General Douglas MacArthur, after he was fired by President Harry S. Truman in 1951, for insubordination to the commander-in-chief, said: “Old soldiers never die, they fade away”. This is a truism; an aphorism that is most famously remembered and quoted today in enlightened and civilized climes.
But in Africa (Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe; Youweri Museveni of Uganda), and most notably in Nigeria (Olusegun Obasanjo; Muhammadu Buhari, both erstwhile military rulers), old soldiers never die, quite alright, they simply shed off and discard their military paraphernalia and insignia and return unfettered to wreak havoc on their people with reckless abandon.
Under Olusegun Obasanjo as a civilian president, the corruption that runs amok today in Nigeria became institutionalized. Now, Mister, or should I say, Mallam, or Alhaji Muhammadu Buhari, for the umpteenth time is spoiling, sparring, and squaring up to return to power. It is crystal clear to see that there are no tributaries that he has sand-bagged and lined-up to bring back to Rome. Obviously, the Retired General’s “presidential aspiration” is nothing short a bold-faced scheme to ensconce himself yet again in the position to continue from where he had left off, the perpetuation of the callous and mindless rape, pillage, and brigandage of the depletable oil resources revenue of that moribund elephant called Nigeria.

2015: Contact Office Opened For Buhari’s Presidential Bid
Former Head of State, retired General Muhammadu Buhari and his loyalists seemed set to kick-start the campaign for his presidential aspiration on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC), with the opening of a contact office in Abuja.
The office, a rented apartment located at No. 34 Lobito Crescent, off Adetokunbo Ademola Way in Wuse II, was opened without fanfare a few weeks ago.
THISDAY gathered that Buhari was persuaded to also hire a residential accommodation in an undisclosed area in Asokoro so that he could have more time to stay and interact with political stakeholders in Abuja.
One of his associates who spoke to THISDAY yesterday said the former Head of State was being pressured to declare his bid early enough before the congress that will produce delegates at the Presidential convention scheduled for later this year.
Buhari does not reside in Abuja as he often shuttles between his base in Kaduna and Abuja to attend political meetings, a situation his political associates viewed as not being convenient and healthy under the circumstance.
“Buhari is going to run and there is no doubt about it. We, his supporters will insist that he runs even if he saying otherwise. Majority of the party supporters believe that he is the right person to run for the presidency if APC is desirous of changing the administration in Aso Rock,” said the source.
On the plan to launch the presidential bid, the source said before the bomb incident, Buhari had concluded plans to formally declare his interest after Ramadan festivities. He said the former Head of State also planned to relocate to Abuja so that he can properly coordinate his campaign strategy.
Speaking on the recent bomb attack on Buhari, the party chieftain said the party was aware of the competing interests, especially those currently in government who may not be disposed to having the former Head State run for presidency in 2015.
He said the party was not suspecting that any internal rivalry may be responsible for the attack but that it feels worried that the bomb blast came a few days after Buhari took a swipe at the Federal Government over Boko Haram.
“They all related to it. But first of all we are interested in his safety. No, everybody in the party looks forward to him as one person who is capable of lifting the opposition party to victory in the 2015 presidential election and as such they are all happy and will give him support to make it happen.Although there may beneficiaries if he is out of the way, but I do not think anybody will expect to win an election if Buhari had died. His exit will create serious crisis for the choice of candidacy for the party. People with the profile of a person like Buhari are very few in the country”.

I have never before read such a lengthy, but captivating sordid tale of a nefarious act of moral turpitude, blatant pillage, and bold-faced brigandage perpetrated on such a monumental scale, and with such impunity; simply because he wielded the brutish power to inflict such a flagrant act of one man’s financial inhumanity to a “nation”.
The sum totality of the write-up vividly evokes the lamentations of Dr. George BN Ayittey, in his book “Africa in Chaos”, he grieves: “most of Africa’s self-appointed leaders do not use their heads. Their primordial instinct is to perpetuate themselves in power, loot the national treasury, and brutally squelch all dissent”. He went further to lament: “dishonesty, thievery, and peculation pervade the public sector. Public servants embezzle state funds; high ranking ministers are on the take. The chief bandit is the head of state himself”.
I cannot help myself, but to go further to quote more of this preeminent Pan-Africanist and world renowned scholar, Dr. George BN Ayittey. His divinations as to why “paradoxically, a continent with such” a promise “ and potential” as Africa “is inexorably mired in steaming squalor, misery, deprivation, and chaos”; not to talk of being “in the throes of a seemingly incurable crisis”, cannot be more manifest than in the rapacious excesses of this brutish beast – Sani Abacha:
“But in Africa, government officials do not serve the people. The African state has been reduced to a mafia-like bazaar, where anyone with an official designation can pillage at will. In effect, it is a “state” that has been hijacked by gangsters, crooks, and scoundrels. They have seized and monopolized both political and economic power to advance their own selfish and criminal interests, not to develop their economies. Their overarching obsession is to amass personal wealth, gaudily displayed in flashy automobiles, fabulous mansions, and a bevy of fawning women. Helping the poor, promoting economic growth, or improving the standard of living of their people is anathema to the ruling elites”.
Chukwuemeka Chukwuma-Eze Obiajunwa

Abacha’s loot, Mohammed’s deal and the Abacha in our present rulers, By Olusegun Adeniyi By News Express on 03/07/2014

“To worsen matters, the kind of pillaging of public resources perfected by Abacha is being replicated at practically all levels, though it may not be on the same scale. Today, Governors loot their state treasuries at will . . .”
Apparently taken aback by what it considered a crooked deal by the Federal Government, Transparency International (TI) has described the withdrawal of charges against Mr. Mohammed Abacha as an act of encouraging impunity. A statement by its Regional Director for sub-Saharan Africa, Chantal Uwimana, said: “Allowing the theft of public funds to go unpunished sends the wrong message that those with powerful connections can act with impunity. The case should have been fully prosecuted and the government has not given adequate reasons for dropping the charges. Corruption is widespread in Nigeria and despite claims by the government to make tackling corruption a priority too few people have been held to account for a series of high profile scandals.”
Given the way this administration has treated (with levity) the challenge of corruption in our country, it is very easy to understand the basis of the damaging statement by TI. However, having followed the Abacha loot recovery story for almost 15 years, I support all efforts to bring a closure to the sordid affair. Nevertheless, I am also aware that there had been at least four previous agreements with the Abacha family that did not stand so I keep my fingers crossed about this deal. For those who may not be fully acquainted with the dirty details, a recap may be necessary here.
Following General Sani Abacha’s death on June 8, 1998, General Abdulsalami Abubakar assumed power. A month later on July 13, 1998, apparently having seen evidence of monumental looting of the treasury by his late predecessor, then Head of State instituted the Special Investigation Panel to establish “cases of swindled public funds and recover same back to the federal government coffers”. The panel was also to identify the culprits and recover all properties or assets illegally acquired by the culprits.
Within a matter of days, the panel had secured records from the apex back which revealed that between November 1994 when he took over and June 1998 when he died, Abacha had taken from the CBN funds totaling $2,263,520,497 in cash withdrawals, travelers cheques and telegraphic transfers, in the name of “security vote”. However, the job of the panel was made easy by the fact that one of the Abacha family associates, Alhaji Abubakar Bagudu (currently a senator representing Kebbi Central) was ready to cooperate by returning some of the loot.
The first yield came just a few weeks after Abacha’s death when the CBN Director of Foreign Operations, Mr. M. R. Rasheed, on 21 September 1998 acknowledged receiving from Bagudu the sum of US$604,743,187.19 and GB £60,090,984.93. There was an additional GB£5.25 million from Bagudu a few days later to complete what was considered full and final settlement with the Federal Government. And with that, on May 26, 1999, just three days before handing over power, General Abubakar promulgated Decree 53 of 1999 on forfeiture of assets by certain persons which listed the monies returned by the Abachas.
The import of the decree was that the family of Abacha and some of their conduits like Bagudu, Gilbert Chagoury, Mark Risser et al would not face any civil or criminal prosecution on account of the forfeitures. But a few months after President Olusegun Obasanjo assumed power on May 29, 1999, it became evident that Abacha and his cronies had actually fleeced Nigeria to the tune of about $ 4 billion in several deals that included inflation of (or unexecuted) contracts, the Ajaokuta debt buy-back scam, shady oil transactions, etc. That began another round of tricky negotiations with the family with then Attorney General and Justice Minister, Mr. Kanu Agabi, SAN, acting on behalf of the Federal Government.
The yields from those negotiations were: $110 million from Uri David; $50 million from Abdulkadir Abacha (younger brother to the late Head of State); $170 million from Doraville Properties and various sums totaling hundreds of millions of US dollars from Switzerland. Since then, the Abacha family, even while instituting several legal actions of its own against the Federal Government, has been seeking a closure to the civil and criminal proceedings in Switzerland, United Kingdom, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Spain, New Jersey (USA), etc, as well as at home. That was what the Jonathan administration recently obliged and interestingly, part of the deal is that “the Abacha family would wish to bring assets back to Nigeria so that these could be invested in the Nigerian economy.”
Last week, June 25 to be specific, the Federal Government received the sum of $227 million from the Government of the Principality of Liechtenstein as part of the looted funds from the Abachas and another $380 million is expected from Luxembourg within the next two weeks. And quite typically, a committee has been set up by the Jonathan administration, this time on how to spend Abacha loot! Yet for me, since these monies are coming in because of a deal that grants reprieve to the Abacha family, the Federal Government needs to come out clearly to tell us how much has been recovered from 1999 to date, how much has been spent (and on what and when) and what remains (if any). Aside the issue of transparency, the fact also remains that Abacha loot really does not belong to the Federal Government alone but indeed the Federation which means the 36 states and the 774 Local Governments ought also to be beneficiaries.
However, the jury is still out as to whether the deal between the Federal Government and the Abacha family will stand. For instance, Decree 53 promulgated by General Abubakar was premised on the assumption that the Abacha family had “vomited” enough of the loot. Under Obasanjo, there were also three of such agreements that never worked. The first one was in 1999 but the most interesting was that of March 2002. Acting on behalf of the Obasanjo government, Agabi had signed the “Global Settlement Agreement” which also stipulated a complete resolution of all civil and criminal issues worldwide between the government and the Abacha family as well as associates. The seven-page document also did not stand. So, I am waiting to see how this one too will work out and if it does, whether another government will not in future discover reasons why the Abacha family should “cough out” more money.
I know many people have wondered how Abacha was able to take as much money from the Nigerian treasury but the manner in which he did it would make for a bestseller novel because the details are actually stranger than any fiction: His National Security Adviser, Allhaji Ismaila Gwarzo, would make a request, Abacha would endorse and the CBN would release the cash. And it all started less than two weeks after he took over power from Chief Ernest Shonekan.
In a letter dated 30th November 1994, Gwarzo requested for US$100 million to combat “an economy that was deflected and distorted through the black market”. By the arrangement, the dollar was to be sold through Bureau De Change dealers at the then prevailing exchange rate, with a view to mopping up the naira, and beefing up its value. Having apparently been briefed by Abacha, then CBN Governor, Dr. Paul Ogwuma released the cash in the following sums: US$95 million and GB£3.2 million. Abacha’s son, the late Ibrahim, was to sell the dollars in the black market and remit the naira equivalent to the CBN through Gwarzo. The transaction was indeed carried out even though the money eventually returned to the CBN was not up to what was received.
However, the import of that first transaction was that Abacha had realised just how easy it was to directly take money out of the CBN and that became a perfect scam for him. All that was then needed was a letter from Gwarzo seeking approval for any sum of money in the guise of “security” and the CBN would release such demand in cash. So primitive was the whole arrangement that the principal job of some security officials was to be bagging and re-bagging millions of dollars and pound sterling. The following are a few of the documented transactions:
On February 13 and 15, 1995 Gwarzo collected US$200,000 and US$600,000 respectively (totaling $800,000) from the CBN. This was sequel to Abacha’s approval of his letter dated 15th February, 1995 in which he requested for US $4 million and GB£2 million “to take care of some developments in a number of areas…” The $800,000 was part-payment for the approved sum of US$4 million while the balance was paid in Travellers’ Cheques. On 29th December 1995, Gwarzo collected from the CBN the sum of US$5 million based on Abacha’s approval of his letter to deal with “situation at hand”!
The reasons given in many of the letters seeking approval to take money out of the CBN beggar belief but having “started small”, Abacha apparently became more emboldened with time. On 23rd August, 1996, Gwarzo collected US$30 million from the CBN following Abacha’s approval of his letter dated 20th August 1996, requesting for the said money to “assist our immediate neighbours and others within this sub-region”. On 18th December, 1996, Gwarzo collected US$66.5 million and GB£20 million following Abacha’s approval of his letter to meet “some requests from Heads of State of some Francophone countries, and to cultivate African solidarity.”
A month later on 30th September, 1996, Gwarzo collected US$50 million and GB£20 million from the CBN sequel to his letter dated 24th September 1996, requesting for the money to “prop some African and other Third World countries” to assist in Nigeria’s “democratization and economic recovery”. On 28th April, 1997, Gwarzo collected US$60 million GB£30 million sequel to Abacha’s approval of his letter dated 22nd April 1997, in which he requested for the said sums for “public relations to international communities and organizations”.
On 9th July, 1997, Gwarzo collected US$5 million from the CBN following Abacha’s approval of his letter dated 23rd May, 1997 to meet all “demands and commitments as directed”. A month later on 8th December, 1997, Gwarzo collected US$120 million and GB£50 million sequel to Abacha’s approval of his letter dated 26th November 1997. And on 19th January, 1998, Gwarzo collected from the CBN the sums of US$100 million and GB£50 million to “counter insinuations that (Lt. General Oladipo) Diya’s coup was not real, and the government framed them to remove and replace the coupists with stooges.”
The interesting thing about this particular transaction was that while re-bagging the money, “four cartons containing a total of about US$8 million were set aside” in Gwarzo’s own residence, while the balance of US$57 million and GB£30 million were delivered to the late Head of State through Mohammed Abacha. On 25th October, 1997, Gwarzo collected US$80 million and GB£40 million “to sponsor military intervention in Sierra Leone, and garner support for same in the West African Sub-region.” On 30th April, 1998, a few weeks before Abacha died, Gwarzo collected US$80 million, GB£50 million and N250 million based on his letter dated 29th April 1998 for the conduct of an enlightenment campaign on the “virtues” of an “Abacha Presidency”.
On 5th July, 1996, Gwarzo collected from the CBN the sum of US$8.1 million and GB£5.2 million based on his request dated 14th June 1996, to support five presidential aspirants in the Niger Republic general elections. On 21st February, 1997, Gwarzo collected from the CBN the sums of US$60 million and £20 million for “pro-Nigeria propaganda” abroad. On 1st April, 1998, Gwarzo collected from the CBN the sums of US$65 million and GB£30 million for “Public Relations at home and abroad, to counter the European Union campaign against the transition programme.” On the 8th of May, 1996 Gwarzo collected US$3 million and US$9 million respectively from the CBN. Out of this sum, he reportedly sent US$7 million (on behalf of Abacha) to then President Matthew Kerekou of Benin Republic as “assistance to the country to pay outstanding workers’ salary” while US$2 million was for Kerekou himself.
On 13th November, 1996, Gwarzo collected US$5 million and GB £3 million from the CBN based on his letter dated 7th November, 1996 “to take care of foreign dignitaries who will attend the burial ceremonies of the first President of Nigeria, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe.” On 10th September, 1997, Gwarzo collected US$60 million and GB£30 million from the CBN “to finance a campaign for a seat on the Security Council of the United Nations Organisation.” On 9th December, 1996, Gwarzo collected US$5 million from the CBN sequel to Abacha’s approval of his letter dated 21st November, 1996 in which he requested the said sum “to finance the purchase of ten Toyota Land Cruisers, and ten Peugeot 505 saloons for the Republic of Mali”.
I can go on and on because the list is actually very long but I believe the point is already made, even though it needs to be said that more than half of the entire money was diverted to the private accounts of Abacha and his cronies, rather than for the purposes for which they were collected.
Given the foregoing, I can understand the position of those who believe that while a deal like this may be financially and politically expedient, it is ultimately dangerous and debilitating for the possibility of any future confrontation with the forces of corruption in our nation. Unfortunately, Nigeria is left with few options on the issue.
For me, now that the Abacha family has finally decided to settle with the Federal Government, I cannot in good conscience oppose the deal and I will explain why.
I left Nigeria with my family in June 2010 and did not return until late in 2011 so I was not around in the country for the 2011 general elections. However, when I learnt that Mohammed Abacha was seeking to be Kano State Governor, I wrote a piece published on 11 February 2011 to challenge him and his family. Now that they seem to have fulfilled that obligation, I reproduce the piece as my own conclusion to this long-running drama of shame.
However, since the Federal Government has come to some form of agreement with the Abacha family and assuming the next tranche of $380 million arrive the country as planned, then they should also be assisted to repatriate the remaining loot home for investment in Nigeria. I am also aware that nothing has been tidied up yet because what the Federal Government expects from Abacha family is US$ 550 million and GB £ 95,910 all domiciled in 10 bank accounts and six investment portfolios in United Kingdom, British Virgin Islands, France and the United States. If they pay up, I believe Nigeria should put the unfortunate Abacha saga behind us.
However, we should worry about the kind of system we are running that would allow for what the late Head of State did. To worsen matters, the kind of pillaging of public resources perfected by Abacha is being replicated at practically all levels, though it may not be on the same scale. Today, Governors loot their state treasuries at will. In fact, I have heard of some who receive bank alerts on their mobile handsets, not of their personal bank balances but rather of money belonging to their states which they can spend as they like. And as for the presidency, most Nigerians are quite aware that whoever occupies the number one office in our country is the “sole proprietor” of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)!
All said, given the position I have taken in the past concerning this issue (as captured in the piece below), I wish Mohammed and the entire Abacha family well as I also put a closure on the reportage of one of the most scandalous stories of corruption in Africa.
February 11, 2011: Before Mohammed Abacha Becomes Kano Governor
I have met Mohammed Abacha on a number of occasions and I consider him a likeable person. I also believe that whatever might have been his father’s transgressions as a leader, Mohammed should be judged on his own merit. I, however, feel that for anybody to seek public office, even in Nigeria where almost anybody can aspire to be anything, honour and integrity should still count for something and that is where I have problem with Mohammed’s aspiration.
When early in 2002, President Olusegun Obasanjo confirmed that his government had come to a compromise deal with Abacha’s family whereby Nigeria would get about $1.2 billion while the family would retain $100 million in cash and per bonds worth $300 million, there was a public outcry. But in defending his action, Obasanjo cited several examples of countries where stolen wealth have remained abroad notwithstanding years of litigation. From Ferdinand Marcos in Philippines to the late Shah of Iran and Mobutu of Zaire, the funds are still trapped, the President argued. And in one of those rare moments as a commentator on public affairs, I commended the former president in a piece I wrote titled “A dirty but very good deal”.
I was viciously attacked for the position I took on the issue but my argument was that it must have been difficult for a man like Obasanjo, who is ever concerned about his international image, to settle for such crooked deal which I considered to be in our collective interest as a nation. “In a way he sacrificed his prestige to get a good deal for us under a patently dirty bargain akin to pleading with a notorious armed robber to send relief materials to his victims,” I wrote. What many may not have known at the time is that the Abacha loot case is one issue on which I have devoted considerable time as a reporter.
My interest began in February 2000 when I went to London to cover the Ajaokuta debt buy-back scam legal tussle involving Mr. Nessim Gaon of NOGA (founding partner in what is now known as Transcorp Hilton), the Federal Government and the Abacha family represented by Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, one of the prominent custodians of Abacha loot. From then, I have seen the complexity as well as the difficulty in attempts to retrieve stolen public money siphoned in Swiss banks. Bagudu, now a PDP Senator representing Kebbi Central, I must add, was the person who actually helped the General Abdulsalami Abubakar regime to recover about 800 million dollars following Abacha’s death. But Senator Bagudu knows, as we all know, that there is much more of the loot out there.
Since General Abubakar left, nothing much has been achieved with regards to the money stolen by Abacha while the only people who have been benefitting from efforts to use legal means to recover the loot have been some fat cats in the Nigerian bar with access to the villa and their counterparts in Britain and Switzerland where some of the cases have been fought. I therefore felt back in 2002 that if Obasanjo could recover some of the loot after bargaining with Abacha family, it was in the nation’s interest.
There was, however, a problem about the deal that would surface afterwards: it was conditioned on the release of Mohamed Abacha, then facing trial for his alleged involvement in the murder of Kudirat Abiola. In what was generally considered part of the bargain, the Supreme Court, in a ruling of four to one, would order that Mohammed be discharged and acquitted for the murder charge.
Interestingly, the drama was not limited to the court as there was also politics involved. For instance, a delegation was sent to Aso Rock from Kano to plead with the president. It was led by then Governor Rabiu Musa Kwakwanso, his Deputy, Dr. Umar Ganduje and former Solid Mineral Minister, Kaloma Ali, who had become the representative of the Abacha family. After the delegation had made their representation pleading with Obasanjo to order the release of Mohammed from detention, the president responded: “I want you to know that there was no malice whatsoever, no ill-feeling whatsoever on my part, only a desire to do what was right and what we can stand before God and man to defend.
“If you are talking of reconciliation, as a believer, I know that whatsoever we do, we must remember God. I am here today; we may not be here tomorrow. What matters is what happens to the people we leave behind. I believe very strongly that as I ask God for forgiveness, because I know that I am a sinner, I will readily forgive those who wrong me. I have no ill feeling whatsoever, no malice whatsoever, no bad idea whatsoever, against anybody and certainly not against [the] Abacha family. But we must be guided by fairness and justice. When you introduced Mohammed Abacha as our son, what do you think he is to me? He is my son too.”
On the issue of Kudirat Abiola’s murder over which Mohammed was standing trial, Obasanjo explained to his audience the gravity of the situation: “There are two issues. One, the issue of Sergeant Rogers’ allegation against Mohammed; there is also an issue of SaniAbacha family, including all members of the family, with Mohammed Abacha at the centre of it all. And that is the stashing away of this country’s money. Let me tell you what I have done, in case you don’t know. My predecessor, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, and in fairness to him, he recovered $600 million and £120 million.
“When we came in, we looked at things again, and we discovered that there are much more. I asked my Vice President to invite Mrs. Abacha as a wife of former Head of State. I asked him not to take her to the office, but to his home but to let her know that these things she is holding must be dislodged. Then Mrs. Abacha phoned me, for the first time, she said she did not know I could be generous and could treat her that way. She said she had always feared me. But I told her that we hear that they have $2 billion. We went on and on and we discovered very close to $1.5 billion.
“We hired lawyers and took them to five different places, Switzerland, Britain, Luxemburg, Spain and New Jersey (USA) for a long-drawn legal battle. We got through their lawyers to say we will settle out of court. So, we have a legal document. So, our lawyers and their lawyers agreed. The document made me to forgo $100 million. I know they don’t deserve it, with another $400 million in bond on face value. The agreement was signed and sealed, but when it got to the time of exchange, they reneged. If only for the interest of the nation, nobody should perpetrate this kind of blatant corruption.
“Governor, (looking in the direction of Kwakwanso) you are making a special request, and I am also making a request, because the money belongs to all of us and should be disgorged, we will not let up until every kobo is recovered. I hold no malice, ill-feeling, only for us to do what you can stand before God and man as just.”
With his sermon done, the former president now handed over to Kaloma Ali a document containing the agreement prepared by both the lawyers to the Abacha family and those of the Federal Government, saying: “If he (Mohammed) signs he will be released to you and you can take him with you.”
But following Mohammed’s release, Mrs. Maryam Abacha decided to call Obasanjo’s bluff. In repudiating the agreement, she claimed that whatever was in the accounts of the Abachas belonged to the family: “Our lawyer came here with this piece of paper. It was not on any official letter-head; there was no coat of arms or anything like that yet they want us to surrender money.” Adding that the money in their accounts included that of her late eldest son, Ibrahim, Mrs. Abacha said: “Mohammed too was doing business so his money is there too. Now, they (Federal Government) say they want all the money.”
Mrs. Abacha vowed back then that they would not release a dime of whatever may be in their family till, money that has been established to belong to the government of Nigeria. And she has remained true to her words. That is where I have problem with the aspiration of Mohammed to be Governor of Kano State or to hold any public office for that matter, until the issue of the money belonging to the people of Nigeria – which is being held illegally by his family – is resolved.
Now, I must make some points clear: I have no problem with whoever argues that Mohammed never stole Nigeria’s money since he was not in a position to do so as he held no public office. That indeed is a fact. But the fact also remains that his father did loot the treasury and unfortunately for the family, he was not as lucky as many other Nigerian public officials who have helped themselves to our common wealth: he was caught!
Mohammed is a young man who should consider his future. He may have so much money with which he now seeks political power, a legitimate aspiration. He should, however, realise that honour and integrity also count for something. The question he should ask himself is whether he is happy with the public image of his family when he has a golden opportunity to put a closure on the sordid affair. All he has to do is to fulfil his part of the bargain by returning to the public treasury the amount agreed with the Federal Government.
If he doesn’t do that, he will forever be condemned as not only the son of a thief but also a disreputable young man without honour. The good people of Kano State certainly do not deserve such a governor. I hope they are taking note.
•This piece by Adeniyi (shown in photo) originally appeared in his column “The Verdict” in today’s edition of ThisDay under the headline, ‘Abacha’s loot & Mohammed’s deal’. Adeniyi can be reached via
Source News Express
Posted 03/07/2014 12:34:56 PM

From Caius Casus to Marcus Brutus in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: “The fault dear Brutus is not in our stars but in ourselves that we are underlings”.
It’s not only “our rulers (who) are modern-day buccaneers”, but we, all Nigerians are buccaneers in-the-making / in-waiting. “If you find (Nigerians) who aren’t corrupt, it is largely because they haven’t had the opportunity yet”, to paraphrase Dr. Anthony H. Cordesman, Defense Expert, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C., on the corruption that pervades Afghanistan’s business and political elite.

It is an Igbo aphorism that an old lady attends funerals in anticipation of hers, otherwise why would “Mr. Akpabio’s (rapacious burgling) bill (be) passed into law by his lawmakers”.

What an apt truism that “our democracy is not a ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people; but rather, a government by some people, for some people and for the benefit of some people’”. And then I am reminded of “the peculiarity of the institution of government” in Africa, as was defined by Dr. George B.N. Ayittey, Professor of Economics at the American University, Washington, D.C., in his book, Africa in Chaos, in that:

“’Government’ as it is known in the West, does not exist in much of Africa (read Nigeria). Leaving aside the democratic requirements that a government must be by the people and for the people, one expects at a minimum a ‘government’ to be responsive to the needs of the people. Or at the least, perform some services for its people. But even this most basic requirement for ‘government’ is lacking in Africa (read Nigeria). ‘Government’ as an entity is totally divorced from the people, perceived by those running it as a vehicle not to serve but to fleece the people”.

Hence the “Akpabio’s law” is a flagrant “obnoxious, anti-people law” indeed, when juxtaposed against “how many schools and hospitals the N5m per month for domestic servants – never mind the N100m annual medical payment – would build in a year in a state where the minimum wage is officially N21,000 per month; that’s for those who are employed!” Talk about “fleece(ing) the people” to feather only one person’s nest.

It is only in Nigeria that a “governor of the Central Bank” would dole “out billions of naira to any cause he fancied”, and “heads of governments” and ministerial officials would lavishly spend, with impunity and reckless abandon, public funds on their personal and private functions, “their girlfriends, concubines and family members, including nannies and other domestic aides”, and neither be held answerable to the people for it, nor pay a political price for it.

Nigeria: Buccaneers as statesmen
By Chido Onumah

I have always advocated for a full-scale socio-political restructuring of Nigeria. The reason is simple. Unless we do, we will daily, to our collective peril, be confronted with all the tragic fallouts of a dysfunctional nation-state, be it the desire to “#bringbackourgirls” or what Akin Osuntokun, writing in (6/4/2014), described as the “Akpabio Syndrome”.

Godswill Akpabio is executive governor of Akwa Ibom State, one of the richest states in Nigeria. Akwa Ibom’s wealth and survival, like that of all the states in the country, comes mainly from the quarterly payment from the sale of crude oil that runs into billions of naira.

A notorious spendthrift, Mr. Akpabio has always been a newsmaker, and lately, for his attempt to secure for himself and his family a sumptuous retirement benefit. Apart from the senseless carnage by Boko Haram and the inability of government to confront the security challenge, nothing has attracted greater public outcry in the last one month than Mr. Akpabio’s antics.
When the redoubtable investigative journalism site, broke the news that Mr. Akpabio had sent a bill – the Akwa Ibom State Governors and Deputy Governors Pension Law 2014, which provides a generous pension and gratuity, including houses, upkeep of aides, cars and N100m annual medical payment, for life, for a former governor and his spouse – to the state house of assembly, my initial reaction was that common sense would prevail considering the current mood of the country.

For a moment, I forgot that our rulers are modern-day buccaneers; that the oversight role of the national and state assemblies which our brand of democracy purports to uphold is nothing but a ruse; that, as one writer put it, our democracy is not a “government of the people, by the people, for the people; but rather, a government by some people, for some people and for the benefit of some people.

It didn’t take long before Akpabio’s bill was passed into law. Weeks later, the governor was back at the state assembly, after much public outrage, to instruct his lawmakers – yes his lawmakers, for whatever Akpabio wants, Akpabio gets, no matter how odious – to expunge the “obnoxious” sections of the new law.

There is really nothing “obnoxious” about Akapbio’s law. In fact, Akwa Ibomites ought to be grateful to his Excellency. He has done them a world of good.

As the governor’s chief press secretary, Mr. Anietie Ukpe, explained: “The law has been there. What the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly did was just to create a ceiling. The law said former governors were entitled to maids but did not add a ceiling, which meant that a former governor could get a maid with a doctorate degree and be paying the individual N10m.”

“The former provision stipulated that the governor and deputy governor would be entitled to medical treatment; the bill did not specify the limit to the amount these individuals could access. The governor could access up to N1bn for his medical bill, but with the amended law of 2014, medical expenses have been restricted to N100m a year.”

Yes, we should be grateful to Mr. Akpabio. History will certainly vindicate him as he rightly noted in a tawdry response to critics; after all, “The ceiling, which was pegged at N100m per annum for former governors and N50m per annum for former deputy governors, was never meant to be given either in part or in whole to anybody at anytime for any reason. It was meant to be paid to health institutions involved in the treatment of the former governors or former deputy Governors and their spouses.”

Mr. Akpabio has gone ahead to instruct that “a medical insurance scheme be put in place for the authentic and proper management of the medical treatment of former governors and deputy governors and their spouses in order to ensure that the open-ended nature of the law is not abused.”

Of course, Mr. Akpabio doesn’t get it. Because he is blinded by greed and the feeling of entitlement, the common trait of our rulers, he can’t understand why an executive governor would not retire to a life of super comfort to the detriment of the mass of the people.

Regrettably, Mr. “Uncommon Transformation”, this is not about the “open ended” nature or placing a “ceiling” on a law. It is about an obnoxious, anti-people law. Consider how many schools and hospitals the N5m per month for domestic servants – never mind the N100m annual medical payment – would build in a year in a state where the minimum wage is officially N21,000 per month; that’s for those who are employed!

How many domestic servants does Mr. Akpabio feel he is entitled to at the expense of Akwa Ibom taxpayers after he leaves office? Will these domestic servants be expatriates? Is the N100m going to be paid to health institutions in Germany or India where Mr. Akpabio will certainly go to if he does fall sick?

If we strip Akpabio’s law of its legal veneer, what is left is barefaced banditry. Of course, Akpabio is not alone. Whether we are talking about the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) or the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC); whether Akwa Ibom, Kwara, Lagos, Rivers, Borno, Gombe or Kano State, there is a collective desire by Nigeria’s ruling elite to mortgage the future of Nigerians.

And it’s not just about our executive governors. Not long ago, we were regaled with tales of how the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, doled out billions of naira to any cause he fancied in the name of corporate social responsibility. Heads of government agencies and other categories of public officers send their girl friends, concubines and family members, including nannies and other domestic aides, on vacation abroad, from their annual allocation.

We remember the case, a few years ago, of the “honourable” minister of education, Sam Egwu, who hosted a birthday party in Abuja with the “support” of the ministry of education, reportedly for more than N120m, to celebrate his 55th birthday and 25th wedding anniversary, at a time university teachers were on strike over the scandalous neglect of our universities.

That public show of shame had rectors and vice chancellors of universities in attendance. According to reports, they were not only compelled to attend and contribute to the birthday bash, they were made to take out full page adverts in national newspapers to congratulate the minister and his spouse.

It is good that civil society is gearing up for legal action against Akpabio, other governors and public officials that have criminally set indiscriminate pension and out-of-office emoluments for themselves.

While we are at it, our outrage should go deeper; for a system that nourishes the Akpabio Syndrome is simply not sustainable!; Twitter @conumah

The Kidnapping of a Country
An Op-Ed By LAUREN BOHN and CHIKA ODUAH New York Times MAY 14, 2014
CHIBOK, Nigeria — THE road to Chibok is eerily quiet, lined with checkpoints manned by civilians, many of them teenagers, wielding rusty rifles and serving as added security for an area that has little. In this northeast Nigerian village, where more than 300 teenage schoolgirls were kidnapped by the militant Islamist separatist group Boko Haram on April 14, their stunned families were still waiting this week for them to come home.
Lawan Zanna was still waiting for Aisha, his 18-year-old daughter. “How can I sleep?” Mr. Zanna asked. “Anger is gripping my body.” After the girls were abducted, Mr. Zanna said, he and other parents searched the nearby Sambisa forest for their children, but came back empty-handed. As he spoke, Aisha’s sister Hawa, 19, stood in silence. The two girls shared a small bedroom and almost everything else.
More than 750 people have been killed this year alone in Boko Haram attacks; at least 29 boys were killed in a February school raid. This time, the government’s failure in rescuing the girls, and in addressing the issue, has incensed Nigerians and, increasingly, people around the world.
In the midst of the crisis, the World Economic Forum on Africa hosted a three-day summit meeting, May 7-9, bringing about a thousand delegates from around the world and Nigeria’s elite to Abuja, the Nigerian capital, to discuss economic growth and development. As the .001 percent opined in air-conditioned suites, far from the hot reality of Abuja’s streets and psyche, the government deployed 6,000 security officers for the event — an effort that many Nigerians half-joked, half-lamented would never be made to protect ordinary Nigerians, nor to retrieve the Chibok schoolgirls.
The city was at a standstill. Blue-uniformed security and police officers gathered around boomboxes perched on wooden benches and turned up to maximum volume, listening to voices shouting curses at the enigmatic Boko Haram. “We just don’t know who these people are or what exactly they want to do,” said a call-in guest on 95.1 FM Nigerian Info. “They say they want to impose Shariah law or whatever, but Nigeria is not an Islamic state! God go punish you!” A uniformed man holding a half-chewed juicy mango exclaimed, “Yes! God go punish them!” to nods of agreement.
Nigerian citizens exist in this surreal state of great contrasts, in a nation mired in corruption, under attack by an Islamist insurgency and at the same time brimming with potential and acclaimed as an economic engine for the African continent. With 170 million people, Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and largest oil producer. Its economy has surpassed South Africa’s, making it the largest on the continent. But that growth has only widened economic inequality. Economic activity has slowed to a trickle in regions where terrorizing at the hands of Boko Haram has forced farmers to abandon their fields, while young people without job prospects have left for the cities. More Nigerians are poor today than at independence in 1960, with over 60 percent below the poverty line.
For the past three weeks, we have been traveling the country reporting on youth unemployment, an issue consistently ignored by the government, but one that has been exploited by Boko Haram.
“The abductions are only the tip of the iceberg,” said Tayo Olufuwa, a bespectacled 23-year-old entrepreneur from Mushin, one of Lagos’s poorest neighborhoods. Mr. Olufuwa has started an online employment search company, Jobs in Nigeria. When we filmed him two weeks ago, walking on his old childhood streets for a multimedia report, plainclothes policemen detained us for four hours, confiscating our credentials and equipment. They told us they were protecting us from Boko Haram and other security threats, wrestled with our driver for a bribe and mocked a crowd of children. “We are a country sleeping with one eye open,” Mr. Olufuwa said afterward in exasperation.
It’s an expression used often by Nigerians, who are frustrated yet unsurprised by conflicting actions and reports from a government they have come to distrust. At least 16 Nigerians were killed in March in stampedes when nearly a half-million people applied for fewer than 5,000 government jobs.
Frederick Kusompwa, 30, eagerly joined thousands of job seekers at the national stadium in Abuja, one of the application sites, only to watch people climbing over one another, clawing for registration forms: “I just asked myself, What has my country become?” The interior minister, whose office oversaw the recruitment, announced that the dead “lost their lives through their impatience.”
Thousands apply for 20 full scholarships offered by the Institute of Petroleum Studies at the University of Port Harcourt in the Niger Delta. Celestina Johnson, an administrator at the institute, said she often wanted to cry during the interviews because so many of the applicants would never get a chance. As she spoke, the electricity went out — an everyday occurrence in Nigeria. “If this country’s condition continues, there will be a mass revolt,” Ms. Johnson said. “The country will break.”
In Lagos, the commercial capital of the country, a 41-year-old cabdriver, Oyebajo Adekunle, sweated as he swerved through rush-hour traffic. A college graduate with a business degree, he said he never thought he’d be driving people around, struggling to make enough money for his family of six. He pulled up to a cluster of people — one of the daily Bring Back Our Girls protests that have taken place here and around the country for weeks. “I would go out and stand with the women, but I have to hustle,” he said, wiping sweat from his brow. “It’s like the government makes the hustle so hard, so that we’re too tired to do anything about things like this.” He rolled down his window to shake one of the female protesters’ hands, locking eyes for a mere second, and then sped off to pick up another client.

Is anyone listening? Will the oligarchs entrenched in power, and those maneuvering to get back in, read this “insightful” book whose author has fashioned “a compelling argument for finally partitioning Nigeria into distinct countries”, where “the widely diverse Nigerian ethnic identifications—Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa/Fulani—would be unimpeded in practicing their religious, cultural, and social differences and help initiate and accelerate growth, prosperity; end impunity and entrench sanity, law and order in the various emerging new countries”. I am sure they will not, because they are too busy propounding, and promoting their petty selfish vested interests while the people suffer, and the country burns to ashes.


Osita Ebiem’s “Nigeria, Biafra, and Boko Haram” tells of the violence, poverty, and corruption that plagues the country and provides a pragmatic solution.

New book “Nigeria, Biafra, and Boko Haram: Ending the Genocides Through Multistate Solution” from
Page Publishing Author Osita Ebiem is the author’s proposal for the redrawing of the political map of the
African continent as the prerequisite for the laying of realistic national foundations for the various states in Africa.

Osita Ebiem, an active Rights and Self Determination advocate, has completed his book “Nigeria, Biafra,
and Boko Haram: Ending the Genocides Through Multistate Solution”: a work that provides a portrait of
an utterly disastrous Nigeria that is often haunting and unbelievable. Though the country and its people have endured trauma beyond comprehension, Ebiem offers practical solutions, which can reroute Nigeria’s path and ultimately begin the long process of healing.

Discussing the foundation of his insightful new work Ebiem says: “The problem is not because the extant
states boundaries were foisted on the indigenous peoples of Africa by foreigners. The trouble is that those boundaries did not take into account the feelings and wishes, cultural diversities and sensitivities of the different peoples. After observing the way affairs are handled in Nigeria and believing that the problem can be solved, I chose to shine some light on the violations of the fundamental rights of the peoples of Nigeria and provide a way out.”

Published by New York City-based Page Publishing, Osita Ebiem’s concise writing explores the annals of
Nigerian history and explains in clear terms the evolution of a country forced together by European
commercial interests.

In this book, “Nigeria, Biafra, and Boko Haram: Ending the Genocides Through Multistate Solution”, author Osita Ebiem fashions a compelling argument for finally partitioning Nigeria into distinct countries. Through the use of the multi-state solution and the principle of Self Determination, the widely diverse Nigerian ethnic identifications—Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa/Fulani—would be unimpeded in practicing their religious, cultural, and social differences and help initiate and accelerate growth, prosperity, end impunity and entrench sanity, law and order in the various emerging new countries..

Readers who wish to experience this fascinating work can purchase “Nigeria, Biafra, and Boko Haram:
Ending the Genocides Through Multistate Solution” at bookstores everywhere, or online at the Apple
iTunes store, Amazon, Google Play or Barnes and Noble.

For additional information, review copies or media inquiries, contact Page Publishing at 866-315-2708.

Source: Global Reporters Vienna

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