My recent article, titled “Bola Tinubu is General Buhari’s James Ibori” has apparently been widely published and therefore has elicited an equally diverse range of responses, mainly quite civil even while disagreeing with my general position.
However, to those readers who were quite scathing in their comments, I humbly invite them to visit the highly respected website <thedailybeast.com> and read the piece by Michael Weiss just published today, April 27th 2015, titled “Nigeria’s Next Leader’s Ties to a Heroin Ring”.
In his column, Michael Weiss elaborated on the very murky alleged drug trafficking and money laundering activities which Bola Tinubu was involved in about 20 years ago, leading to the reported forfeiture to the United States Treasury Department, of an estimated US$ 460,000.
Herein lies the crux of my writing today. A few days ago, the Imperious (not merely “Honourable”) Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke strenuously attempted to debunk rumours that she was seeking to flee Nigeria in order to evade possible prosecution by the incoming Administration of our highly respected President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari (retired).
I guess many Nigerians, my humble self included, believe that theorectically every one is innocent until proven guilty. But I must admit that I was quite perplexed at the lady’s audacity. My question was initially, “WHAT is giving the Imperious Minister confidence?” It was only later it dawned on me that the right poser is “WHO is giving Diezani confidence?”
The answer, it seems, is Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the self-styled Jagaban Borgu. The confidence (or “confido” in Nigerian lingo) of Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke and other alleged kleptocrats like her is apparently founded on the premise that a truly transparent anti-graft campaign would be unable to credibly sidestep the Jagaban deep inside General Buhari’s tent only to target her and her type outside it.
Let me very clear. I have great admiration for the tremendous political achievements which Mr. Tinubu has recorded since 1999. Having said that, I do believe that, in order to bequeath the appropriate moral high ground to his coalition partner, President-elect Buhari, the Jagaban should submit himself to a comprehensive, independent asset acquisition and verification audit, upon resumption of the incoming Administration.
Thereafter, any assets found either to have been unlawfully acquired or that cannot be justified based on extant asset declaration documentation, available public service records and historical tax declaration attestations, should be forfeited to the Nigerian state. Or is it only the United States Treasury Department that is worthy of enrichment?
Our dear President-elect Buhari should recognise that any attempt to allow his moral handicap regarding Bola Tinubu to prejudice genuine national ethical re-orientation will IMMEDIATELY signal the beginning of the divorce between the General and Nigerians. After all, absent General Buhari’s eagerly anticipated anti-corruption campaign, what else do Nigerians have to look forward to?
Has endemic graft not been universally acknowledged to be at the root of all Nigeria’s underdevelopment, e.g. insecurity (manifesting as Boko Haram), electric power shortages, infrastructure decay, education collapse, practically non-existent healthcare, just to mention a few.
Meanwhile, on the issue of the Jagaban seeking to nominate virtually all the key executive and legislative appointees, I believe the General (though advanced in age from the sprightly 40-year old of December 1983) is still shrewd enough to steer the affairs of the highly volatile animal known as Nigeria.
In any case, as I stated in my earlier article, since General Buhari has conceded the Vice-Presidency to Jagaban Bola Tinubu’s nominee, one is unable to comprehend the latter’s desperation to seemingly ‘take over’ the government-to-be.
As for Her Imperious Highness, Diezani Alison-Madeuke and her ilk, they should all be very prepared (if not worried) as General Buhari has already declared his intention to revisit the enquiry into the alleged US$ 20 billion (or is it actually US$ 50 billion) reportedly missing from the accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
In which case, perhaps it is not only NNPC or its exploration subsidiary, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) that would be making refunds to state coffers which Diezani Alison-Madueke recently alluded to.
All those individuals and private sector entities that participated in the heist should also be preparing to shed the weight of their colossal bank accounts and also surrender fixed assets where necessary.
May Almighty God bless President-elect Buhari as he prepares to take Nigeria back to our years of glory and distinction.
Written by Dr. Kolawole Kayode.