Deziani Alison-Madueke

Anyway, the manner the EFCC has managed those in their custody is commendable. It’s surprising that Olisa Metuh, who feared he was going to be poisoned, is now growing fatter with nice grey beard. Likewise, Sambo Dasuki, who was diagnosed with chronic “cancer” has not dropped dead. These are miracles the EFCC needs to tell the world to convince Madam Deziani wherever she is that: she is returning to safe hands. She should come back to clear her name from the alleged missing $20 billion controversy and defend her integrity…

Questions are asked for different reasons: to elicit information, express doubt or concern over an issue, to give a reminder or trigger a debate. There are also some questions that lead to so many other questions, broadening a discourse or veering off its crux.

That said, some questions have landed the questioners in big trouble in a supposed ‘free world’ where the freedom of speech is a fundamental right. However, questions and answers should always be aimed at deepening understanding on core issues and proffering possible solutions, when need be.

So, it would not be a surprise if asking to know the whereabout of the embattled erstwhile petroleum minister, Mrs. Deziani Allison Madueke – whose story once caused a media storm in Nigeria before the Dasukigate scandal took the centre of public discourse – triggers reactions and several other questions from different quarters – either from the “wailers” or the “hailers”.

Those likely to react first to this question might see it as a fiery dart from the enemy’s camp – “witch-hunters”; those who desire to have the head of the embattled erstwhile petroleum minister on a platter at all cost. They are likely to fire back with an avalanche of questions as follows: should where Deziani is be a major concern now when there are several other questions unanswered? Did you ask where your president’s ‘O’level results were before he was elected? Did you ask where the serving three-in-one minister sunk two boreholes for N139 million when he was a governor and yet claimed he didn’t sign cheques? Did you ask where our budget was a few days ago when it was declared missing? Have you questioned the huge sum budgeted for feeding in Aso Villa?

Another group could say, let’s forget trivia issues: where are the Chibok girls? Where’s our country’s economy heading to as the Naira’s value is nosediving by the day? In the face of the global oil price crash, for how long will our economy be on autopilot or depend on the president’s “body language”? What about the recovered loots? Don’t we deserve to know how much has been recovered so far? At this slow pace, how does this government hope to deliver on its change promises? Where are the jobs and the N5000 monthly stipend for vulnerable Nigerians? We are waiting!

Yet some other folks could hit the nail on the head by asking: why are you chasing Deziani as if she is the only corrupt Nigerian? In short, if this government is serious on the war against corruption, it should backdate its probes to Lord Lugard’s era and stop the clampdown on some selected individuals…

Some other folks could say: I said it, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has finally discovered that all the allegations bruited about Deziani in the media were wicked lies purposed to smear her image. If those allegations were true, why is the EFCC slacking in declaring her wanted? She’s only being “witch-hunted” because she stands in a better position to run as a ‘perfect’ vice presidential candidate to Dasuki in the next presidential election. Dia ris God o!

I’m sure that by the time her case is investigated and the truth is unravelled, many Nigerians would either have to apologise for wrongly labelling a woman who had served Nigeria wholeheartedly and stepped on big toes to reform the oil sector in the process or start asking, where is ‘hero’ Jonathan?

Some pseudo-feminist human rights advocates could take the title of this piece as a subtle attack on one of their own and respond: why do this to a sick woman? After all, the kleptomaniac leadership of several men in Nigeria is the reason why Nigeria is what it is today and no one is asking where are they. And, like some of them stood by the ‘innocent’ Suggabelly, who alleged she was manipulated”, “abused”, “used” and “molested” by her maniac boyfriend, they might create an hashtag #WeStandWithDeziani.

The “bad beles” could quickly amplify the same question as follows: Where are our missing yams? Sanusi Lamido Sanusi claimed that $20 billion disappeared into thin air from the NNPC under Deziani’s watch, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala said the actual amount was just a paltry $10.8 billion, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), in an audit report they later came out to tell us wasn’t reliable due to their inability to get vital information, said the missing amount was just $1.48billion, what’s the truth about the whole story? Even if it was one kobo that disappeared from NNPC, don’t we deserve an explanation? We are waiting.

Some wicked doubting Thomases who believe there is something fishy about Deziani’s illness could ask, had Goodluck Jonathan won the presidential election, would she had resigned her position as one of the personalities in the “presidential godhead” to be treating cancer abroad for several months? Anyway, we wish her quick recovery, while expecting that she returns soon.

The ITKs – I-too-know folks – could say, according to Adams Oshiomhole, “Jonathan’s minister stole $6 billion”, who is that minister? They could also ask, where is Bukola Saraki, ‘Elder’ Peter Godsday Orubebe, and that mascara freak serving senator who in an extra-budgetary scandal bought two armoured cars as a minister under the Jonathan-led administration? Where are the two media moguls – “monkey dey work, baboon dey chop entrepreneurs” – who got their share of the Dasukigate lucre and yet, couldn’t pay salaries of their poor staff? We are waiting to see where they all end up!

For me, those who likely share these aforementioned views – the “wailers” or “hailers” – all have their rights to do so. In fact, some of the issues raised in their views resonate and such could trigger other debates. However, I will leave open-minded Nigerians to adjudge if these views are pro-APC or pro-PDP, deep or shallow, objective or biased, apt or diversionary, in or out of context, as regards the title of this piece.

Nigerians have seen Bello Haliru and Patrick Akpobolokemi appeared before the court like ‘quadriplegic’ conman Alan Knight. Haliru’s case was very much a throwback to how Lawrence Anini was confined to a wheelchair throughout his trial; but perhaps Haliru’s is different from Anini’s because he’s being “witch-hunted”.

Anyway, the manner the EFCC has managed those in their custody is commendable. It’s surprising that Olisa Metuh, who feared he was going to be poisoned, is now growing fatter with nice grey beard. Likewise, Sambo Dasuki, who was diagnosed with chronic “cancer” has not dropped dead. These are miracles the EFCC needs to tell the world to convince Madam Deziani wherever she is that: she is returning to safe hands. She should come back to clear her name from the alleged missing $20 billion controversy and defend her integrity, like she once said, “if there is one issue I must pursue in this world, it is the biggest lie of this money. How can $20 billion disappear just like that? … I challenge anyone to come forward with facts showing that I stole government or public money. I’ve never stolen Nigeria’s money”.

I’m sure that by the time her case is investigated and the truth is unravelled, many Nigerians would either have to apologise for wrongly labelling a woman who had served Nigeria wholeheartedly and stepped on big toes to reform the oil sector in the process or start asking, where is ‘hero’ Jonathan?

Ahmed Oluwasanjo writes from Abuja.