Nigeria & the way forward (10): Old habits seem to die hard as TAINTED politicians join older ones in the two Chambers – Tola Adenle

June 13, 2015

Nigeria

WILL NIGERIA CONTINUE AS A “crime syndicate masquerading as a nation?

While not really retired, the “crime syndicate …” category has stopped getting a workout because it got to a stage, as most Nigerians know, that most postings I had on Nigerian governance deserved the category.

Well, in this early going of season of “change”, it seems unfortunately, that the category may need to be waken up. Not right now, though.  We’ll wait and see.

I once wondered aloud in one of my weekly essays for The Nation on Sunday why “Does Everybody Really ‘Hate’ Nigerians?”  For that Sunday, September 30, 2007, I referenced a few embarrassing incidents that have given Nigeria a very bad name.  Here are some excerpts from that essay which opened with the following paragraph:

“Nigeria’s Mission in South Africa was quick to demand an apology from a South African official who had warned South Africa recently “not to become another Nigeria”. 

About mid-way into the essay was the story of a Nigerian diplomat to India who tried to smuggle millions of DOLLARS into India:

On May 21, this year, the Times of India  carried a story excrpted below.  I had caught the news on one of those cable channels in the States and had searched the web.  Under “Nigerian Diplomat caught with $2.3 million cash”, the Times of India states:

“A senior Nigerian diplomat was caught on Monday seeking to spirit away $2.27 million … in cash. It triggered suspicions of a nexus between officials from the African country and its thriving drug syndicates, as well as the possibility of payment of protection money by Indian companies operating there, …  Captain G A Ojedokun, defence adviser to the Nigerian high commissioner here, is being questioned by Income Tax and Enforcement Directorate officials, but would soon be let off because of the diplomatic immunity… When asked, the Nigerian tried to fob off IA employees saying the bag contained clothes only. The suspicious baggage handlers, however, refused to let him go even when the protocol officer of MEA accompanying the diplomat strongly intervened …”

And, then, A Biggie, is a story being re-aired right now, the sad story of Femi Gbajabiamila, indeed, the sad and unfortunate story of Nigeria which saharareporters first broke back in ’07 and which I used in one of my weekly essays for The Nation on Sunday, and later culled for my  3-month old blog used – with credit in 2011:

It was also through the web that I came across the story of Femi Gbaja on Saharareporters:  “The Nigerian lower house is full of shady characters as espoused by a recent revelation by the Supreme Court of Georgia in the US. Saharareporters found that On February 26 2007 the highest court in the state of Georgia ordered that Femi Gbaja with state bar number 288330 be suspended from the practice of law for 36 months … offence would have been outright debarment, however he played dead before a full panel of the Supreme Court of Georgia led by Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, before the court could rule on the petition from his client, he filed a petition for Voluntary Discipline, filed under bar rule 4-227(b) in which he fully admitted to stealing $25,000 from his client. 

Femi Gbaja as he was known in the case file accepted payment of $25,000 as a personal injury claims and deposited those funds in his attorney trust account in January 2003. He failed to disburse the funds to his client; instead he withdrew the funds, closed his practice and left for Nigeria where he ran for elections to represent Surulere I Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representative under… (AD) in 2003.

Now, these characters as well as new names like Stella Oduah, the former aviation minister accused of multi-million DOLLAR fraud, are being added to those of David Mark, Femi Gbajabiamila … who, despite documented acts that should have prevented them ACCORDING TO NIGERIA’S CONSTITUTION from serving in Nigeria’s Senate and House of Reps.  David Mark was Senate President under the PDP’s corrupt rule and is still there now under a – whatchamacallit – an amalgamation of the Real Nigerian Politicians’ Party (R-NPP):  no ideology motley crowd who crossed from left to right and right to left to secure pathways to Nigeria, Inc.  The list of such people of infamy is contained in an investigative report by Premium Times of yesterday, June 12, 2015. Here is an excerpt:

The 8th (present) National Assembly

While none of the 469 members is yet to be convicted based on the above provisions of the law, many of them face criminal and sundry charges that cast doubts on their integrity.

PREMIUM TIMES presents men and a woman who have confirmed allegations of criminal wrongdoing against them, who will be making laws for the nation.

David Mark  [Former Senate President, still a Senator]

… in March 2005, during a messy divorce case with his ex-wife, Victoria, that the immediate past President of the Senate violated Nigerian law by operating foreign accounts while holding public office.

Court papers in London showed that in the early 2000s, Mr. Mark operated foreign accounts, having about six million pounds in four accounts – three at the Northern Bank, Isle of Man, and one at the Allied Irish Bank, Jersey. [Emphasis Mine]

Femi Gbajabiamila – See above.

Bukola Saraki  {new Senate President]

Mr. Saraki, who was elected Senate President on Tuesday, is accused of fraud and money laundering. In March 2014, the Special Fraud Unit of the Nigeria Police issued a damning report recommending the Senator (APC Kwara Central) for prosecution over alleged violation of Nigeria’s money laundering laws.

In an investigation that spanned many years and covered accounts held by the Senator and his companies in Zenith, GTB and Access Bank, police investigators say they found evidence of huge and consistent stealing of public funds by Mr. Saraki and his aides, especially when he served as governor of Kwara state.

The Nigerian authorities have however failed to charge the Senator to court.

In fact, rather than do this, former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, wrote to the Inspector General directing him to stop further investigation of Mr. Saraki.

Based on this directive, a Federal High Court, in May, ordered the police to stop further “harassment” of the Senator.  [Emphasis mine]

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had also in July 2013 summoned Mr. Saraki over separate corruption allegations.

Some residents of Kwara had petitioned the EFCC accusing Mr. Saraki of graft worth hundreds of millions of naira during his eight-year rule (2003 to 2011).

Andy Uba, who once pleaded guilty to smuggling money into the US in President Obasanjo’s plane WHILE TRAVELLING WITH OBASANJO]

Mr. Uba is a Senator representing Anambra South Senatorial District, Anambra State. He was a Special Assistant, Domestic Affairs to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, and was fingered in the $15 million bribery saga involving the EFCC and James Ibori, former Delta State Governor.

Stella Oduah [who was reluctantly let go after Nigerians’ stringent calls for her removal by President Jonathan.  Her resume includes a Masters from an American university that did not run a masters program and a doctorate from a non-existing university!]

In a report of its investigative hearing, the House found that Ms. Oduah approved the purchase of two armoured BMW cars for a whopping N255 million. Among other things, the report revealed that there was no appropriation for the purchase. It also revealed that due process was not followed in the procurement.

Check out these and other “Tainted Men who will make laws for Nigeria at:

http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/184878-investigation-men-woman-facing-criminal-allegations-who-will-make-laws-for-nigeria.html

YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN:

https://emotanafricana.com/2011/06/20/a-new-series-is-born-crime-syndicate-masquerading-as-a-nation%E2%80%9D-a-view-from-some-usa-compatriots/

SATURDAY, JUNE 13, 2015.  6:25 a.m. [GMT]

 

 

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10 Comments on “Nigeria & the way forward (10): Old habits seem to die hard as TAINTED politicians join older ones in the two Chambers – Tola Adenle”

  1. Fatai Bakare Says:

    The revelations by the Premium Times are mind-boggling. Are we really a serious set of people in this country? What is wrong with us? It gives me headache when I read about bizarre things we do or undo at high places while petty criminals are made to face heavy penalties for offences that are a drop into the seas compared to the iniquities by the highly-placed. Is it when Jesus Christ comes that we are going to have justice in our system?

    The best thing to do is for these people to submit themselves to panels of enquiries to try them to either clear their names or face the music if found guilty. At least they could be saved the embarrassment of imprisonment by the established plea-bargaining process. But at least this will make Nigeria a serious country fighting corruption rather than being laughed at in the comity of nations.

    I know that what I suggested above is easier said than done because in this saying in my language, “Bi iwo ba se rere, ara ki yo a ya e” literally meaning if you do good, you will be free to flaunt yourself in the society. Is there nobody to initiate their trials? What is the stand of our law and the judiciary in helping out? Can’t we amend our Constitution to allow immunity clauses only for serving public officers but must submit themselves for scrutiny of allegations while in office and get clearance before contesting for any future public offices at least for a period of two years?

    Our situation in the country calls for serious surgical application and implementation of due process of our law so as not to further encourage criminals making laws for innocent citizens of this country.

    Over to you President Mohamadu Buhari as we reposed confidence in you and voted you into office to help us clear messes like this.

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    • emotan77 Says:

      Dear Fatai,

      How are you? Thanks for this.

      Nigeria is in a really big mess and I do believe while Buhari is no magician, the dent he should – and I believe will – make will be enough to start the change from Nigeria’s ruinous path of the past.

      What you suggest is not way out and should be doable: for a start, all those governors now running from pillar to post about reduced allocation to states – Osun, for example – can substantially reduce expenditure by reducing those commissioners, advisers, assistants by 50% with no loss in quality or volume of services to the citizenry. By the way, does Osun owe salaries to these appointees, I’d like to know. And the recurrent expenditure to be saved would not be the only gains; think of all the expenditures these appointees cost the state and country at all levels: fueling vehicles, allowances, et cetera NOT TO MENTION kickbacks which are where the fats abound.

      At least Buhari has announced he would reduce the number of ministries at the center and I think Oyo’s Ajimobi has reportedly announced such.

      While many public writers are shying away – as usual from apportioning blames – it is not difficult to see that those state governors in dire need of bailouts which Abuja is not going to give are the architects of their own problems.

      No head of family should run his/her financial accounts with HOPES of usual windfalls, so to say. Osun in particular – because it’s the one I know about – did bit more than the state could afford.

      When programs like the free uniforms and the education program were embarked upon, there were pieces on this blog by others and me. After all, parents had always been willing – even if not that able – to buy uniforms for their kids. Populist programs are good only if they would bring about change in quality and the free uniform, free lunch, mixing schools, et cetera mostly created massive costs without appreciable gains.

      Regards,
      TOLA.

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      • Fatai Bakare Says:

        You are very correct on Osun. I will say that of all the noise on the populist education agenda in Osun, only feeding should stay. The rest should go back to status quo. But I am sure the governor is afraid to do so and the longer he waits, the more messy the financial predicament will become. The governor has dabbled into too many programmes the state had no financial muscle to execute without heavily relying on the allocation from the Federal Government. The oil glut has blown open the feather of the hen.

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      • emotan77 Says:

        Right on the mark, and thanks.

        Regards,
        TOLA.

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  2. Latif Opawoye Says:

    No hope for our bleeding Nation. Recycling of the old politicians who looted the country’s purse will never bring the desired change voted for in March election. Criminals at the helm of affairs in the country is a shame.

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  3. emotan77 Says:

    FROM MY MAILBOX

    But there is hope. These criminals are laying the tracks for violent change.

    Tao.

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    • emotan77 Says:

      Dear Tao,

      Thanks for your contribution. It’s exactly why I believe we all owe the new administration – for his sake, for ours, and. For Nigeria’s sake – that we exercise patience and see how things go.

      A new A-G should soon “be on seat” – pardon the Pidgin while other key officers at “federal” level should also soon be known. I think it is then we can begin to have an idea, even if hazy, of the direction of the “change” we will get.

      I think Buhari already has his work cut out for him but reducing the number of ministries which, in effect, reduces drastically one of the major sources of corruption, is one of the earliest steps needed in the change we want and need.

      My regards,
      TOLA.

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  4. emotan77 Says:

    FROM MY MAILBOX

    Recycling of the old politicians will never bring the desired change we voted for in March.

    Lai Opawoye.

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    • emotan77 Says:

      Dear Doctor,

      I very much agree, especially recycling those with enough baggage to fill a ship acquired while in offices they confess to have violated laws of the land, OR they confess to have committed criminal offenses in Nigeria or elsewhere.

      My thinking, though,is that
      1. We cut President Buhari some slack to get his administration going and
      2. See what those alphabet crime-fighting agencies will make of the cases of these tainted men and a woman: EFCC! ICPC …

      There is no longer anywhere to hide since the public is now fully aware of the goings-on. And Adoke, the so-called attorney-general who, perhaps, contributed more to criminality in the country by aiding the likes of Ibori and allowing the insane “perpetual injunctions” that were widely employed to avoid prosecution … Ibori, Madueke and many others – should soon be a man of the past who, if real change would happen, may need to answer for his brand of legal practice.

      Regards, TOLA.

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