so.

Rather than try to shield Bukola, his confused supporters eating from the crumbs on his table or from the looted funds via the Nigerian Senate and the organised civil society owe it as an obligation to press the same judiciary and the police to ensure that known criminals like Babangida, Obasanjo and all the other hitherto untouchables are lined up next.

NANS supporting Bukola Saraki is just rubbish. NANS standing behind a criminal is yet another indication that corruption and criminality have become genetic in Nigeria. The children running NANS are part of a confused generation. What a sad situation!

To be clear, we always know that time is not a factor in criminal cases. The Bukola Saraki case justifies what some of us have us argued for. Bring criminals to justice no matter how long ago they committed their crimes.

Buhari and APC should stop playing with fire and time bombs. Stop the selective prosecutions! Bring the Halliburton criminals to justice as well!

I know some people support Saraki because they oppose Buhari and they are still in fetish love with Jonathan. Some of these people suffering from political hangover will even accuse Tinubu as being behind the Saraki’s dilemma instead of asking the judiciary and the police to extend their operations to cover all suspected political criminals.

Some people oppose Saraki not because they want the law system to work but rather because Saraki went against the desire of the APC in the National Assembly.

In 2007 around december 12 the EFCC took hold of one criminal called James Ibori. It was in those days when Facebook has not become widely used among Nigerians and the awareness created by the social media was still in incubation.

I wrote a piece on the NVS the next day after Ibori’s arrest on how EFCC should continue to pick up the remaining criminals and hoping that if they do that over a period of 2 years, Nigeria will be cleansed up to a large extent anyway.

But Ibori was let off the hooks in Nigeria. Again, it makes me look naive. I am not. I just want the best things to happen to Nigeria.

EFCC has proven to be largely a toothless bulldog. At some point it was Obasanjo’s tail in the hands of Ribadu-the servant of Adamawa.

EFCC is submerged in its own corruption cases. The ICPC too.

What happened to Ibori after his arrest is now history. Everyone who was not born yesterday knew that it took a foreign country to put him behind bars. It is just like an irony because the country where Ibori is currently jailed is loaded with looted monies from Nigeria.

There have been several cases after Ibori. Plea bargaining set many criminals on free foot in Nigeria. They pay a certain percentage of their loot, usually an insignificant sum to the Nigerian government and they walk free.

Sometimes even in the absence of plea bargaining many criminals have walked free or served ridiculous jail terms.

How should we reason at a time like this?

It seems that our awareness have reached a common threshold compared to when some of us where shouting alone at the top of our voices in 2002 or in 2007. How some of us have written on the same topic about Nigeria for several years is even worth reviewing.

When are we going to have the reach we desire so that one day Nigerians can collectively see the difference between good and evil irrespective of tribal inclinations or political affiliations?

Yes it is going to be a long way to freedom if Nigerians allow Saraki to escape justice in the court of law. Let him go there and argue his innocence.

This is the way forward if we want Babangida, Abdusalami, Obasanjo, Fani-Kayode, Akpabio, Tinubu and even Buhari in the same court of law so that they can give accounts of their stewardships in office.

Saraki’s dilemma can open the door to a social revolution. Nigerians, let it be. Ask that the justice be served round and sustained.

Why can’t we see it this way? Why can’t we seize the moment that can orchestrate the revolution of the people by asking the judiciary and the police to never stop until justice for one becomes justice for all?

aderounmu@gmail.com