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Posts tagged ‘Dimeji Bankole’

Tambuwal’s blame of Jonathan an attempt to mask incompetency to anti-graft battle.


In the buck passing in regard to the public concern about the growing spate of corruption in the country and failure of the dispensation to battle the scourge, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Aminu Tambuwal, blame the Jonathan administration for the irredeemable turn corruption has taken. He thinks that the fight against official graft has lost momentum due largely to the fact that President Goodluck Jonathan would rather set up committees to investigate corruption cases than refer them to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission—EFCC— for prompt action.He forgets to mention that there are several cases of corruption allegations referred to the Lamorde-led EFCC that have not seen the light of day. He forgets also to mention that the EFCC lawyers were whacking up cases referred to the commission, until some of them were found out and sacked. All the corruption cases investigated by the House Committees including those involving Hon. Farouk Lawan and Herman Hembe, to mention a few, that are yet to be satisfactorily and effectively disposed off are presumed to be Jonathan’s fault. Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dimeji Bankole, was chased about like a common criminal right from the day he left office by the EFCC. What has become of the corruption case involving him? Perhaps, President Jonathan prevailed on the EFCC and the courts to drop all charges against Mr. Bankole. What about the rot in the judiciary—about allegations that some multi-million naira assets and fat bank accounts have been traced to some judges of the courts? What about allegations that members of the House do collect bribes from agencies of state to pass legislations, such as police budget and the Securities Exchange Commission’s Act, for instance? Are all these episodes of unresolved corruption issues to be blamed on the Executive arm of government headed by the Presidency?What about issues of criminal legislations initiated by the House of Reps under the leadership of Hon. Tambuwal, such as the ongoing attempt by the House to pass a bill authorizing members to operate foreign bank accounts; a move that has been described as a legislative strategy to legitimize money laundering? Is this also the fault of President Jonathan? Where and to whom will Aminu Tambuwal pass the buck of the corruption episodes in the legislature?What discerning minds have come to appreciate is not that Jonathan as President should usurp the powers and functions of agencies and organs of government in the bid to stamp out corruption from the body politic, but that incremental wrong doings overtime with an entrenched culture of impunity nurtured and nourished by the military has made corruption, in our time, to spiral out of control.

The Jonathan dispensation, it has been contended, merely created the libertine ambience for corrupt practices to be fully exposed, as never before when Heads of State used to cover up for their cronies and protégés and allow only enemies who fall foul of the law to face the full wrath of the anti-graft agencies. What can be stated unambiguously is that the Jonathan government allowed corrupt practices to be fully exposed.Nigerians, today, have a long list of corrupt people in the corridor of power including the legislature and the judiciary as well as the financial services sector. Let Tambuwal and the defecting governors not be deceived that they can escape the wrath of the people when the bubble burst on the strength of their capacity to pass the buck to Goodluck Jonathan. Everybody, including past heads of state, is blaming the President for all the woes and corruption problems inundating the country. People who should know better, who are themselves part of the network of corruption, are creating the wrong impression that if all the blames for failure of the anti-graft war were heaped upon the President, they would be spared the anger of the people in the likely event of civil rebellion.Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State once warned that the way the political class is running the affairs of the country, they may not receive the support of the people if democracy in the country comes under threat. When Oshiomhole spoke, he never made excuses for himself. He was lamenting the deficit of credible political practice by the state actors—their lack of integrity, their corruption and profligacy, and their general inability to deliver service to the people.My point is not that the President should be spared where and when he errs. My point is that the buck passing going on now, as if the affairs of state are the sole responsibility of Goodluck Jonathan, is in bad faith. Aminu Tambuwal should not delude himself that Nigerians have a high opinion of the House of Reps which he superintends. Corruption issues are glossed over in the legislature as it is treated with a dignified nonchalance by the other arms of government.Tambuwal should be honest and tell the world the truth about corruption episodes in the country—that corruption is defended and protected on the platform of ethnicity. That is why no head of state has been able to deal with it frontally. General Murtala Mohammed who tried to deal with corruption issues in the military and the civil service constructively, did not quite understand the trajectory and networking of corruption, and did not know what hit him in the process.Corruption issues can be uprooted in the country mainly by taking the battle away from the centre to the federating units through devolution of power and fiscal federalism, the way it was at the birth and early days of nationhood. Smash the centre and give economic power to the zonal or regional power blocks and corruption battle will shift from the centre to the component units, where the dead would have to bury the dead until kinsmen can shout “enough is enough” and tell themselves to stop killing one another and use the commonwealth for the development of the fatherland for the benefit and happiness of all.Tambuwal should work for a decentralized Nigeria, a fiscal federal structure, a country where the people and their sensibilities, rather than the whims and narrow self-interest of the few who happen to be in control, dictate and drive state affairs. That is the time any head of state can launch a serious offensive against corruption.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Stella Oduah: Frequently Asked Questions By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo.


The revelation that the Aviation Minister Ms. Stella Oduah arm-twisted the National Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, to buy two armored BMW cars for $1.6 million dollars has raised a lot of questions. How we answer some of these questions will determine if we will be able to reduce corruption in our society. I will now tackle some of your frequently asked questions.

Q1. Why Ms. Stella Oduah?
Answer: Because she was caught, red-handed, if I may add.
Q2. Isn’t that what they’ve all been doing? They are all corrupt.
Answer: When a police radar clocks your car for driving faster than the speed limit and you are pulled over, that some other drivers were driving faster than you will not let you off the hook. That they all do it does not exonerate you.
Q3. Why now? Isn’t this a calculated attempt to frustrate her? Is this issue not orchestrated by the special interests she sidelined in order to carry out impressive work she is doing in the aviation sector, like the airport renovations?
Answer: Every person in authority deals with special interests. In a place where there is no transparency and standards, people in power favor some and disfavor others. This is something that following laid down procedures will save them from. Those you did not favor may be unhappy, or even be antagonistic. For every Dangote favored there is an Ibeto disfavored. They may wish that you disappear from your position, but they will not force you to spend $1.6 million to buy two armored cars.
Q4: Stella Oduah is not the first person to be caught misappropriating public funds. There is Farouk Lawan, Dimeji Bankole, why is everyone piling on her?
Answer:  I went back to look at news reports of the time when major corruption scandals broke. They looked to me as if everyone was piling on those people, too. In fact, it appears as if those who complain that a particular corruption suspect is being piled on are the same people who derided another suspect in the past.

The only change that I see in Stella Oduah’s case is that Nigerians are getting more frustrated by the day. And social media is expanding the more. If you think Stella Oduah had it rough, wait until the next scandal that will break. In fact, President Jonathan complains of being the most criticized Nigerian president but my pity is with the next president- whoever that may be. It’ll be rough, rough, rough.
Q5. Are we not innocent until proven guilty in a court of law?
Answer: Yes. But that’s in a sane society. In a society where a suspected thief is lynched on the street or a police officer regularly shoots a suspect and plants evidence on him, what do you expect? Isn’t it ironic that some of the same people who are quoting the law in the case of Ms. Oduah will gladly pour petrol and light the matches on a suspected thief?
Q6. Isn’t the fact that she’s a smart Igbo woman a factor?
Answer: I hope she is not the first smart Igbo woman in government. And I hope she will not be the last. If my memory serves me right, in September of 2007, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, Mrs. Patricia Etteh was accused of authorizing the spending of N628 million naira (about $5 million) to renovate her official residence and that of her deputy and also for the purchase of 12 official cars. She was forced to resign by public outcry, even when President Olusegun Obasanjo was solidly behind her. I don’t remember her being a smart Igbo woman.
Q7. Isn’t this whole thing a plot by the opposition to embarrass the president?
Answer: As far as I know, the opposition did not order the purchase of the two cars. And the opposition did not take delivery of the cars, either.
Q8. But someone leaked the information. And that person must be working for the opposition. Don’t you think?
Answer: The person who leaked the information is working for Nigeria. He or she is a hero- a Nigerian hero. We need more of them everywhere. That he or she is now facing 10 years in jail should worry us all. Meanwhile, if convicted of violating procurement act, Stella Oduah will only get 5 years in jail. For a thoroughly corrupt society like ours, we need a law that protects whistleblowers. We need it yesterday.
Q9. The Yoruba Lagos-Ibadan press is just lynching an Igbo woman. Can’t you see that?

Answer: The Lagos-Ibadan press phenomenon is like the Kaduna mafia. Like a phantom, it exists and at the same time it doesn’t exist. That the media in Nigeria is fractured and flawed is not in question. But the majority of the Lagos-Ibadan media is owned by people from the minority ethnic groups. By the way, Igbo people own enough newspapers in the Lagos-Ibadan axis that, if what is going on is an ethnic war to expose corrupt practices of government officials from other ethnic groups, the Igbo have the means to get into the game.

Of course, that is not what is happening. But should that be, Nigeria would be the beneficiary if all corrupt elements are exposed.
The engine driving the Stella Oduah’s story does not come from the Lagos-Ibadan press. Saharareporters broke the story. And Saharareporters and Premium Times have kept the heat on. The Lagos-Ibadan press is reluctantly following along. Saharareporters and Premium Times are not owned by Yoruba people.

Online, the Igbo own more news websites than any other ethnic group. So nothing stops them from exposing the corrupt practices of other government officials. And you can be sure that once the evidence is out, the Lagos-Ibadan press will join in to lynch the suspect.
Q10. Why is the press not reporting that Governor Babatunde Fashola also bought a bulletproof car?
Answer: The simple answer is that the press has no evidence to support that story. The only reason why the Stella Oduah’s story gathered momentum was that Saharareporters presented irrefutable evidence. Those who have such evidence on any politician will always find a media outlet that will publish it. In the media, there is a difference between what is known and what can be supported by evidence. People in the media know a lot but are limited in some cases by a lack of proof. And that is where they need help from the public and whistleblowers. If, for any reason, no media will touch an authentic story with verifiable evidence, the democratization of the media means that anyone can put such material in public domain. The social media has made it so simple.
Politicians are frustrated by social media. They can buy up all the reporters and editors in Nigeria but they cannot buy every Tunde and Obi and Sani with a cell phone in hand.
Q11: What will now happen to the airports if Stella Oduah is sacked?
Answer: Somebody will take over from her and carry on from where she stopped. If she is the only person that can do the work in a country of 160 million people, then, you should know that we have more serious problems than we thought.
Q12. Now that you’ve said all these things, how can we eradicate corruption in Nigeria?

Answer: Aside from the structural flaws, the single most challenging issue facing Nigeria is corruption. It has eaten so deeply into every facet of Nigerian life that it undermines what would otherwise have been beneficial initiatives. Can corruption be effectively tackled without first undertaking the task of restructuring? My answer would be no, because the synergy needed to push for a clean society is difficult to gather in a structurally weak country like Nigeria. The reason why Mr. Andy Ubah and his group will destroy government properties in Awka and nothing could be done is because of the prevailing structure that places the center over the region. People in each state or region can handle their renegades but not when the federal might is behind the renegades.

But what could be done while we await the inevitable restructuring of Nigeria?

First, why are we so corrupt? We are corrupt because we have a poor and lawless country where there is no freedom of information and whose leaders/citizens – who have no shame – are overloaded with exaggerated sense of importance. Those are dangerous combinations. They have guaranteed corruption in all societies where such propensities exist. It is the same in Bangladesh. It is the same in Mexico. It is the same in Haiti. And it is the same in Kenya.

Anyone living in the West can attest to the fact that without the enforcement of law and order, these western societies would, in a short time, deteriorate into corrupt societies. The primary task of lawmakers and law enforcement agencies is to stay one step ahead of the lawbreakers. It is a perpetual battle that every generation redefines. In the case of Nigeria, the ball was dropped soon after independence, as men became gods and civil service became self-service.

What we have in Nigeria is power without accountability, action without consequences and citizens without a say. Everyone, it seems, is either already corrupt or is searching for a chance to be corrupt. The few who are not yet corrupt are busy fighting off the pressure to be corrupt. Those who are rich by means of corruption have nothing to fear and those who are poor because of corruption have nothing to love. In a society where corruption thrives, the dream of a fair and just society can never be attained. And with that dies the hope of a prosperous society for all.

It is, therefore, in the interest of all Nigerians that corruption is eradicated. Corruption does harm to everyone of us. It is indirectly responsible for a great percentage of all unnatural deaths of Nigerians. When a corrupt politician connives with a corrupt contractor to award and execute a frivolous road contract and people die in accidents due to poor roads, it is an indirect result of corruption. When a corrupt businessman connives with a corrupt hospital administrator and supplies adulterated medications to hospitals and patients die in doctors’ care, it is an indirect result of corruption. When a policeman confuses bribery with bonus, frees a criminal and the criminal kills an innocent man, it is an indirect result of corruption.

Tackling corruption will require a three-way act – prosecution, prevention and education. So far, none of these is happening in Nigeria at the level it should. Prosecution of corrupt practices must be swift, severe and steady. It must proceed with a thorough investigation. It must be across the board. It must be carried out by competent individuals. Prevention of corruption entails the reduction of opportunities for corruption in existing procedures and practices of government departments and private organizations. Education of the citizenry must integrate the importance of ethics in civic and business life.

Without leaders who uphold higher standard of integrity, the task is hard to begin. The tendency for blackmail is great when leaders are themselves stained by the oil of corruption. In such situation, emphasis should be built around public institutions. An efficient public complaint structure should be established as an avenue to initiate actions. Civil servants must have firm and independent-minded monitors. With citizens’ rights enthroned, accountable democratic institutions could be built from down to up.

process of making bids, awarding contracts and procurements must be made public. If the Ministry of Works, for instance, says that it spent 400 billion Naira in road constructions in the last year, the public should know how the bidding was done, who won the contract and why. Also, the public should know who supervised the job, who approved the job completion, and who should follow up with the maintenance. Nobody should need to invoke the Freedom of Information Act before they find out how much elected officials and civil servants make.

To build a clean society we have to start by creating an open one. Any Nigerian should be able to know the assets of our public officials. Public servants who declared marginal assets when they went into office and came out with mega wealth should be probed and the source of their newly found wealth exposed. The same should go for public officials who throw money around. We should be able to demand and receive information on what each public official costs us and where the money goes. Those found wanting in their handling of public funds must be punished severely and should be made to pay restitution. As we close up loopholes to embezzlement, we have to teach our children social contract and the beauty of abiding by it.
Eradicating corruption in Nigeria may sound like an oxymoron now but, if we really mean it, we can make it happen.


Happy Children’s Day, Peers!

By Gimba Kakanda

You were in university in the 80’s and the 90’s. You knew the governmtents of Generals Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and Sani Abacha. They were your heads of state, perhaps not your models as you were still antagonising the soldiers for interrupting “democracy” even where the ousted thieves in agbada and kaftan were not any better.

The Generals and Lieutenant Colonels visited your schools and lightened up your world with countless you-are-the-leaders-of-tomorrow speeches. You studied harder. A decade later, you were out of school, in a country in need of change, in need of soul, in need of sanity. The soldiers were still there looting unstoppably and, because executive powers were reserved for those in khaki, you stayed put in the ranks of progressive civilians screaming in safari suits, agitating for democracy. Finally, your dream transpired, and just when you thought it was your time to change the world with your studied ideas, you find yourself in a race for relevance with those father-figures of yesterdays who now remind you that you are still children at 40 and 50! So, Happy Children’s Day to you!

If our fathers were children in this democracy of the old and the privileged, what is our value in the mathematics of leadership? We are the children of the 80’s—and behind are angrier colleagues of the early 90’s—who had acted out dramas on sand dunes imagining ourselves as leaders of a future assured. We imagined ourselves as governors and parliamentarians or just a powerful somebody giving out orders. We thought it would be an easy journey, we thought all it would take was growing up or earning certain certificates to become that powerful somebody. A decade after what I would call the expiration of our childhood we find ourselves dragging for the choice piece of meat in our mother’s pots with our younger siblings, squatting with our tired parents and still troubling those retirees for transportation fees to go for this or that job interview!

May 27 is a day that brings back memories of those early years of innocence, of naiveté, of ignorance, and of deceptions by these grand-fatherly leaders who had still not allowed even our fathers to pass through the gates to power and social relevance. May 27 is a reminder of our hopelessness in a country where political youthfulness begins at 40, and life expectancy is just about 10 years more than that. May 27 is a day to ponder how the People’s Democratic Party caricatures our condition further by imposing a 60-year-old as National Youth Leader. May 27 is a moment to reflect, very soberly, on the lies we were told at Parade Grounds a decade and a half back, and on the absence of jobs and the consequent presence of poverty across the country today… Every year, thousands of students leave tertiary institutions and other thousands embark on higher academic adventures all with their eyes on a labour market where there is no longer space, not even a space to squat, because certain gerontocrats have chosen to overstay their social tenure!

The first prank I played on this year’s day of the children was a call to a 31-year-old friend. “Happy Children’s Day!” I sang, and this I expected to rouse a bout of laughter. But there was none, in fact the silence that ensued asked me to either introduce a new issue or just own up to my mistake and apologise. “Happy Children’s Day to Us!” I sang, hoping this self-inclusive spite would douse the tension. He was a childhood friend, and I felt that apology over pranks was a wrong idea in a friendship as time weathered as ours. But thankfully, he laughed, and then he cursed and then said, ‘Well, I’m not yet 40!” That is it; a surrender to the new order of Nigeria’s cultural gerontocracy. My friend left university at 24 with, like everybody in his state, a sigh of relief, a conquering spirit of having met up with the expectations of the society in which certificates are (mis)taken for meal tickets. But seven years later, he is still at home with his retiree parents and expecting a miracle to save him from the embarrassment. As a friend, I consider myself his psychotherapist because I do not require any training in psychology to understand what is killing my beloved friend—the earlier job interviews he attended just after he left school required certain years of experience as though experiences could be gotten without a job. In this cycle of rejections, my friend is still shocked to discover that the hunt having gone on for seven years, all the interviews at which he tries his luck now have a new requirement: Graduates Below 27 Only!

The social realities of Nigeria have turned many of us into social crusaders or, to borrow the words of poet and lawyer Abdul Mahmud, offensive as that is, “Boys Scout activists”. The rage of the many 30-year-children, 40-year-old adolescents and 50-year old young men struggling to break through the rank of these octogenarian leaders is a disaster waiting to burst out. And I hope that we understand the need to end this at polling centres come 2015.

One more thing though; old age is not a decline in wisdom, just as youthfulness does not robe one in any political peculiarities. We have seen youthful leaders like Dimeji Bankole climbing up the ladders of financial misappropriations. It is just evil to waste the ideas and knowledge of the younger people awaiting a chance to serve, it’s just evil to remain silent in a country where young job-seekers rush to courts to obtain new “certificates of births” to qualify for certain job requirements. Today, almost all my friends, many actually in their thirties, have a court affidavit that says they are in their twenties. If this is funny, I would have only whispered “God is watching you” and returned to my day job. But, no, we need our gestated ideas employed in building this country. Calling a 30-year-old “kid” in a country where we are expected to die at 52 is a culture asking for revolution. And this should come soon, in our lifetime, I mean very soon. May God save us from us!

Gimba Kakanda

@gimbakakanda (On Twitter)


I Come to Bury Jonathan By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo.

President Jonathan has said that corruption in Nigeria is exaggerated. In the eternal words of William Shakespeare, if it were so, it was a grievous fault on the part of those Americans who pointed it out. And grievously have those Americans answered it.

For the purpose of simplifying this argument, let us forget everything that happened when Goodluck Jonathan was Deputy Governor under Governor Diepreiye Alamiesegha or when he was the governor of Bayelsa State following the impeachment of Alamiesegha for corruption – including the arrest of Mrs. Patience Jonathan for money laundering (redacted and deleted from the memory of Nuhu Ribadu and the EFCC). Let us forget all that happened when he was Vice President under President Musa Yar’Adua or Acting President following his death. Let us start from the time he won elections as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on April 16, 2011.

Two weeks later, on April 29, 2011, President Goodluck Jonathan secretly approved the transfer of $1.1 billion to the London account of Malabu Oil and Gas owned by former Minister of Petroleum and a convicted money launderer, Dan Etete and Sani Abacha’s son, Mohammed. The money came from funds paid to the Federal Government by two multinational companies; Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited and Shell Nigeria as part of the settlement of the Malabu oil block case between the Federal Government, Malabu and the two multinational oil companies. As soon as the money got into the account of Malabu Oil in London it was wired to secret accounts of cronies and some political associates of President Jonathan. One of the beneficiaries was Abubakar Aliyu. He received over $500 million of that money through several companies he owned. Nobody could fathom what his companies did to warrant such payments. All that we know is that the man is a close associate of Diepreiye Alamiesegha and that he was the same man who (with President Yar’Adua’s help) bought 80,000 square feet of NITEL’s land in Abuja for N1 billion and turned around (with President Jonathan’s help) to sell the same piece of land for N20 billion to the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Other than travel round the world, the next big thing President Jonathan did was increasing the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise called petrol, from N65.00 to N141.00 on January 1st 2012. This action prompted spontaneous protests across Nigeria and abroad. Even though President Jonathan and his team threw around conflicting figures- which showed they had no understanding of what was really going on in the oil industry- they kept arguing that the pain would be temporary and that after the pain the benefits would overwhelm Nigerians. They promised urban buses, monthly publication of the amount of money saved, maintenance of the Port Harcourt refinery, construction of eight major roads, two bridges etc. The subsidy they said had gulped down N1.43 trillion by the end of 2011. With subsidies removed the government said it would realize N1.134 trillion. The protests forced the government to adjust the PMS price to N97. That would have brought half of the projected N1.34 trillion; that is N600 billion into the coffers of the government. However, a year later, none of the promises had been fulfilled. Nobody can say, with any authority, where the N600 billion made in 2012 in subsidy removal was.

In the course of the tussle over the subsidy removal, the Ministry of Finance was forced to set up an inquiry into the government’s subsidy payments to oil marketers and importers. The committee led by Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, looked at the subsidy claims of 2011 and discovered that the Federal Government had overpaid importers and marketers of petrol by a whopping N430 billion naira. Yet, before December 2012, the Federal Government had exhausted N888 billion of the 2012 budget meant for payment of subsidies. An additional N161 billion in supplementary funding had to be approved for subsidy payments else marketers and importers were going to carry out their threat to cease importation of petrol into Nigeria, thereby grounding the country.

(Please pause and think of this: In 2012, N600 billion was realized from partial subsidy removal. N430 billion in over payment to marketers and importers was discovered from the 2011 receipts. Also N888 billion was budgeted for subsidy payments in 2012. Yet, by December 2012 an additional N161 billion in supplementary funding was added. So despite the identified overpayment of N430 billion, Nigeria spent N1.14 trillion in subsidy in 2012. And if you add the unaccounted N600 billion saved, that gives us an amount of N1.6 trillion wasted.)

As part of the gains of the protests, a presidential panel was set up to look into what was really happening at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The Ribadu-led panel came out with a report that suggested that Nigeria had lost about N4.64 trillion in the last 10 years from deals Nigerian government officials signed with foreign oil multinationals. (A good example is the recent deal involving Petroleum Minister Mrs. Diezeani Alison Madueke and Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Limited over foou large oil blocks (OMLs 26, 30, 34 and 42). The Madueke deal is said to shortchange Nigeria to the tune of billions and billions in loss associate with billions of cubic feet of gas. Five aggrieved oil-producing communities in Delta State are engaged in a fight with the minister and her friends at the multinational companies). The Ribadu report also revealed that the NNPC had failed to report N86.6 billion to the government in 10 years by simple manipulation of exchange rates by officials of the corporation. The report further showed that about 150,000 barrels of crude oil are stolen each day in Nigeria. So Nigeria loses about $13.5 million per day (at $100 per barrel). In a year, that stands at $5 billion (N750 billion)

In January this year, a presidential committee on public service reform discovered that top government officials in Nigeria take home N1.126 trillion a year in salaries and allowances – out of a national budget of N4.9 trillion. These public officers constitute just 0.013 per cent of Nigeria’s population. It is common knowledge that Nigeria’s 108 senators each make over $1.7m dollars a year when US President Barak Obama only makes $400,000 a year. That alone is $183.4 million (N28 billion). Then the 360 members of the House of Representatives each takes home over $1.2 billion dollars, which amounts to $432 million dollars (N65bn). Again, each state governor collects an average of N200 million naira a month just as security vote. In a year, they each get N2.4 billion naira. So our 36 governors take home N87 billion naira on security votes alone every year. Add our 38 ministers and ministers of state, 100 plus heads of federal and state agencies, over 432 state commissioners,  774 local government area chairmen or caretakers, almost 10,000 councilors and you will understand where the N1.126 trillion goes.

While all these were going on, a former speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole was arrested and charged for embezzling a N10 billion naira loan borrowed on behalf of the House. He has since been released- awaiting trial, like many governors of the past 13 years. Also an assistant director in the Federal Civil Service, John Yusuf together with his friends stole N27.2 billion from the Police Pension Fund. He was tried and sentenced to 2 years in jail with an option of a N750, 000. At the same time, a Pension Reform Task Force set up by the government to recover looted funds found billions in some banks. Its chairman Alhaji Abdulrasheed Maina transferred the recovered funds to his private account. When asked to appear before the senate, he absconded to Malaysia.

Around the same time, the former Minister of Education, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili accused Presidents Yar’Adua and Jonathan of squandering in 4 years the $67 billion in External Reserves left by Obasanjo’s government in 2007. She offered to have an open debate with Jonathan’s government but the government called her names and shut her down. Jonathan’s team told Nigerians excited by the prospects of a debate to keep quiet; after all, Nigeria’s external reserve is back up to $48 billion and our national Sovereign Wealth Fund is now $1 billion. (Big deal, until you look at what Algeria ($190 billion) and Libya ($130 billion) and India ($290 billion) and Singapore ($260 billion) have in their foreign external reserves.)

This is the world of revolving billions and trillions that President Jonathan and his 0.013% of Nigerian public officials are living in. In such a world you will understand why President Jonathan had no sense of outrage as he pushed through a proposal for a First Lady Mission that would cost N4 billion to build. You will also understand why a food allowance of almost N1 billion did not sound outrageous to the presidency. In this world of revolving billions and trillions, where everyone in their circle is getting theirs, you will understand why nobody who is getting paid will seriously raise a hand to point at others in the same club.

Many of us do not know but Nigeria makes an average of $20 billion dollars (N3 trillion) in oil and gas revenue a year. Nigeria also makes N5 trillion from Federal taxes. From Customs duty, Nigeria makes another one trillion. That is a total of N9 trillion. If you add a typical year of $10 billion in Excess Crude Account, you are looking at an annual income of over N10 trillion.

In a typical year, Nigeria budgets N4.9 trillion. N10 trillion in revenue minus N4.9 trillion budgeted you have about N5 trillion out there for politicians to play with. If we were to share the N10 trillion naira revenue amongst 170 million Nigerians, every citizen should get N59, 000.00 naira each. A typical family of six will get N354, 000.00 a year.

And if Jonathan closes the loophole through which N750 billion is lost in stolen crude oil, even if it is by 50%, an additional N370 billion will come in. Last December, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala announced proudly that Jonathan’s government has recovered N29 billion naira from oil marketers out of N234 billion certified as stolen. Again if Jonathan ends the waste from oil subsidy, at over N600 billion a year, Nigeria will get an additional revenue of one trillion naira a year for a grand total of N11 trillion each year.

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s external debt has been on the increase since Ngozi Okonjo Iweala came back. It is projected to hit $20 billion in external debt and N6 trillion in domestic debt next year. That means, in less than 10 years after Ngozi Okonjo Iweala paid $12.4 billion of Nigeria’s money to the Paris and London Clubs to fulfill her now abandoned goal of having Nigeria as a debt free nation, Nigeria’s debt is back in full.

President Jonathan is lucky that Nigerians are too busy with more important things – fighting over Chelsea and Manchester United and Arsenal and the decision the coaches of each team make each Saturday and how the European league referees perform on the pitch. So far, Nigerians have abandoned their own team, their own coaches, their own referees, their own pitch and the matches that affect their lives the most.

The day Jonathan’s luck will run out is the day Nigerians will grab a calculator and add up these billions and trillions. Until then, it is mere exaggeration when I say; I come to bury Jonathan not to praise him.


Ex-Speaker Bankole awarded N9bn contracts to fake companies – EFCC.

Former Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Dimeji Bankole has been
arraigned in a court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,
EFCC, for allegedly awarding N9 billion contracts to phony companies without
traceable addresses.Testifying against the embattle former speaker when the matter came for
hearing at an Abuja Federal High court, the prosecution witness, ASP Ibrahim
Ahmed said efforts by the anti-graft agency to verify the contacts were abortive
as they were no existent.

According to Ahmed, the EFCC decided to devise other methods of reaching
to the chief executives of the companies through surface mails, adding that
this did not yield positive result either as the registered mails were returned

Mr. Ahmed said the letters were returned to the office by the courier service
three weeks later because the addresses were not traceable.

His words: “Owing to the fact that we could not trace the addresses of the
companies, we decided to write the MD’s of the Companies. We wrote the
letters and sent them through UPS courier service but the letters were returned
three weeks later because UPS said they couldn’t trace the address”.

The prosecution counsel, Festus Keyamo, sought to tender a document
obtained from the former speaker by the EFCC in the court as an evidence but
the defence counsel, O. Akanni, SAN, objected on the grounds that the
document were not certified.

This prompted Keyamo to withdraw the document while seeking time to get all
the documents certified. The judge, Donatus Okorowa, adjourned the case to
April 3 for continuation of trial.

By African Examiner.

Court dismisses N40 billion corruption charges against Bankole, Nafada.

Justice Suleiman Belgore of the Abuja High Court has thrown out the N40
billion corruption case against former speaker of the Nigerian House of
Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole and his deputy Hon. Usman  
Nafada.The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had accused
the two politicians of corruption bordering on theft, contract inflation and
fraudulent embezzlement of public funds while in office.  

But when the matter came up in court on Tuesday,  Justice Suleiman
Belgore dismissed the case saying both Bankole and his deputy have no
case to answer.

Belgore noted that  the former speaker and the former deputy speaker did
not benefit from the controversial N40 billion loan and added that there
was no case of theft either as it was a loan that have been liquidated and
was provided for in the budget.

He also said constitutionally, it is the duty of the clerk of the house to run
the account of the house and not the speaker or the deputy.

By African Examiner.

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