I Can’t Believe The (Useless) Clamour For Atiku

By Adeola Aderounmu


There are so many updates on Nigeria and for now my blog is the only place l post my views. The Nigerian Village Square would have to wait for now.

There is a situation bordering on the call or support for Mr. Atiku, a former Nigerian vice president, as a candidate for the position of the president in 2019.

This call or support is wicked, stupid, useless and worth the highest condemnation.

Atiku is not different from all the multitudes of criminals running Nigeria today at the local, state and federal levels. He is one of them. Nigeria is not making progress because of the criminals in and out of power. We are not moving forward for many other reasons including running a useless form of unitary government.

What is the essence of bringing one of the criminals in again when we are still looking for the mechanism to clean the system?

If you really want to know my case against Atiku, you won’t find all of it in this piece which is just my state of mind. You will have to do a long browse online, on this blog or on the Nigerian Village Square.

Bottom line, Nigeria and Nigerians don’t need the re-adoption of a criminal to lead the country.

Please let ATIKU go and rest and continue to enjoy the loot from the custom, or from Adamawa or even from his position as the former VP.

Right now, we are faced with a more decisive approach to the future. We are trying to analyse what is best for the country: Restructuring, Regional government or even outright dissolution of the entity called Nigeria. That is where we are now…

We will return to the criminals when the time is right…they will be called to account for every 1 Naira they own in their respective constituencies.. Forget the useless charade of the EFCC.

2014-2019: The Last Show Of The Wasted Generation?

Those whose fathers have ruined Nigeria and the contemporaries of their fathers are what we have left on the stage. Criminal politicians and soldiers who have been recycled and overused now have the last chance to redeem their useless pasts.

2014-2019: The Last Show Of The Wasted Generation?

By Adeola Aderounmu

wasted generation

Some of the early indicators from the Buhari-led APC administration are negative. Many supporters of the administration have been responding to the criticisms against the APC government by asking for time.

It is a genuine request to ask for time because time is the indicator and revealer of all things.

But the argument for more time in the Nigerian context needs to be understood and well-defined.

The endless resiliency of the ordinary Nigerians have made nonsense of the principle of time and performance as well as accountability and probity in Nigeria.

By sleeping away mentally while living in a country devoid completely of social justice and equity, the ordinary Nigerians have been as guilty as the marauders who raped the land and cart away the treasuries for themselves and their children.

Passive citizenry contributed largely to the wasteful years that befell Nigeria from 1960 to 1999.

In that time frame of more almost 40 years, the value, meaning and the quality of life in Nigeria degenerated to one of the lowest in the world.

To make matters worse the PDP-led government unleashed another complete 15-years of waste on Nigerians. The Obasanjo-Yar’Adua-Jonathan administrations of 1999-2015 impoverished the lans and left majority of Nigerians poorer than before.

These rulers and their precedessors bled Nigeria to the point of an almost irreversible damage.

The recent climax was when a country that is almost devoid of electricity claimed to be the largest economy in Africa.

It is still so bad that the suffering in Nigeria (for the ordinary, struggling masses) is comparable to the situations faced by people living under war situations or the threats of it.

The wait for change has been an endless one.

Hence, the category of people who are in a haste to see the Buhari-led government properly hit the ground and running after barely one month have genuine concerns.

They are the people who know that time is now a luxury that Nigeria can no longer afford. They are the ones who abides by the principle of ”the morning shows the day”.

However the proper function of time in the entire scenario needs to be highlighted.

Change is a process and not a single event or an isolated occurence. Therefore there will be a need to re-educate the rest of us who think that a Buhari presidency under APC is the antidote to all of Nigeria’s woes.

Indeed the gradual change in government and governance are parts and parcel of the processes that will bring about the conditions that are needed to bring back living in Nigeria to what it was in the 1950s and early 1960s.

In modern times, those years before l was born were the paradise years of the Nigerian life.

There was an early warning that Nigerians ignored during the run up to the recent elections of 2015. It wasn’t new but it was phenomenal and rampant.  Some people continue to dignify political prostitution by calling it carpet-crossing. This permissive madness in the Nigerian political arena made popular by this wasted generation is about to ruin the traces of hope.

It has a lot of implications too. The most revealing is that irrespective of their political parties, Nigerian politicians are always after their own selfish interests. To a very large extent, it shows that politicians do not believe in the change that the ordinary citizens are clamouring for.

For them, politics is business as usual. Politics remain the easiest way to stolen wealth because the winners take it all!

Some brilliant minds continue to emphasized that until the political parties are separated ideologically, there will be no difference in what they bring to the table. Moreso tragic is the situation where the institutions that should check accountability and probity have been put in a state of permanent coma.

The sad situations from the past and present dispensations means that the strengthening of the institutions and their independence can no longer wait.

Changes may fail to happen as expected if the status quo of the various institutions remain the same. It means that the politicians will continue to steal, loot and propagate inpunity as if these ills are their birthrights.

In the same vein, there won’t be visible changes in Nigeria if the people do not understand that their own attitudes, their behaviours at their offices and in the society at large are also ingredients of the changes that everybody is talking about.

It is so disheartening to see that everybody is talking about change whilst nobody is changing the ways they have been doing things.

There is a lot of work to be done Nigerians!

The people must do what is needed of them as citizens and they must embrace patriotism.

The government must meet the people halfway to make the change cycle complete and running.

Buhari must appoint his Ministers before the end of June 2015 to redeem what is left of an already faulty start.

At this moment in Nigeria’s history-with APC-led central government-is what appears to be the last chance for the wasteful/wasted generation of Nigerians to redeem its name.

Politically conscious Nigerias and the people who will live in Nigeria by 2019 would be lost forever if they ever use the change slogan again.

In today’s Nigeria those whose fathers have ruined Nigeria and the contemporaries of their fathers are what we have left on the stage. Criminal politicians and soldiers who have been recycled and overused now have the last chance to redeem their useless pasts.

This type of nonsense must not happen again.

By 2019 one expects that the citizens must have played their parts. One expects that the government would have played her parts through exemplary leadership, total war on corruption, economic programs design to lift human dignity and political reforms to correct the sources of instability and mediocrity.

There are many more ways to know and measure performances. By 2019 the people must know if a new drastic measure will be needed and the awareness for that must begin in earnest.

If the tool of (last chance) change fails, the upcoming generation of Nigerians must begin to organise to weigh their chances of living a fulfilled life.

There is a tool that remained unused and that is a riddle that need to be solved. It is a two-edged tool. The more potent edge leads to a total generational shift and it will be wonderful to rid Nigeria of the wasted generation and their offspring that still loom large.

No matter what happens, Nigeria needs a functional political structure and system. Things cannot continue the way they are now.

Regional government and devolution of power are remedies to both the federal character system and the impotent geo-political zonings that have drained Nigeria of creativity and development possibilities.

A lasting change that will favour the people from the top to the grassroots will be very useful in evaluating the PDP- infected, power-hustlers APC government of Buhari.

The APC government has less than 4 years to rescue and redeem Nigeria’s wasted generation in what may be the final chance or opportunity.


The New PDP in Old Skin

By Adeola Aderounmu

If there is something that Nigeria does not need now, it is the so called splitting of the PDP resulting in the re-emergence of corrupt and useless politicians.

When Obsanjo third term bid was botched it was Atiku Abubakar who spear-headed the rofo-rofo fight. It was a “good” fight because he send Obasanjo packing using his might and that of the senate. Despite all the funds that Obasanjo wasted on the senate he was unsuccessful in his bid to change or manipulate the constitution to suit his evil third term agenda.

Even Ribadu could not save the day despite all the witch-hunting that he led with the EFCC. Nigeria is never short of useless people and thoughtless politicians.

As Atiku battled Obasanjo, Obasanjo fought back by exposing all the monies that Atiku has also looted. Everyday in the newspaper we read about the shady deals of both Obasanjo and Atiku.

They provided evidence and counter evidence of how they both looted Nigeria.Yet both men were never arrested. They were never tried for their criminal acts and for looting the Nigerian treasury. So in short Nigeria is a country where rulers can loot, expose their loots and still walk free. What a useless country!

Hence when a man like Atiku decides that it is time to divide the PDP because Jonathan is becoming full of himself and acting like a dictator, people must know that while that may be necessary for the PDP, it is the last thing that a useless country like Nigeria needs. Nigerians don’t need the re-cycling of corrupt people.

Atiku is desperate to become the president at whatever cost. So, like one popular Nigerian writer puts it, the politicians we have in Nigeria will not solve Nigeria’s problem.

Politics for them is not about serving the people or rendering selfless services. All they aim at is their pocket, their ego and their mad urge for riches. All they want is to loot and deceive the people.

I don’t feel anything by the recent split. Instead it goes to show the claim by one APC chieftain that Jonathan is a kindergarten president. Indeed, he is.

The day after the fatal splitting of PDP, he brought Obasanjo to Aso Rock. Obasanjo is around 80+ years and he is the solution for Jonathan. These people are crazy.

So Obasanjo will help him to either defeat Atiku or beg Atiku? I don’t understand which of these 2 functions that brought one corrupt former ruler against his corrupt deputy. Both of them plus Jonathan should be sent to kirikiri assuming we have a functioning judiciary that is independent of the executives.
Nigeria is no ordinary country. The politicians are insane and the populace is disconnected. The geographical area called Nigeria is occupied by people with very short memories. The region is dominated by a people or a collection of nation that do not learn from their past. This race forgets its history and live in the moment only.

Else what should happen in Nigeria should supercede both the Arab spring and the Ukrainian revolution. No matter the political party that rules in Nigeria, the situation can only get worse. The system of government is bad and obsolete.

The institutions are not working. Security is at its lowest ebb. Schools are decayed. Roads are the worst in the world. There is no electricity in Nigeria. Water availability is a mirage. Manufacturing is zeroing and everything has fallen apart. Injustice is rife and impunity reigns.

Hence a new or factional political group is far from the need of Nigerians.

The useless government today should have summoned the courage to initiate political changes that will bring about true federalism. The people should be given voices that will help them to determine their mode of existence and the type of life that they want to lead.

What the present useless government has done is to promote corruption to a new height. This government is probably more corrupt than any other government ever seen in Nigeria. There is no known plan or direction. The man and woman at the top have made themselves into lord and almighty, taking what they want, as they want it and how they want it. Madness at its peak!

But history is full of details that show that freedom is not given. It must be won. Nigerians are like modern slaves, even many will not acknowledge it. The fear in the minds of the people have not allowed them to revolt and take what is theirs.

The greed that has been sown in people have confused their ideologies. Everybody thinks that their time to plunder Nigeria directly and indirectly will come.

It pains to see the futility of life in Nigeria. Life has no meaning to millions of people down there. Everything must be fought for, even water and electricity. Everyday must be lived as if it is a war situation. It is sad and it hurts when a few idiots loot, merry and carry on as if everything is alright.

One day, one hopes that the people hit the war and fight back.

(unedited entry)

BOKO HARAM: Who are the powers behind?

By Adeola Aderounmu

There are insinuations in Nigeria that General Ibrahim Babangida, General Buhari, Atiku Abubakar and even ex-Gov Shekarau are some of the brains and sponsors behind Boko Haram.

In Nigeria anything is possible.

I cannot state for sure that this insinuation is true or false but someone described it as an intelligent report on the security situation in Nigeria.

The unconfirmed report even went ahead to state that the Boko Haram militants have received training in Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Syria. The weapons are also suggested to have come from these named foreign countries.

At Nigeria borders weapons have been intercepted several times but no one knows where these weapons end up in the end. It is not impossible that the weapons get to their destinations anywhere due to the corrupt nature of the Nigerian public service system.

What do Nigerians want to do with their lives and existences amidst the certainty that it is now impossible to continue to pretend that Nigeria is one country. The failed country called Nigeria has never been one in principle and it will NEVER be one country. NEVER!

So maybe one day the sensible people will wake up from their slumbers and rescue their heritage and regions from the claws of the larger evil Nigerian government and useless existence as a failed country.

That day they may begin a new chapter in their own histories and make something out of the ruins that is left so that their children and children’s children who have a place to call home. Right now Boko Haram has made Nigeria a more complicated hell on earth.

The rumour about the leaked intelligent report that General Ibrahim Babangida, General Buhari, Atiku Abubakar and even ex-Gov Shekarau are some of the sponsors of Boko Haram may just be true. Anything is possible in that country-Nigeria.

True or false, it would be interesting to see what Jonathan (the man who is always drinking alcohol) does in the days now following the leaked intelligent report.

Why Nigerians Should Not Vote Atiku or Jonathan or Ribadu

Adeola Aderounmu

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