EFCC-operatives

What Nigerians want to see at the end of this arrests, detention and revelations is that the tax payers’ money which has been brazenly stolen by these culprits should be returned to the public till without leaving any kobo behind.

For some time now, the war being waged by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration against corruption has continued to occupy centre stage in national discourse. For one, the figures involved are as mind-boggling as they are incredible to believe. And that is the truth. In most circles, the scandal has elicited debates of multi-dimensional colouration. While some people see the present war against corruption as a sort of witch hunt, others are quick to label it some sort of vendetta against old and imaginary enemies. All these colourations are nothing more than calling a dog a bad name in order to prepare it for the guillotine.

One thing that people must understand is that this is about the first time that any Nigerian leader is showing exceptional determination to wage a titanic war against corruption, an endemic disease that has almost destroyed the fabric of our nation. Within and outside the country, the picture that is being painted is of a country where corruption walks on all fours; where there is little or no inclination to end the scourge; where vice has become an official creed in national ethos; a sort of religion that all Nigerians bow to and worship.

Every other day, we all condemn corruption. Whether we all agree or not, corruption is one single, debilitating factor that has kept our great country very much underdeveloped in spite of the abundant manpower and material resources with which our nation is endowed. Unfortunately, a few smart alecs have constantly robbed the nation and its people of their God–given bounty. The consequence is the excruciating poverty and appalling state of our infrastructure. It is this sad and painful situation that Buhari is determined to reverse.

…many of the fat cats and gluttons in our midst who, hitherto, had been highly respected as elder statesmen or leaders, have been exposed as mere charlatans who now cringe and genuflect before the nation’s anti-graft agencices over one misdemeanour or another bordering on financial impropriety.

Today, many of the fat cats and gluttons in our midst who, hitherto, had been highly respected as elder statesmen or leaders, have been exposed as mere charlatans who now cringe and genuflect before the nation’s anti-graft agencices over one misdemeanour or another bordering on financial impropriety. Ironically, as soon as any so-called “big man” becomes trapped in the web of the anti-graft agencices, his sympathisers go to town crying blue murder. For instance, when Sambo Dasuki, a retired colonel and former National Security Adviser, NSA, was taken in by operatives of the Department of State Service, DSS, his sympathisers immediately went to work and denounced, in no uncertain terms, his arrest and detention. All available space in the mass media, including the ubiquitous social media, were engaged for this purpose. Among his foot soldiers was Olisa Metuh, the irrepressible spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, a party whose 16 years of political dominance in the country was cut short about seven months ago.

From being a suspect for illegal possession of firearms and gun running, Dasuki has since metamorphosed to one of the biggest suspects in the history of money laundering and diversion of public funds in the country. From his captivity, he has allegedly been spilling the beans and singing like a canary. In the process, names of several highly-placed Nigerians have been mentioned as beneficiaries and partakers of the money-sharing bazaar. It is in the course of this that Metuh, an incurable critic of Buhari, is now cooling his heels in one of the anti-graft agency’s gulag. Many other prominent individuals and men of means have been listed in the still-running scandal which has assumed the toga of a soap opera.

Imagine a person like Haliru Bello, a former Comptroller-General of Nigerian Customs Service, former acting chairman of the PDP and also erstwhile minister of defence being put on trial along with his son. On the day of his appearance in court, the old man, who was looking morose, was wheeled to the court by prison warders assisted by some security agents after arriving at the court premises in a prison ambulance. That scene that was captured by television cameras dominated the front pages of major newspapers the following day with his son paraded side-by-side with him. That scene was like a rehash of the ordeal of ex-President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt who has been in and out of court in Cairo on a stretcher with some his children as co-accused persons in recent times. Therefore, for Bello and his son, what could be more shameful?

…there is always a time for everything. And it is good to know when to leave the scene before the law of diminishing returns begins to set in. Mr. Fix It’s journey to the bottom of the valley probably started when he could not deliver, as usual, on the so-called tenure elongation gambit that took the front burner in Nigeria early in 2006 under Obasanjo’s presidency.

Also included in the roll call are Tony Anenih, Tanko Yakassai, Attahiru Bafarawa, Jim Nwobodo, Peter Odili, Olabode George and Mahmud Aliu Shinkafi. The list is lenghty. Nigerians know the story of one of them popularly called “Mr. Fix It” too well. How times change! It probably could be harvest time for the retired deputy commissioner of police who has been variously credited to be a political colossus of our time. By the robust accounts of his many political manipulations, Mr. Fix It, surely, is one man whose name drives fear into politicians. He is acclaimed to be a strategist whose prowess is not limited to how to win elections with ingenious methods alone. So awesome and pervasive are his powers that when the 1983 general elections were conducted, the National Party of Nigeria, NPN, where he held sway as state chairman, won by a ‘tsunami’ in the old Bendel State.

In 1999, ‘the master’, was very instrumental to the coming to power of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. ‘The leader’, as he is widely known, is believed to possess the magic wand for winning political battles. It is like once he queues behind you as a candidate, you can go to sleep and even snore. He is the kingmaker that determines who becomes what. His houses in Abuja, Uromi, his home town in Edo State and Benin City, have always been a Mecca where politicians flock to on pilgrimage to worship at the feet of this living deity. After more than four decades in the political space, he is still very much around – same man, same ideas, same techniques, same powers, same job, if you call what he is doing a job.

But there is always a time for everything. And it is good to know when to leave the scene before the law of diminishing returns begins to set in. Mr. Fix It’s journey to the bottom of the valley probably started when he could not deliver, as usual, on the so-called tenure elongation gambit that took the front burner in Nigeria early in 2006 under Obasanjo’s presidency. The chicken finally came home to roost when Adams Oshiomole became the Governor of Edo State in November 2008. It did not take long before both men fell out with each other. From then on, Mr. Fix It gradually lost his prime position as the oracle of Edo and Nigerian politics. And the grand old fox has continued to be demystified. Therefore, if the recent news of his alleged involvement in the #2.1 billion arms saga is anything to go by, chances are that this untouchable may soon have his date in court like his co-travellers.

The most painful thing in this unfolding drama of the absurd is that many of those whose names have been mentioned are mostly those who have for too long been feeding fat on our common patrimony either as governors, ministers, or senior government officials. It is a shame. A big shame indeed!

What Nigerians want to see at the end of this arrests, detention and revelations is that the tax payers’ money which has been brazenly stolen by these culprits should be returned to the public till without leaving any kobo behind. In addition, those found to have burnt their fingers in this sad episode should be made to face the full wrath of the law. If the Buhari’s administration is really interested in fighting corruption, now is the time to descend heavily on all these rogues in our midst. The most painful thing in this unfolding drama of the absurd is that many of those whose names have been mentioned are mostly those who have for too long been feeding fat on our common patrimony either as governors, ministers, or senior government officials. It is a shame. A big shame indeed!

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