The mistake of former President Olusegun Obasanjo did not end with installing an incompetent successor. In addition to our misfortune, he got us a speculator who deals on both sides of the national question. President Jonathan holds a long position on Nigeria as the President and Commander-in-Chief and a short position as an Ijaw irredentist, protector of economic saboteurs and an enabler of terrorists.
Jonathan’s tenure is officially the most corrupt in the history of Nigeria. Under his watch, his minions steal on his behalf and for themselves with the greatest impunity ever known in the history of this nation. The quantum scale looting they engage in, is no longer about kickbacks, over inflation of contracts, budget padding and adding digits to withdrawals. Those are for the boys in the ministries. The scale of stealing now is designed to bankrupt and splinter Nigeria. It is the collusion by the Petroleum ministry, Finance and the Presidency to openly rob Nigeria by giving 24 percent of what the country earns while they pocket 76 percent. The NNPC do not remit oil receipts into the federation account; NNPC spends money with appropriation; Excess Crude Account is depleted without anything to show for it. Nothing is going to change until Nigerians show interest in holding public office holders accountable on the issues of public finance, transparency and responsibility.
We must find a way to create a short squeeze on them because the cost will be too high if we continue to let this President, his advisers and party apparatchiks take a bet against Nigeria. Do not be deceived that this is stealing for enrichment only, it is not. They are amassing obscene wealth in the belief that Nigeria is built on quicksand. They are hedging their bet in the event that Nigeria crumbles. If it does, they will profit; if it doesn’t there is nothing to lose because of their long position. Their bet seem reasonable since the cost of rebuilding their lives will be significantly less than the cash reservoir they have built. They believe Nigeria’s constituent parts are fungible having hedged their bets on its unity or disunity by holding both positions. What can we do so we won’t catch a falling knife? We can refuse to be led by these saboteurs. We can recall erring representatives, we can impeach this president. We can call his bluff in massive protest – organized mass action in civil disobedience.
We can say no to the mortgaging of our future and that of our children. The $20billion dollars that was not remitted to the federation account could have paid for lifelong healthcare for every man, woman, and child in this country. We have sunk further down the impunity dungeon with NNPC under the untouchable; Her Royal Deepness Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke. The NNPC under her stewardship is bigger than the state and constitute law unto itself. The NNPC has castrated us and we all look on helplessly and can do nothing because the triumvirate of Jonathan, Allison-Madueke and Okonjo-Iweala wills it so. The shocking truth is; the NNPC is NOT remitting all the monies it is legally and constitutionally required to remit to the federation account. Whenever NNPC wills, it transfers monies from crude sales to private entities like Atlantic Energy and Seven Energy. These are companies with well known links to the Petroleum minister. At other times, NNPC will claim the money was spent (again without appropriation) on kerosene and fuel subsidy, contrary to the 2009 presidential directive eliminating subsidy on Kerosene.
While other African countries of smaller means are recording humongous successes, Nigeria is facing the double jeopardy of depleted Excess Crude Account (ECA) and a dwindling foreign reserve. The ECA went from $8.65 billion in January 2013 to $2.5 billion in January 2014. To local and international analysts, Nigeria’s financial future evokes pity given the squandered riches and lost opportunities. Our current federal fiscal trajectory courts disaster that will significantly impact our nation’s ability to stay united. If anyone is in doubt, going through the 2014 budget proposal; What new strategic vision and direction does the budget bring? Does anyone care how this budget will affect the education of children? What implications does our expensive democracy hold for the country’s fiscal health? What will happen in a country without modern infrastructure, explosive youth bulge and untamed unemployment? These questions and a lot more bite every right thinking citizen daily.
The worst challenges of our world are facing us because the country has refused to do the right things and do things right. Our leaders have not learned any lesson and they refuse to see the consuming power of the impending conflagration. The country is bleeding dollars from government approved oil theft, militancy is on the rise, ethnic agitations, terrorism, unemployment, religious intolerance, communal clashes, drug trafficking, human trafficking, criminal gangs etc. despite our vast oil wealth and huge human capital, we have managed to emerged as a symbol of black Africa’s ungoverned space, waste, corruption and hopelessness. We have managed to evolve as a people who do not encourage hope and progress, health and good government. We have managed to be the breeding ground and a net exporter of terrorists who contribute to insecurity in the world. Jonathan and his party the PDP are complicating Nigerian interests. It is our constitutional duty to stop them.
We can begin by sending them a message that it can no longer be business as usual. Let us tell them in action and in words that Enough is Enough! Unalloyed and brazen thefts like we are seeing deadens our national conscience. It turns Nigeria’s relative prosperity into a charade. It threatens commitment to our unity as one nation and changes the dynamics among ethnic nationalities from a union of enhancing opportunities into a union of demanding obligations.
This rape of our land should offend us and move us to action. If we do not act, if we do not remove these amoral instincts of dispossession and primitive acquisition from our national psyche, we may remain a country but we will not be recognizably Nigerian.