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THE TRUTH ABOUT CORRUPTION AND TREASURY LOOTING IN NIGERIA By Bonaventure Ezekwenna

July 27, 2013

***Will Nigeria ever declare Real and Total War on Corruption and Treasury Looting?

New York—-The unmistakable truth is that corruption, nepotism, tribalism and treasury looting, the looting of the treasury in Nigeria started immediately after independence and continues till this day and no government (none, zero) had made any serious effort to stop this trend.

The unmistakable truth is that gross treasury looting, the gross looting of the treasury intensified immediately after the civil war by senior military officers and their civilian cronies that conquered Biafra land (which actually include the whole of Niger Delta region) continue till this day.

Independence Leaders (Founding ‘Fathers’) Sowed the Seed of Corruption. Every successive government from Tafawa Balewa in 1960 to current President Goodluck Jonathan has succeeded in paying lips-service to matters of corruption and treasury looting.

General Aguiyi Ironsi, Murtala Muhammed and Umaru Musa Yaradua could be considered exception, though, for one simple reason. Aguiyi Ironsi and Murtala Muhammed were not in office long enough, so they could not be assessed. They did not even quite settle down, and had not really implemented any budget before they were assassinated. Yaradua (the only due process and rule of law advocate and servant-leader Nigeria ever had) was unfortunately too sick to lead and engineer much change. While he was too sick and perhaps lost control of his government, a hardcore criminal gang of cabal hijacked his government and did all sorts of atrocious magic with the treasury.

Since independence, every successive Nigerian government appears to attempt to out-do their predecessors in looting the treasury and other forms of corruption with exception of Ironsi, Murtala and Yaradua (while he was still in-charge of his faculties and government).

The only high profile known case of crackdown on corruption since Nigeria gained independence in 1960 (54 years today) was the trial and conviction of former Premier of Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his team for corrupt use of public fund and treason in 1963 in which he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Even then, Awolowo did not serve his full term. He was released from prison in 1966 and went straight to become part of genocidal government of Army General Yakubu Gowon as Minister of Finance. Awolowo is revered today and institutions are named after him in Nigeria.

Another 2 semi-high profile arrest of government officials for corruption took place during Obasanjo’s second rule. Many believe the arrest, prosecution, conviction and imprisonment of former Inspector General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun (2005) and former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha (in July 2007) took place because they fell-out with President Obasanjo.

Mr. Tafa Balogun and Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha received what many consider a little slap on the wrist by the judge in view of the crimes they admitted and were convicted of. They were convicted of stealing millions of Dollars and they each received few months prison sentence, served their very short terms and that’s it. Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha has been pardoned by President Jonathan and is revered today allover Bayelsa State; he is considered a king-maker, power-broker, idol and un-official holder of un-official title of ‘Governor-General’ by his ethic group.

Ready Accomplices from Foreign Partners

It is no secret that the looting of treasury in Nigeria and laundering the funds into foreign banks, as in most other African countries, are done in connivance with foreign financial institutions and interests. As a matter of fact, most of the looted funds are originally (normally) deposited and invested in western countries such as Europe and North America.

Lately, these looted funds started finding their way into Asian and middle-eastern countries. However, industrialized, advanced and stable western countries and small islands close to the western countries continue to be destination choice of most African looted funds, most especially Nigerian treasury looters.

Experts, especially foreign experts unanimously agree that when it comes to high-level (not low-level) crime syndicate, there is no place like Nigeria on earth. You figure it out.

Military Treasury Looters made Corruption of Independent Leaders Look like Children Play

1.Did Generals Gowon, Obasanjo, Buhari, Babangida, Abacha and Abubakar have the power and chance to clampdown on corruption? The answer is “YES”

2.Were these generals’ governments making lots of money from Nigeria’s oil drilled from Niger Delta region? The answer is “YES”

3.Were the governments of these generals making budgets and announcing them every year? The answer is “YES”

4.Were their governments at the federal level and their military governors at the state level and civilian cronies implementing the budgets they successively announced every year from 1966 to 1999? The answer is “NO”.

5.If they announce budget and allocate funds to particular projects for the year and at the end of the year that project was not executed, were those funds sitting at the treasury since the projects which they were meant for were not executed? The answer is “NO”

6.The question then is: what happened to the funds, the money? (The funds must have developed wings and legs.)

7.Was any official in Generals Gowon, Obasanjo, Buhari, Babangida, Abacha and Abubakar’s federal and state government and even local government level ever arrested, tried, convicted and serve prison term for fraud, corruption and treasury looting? The answer is “NO”.

So, the unmistakable message and legacy from Nigerian leadership is: it’s okay to steal, divert funds and loot the treasury; those are the norm.

According to former Minister of External Affairs, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, about $500 billion (N75 trillion) had been lost to corruption in Nigeria from 1960 till date. This was his submission during the one day National Discourse on corruption held in Minna, Niger State, on Thursday 14th March, 2013.

That is the reason public amenities, infrastructure, the economy and standard of living in Nigeria is so poor and horrific, despite the fact that Nigeria is one of the richest countries on earth.

Okay, let’s bring it to date with present third civilian republic governments in Nigeria.

Obasanjo Set New Records Anyone Could Hardly Beat

In 1999, Nigeria had Obasanjo again as civilian President, heading a ‘democratically elected’ government, in a fraudulent process that is now known as ‘Nigerian homegrown democracy’. There was also Yaradua (the self-proclaimed and to some extent, due process advocate and servant-leader who was unfortunately too sick to lead and engineer any reform and change). And currently there is this GOODLUCK of a guy, President Goodluck Jonathan government. From civilian Obasanjo to current President Jonathan, the story on corruption and treasury looting are still the same, or perhaps with more intensity.

In fairness, there are few tangible things that differentiate military era regimes and current civilian democracy. In democracy, there is more freedom of the expression and few governors are trying just a little bit on community development.

Games Military Leaders Played Nigerian Masses: Commission of Inquiries/Tribunals

It was fashionable especially during the military era for successive Nigeria leaders to seek and to come to power using patriotic interests, fight against corruption and treasury looting as excuse. Upon forming government, they will set up commission and tribunals to probe their predecessors. The masses will get excited thinking the intent was to recover stolen funds and put those to work for common good.

The commissions and tribunals will investigate and discover all the methods and tricks of treasury looting and amounts looted and pass their findings to the government. Rather than actually close the loopholes and bring the culprits to justice, the new leaders will adopt the methods of their predecessors and some will make some adjustments in methodology and attempt to out-loot their predecessors.

Therefore, Nigerians have found out that the purpose of setting up commissions upon commissions of inquiry and tribunals upon tribunals are never to stop corruption and treasury looting, but to learn, adopt and surpass the predecessors.

The New Norm: General Acceptability of Corruption and Treasury Looting:

Today, in what Nigerian past military and current civilian leaders want the world to believe as “homegrown democracy”, the norm has changed. No Nigerian leader or party is making fighting corruption and treasury looting part of their campaign, or, manifesto. Rather everyone is openly fighting for turns and opportunity to defraud and loot.

Just to show the general acceptability and malaise treasury looting has become in Nigeria, it has become fashion for serious candidates for political offices to publicly announce in advance that they will not probe their predecessors for frauds, corruption and treasury looting if voted into office. Could you believe that?

A candidate seeking for office will hold rally and press conference to tell Nigerians and the world that he/she does will not probe anyone, and the reason for doing so is to ensure that no one should be nervous about anything, “just vote for me and let the party go on.”

Experts in Nigerian political dynamics believe that any candidate that talks about fighting fraud, corruption and treasury looting in Nigeria will not win any election; and any government that clampdown on fraud, corruption and treasury looting will collapse immediately. Really, is it that bad?

Born-to-Loot Vs. Born-to-Stay Aside/Born-to-Watch Syndrome

We must not forget tribal agitation for zoning of power and what that really means in this context.

Succinctly put, tribal agitation for zoning of power simply means that the 350 tribes in Nigeria want to take turn in ruling Nigeria and have their hands on the treasury just like other big tribes have had their turns.

From the time Nigeria became independent in 1960 to present (2013), Nigeria had 12 Heads of State, (or 13 if you count Ernest Shonekan of the few months interim period when Abacha was actually breathing on his neck and running the show). 2 tribes produced 9 out of that 12 Heads of State. Other tribes are now strongly kicking against the idea of the 2 tribes ever producing Head of State again until all other tribes which had not tasted power had their turn at the highest office.

“You had your turn to loot, we want our turn too”, argue leaders of 348 Nigerian tribes.

Don’t forget the 2 particular tribes that are telling the other 348 tribes: “Don’t think about it (don’t talk about it), your turn in this treasury thing, that is. Almighty had willed Nigerian presidential leadership to us. Only us could rule Nigeria, we are born-to-loot; we are born-to-rule (same thing anyway)”.

However, since God/Allah makes all things possible, a lot of Nigerian religious and political philosophers are today saying that God/Allah has decided that all tribes HE/THEY created in Nigeria will take their turns at the presidency of the nation.

That explains the reason some pundits and some segment of Nigerians pose this question;

“If past Nigerian leaders and their cronies could loot and plunder the treasury of Nigeria to silly and get away with it, why should President Goodluck Jonathan and his groups (cronies or whatever you call them) not have their turn at the ‘national cake’, as well? Why should the party, the banquet stop now that someone from the core Niger Delta, the hen that lay the golden egg is at the dining table, leading the party, the banquet?”

Wild Party on National Treasury: Any End in Sight? Nigeria is Waiting for Their own JJ or Heracles!

Since Nigerians know how the country got into this mess; the questions that are now begging for answers are:

  1. At what point shall this party, this banquet come to a full final STOP, if it will ever STOP?
  2. Will Nigeria ever declare real war on corruption and treasury looting?
  3. Will Nigeria ever-ever get out of this corruption and treasury looting mess, when and how?
  4. Will Nigeria ever declare REAL and TOTAL WAR ON CORRUPTION and TREASURY LOOTING including all SECURITY, LAW ENFORCEMENT, and JUSTICE SYSTEMS (entire defense, law enforcement, judiciary, correction agencies)?

Real and total war means war without any loopholes whatsoever; a war where all leaders (past, present and future) will give full, total and complete account of their stewardship and be held responsible for any loot, actions and in-actions.

For Nigeria to move forward someone has to, some people have to be held accountable for running this potentially great nation aground. Whether it will be a courageous dose of ‘JJ Rawlings’ application and medicine, or, something like Heracles’ to clean up this ‘Augeas stables’, there is urgent need for something. And whatever that something will be, no one seems to know for sure.

Since ‘BONNY SWEET’ is very strategically important to the world and no one wants anything that will disrupt the smooth flow; since the forces which created Nigeria and nurtured this corruption to this level probably realized the monster they created; those forces and the New World Order, at some point, will come to a decision when and how to free the masses of Nigeria from this dangerous circle and choke-hold.

With the viciousness and brutality of Nigerian system, current leaders and king-makers running things while staying-aside, it is very doubtful that totally disjointed tribes and disempowered masses could be capable of finding the answer to these questions. This therefore leaves many to wonder whether bitter dose of ‘JJ ’application to corruption diseases and sicknesses, or, ingenious creativity of ‘Heracles’ may be what Nigeria may need to clean its ‘Augeas stables’.

nigeria-weeping-for-nigeria1 nigeria-weeping-for-nigeria Wole Soyinka

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 10, 2014 04:33

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    due to it’s nice articles or reviews

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