Sunday, July 26, 2015 10:09 pm
By Remi Oyeyemi
“If Nigeria does not kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria.”- President Mohammadu Buhari
With the pressure from the Western powers, especially the United States of America, it is one’s hope that President Buhari would be able to develop the necessary backbone to go through with this. This is a task that calls for courage and fearlessness on his part. This is a case that would make and confirm his reputation as a genuine anti-corruption crusader, who truly wants to save Nigeria from the fangs of corruption. Or it may turn out to be the case that would demystify him and expose him as a lily-livered paper tiger. But first, let us quickly peruse the list of the alleged bribe takers.
Please note that this list is not necessarily complete of all that are involved at other levels, but the names here are the one that have been holding Nigeria captive through corruption:
* General Olusegun Obasanjo, Ex – Military Head of State and ex- Civilian President of Nigeria, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, Ex Military President of Nigeria, General Sani Abacha, Ex- Military Head of State of Nigeria, General Abdusalaam Abubakar, Ex – Military Head of State of Nigeria, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, former Vice President of Nigeria, Alhaji M.D. Yusuf, former Inspector General of Police and Air Vice Marshal Abdullahi Dominic Bello, ex Chief of Air Staff, Nigeria Air Force, and former MD of the defunct Nigeria Airways.
Others are Chief Donald (Don) Etiebet, a former Petroleum Minister of Nigeria, Chief Dan Etete, a former Petroleum Minister of Nigeria (The man with The Malabu Scandal Connection), Dr. Jackson Gaius Obaseki, former Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr. Funso Kupolokun, former Group Managing Director of NNPC, Ibrahim Aliyu, a former permanent secretary, Abdulkadir Abacha, son of former Military Head of State, Sani Abacha, Bodunde Adeyanju, a former Personal Assistant to President Olusegun Obasanjo
and Ibrahim Aliyu of Urban Shelter and Intercellular among others.
The aforementioned are those implicated in the Halliburton bribery scandal. Of the names on the list only the former Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku (awaiting trial in Washington DC for money laundering ) and Dan Etete (who has already been convicted in France for money laudering) have dramatic international dimensions to their involvement in this ugly mess, despite the scandal itself being international in nature from the get go.
The names on this list are the traitors of the Nigerian State and betrayers of the Nigerian people. They are the ones to whom the destiny and fortunes of Nigeria were entrusted but who shamelessly and without conscience, mortgaged it for a reeking pot of poisonous porridge. They are the profiteers from the pangs of Nigerian people. They are the Iscariots of the Nigerian State who sold their people, their future and their happiness for “thirty pieces of silver.”
There have been so many scandals in Nigeria – the Festus Okotie – Eboh Scandal (the first and the last time when the cheque of what would have been Nigeria’s first international loan flew out of the aircraft window); the Scania Scandal; the Leyland Scandal; the Umaru Dikko Rice Scandal; The Import Licence Scandal; Bamangar Tukur’s Nitel Scandal; the Shehu Malami et al Union Bank Scandal (when the bank vault was opened at 2.00am to take out hundreds of millions in cash); Anosike Brothers’ Privatisation Scandal at the Daily Times; the $2.8 billion saga among others.
In recent times we have had the Sanusi Lamido’s 640 billion Central Bank of Nigeria Scandal; the Maina Pension Scandal; Kerosine Subsidy Scandal; Police Pension Fund Fraud; Aminu Tambuwal and Dimeji Bankole 10 billion NASS Fraud Orgy; Stella Oduah’s Scandal; Senators Sola Saraki/Bukola Saraki’s Societe Generale Bank Scandal; Senator Bukola Saraki’s Trade Bank Scandal; The Missing NNPC 20 Billion Naira Scandal; Erastus Akingbola Intercontinental Bank Scandal; Abba Morro Immigration Scandal; Malabu Oil Scandal, Farouk Lawan $620,000 Bribery Scandal, again, among many others.
Of all these scandals, none has been as damaging, denigrating, detrimental and destructive to the image, dignity and integrity of Nigeria as a corporate entity than the Halliburton bribery scandal. The Halliburton scandal did not only damage the corporate image of Nigeria as an entity, it deflated the pride of ordinary, honest, hardworking Nigerians across the planet with the kind of opprobrium that was brought to bear on them.
As someone who has travelled the capitals of European countries, I know what kind of indignity, humiliation and slight that one has got to bear as a Nigerian. It is difficult to put in words the kind of discomfort that Nigerians have had to be subjected to. Though, the 419ers, drug barons and couriers also have their own contribution to the sordid image of the country, but none compared to the negative coverage and mention that the Halliburton scandal generated across the world.
Now that President Mohammadu Buhari has asked the relevant agencies to dust up the files of and on this scandal, it gives some pulsation to the majority of Nigerians who voted for CHANGE during the election of 2015. It does not matter whether he was edged on by the United States of America or he was the one taking the initiative, the bottom line is that Nigerians who voted for CHANGE also want JUSTICE as its compulsory concomitants.
The way and manner President Buhari handles this matter would determine whether the days of corruption in Nigeria is truly numbered or Nigeria would be condemned to eternal damnation of corruption and disgrace. This case calls for uncommon courage on the part of President Buhari and all those who might be handling the files and the processes of attaining JUSTICE for Nigeria and Nigerians.
This case would give validity to the much vaunted and celebrated courage of President Buhari. It would either cement his image as a true man of integrity or expose him as a pretender. This case would either make him the true father of a new Nigeria or a collaborator in the moral paralysis that would eventually destroy this country. This case already, has announced President Buhari’s date with history. This case provides a golden opportunity for him to write his name in gold for posterity, not just among Nigerians but also internationally.
This case is the kind that tries a man’s soul. This is because, he would have to put some of his close friends on trial and prosecute them, hopefully sincerely. President Buhari’s close friend, General Sani Abacha is dead. But he could still be tried post-humously and his son, if found guilty, sent to jail. Though, President Buhari once publicly defended General Abacha that he did not steal any money, it is my hope that he would be able to be fair and equitable in this process.
Then there is President Buhari’s former boss and mentor, General and former President Olusegun Obasanjo who is on the list too. The self proclaimed “Evil Genius”, the man who planned the coup that ousted President Buhari himself, General Ibrahim Babangida is also on the list. The self effacing but obnoxiously corrupt General Abdusalaami is on the list too. President Buhari’s current closest buddy, whose protégé, Shehu Garba, is the president’s spokesperson and Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, former Vice President Abubakar Atiku is on the list too.
Would President Buhari have the courage to try all these his friends who are alleged criminals in this scandal?
These names belong to the most corrupt elements in the Nigerian History. They are those who consciously and deliberately messed up this country; who unashamedly destroyed the character of this country; who heartlessly humiliated this country in the comity of nations; who deliberately disgraced the citizens of this country across the world; yes, they are those who are were given the honour of serving their country and their people but consciously chose the dishonor of greed and avarice. Would President Buhari be able to muster the courage to bring them to justice or take justice to them as the case may be?
If President Buhari is able to bring all involved in this scandal to justice, through fair trial, jail the guilt and retrieve our money from them, I promise to have his picture in the most decent corner of my room, and light it constantly with twelve candles strategically placed around it on a permanent basis. I promise to pray in front of this Buhari’s picture with my head bowed at least once a day until the day I exit this world. I am willing to give him this honour, if he is able to deliver.
“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.”
– John F. Kennedy, in his Inaugural Address January 20, 1961
Please follow me on Twitter @OyeyemiRemi