Senator Francis Arthur Nzeribe was asked a question by some bewildered journalists why he was serving the government of Lt-General Joseph Arthur Ankrah which deposed the government of his supposed political mentor, Osaygefo Kwame Nkrumah. His reply was that they needed his expertise in public relations and he was serving them diligently in that capacity with no hard feelings for the man who gave him his first political breakthrough which enabled him to purchase his first Rolls Royce before his 23rd birthday in 1961.
When South Africa faced unbearable sanctions as a result of the apartheid regime, the then President Pierre Williem Botha turned to the legendary gun runner for public relations aid. In 1981, the United Kingdom boiled with much loss of lives and property as a result of the Brixton riots.
Nzeribe hurriedly stepped in by getting the British Broadcasting Corporation to flaunt his wealth for three days and then offering two million pounds to the then Margaret Thatcher led government to clean up the mess. The hypocritical British government rejected the ‘Greek gift’ opining that he should use the funds to help his people back home in sleepy Oguta. How asinine! The same government accepted Umaru Dikko’s loot, collected funds from him in the form of school fees when he studied for his law degree and prevented the then Buhari/Idiagbon government from deporting him back home to face corruption charges at the military tribunal. The Brits were simply envious at Nzeribe’s PR coup and couldn’t stomach the agony of a black man coming to their rescue as a deux machina.
The image of Buhari being an anti-corruption crusader is nothing short of a smart pr creation. There are many questions urgently begging for answers which his spin doctors have cleverly avoided. As Federal Commissioner for Petroleum in 1977, 2.8 billion naira simply disappeared. The late Afrobeat Maestro, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti sang about it in a hit song. We won’t forget the scoop of the late Onukaba Adinoyi-Ojo in his expose of the 53 suitcases which was proven to have an indirect imprimatur of the then lame duck Buhari who preferred his deputy, Idiagbon to govern the country. As PTF Chairman, many projects were left unexecuted and he served a dictator who was mulling the idea of succeeding himself and ruling for life which makes him an odd choice for a democrat.
He suppressed his intellectual deficiency by proclaiming to the High Heavens that he would tackle the hydra headed monster called corruption. This easily resonated with the emotionally traumatised and psychologically battered masses who blindly gave him their mandate in a manner akin to a junkie sniffing opium puppy. How did he get the funds to bankroll the very expensive education he gave his children in the United Kingdom? Was it from cattle rustling or an undisclosed inheritance?
He appointed Ibrahim Magu as the acting Head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in November 2015. Within the space of three months, his ‘anti-corruption’ czar has been rejected twice by the Senate.
Buhari’s lack of political sagacity has tragically become his undoing and made his feeble attempts at battling the corrupt mafia worse than a cruel joke. ‘Nemo Judex In Causa Sua’ (You cannot be a judge in your own cause) is one of the many Latin maxims I still recall in my criminal law class at the University of Lagos before I dropped out. How can he send Magu’s name to a Senate with many of its members facing mind boggling corruption charges including even the Senate President and his wife whom he arraigned? Nearly one-third of the members of the upper chamber of the National Assembly are being tried for corruption with Magu not willing to shift grounds to give them a soft landing and you expect them to confirm the appointment of such a threat? Is Buhari too senile to clearly read the writing on the wall?
Astute politicians accurately read the signs of the times and change the game to suit their personal interests. Ambassador Joseph Patrick Kennedy, the father of the United States 35th President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, was appointed by the only US President to rule for four terms, Franklin Delano Roosevelt as the pioneer Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. What did the first Irish-American Ambassador to Great Britain do upon assumption of office? He swiftly outlawed insider trading which ironically was the secret behind his gargantuan wealth. He showed in practical terms that the only permanent thing in the murky waters of politics is interest.
Majority of the Senators aren’t facing corruption charges. A smart thing to have done would have been to get their support to change the law requiring Senate Confirmation of the EFCC boss and made it solely a presidential directive. The appointment of presidential aides, Chief of Staff, Secretary to the Government of the Federation doesn’t require Senate confirmation.
That of the EFCC helmsman should have followed suit given the sensitive nature of the appointment and the fact that his adversaries in the hallowed red seats chamber would make it impossible for his confirmation to see the light of day. We are in the age of the digitals and we expect Buhari to catch up with the times.
His recent health challenge shows that he can’t cope with the demands of his office but will he do the honourable thing by throwing in the towel? Will he shame Robert Gabriel Mugabe? Will he put aside ethnic sentiments and etch his name permanently in the sands of time by being humble in admitting that his health makes him unfit for the exalted office?
ONE MORE THING
I have written extensively on the need for Nigeria to spearhead the struggle to rid the African continent of imperialism. I say a loud nay to the obnoxious practice of western liberal institutions that aggressively back gay rights and abortion in the funding of the EFCC. This is wrong as it undermines our political sovereignty and suzerainty. After the Union Jack was lowered in 1960, the Anglo-Nigerian Defense Pact was nearly passed in 1961. The import of the bill was that it would have put our military institutions in the hands of our ‘erstwhile’ colonial overlords.
I commend the students of the University of Ibadan for spearheading the protest and not making a mockery of the nationalist efforts of the Great Zik of Africa. You may ask the question: why such a bill so soon after political independence? The answer is crystal clear.
The first indigenous Inspector-General Police, Louis Orok Edet didn’t assume office till 1964. General Welby Everard was still the General Officer commanding the Nigerian Army until 1965 when Aguiyi-Ironsi took over. Technically, our independence was a sham and the same scenario is still playing itself out now with the unfair incarceration of James Onanefe Ibori.
The question to ask is why the British Department for International Development funded his trial with the view to shamelessly laying their hands on ten percent of the supposed ‘loot?’ How many more compromised EFCC trials have we secretly had and will still have?
For the purpose of the independence of the EFCC, I propose that the agency is barred completely from accepting foreign funding as this has sadly been used to witch hunt real and perceived foes.