Even after 6 months of a not-so-inspiring performance thus far by President Muhammadu Buhari, you still have to say thank God former President Goodluck Jonathan never won re-election. I’m still hard put to imagine what Nigeria would have become in the final analysis under a second feckless, clueless, asleep-at-the-switch Jonathan administration, had he triumphed over his opponent. It has been truly depressing to read, almost daily in the papers, mind-boggling stories of alleged theft of public funds by members of the Jonathan government, including hangers-on who also benefited one way or another from the large scale looting.
For weeks now, we have been learning of how Sambo Dasuki, Jonathan’s former National Security Adviser, took a vast sum of money meant for the procurement of arms and ammunition to combat Boko Haram and instead parceled most of it out to various characters for purposes not hitherto contemplated.
Since Dasuki was reportedly arrested on the orders of Buhari, several theories have been advanced by the public as to why that happened. One such theory, for example, believes the unfolding affair has something to do with some sort of ancient grudge Buhari allegedly nurses against Dasuki for the role the latter played in the arrest of the former during the coup that swept him from power thirty years ago as military head of state. I do not think Buhari’s decision to come after Dasuki has anything remotely to do with that. On the contrary, it has everything precisely to do with bringing him to account for his part in the whole saga of how the sum of $2 billion meant for defeating Boko Haram ended up in private pockets. If Buhari wanted to settle old scores with long-ago foes, I’m almost certain he would rather begin with the man who replaced him, President Ibrahim Babangida, and then work his way further down the ladder to people like General David Mark and General Halilu Akilu, both of whom were among the key players in that palace coup. But there is absolutely no need for such in the first place. In his private moments, I’m sure Buhari thanks Allah his erstwhile foes spared his life.
As they say, follow the money. And that has led us, neatly and not too surprisingly, to Raymond Dokpesi, founder and owner of AIT. Last week, Dokpesi was arraigned in court for receiving a whopping N2.1 billion from Dasuki for the media campaign that was supposed to help Jonathan win the last presidential election. Of course, Dokpesi will have to cough up that sum. But just as significantly, he should be compelled to explain to the nation why he couldn’t keep his end of the bargain. No doubt Dokpesi named the president his own terms.
And now Sahara Reporters is telling us that the same Dasuki of whom we speak paid the office of former Vice President, Namadi Sambo, a monthly stipend of N20 million. This allegation is being reportedly made by a man who should know, by virtue of his position in the Jonathan government. He is Ibrahim Idris Wambai, former Accounts Officer II. Wambai said some presidential aides also benefitted immensely from Dasuki’s slush money.
Before now the public had already been inundated with an awful lot of stories about how the former Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, allegedly carted away some $20 billion into her overseas private accounts, and also about how she had spent similar eye-popping amount of money on private jets. Even her time at the Transport Ministry before she got kicked upstairs to the more “juicy” Petroleum Resources Ministry, did not end without controversies: she was reportedly indicted for unlawfully transferring several billions of dollars into a private account belonging to a firm.
No charges have been brought against Alison-Madueke, and so it is unfair to accuse her unassailably of having stolen tax payers’ money. She has also denied diverting money, however huge or little, into her pocket while in office. But stories like these do have a tendency to befuddle the mind and render it nearly paralyzed. These are no small amounts of money.
Alison-Madueke has been undergoing chemo treatment for breast cancer in the UK for a while now. Recent images of her shockingly revealed the once ravishing woman as only a shell of her old self. I wholeheartedly sympathize with her and pray that she pulls through it all so that she can come back home and answer questions. This should be the prayers of all Nigerians. To wish her otherwise as some had trolled her recently on Facebook is truly beyond the pale and unworthy of our place as sensible human beings.
Buhari deserves credit for bringing this Dasuki conundrum to light, and for quickly and progressively moving to sift it to its very bottom. Soon we will begin to learn of more characters who participated in the travesty that was the Jonathan government, and who robbed many a people of not only peace and security, but also of several social amenities that should have been rightly theirs.
But we would also not be wrong if we said and hoped that this probe should equally extend to the sacred cows who have for long remained untouchable in Nigerian society. For they are among the real thieves of Nigeria that Buhari should not only put through the mill but also make to answer for the looting and maiming of Nigeria if ultimately found guilty.