Monday, 25 November 2013
"Jonathan And Lamido" - By: Sam Nda-Isaiah
I hope no one is duped by the face-off between President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State being packaged as the president’s own version of the war against corruption. Last week, Governor Lamido accused President Jonathan of doing nothing about the lead he (Lamido) gave him: a minister close to him collecting $250 million bribe from an oil company. In less than 24 hours, the EFCC had swooped on two of the governor’s sons over the alleged laundering of about N10 billion. I am certainly not holding brief for Sule Lamido and his children. They may, in fact, be guilty; but would the president have given a different directive if the governor had not been such a trenchant opponent to him? If Lamido had not been in the Amaechi-led NGF and had been in the Jang-led NGF, would the prognosis have been different?
Or, let’s put it this way: why is it that, in spite of all the hoopla about Stella, the EFCC still does not know the way to the aviation minister’s house, even though her bulletproof cars run on excess aviation fuel? There have also been several reports on the petroleum minister, without any consequences whatsoever. During some of the investigations, it was the president himself that sometimes begged the National Assembly not to “embarrass” the ministers by inviting them to their committees.
It is too early for us to forget the president’s contributions to the House of Reps fuel subsidy probe. This is what happens when a leader has completely lost credibility. Governor Lamido may well be guilty of the massive corruption charges as alleged, but Nigerians are reading other meanings into it.
And, by the way, where is the report of the fuel subsidy scam involving the son of another PDP chieftain? Nigerians have not yet forgotten that the PDP chairman’s son and his colleagues have been charged in court over the theft of N304 billion. It’s now over 20 months, and nothing is heard about the case anymore. The case will probably never come up again until Bamanga Tukur starts thinking of conducting a free and fair presidential primary. And lest we forget so soon, what were the president’s contributions in catching the pension robbery kingpin, apart from what Nigerians already know?
The president’s double standard did not just surface today. Evidence of it started showing even before he became president. Does anyone still remember Vincent Ogbulafor? He was the chairman of the PDP when President Umaru Yar’Adua had become sick and incapacitated. Jonathan was acting president then but Ogbulafor insisted that the PDP would still zone its presidential slot to the north. Before anyone knew what was going on, some funny charges had been slapped on Ogbulafor’s face for an offence he was said to have committed seven years earlier. Of course, Ogbulafor was forced to resign. The PDP chairman might have been guilty, but he was not the only guilty party there.
It is very hard to continue to trust the current leadership of the ruling party with power. And we are all witnesses to the quality of governance under Jonathan. Any group that sees power as an advantage for self-promotion and breaking the law must never be allowed near power. The Appeal Court has just passed a judgement declaring former governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola as the authentic secretary of the PDP. But Jonathan doesn’t want that and has quickly got Oyinlola suspended from the party. Nobody should tell me that it was not Jonathan who did it. In their confusion, they said Oyinlola could not be reinstated because the court judgement had not been served the PDP headquarters. But the same PDP headquarters was aware enough to rush to the Supreme Court to appeal the Appeal Court’s judgement. That’s certainly not the kind of leadership you want to watch over your nation.
If many Nigerians are forced to either accept Jonathan’s accusation or Lamido’s allegation, more would rather believe the Jigawa State governor because the president has tons and tons of corruption issues he has been protecting. It may not be true, but that is the perception the president has given himself.
Nigerians now know how important to the nation the man who occupies the presidency is. Next time, we must insist that only a leader fit for a country as important as Nigeria emerges.
The Disturbing $5bn Revelation From Amaechi
While we are still at it, Governor Rotimi Amaechi, the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), has declared that, under the watchful eye of President Jonathan, $5 billion (five billion dollars) has been secretly withdrawn from the excess crude account since January. I think Nigerians will need to find out from Amaechi whether this “secret withdrawal” is another name for stealing. Amaechi is not just another Nigerian. He is the legit chairman of the NGF. That is why fighting has its uses sometimes. Were it not for this fight now, how would we have heard this kind of alarming news? It would have been a perfect impossibility for the other chairman who received 16 votes as against Amaechi’s 19 votes and who is being recognised and supported by Jonathan (remember, our president was taught by his primary school teacher that 16 is greater than 19) to give us this patriot’s information.
Now, this is a very serious matter. If any president can just do this without any consequences at all, then, we don’t need democracy. What then is the use of the National Assembly? If this National Assembly would take any action (which might include several sanctions including impeachment and removal from office) and if the allegations are indeed true, then, let us just forget it. And, on this matter, let every senator and rep answer his or her father’s name. Our country cannot be dying – no water, no power, no security, no quality education, etc, etc – and this level of stealing is going on unabated. If it is not fuel subsidy, it is Stella; if it is not pension funds, it is stolen security money; if it is not blackout, it is no pipe-borne water; and the list goes on and on and on…