A Fulani friend of mine had two bets with me. He wanted us to bet N100,000 each on two crucial matters, the “Adeosungate” and the new “National Carriergate”
On my Wednesday, July 18, 2018, “Hard Facts” weekly column in The Sun newspaper, which continued the following week, I extensively discussed the “many gates” of the President Muhammadu Buhari government. One of the gates (scandals), was what I termed the “Adeosungate”, a coinage that was later plagiarized by many writers (without paying me consultancy fee, lol). Other “gates” I profusely discussed were what I called the “Herdsmengate”, “Nairagate”, “failedpromisesgate”, “Babachirgate”, “Mainagate”, “NNPCgate”, “Dapchigate”, “Oilsubsidygate”, “Corruptiongate”, etc. (see sunnewsonline.com).
READ ALSO: The many ‘gates’ of Buhari government (2)
From 15th, 22nd and 29th of July, 2018, I published a similar version of the article in a three-part serialization in my Sunday Telegraph weekly column, “The Nigerian Project” (see newtelegraphonline.com).
Before and since then, the Buhari government has stumbled, tumbled, wobbled, fumbled, muddled and struggled (permit the literary alliteration) from one governance scandal to another; a clear indication that neither he nor his All Progressives Congress ruling party was actually ready or prepared for governance when they deceived Nigerians in 2014 – 2015, at their campaigns. Some people have aptly termed it a “one-chance” government, or “419ner” government (an euphemism for a total fraud of a government).
It is also manifestly and crystal clear that their individual and collective aim was to drive out the Goodluck Jonathan government, which had enlisted most Nigerians’ anger and indignation for many missteps. The PDP, which had thumped its chest and openly boasted to rule Nigeria for 60 years, did not help matters. So inebriated were they with the intoxicating effect of power liquor (a sedating aphrodisiac) that, at a time, the party and its Emperors embarked on the unnatural and unthinkable act of deregistering members, rather than pleading for more members. Atiku Abubakar was a one-time casualty of this Louis XIV of France’s imperious hubris, haughtiness, egotism and self-glorification. The party paid dearly for it in 2015, when Nigerians rose up in arms and kicked it out of power and their false utopian sense of self-grandeur and majesty. Never mind the obvious rigging machine that was at work, especially in Kano (1.9 million votes), Bauchi, Zamfara, Kaduna, Sokoto, Katsina, Gombe, etc.
The chicken has since come home to roost. The present government of “change” has lived up to its “change” mantra, but in a most negative and odious manner. It has successfully changed Nigeria’s prosperity to adversity, destitution, impoverishment and nerve-racking misery. It has most shamelessly changed Nigeria’s corruption paradigm from bad to worse. Where corruption was hitherto democratised, pervasive, but at least putting food on citizens’ tables, with the “trickle-down” phenomenon, corruption under the Buhari government is highly privatised (with the entire wealth of the nation cornered by an overbearingly powerful, but minute cabalistic few that controls the levers of power, instruments of coercion and a well-oiled propaganda machinery that would make second world war Germany’s Goebels green with envy in his grave). Corruption within government is serenaded, hugged, watered, manured and sprayed with sasarabial perfume, while it is fought against opponents and critics of government with herbicides, insecticides and pesticides.
The government has since become a government of one scandal per week. It is either hooded DSS operatives breaking down doors and windows of judges in the ungodly hours of the night, 12 midnight to 5 a.m., terrorizing their families (they could have thrown a security net around such houses and carefully knocked at the suspects’ homes, with arrest or search warrants, to avoid the crude, morbid, inhuman and degrading treatment).
The masked DSS operatives would later barricade and quarantine off the Senate President and Deputy Senate President’s homes, and later shut down the entire NASS, the peoples’ parliament and representative third arm of government, in a desperate bid to effect a violent and unconstitutional change of the NASS leadership, especially of Bukola Saraki, the Senate President. Yet, government apologists clapped and hailed this impunity, but constitutional aberration and gunboat executive rascality.
Then came the $23 billion “NNPCgate” scandal in which the Minister of State, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, cried out that contracts were illegally and inappropriately awarded, without following due process. This was at a time PMB was sick on a London hospital bed and had constitutionally transferred power to his Vice, Yemi Osinbajo, under section 145 of the 1999 Constitution. The contracts were neither approved by him (Osinbajo said so), nor by FEC. So, who did? The entire “Dasukigate” on which the government has so far hinged its “anti-corruption” fight with fanfare, hubbub and pageantry, is said to involve $2.1 billion, a sum far less than 10 per cent of the $23 billion scandal. Till date, mom is the word from government. Do we talk about the “Chibokgate” and “Dapchigate” scandals, where hundreds of millions of dollars ransom was allegedly paid to Boko Haram terrorists, in exchange for some of the girls? Boko Haram was paradoxically being funded and armed by the same government to kill and maim its citizens! No wonder, it is more potent today than it ever was, killing and maiming soldiers with the ease with which hot knife cuts through butter and seizing whole local government areas around Maiduguri. This is the same Boko Haram the government had celebrated as having first been downgraded, then wholly defeated, with mere mop-up operations being carried out.
Is it the “Loss of jobs” gate, where, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria has lost over 7.1 million jobs in the last three years, rather than the three million jobs per annum the PMB government had promised Nigerians?
How about the “oil subsidy gate”, where the government has so far spent over N2 trillion to allegedly subsidise fuel, which subsidy its main dramatis personae had pooh-poohed in January 2012, during the “Occupy Nigeria” protests against GEJ’s increase of fuel, from N87 per litre. The GEJ government was forced to bring it down to N97. Today, it is N145 per liter in urban areas and up to anything like N300 per liter in rural areas. The leading lights in this government had argued then that there was nothing called subsidy; that it was a complete fraud to enrich some few oil merchants. Indeed, PMB had categorically told Nigerians he did not know what fuel subsidy meant at all. They promised to bring down the price of fuel to N45 per litre, make naira to exchange for N1 to the dollar, and pay living allowances to corpers who have not secured jobs. Where GEJ spent N500 billion for fuel subsidy and these people called for his head, they have spent over N2 trillion, of course inappropriated under sections 80, 81, 82, 83 and 162 of the 1999 Constitution, in a most opaque manner.
Is it the “Babachirgate”, where the former SGF, indicted and sacked after public hoopla and rocus, but the man has never been arraigned or prosecuted by the EFCC, till date, over his N240 million grass-cutting contract scam, simply because he is a powerful member of the kitchen cabal? He has since been replaced by his recommended kinsman. But when a Bayelsan, Matthew Seiyefa, replaces a sacked Daura, a Yusuf Bichi from Kano takes over. When a Kemi Adeosun from Ogun State resigns from office after NYSC service avoidance and certificate forgery scandals, she is promptly replaced by a Zainab Ahmed from Kaduna State, dragged in from her junior ministerial position in Budget and National Planning to head the most sensitive economic position in Nigeria.
Do we remember the “Mainagate” scandal, where Abdulrasheed Maina, the former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pensions Reforms, was welcomed back to Nigeria like a Hollywood superstar, protected by government security, escorted to a new office, promoted and celebrated by a supposed anti-corruption government? Recall that Maina had fled Nigeria in 2015 during GEJ’s presidency, over allegations that he stole $5.6 million. An Interpol arrest warrant was placed over his head. When the heat generated over this national scandal was too much for the government to handle, the EFCC and other security agents quietly allowed him to flee the country. The same government also quietly aided Adeosun to flee Nigeria hours after she admitted forgery and resigned as Minister of Finance. Who is really in charge of this government? Remember Aisha Buhari’s allusion to a tale of “hyenas” and “jackals”?
How do we place the “Herdsmengate”, where herdsmen have gone unchallenged, maiming, killing, burning and slaughtering Nigerians in their thousands in the last three years with the government looking the other way? No single prosecution of this terrorist group’s members that have killed Nigerians in their thousands, in three years, more than the number killed by the uncelebrated Boko Haram in 15 years! Even in elementary matters of belatedly appointing persons to head its MDAs and government parastatals, the government unsurprisingly left beleaguered living Nigerians and voyaged into cemeteries, where it exhumed the dead and appointed them to head important national institutions.
Now the main issue – the “Adeosungate”. A Fulani friend of mine had two bets with me in the last three months. He wanted us to bet N100,000 each on two crucial matters, the “Adeosungate” and the new “National Carriergate”. His take was that Adeosun would be replaced by a Yoruba, possibly another woman from Ogun State, and not the acting Zainab Ahmed. He hinged his surefootedness on the fact that, no matter how his idol, Buhari, was nepotistic and cronystic, he would not dare do it, as Nigerians were already very angry and pissed off with his obviously lopsided appointments. I laughed, nay, guffawed, heartily, telling him to reduce the amount to only N10,000, as he would lose. I told him pointedly that Buhari was paranoidly fixated with his zone, kinsmen and kinswomen, when it comes to key appointments that he is constitutionally entitled to make. Before we could finish the argument, the government promptly, with alacrity (remember that pet military juntas’ terminology?), made permanent what the Lord had started. After all,
Allah is a finisher, with no abandoned projects. Fiam, Ahmed became substantive Minister of Finance. Seiyefa, an acclaimed professional SPY officer, could not be accorded the luxury of completing his few remaining months in office before statutory retirement, even if in an acting capacity. His “crime”? He is a “bloody” minority, an outsider in the sacred coven of the cabals, caucus or confederacy. My friend is still genuinely reeling under the shock. He is one of the greatest pan-Nigerian patriots I have come across in this country. I will not collect the N10,000 from him. Another scandal achieved by the government. The second bet was on the so-called Nigeria Air. Of course, my friend again lost. I will also dash him the wager money. As at the last count, a whopping N1.2 billion Nigerian tax payers’ money had been wasted on this white elephant. My Fulani friend swore by Allah that the project was a reality; that it would diminish and take over Ethiopian, South African, Emirates and even British Airways carriers. I again guffawed. Have you ever seen a bigger scandal than launching the mere logo of a national carrier, not on home soil, but abroad, with such brazen international flourish, sensationalism and fanfarondale? It was not that any aircraft, or helicopter, or gyrocopter, or even “motorcopter”, “motorcyclecopter”, bicyclecopter”, “truckcopter”, or even wheelbarrowcopter” (permit the coinages), was anywhere on ground, or nearby! It was simply built on extravagant fancy and grandeur of self-delusion; much like Shakespeare’s tale “told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”. Have we gone mad, insane, with propaganda? Yes, we have. Because the government hugs and celebrates scandals. A government of one scandal per week!!! Adeosun’s NYSC dodging and certificate forgery scandals are neither the first nor will they be the last in this confused and clueless anti-people government. We have heard, before now, of Agege bread paper or NEPA bill representing school certificate. We have heard, and are still hearing of, other key operatives and officials in the present government being involved in massive certificate forgeries and dodging statutory NYSC service, which is a criminal offence under sections 2, 11, 12 and 13 of the NYSC Act.
We have witnessed the unabashed diminishing and bastardisation of national institutions, enthronement of mediocrity and celebration of strongmen, rather than the building of strong institutions. We have witnessed Customs CG and IGP audaciously refusing to appear before the Senate to answer questions about their operations, and damning the consequences. Of course, nothing happened to them. We have seen massive withdrawals and expenditure of public funds without passing through laid-down constitutional safety valves as provided for in sections 80, 81, 82, 83, and 162 of the Constitution. We have witnessed impunity at its zenith or pinnacle. We beheld a government that shockingly defines corruption from the very narrow prism of only the looting of public funds. The government incredulously argues and believes that cases of forgery, serial constitutional breaches that deserve immediate impeachment, lopsided, ethnocentric and clannish appointments, and protection from prosecution of high-heeled persons in government do not constitute corruption. They do not believe that subversion of the electoral process, votes-buying and use of crude coercive force to rig elections constitute corruption. They cannot understand or come to terms with the reality that one of the greatest forms of corruption is denying solemn promises you made to the citizens during your electioneering, promises that made the citizens vote for you in the first case. They refuse to understand that disobedience to court orders, government’s violation of the fundamental rights of citizens, subversion of the rule of law, opaqueness in governance and barefaced lies and deceit are some of the worst forms of corruption. But the nagging questions are: who will police the police? Who will guard the guard? When will the falcon hear the falconer? When is the government going to halt “things fall apart”, so that the “centre can…hold”? God bless the soul of Chinua Achebe, the famed epic novelist and author of “Things Fall Apart” and “The Trouble with Nigeria”.