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Monday, 1 July 2013


"You cannot compare one hundred Jonathans to one Buhari. I will always give my support to Buhari. He is the finest man I have ever known. Negative things that they say about him are not factual. I will continue to work for Buhari. "Corruption is the bane of Nigeria. Buhari is against corruption. Buhari is not corrupt. He is very clean and disciplined. Election rigging is worse than armed robbery. Buhari wants free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria." -Professor Tamunoemi Sokari David-West
he situation in Nigeria today is worse than it was when Goodluck Jonathan came into the picture, but the only pictures and images we have been seeing since Jonathan came are those of hunger, unemployment, kidnapping, horrific road accidents, ill-equipped hospitals, horrific roads, grand-standing and looting. Looting has been the champion of all of these images combined. It is the pillar of the transformation agenda of today's Aso Rock and the plank upon which Jonathan has built his kingdom. It is the sum total of this that has made an erudite scholar and nationalist Professor Tamunoemi Sokari David-West to insist that a hundred Jonathan cannot be compared to one Buhari. Professor David-West will be 77 come August 26, 2013 and he has seen it all. He served as Petroleum minister with integrity and honour; straightforward in his dealings, and he brought order, stability and transparency to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the same national oil corporation whose accounts are today in disarray, in the red, held in secret and held unaccountable to the Nigerian people by Jonathan and his Bayelsa rough-riders who are looting the nation, men and women who think they have the right to loot the nation with the excuse that at least the oil is theirs. These are merely a few people who delude themselves and are using their sickening "transformation agenda," which is clearly pseudonym for looting and corruption, to do as they please and to mismanage the nation and steal her funds. Since corruption is very much alive and well - in fact well positioned in Aso Rock and occupying the throne of state - in the land, there is absolutely no hope for change in the lives of the people.
Professor David-West worked with Buhari and it is not difficult for him to openly declare that Buhari towers above Goodluck more than a hundred times. Anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear will easily spot the difference between a time of national discipline, transparency and openness when order was enforced and compare it to the current season where looters are on the prowl and thieves occupy ministerial positions and hold sway right inside Aso Rock. The last time there was decency and order in Nigeria was during the time of Buhari and Idiagbon. NNPC was well managed, audited annually, and its audit reports made available to the public when Buhari was petroleum minister and also when he was head of government. His petroleum minister between 1984 and 1985 was Professor David-West and Dr. Onaolapo Soleye was his finance minister. Integrity still counted for something then and good names were still regarded and protected. Jonathan and his band of looters are not interested in good names or in service to the people; they are where they are for their own personal gains and for the opportunity to help themselves. Professor David-West will never support such people, notwithstanding the fact that most of the members of the greedy group are from his section of the South-South. Nationalists rise above local and ethnic politics' preferring instead to focus on issues, national interests, and service to the people. It is no surprise that Professor David-West is on the side of good governance, integrity, fairness, transparency, service to the people, and he just could not condescend to the low level of Goodluck Jonathan, who has wasted a rare and unusual opportunity to make a difference, preferring instead the opportunity for filthy lucre and personal gains.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Jonathan's Minister of Finance and pseudo-prime minister told the world this week that N58 billion revenue of government that was long overdue for remittance has not been remitted, but rather held in various banks and bank accounts. She considered the funds 'hidden' by unscrupulous bank managers and their 'collaborators' in various federal ministries and departments. She threatened heavy sanctions against the banks and the criminals in the government departments and ministries who are using state funds to earn interests and probably with the hope of stealing the funds out-rightly. But is that the way things should be? Should departments and ministries be threatened or pleaded with to follow established due process? Do these people need reminders to conduct government business responsibly and with integrity? Integrity is lacking at the very top and the rot just roll down the ladder; Aso Rock stinks and looting is alive and well, otherwise the criminal-minded in the various departments and ministries would have been jail-bound as we write. Aso Rock in collaboration with ministers is raking interests from government funds held for long periods of time in banks, and some of the funds just disappear altogether and eventually end up in the bank accounts of fronts and proxies of the ministers and their master-looter. Mercenaries are in control and poverty has badly twisted their heads and they are so small-minded and greedy that they will do anything and steal anything within their reach. The only thing that draws the attention and interest of mercenaries are stuff they can loot and plunder.
Why is it a problem for the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance to provide a list of the government departments and agencies of government who failed to comply with standard process of government when it is abundantly clear to her that a few are making huge interest income off government's money? It is because that is how this government is and that is the way they do things - making money for themselves at the expense of the people, abusing their positions for their own greedy gains and ends: the name is corruption and looting, and public execution should be the price. If the finance ministry is weak, intimidated and/or unwilling to hold departments, agencies and ministries responsible for the way the nation's funds are managed, then we have a lot of problems. The nation deserve to know and possess the right to have a full list of the 'collaborators' and their ministries. If the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance can refer to these people as miscreants who are colluding with banks to cheat the nation, she should be able to expose them, and call them by their names. Such men and women should not be occupying any responsible office in any decent society. You cannot afford to put thieves in departments and government agencies, and the Finance minister has a duty to make sure not all ministers and heads of departments are painted with the same brush in the matter of unremitted government revenue that is as huge as N58 billion. I have no doubt this will not happen under Muhammudu Buhari; this can only happen in a very corrupt and criminal environment as we have it now. These people should have been handed over to the police (forget Jonathan's play-station called the EFCC) and prosecuted. It is certain that nothing will happen if the grandfather of corruption and looting is right inside Aso Rock, and no one will ever be charged because these ministers and top political functionaries are acting on instruction from their master, which is why the Ministry of Petroleum stinks and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is easily being looted and has no audited accounts.
Some of the major issues relating to the corrupt activities going on in Africa, and in Nigeria in particular, were addressed by former Ghanaian president Jerry John Rawlings recently during a visit to Nigeria. Who else is very qualified to address issues relating to corruption than JJ Rawlings? Rawlings insisted that "we cannot continue to pay lip service" to corruption against the backdrop of the fact that petty thieves are sentenced to long prison terms while whose who embezzle millions and billions of state funds and those who dodge millions in taxes go unpunished. JJ Rawlings spoke directly to Jonathan in this respect. JJ Rawlings was the leader who brought sanity (during his housecleaning exercise) into the corrupt and rotten government in Ghana in the late 1970s and 1980s. Ghana is today the envy of other African nations since JJ Rawlings dealt firmly and decisively with the monster that was corruption in Ghana. And how did he do it? By example, by action and by strangling the monster and ridding the nation of the top thieves, which made the small thieves to quickly realize that no one is above the law. As Rawlings said in Awka, if the big thieves and top looters are held accountable and severely punished the small thieves will quickly put their dirty, filthy hands right back inside their agbada and trousers. Rawlings noted that "corrupt politicians in Nigeria escape punishment. We cannot continue to pay lip service to the strengthening, empowerment and independent management of our multiple anti-corruption institutions," like we do in Nigeria.
It is impossible for someone like Goodluck Jonathan who did not even declare his assets (probably too much and now bloated since the declaration he made when he was vice president) and has people fronting for him and with close ties to contractors and businessmen, to deal with corruption. But Muhammadu Buhari is capable of dealing with the corrupt elements in Nigeria, a major problem confronting the nation today. Buhari will get the support of the Nigerian people to rid the nation of the few who are looting money earmarked for development, healthcare and social services. No clean candidate can emerge from the PDP and this is also true of most of the political parties in Nigeria, but this is the time to support this one candidate Muhammadu Buhari who has the reputation, integrity and ferocious desire to rid our nation of thieves and looters. If we fail to deal with this problem now the nation will deteriorate to a level way beyond what we are seeing today. Nigeria needs a disciplined leader today than ever before - someone who is clean, a decent leader, an untainted and bold father of the nation. We need someone who can straighten things out, lead by example, deploy decent and competent people, and ensure ethical standards of behaviour are introduced and followed. Nigeria needs Muhammudu Buhari today.

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