Tuesday, July 17, 2018 2:45 pm
By Bolanle Bolawole
Ekiti state was tense as at press time on Friday. Allegations and counter-allegations ruled the air waves as propaganda, disinformation, and misinformation sidelined the truth. Ekiti sat on a keg of gunpowder and only free, fair, and credible election will defuse the tension. As if that was not enough or that the country did not have a mouthful in the continuing orgy of rampaging herdsmen’s bestiality while President Muhammadu Buhari, like Rome’s King Nero, fiddles, the NYSC discharge certificate forgery allegation trailing Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, broke, signalling yet another nail in APC/Buhari’s coffin. Ironically, the Buhari administration, elected by Nigerians to help clean its Augean stable, itself reeks of malfeasance; it is like a fish rotten from head to tail. The head is Buhari, who himself has questions he is yet to satisfactorily answer concerning his own certificates. And if the head be rotten, how can the body be whole?
If gold rusts, what will silver do? It should therefore not surprise anyone if the Buhari administration elects to sweep the Adeosun scandal under the carpet. That has been its stock in trade; it covers up its members accused of malfeasance. When it pretends to do something; it sets up investigation committee, whose findings are turned over to another review committee ad nauseam. When they think the public has forgotten or another scandal breaks that distracts the people, they sweep the previous scandal under the carpet. Their carpet is busting at the seams already as a result of the many scandals they have swept under it. They seem not to understand that whereas Nigerians may be lethargic in acting, they have the memory of an elephant.
So, we have not forgotten the unresolved issues surrounding Buhari’s own certificates. He continues to bear the odium until the contrary is proven. We have also not forgotten the N500 million bribery allegations levelled against his Chief of Staff. The Army chief of staff’s explanation of how he acquired his choice properties in Dubai is best told to the Marines. Maina-gate, in which the Head of Service of the Federation implicated the president himself, has been swept under the carpet. The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Internal Affairs who were implicated in Maina-gate sit pretty in office. The “grass-cutting” scandal involving the ex- SGF has also been swept under the carpet. Security chiefs who cannot square up to mere herdsmen go about unruffled. In contrast, opposition figures are hounded and sent to jail on flimsy charges. That is why discerning Nigerians laugh at Buhari’s so-called anti-corruption war. It is not better than an inquisition whose main target is opposition figures. What is the latest on the sacks of money discovered at Kano International Airport? What of the billions recovered at a Bureau de Change in Lagos? Who owns the property? What of the billions retrieved from the Ikoyi flat? What has happened to the owners of these monies and how many of them are in court? All these malfeasance have been swept under the carpet.
Like Adolf Hitler posited, APC leaders’ memory is very short. They have forgotten that it was after former President Goodluck Jonathan swept too many corruption cases under the carpet that the bubble burst. Same bubble may soon go bust for Buhari/APC, if it has not done so already. In Buhari’s administration are ex-governors who have been indicted for corruption, two of them by judicial commissions of inquiry. Yet, they sit pretty in office protected by Mr. Incorruptible. Mr. Clean is also the one who retains the EFCC boss after the DSS, an agency of government charged with the responsibility of screening would-be appointees, had twice indicted and found him not suitable. The Senate, too, has twice turned down the fellow. Today, no one knows how much of looted funds the EFCC has recovered. Even Adeosun, sometime ago, voiced her concern that all manner of figures were being bandied about. There have also been concerns that recovered loots are being brazenly re-looted. The international community has been at the fore-front of those expressing such misgivings, so much so they are even wary of returning looted funds to Nigeria. They impose all manner of stringent and demeaning “conditionalities” worse than IMF’s, all in an effort to ensure that returned loots are not re-looted. Transparency International’s conclusion that corruption under Buhari/APC is worse than under Jonathan/PDP is scary. Mr. Integrity himself will not disclose how much of public funds were expended abroad on his own medical treatment or on his son’s. We can go on and on.
How can a man with corruption charges howling over his head as the proverbial Sword of Damocles be proclaimed national chairman of a party purportedly fighting corruption? How can a president so clueless and unconvincing on security issues have the temerity to insist on the status quo? How, for goodness sake, can Buhari give what he does not have, in that he preaches to South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa to stop the killing of Nigerians in South Africa? Cyril must have had a hearty laugh on Buhari. The killings in South Africa, bad and heinous as they are – and they must be condemned – are counted in twos and threes. But the killings by Fulani herdsmen here in Nigeria and right under Buhari’s nose are counted in their hundreds. The xenophobic killing of Nigerians in South Africa, barbaric and unjustifiable as they are – and they must be stood up to and spoken out against in clear and unmistakeable terms – come in trickles and are far in between – but the horrendous and savage killings by Fulani herdsmen have become a daily occurrence and they come in torrents while Buhari is impotent, nay, lackadaisical, nay insincere both in comments and actions needed to call the bluff of the murderers and bring them to justice. Buhari is always promising to bring them to book! The book must be filled up by now! Bring them to justice, not into one useless book that is swept under the carpet. Charity, they say, begins from home but Buhari’s begins from South Africa. Physician, heal thyself! Buhari must first remove the beam in his own eyes before he can see the mote in Ramaphosa’s. But Nigerians know that Buhari is merely grandstanding. It is deceit. Most of the Nigerians killed in South Africa are Igbo and not Fulani; they are Christians and not Muslims. Buhari has demonstrated little or no love for Igbo at home in Nigeria. His love for them cannot now be shed abroad.
Back to Adeosun: The facts of the case are as clear as daylight. She graduated at 22 or thereabout, well below the “above 30 years” that qualifies anyone for service exemption on account of age. She did not also qualify for service exemption on account of the other criteria of whether she had had paramilitary training. So, she should serve. Even now as Minister of Finance, Adeosun should do the most honourable thing: Step down, make herself available to the NYSC for mobilization and join the next batch of Youth Corpers. That is the honourable step for her to take – but that is where men (and women) are honourable! Such honourable path, had Adeosun been well advised to toe it, would have mitigated whatever offence she might have committed. It is then she would have had the mouth to talk. It is then she would have been able to salvage something of her integrity. If it is true that her attention was called to the scam during her screening by the National Assembly but she chose to play smart, then, she should be allowed to steam in hot soup now. The morals here are: Never postpone till tomorrow what you can do today. If Adeosun had served the moment she left college, she would not have landed in this mess. Two: Do not ever allow people cover up any misdeeds for you. They will expose you when it hurts must. The National Assembly, too, cannot escape censure here: If they discovered the scam, why did they cover it up? Is it true they covered up for Adeosun and thereafter blackmailed her ceaselessly?
If so, then, the National Assembly is not just a bunch of blackmailers, they also are an accessory after the fact of forgery and cover-up. For Adeosun, as the Yoruba would say, “o ba ni, ko tii baje” She should immediately do what is right and have a clear conscience which, as they say, fears no foe. She knows the truth; she should follow it – wherever it leads – even if it means momentary pain and loss. Momentary advantage can only bring unending pain and everlasting loss. The more anyone tries to paper over this scandal or sweep it under the carpets, the deeper they will sink into the miry clay. Failure to confess and move forward, she must explain how she got her exemption certificate and face the music; and the NYSC has to tell the whole world if the exemption certificate Adeosun carries is genuine. I do not envy NYSC, though: She is seriously caught between the rock and a hard place. This is Nigeria! NYSC cannot come out to say the whole truth on this matter. Telling a lie or playing safe by sitting on the fence or speaking from both sides of the mouth will also ruin its credibility. For an organisation whose continued relevance is being freely discussed, the Adeosun scandal may be the last straw that will break its camel’s back.
All said and done, I will not be surprised if Adeosun escapes censure and remains in office. I dare to ask: Why not? What is sauce for Kyari, Magu, Malami, Dambazzau, Fayemi, Fashola, Amaechi and others should also be sauce for Adeosun. Furthermore, “Omo wa ni; e je o se!” Besides, she is in the right party. She is the circle of those the Yourba call “a ri t’eni moo wi (those who point accusing fingers at others), “f’aapaadi gereye bo ti e m’ole (but shield its own shortcomings from scrutiny). “Chop and clean mouth”! Hypocrites!! Birds of a feather – from head to toe!!!
LAST WORD: Some rumour-monger says this could be golden opportunity for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is bouncing back to reckoning with Buhari as 2019 approaches, to offload Adeosun and fill the void with his own candidate. In politics, dog eats dog and chicken eat their own intestines!
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