“Magun” is a Yoruba charm that literally means “do not climb”. For centuries, fables have it that magun has been used to catch a promiscuous and adulterous woman who indulges in extra-marital affairs. The charm is usually put on a woman without her knowledge. Such a woman is usually caught inextricably intertwined with the libidinous male having illicit affair with her. They are subjected to public ridicule, odium, derision and obloquy. The charm could be put on a stick or broom on the floor and the woman innocently walks across it. Boom! The charm takes effect. The man could be glued to the woman like Araldite. He could crow thrice like a cock and then die. He could summersault thrice like a chicken and then die.
These are not pre-historic times. This is 2020. Ibrahim Magu, the erstwhile anti-corruption czar, appears being mangled with magun, in his present subjection to serial summersaults and public ridicule. I am not happy about it. That was why I have been screaming on rooftops, warning him to beware of the Ides of March, of the bootlickers, fawners, pretenders, lecherous eye-service acolytes and associates. He did not harken to my wise counsel. Some obsequious opportunists even made him to believe I was after him or for him to be sacked. No! No!! No!!! I was his best friend, telling him the truth; giving him ideas and the best way to prosecute the anti-corruption war. The following are some of my earlier interventions in this regard, as far back as 2017 (over three years ago). Now, read on:
How much ‘loot’ has this government recovered and where is it kept?
Sunday Telegraph of 4th June, 2017
“I think the currency of leadership is transparency. A lack of transparency always results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity. Andrew P. Napolitano rightly asked: ‘what is it about the government and its agents and employees that they can lie to us with impunity, but we risk being sent to jail if we lie to them?’ Countries with best economic growth are those with good governance; and good governance comes from freedom of communication. It comes from a populace that can stand up and ask questions as to what is happening in their government”.
Purpose of my letter of 31/05/2017 to Acting President Osinbajo
Sunday Telegraph of 4th June, 2017
“I write this letter to you sir, as a Nigerian citizen, a patriot, and an Advocate of the Rule of Law, accountability, transparency, human rights, entrenched democracy and good governance. I am genuinely concerned that the President’s immediate aides and people who always have direct access to him before your Acting appointment in accordance with section 145 of the 1999 Constitution, have only been showing Mr. President the smaller, rather than, the larger picture of Nigeria’s gargantuan and multifaceted problems; and the back-breaking suffering and misery Nigerians are currently living under. There is wailing and gnashing of teeth in the land. Nigerians hear of humongous recoveries of billions of naira, millions of dollars, pounds and other foreign currencies on a daily basis. Some of these monies, mercifully, are even orphaned. But, the use, or non-use, of these recovered “loots” have been shrouded in utter mystery, opaqueness and under eerie masquerades and ghosts of utmost secrecy. They have not impacted on the dreary, searing and agonising lives of the common men and women of this great country (exacerbated in the last two years of your government). Their only pre-occupation with life, is not luxury, but merely to have three square meals a day, train their children and have a roof over their aching heads.
“Nigerians do not know how much exactly has so far as been recovered, aside the interim figures, which were bandied (but never seen), nearly one year ago. Permit me sir, as a loyal citizen of Nigeria, acting under sections of the Freedom of Information Act, to ask the following questions, whose answers will clear the air, not just for my humble self, but for all eager and curious Nigerians:
The 12 nagging questions
1. How much monies have so far been recovered by the various Security Agencies, in Naira, Pounds, Dollars, Euro, Yen, and other foreign currencies?
2. Where are these monies kept?
3. Are the monies kept with the Central Bank of Nigeria, Commercial Banks, MDAs, warehouses, abandoned houses, shopping complexes, canals, cemeteries, airports, septic tanks, toilets, private accounts, official pockets, just where sir?
4. Is the TSA still operative, and if so, sir, does it operate with relation to these “recovered loots” or are these monies specially exempted from the operation of TSA?
5. Has any fraction of these monies been used so far? If so, how much? For what purpose, and on whose authorization? Was such usage or expenditure authorized by the National Assembly under Sections 81-83 of the 1999 Constitution; if so, when sir, and how much was appropriated?
6. If the monies are sitting pretty idle and untouched in some bank vaults, as was discovered in the case of Orubebe, where the N1.9 billion over which he was wrongly vilified for larceny, for over one and half years, arraigned, but later discharged on the Attorney-General’s recommendation (since Orubebe never stole it), why is this so sir? Why would such monies be kept idle in this excruciating period of grinding and asphyxiating recession, when some Nigerians are stealing cooking pots of soup, right from the fire?
7. If the monies have not been used, when would your government use them, and for what purpose?
8. What is the status of all the 239 advertised none-cash properties so far recovered – private buildings, uncompleted buildings, personal properties, markets, hotels, apartments, shopping malls, shops, plazas, stores, vehicles, maritime vessels, parks and Gardens, farms and undeveloped Hectares of land, etc?
9. Who is in charge of these non cash properties in terms of physical guide, monitoring, and ensuring that they do not dilapidate due to non usage?
10. Has any of the properties been disposed of, either by outright sale, pawn, mortgages, lease, rent, under plea bargain, etc? If so, which, how many, to whom, when, for how much and under what circumstances? Who are the beneficiaries?
11. If the properties are simply lying fallow, why sir, when Nigerians need the money, accommodation for poverty respite?
12. Have the Security Agencies been briefing the President sir, about these multi-facetted issues raised herein, or did they simply keep them from Mr President, knowing fully well that he is a very busy man, and had been lately challenged, health wise, and may therefore not remember minute details of serious national issues as these?”.
Part of letter to the Acting President dated 31/05/2017
Sunday Telegraph of 11th June, 2017
“Sir, the state of all these humongous recoveries was as at May, 2016, more than one year ago. More startling recoveries and frightening hauls from the corrupt political class and their military, elite, ethnic, religious, tribal and nepotic collaborators have since been made. We therefore make the following humble prayers:
My humble prayers
1. That you cause the Chairmen and Heads of all the Security Agencies, to immediately render full account of all recoveries so far made, cash and realty, and to publicly disclose and publish same to the Nigerian people.
2. That the said publication shall be made in all national dailies, the electronic and social media.
3. That in making this publication, lines of communication shall be left by each anti-graft Agency to answer questions and queries from interested citizens and other members of the public.
4. That a period of three weeks certain from the date of this humble letter shall be sufficient to enable these humble prayers be looked into and granted.
TAKE NOTICE sir, that if after the expiration of the three weeks period mentioned in the preceding paragraph, no positive action has been taken on these my genuine concerns and complaints, I shall, most respectfully, without any further correspondence from me, institute legal proceedings against Mr. President, the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and all the Anti-graft and Security Agencies, for a redress of the above issues”.
“We cannot go on like this. What is it in that Aso Villa that corrupts, that taints, that makes commonsense and reason vacate their lofty seats? What is in that enclave that taunts and courts unnecessary tension and national implosion? I do not know. Do you?”
This is why we talk about true federalism and restructuring. When I crusade for restructuring, some who are ignorant of the term get jittery. They think, erroneously, that it means break-up or balkanization. No. It is simply a holistic re-arrangement of our warped federal system, which is actually unitarism.
It is about shedding of weight and devolution of powers from an overpampered, behemoth, elephantine centre, to the poor beggarly federating units (States and LGAs). It is about enthroning social justice, equity, egalitarianism, mutual respect, ethno-religious tolerance and acceptance of Nigeria’s linguistic, religious, gender and tribal plurality. It is an affirmation of our Dolly Patton’s glittering “Coat of many colours” that constitutes the beauty of our country.
If we were operating true federalism, the recent appointments made by the Acting President, which like those of his “Oga”, President Buhari, before him, were heavily skewed in favour of his Yoruba ethnic and religious groups, would not have generated the volcanic hoopla and ruckus they engendered. If true federalism existed in Nigeria, the Arewa youths with the covert backing of their shadowing elders and elites, would not be issuing quit notice to the Igbos. The Igbos, Middle Belters, Afenifere, Niger Deltans, will not have responded with equal, even more, force and venom. The clock is ticking. God save Nigeria”.
(To be continued).
Thought for the week
“It is a tragedy indeed that new generations, taking office, attribute failures in governance to insufficient power, and seek more of it.”