JAMES IBORI’S CORRUPT 8YEARS, A MICROCOSM OF PDP LED-ADMINISTRATION

Indeed, not every culprit is privileged to be tried only in heaven. Some are so unfortunate their punishment starts here on earth. In a society like Nigeria where most of her vibrant citizens are jobless, there is more than enough time for idle gossips. However, how interesting gossips get depends on the mood and environment but naturally, every mood, perceptively suits any discussion on a failed and corrupt leadership and it usually engage aggrieved and shortchanged groups. To some, the headline on a convicted former ex-office holder is best gossiped round a table in a bar, with bottles of beer clinking each time the table is tossed by a subconscious hand/leg movement, mostly accompanied with unguarded and slurred utterances, and a wiggled gesture of pride on the victory handed to them in the news. The gossip may get horribly incited if the choice of language is a local dialect, it makes for variety of comfortable abusive local words in qualifying the culprit in question. To have such gossip raw i.e. undiluted (free of alcoholic influence), visit a news paper stand, with caution though. Make sure you are out of harm’s way of tantrums and abuses.  You will find several amateur political pundits doing what I call gossip analysis of political events. To them, the news of the mysterious vengeance against a purportedly corrupt civilian authority is a welcomed development and the attendant euphoria could be mistaken for joy of a newly wedded couples. The first thing  you will hear if you are lucky is a clumsy argument on the why, where, how and who of the matter. While some of them may not even know what it is they are discussing, others chorus the dissatisfaction that permeates the public discuss and tag along the general consensus, hence, ecstatic about the news that one of the oppressive leaders would be punished.

This is the fate of the man from Niger delta, the south south part of Nigeria. Although he is standing trial in U.K where he pleaded guilty, Nigerians still share every reason to display a sense of victory. For days, the cyber space, dailies, news reports as well as public discussed has been bombarded with the ugly news of his guilty plea. The euphoria making the rounds is that of a warring populace of Nigeria, weak and without sophisticated weapon yet, defeated the political elite; rich, supported by foreign partners and exposed to modern weapon of mass destruction (money). The battle was a losing one for the detached citizens of Nigeria but for God, the David  defeated the Goliath in Ibori’s case.  British police accused him of stealing $250m (£160m) over eight years. Once seen as one of Nigeria’s wealthiest and most influential politicians, was arrested in 2010 in Dubai and then extradited to London. As his trial at London’s Southwark Crown Court was about to begin, Mr. Ibori changed his plea to guilty and admitted stealing money from Delta state and laundering it in London through a number of offshore companies

James Ibori, like his counterparts has exhausted every means to tamper with due process. At a point, he was vindicated by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Because he was known to be an influential supporter of Yaradua administration, the EFCC compiled the names of those facing trial and his name was conspicuously missing, his prosecution was botched. Also the former minister of justice and attorney general, Michael Aondoakaa fought to dismiss the case against Ibori in London on the grounds that the evidence didn’t emanate from Nigeria. But as God would have it, the emergence of President Jonathan aroused a new international interest and ibori’s file was re-opened. Like the Thomas and Jerry cartoon characters, the James ibori episode was introduced; he tried to ‘run for his life’ but the insecticide of U.K/FGN caught up, he grew wings to fly but couldn’t fly high. The scene was that of the village settings where you see an older person openly running after a kid who erred. The kid playfully ran round singing ehhh! Ehhhh! Whuuuu! The scenario in no time attracted villagers, who enjoyed the brief show but when the older man eventually apprehended the kid, the story changed. Ibori has done ehhh! Eeehhhh! Whuuuu! to FGN and British government for long, he skedaddled   to Dubai away from EFCC, away from the wrath of justice and subjected the judicial system in Nigeria to an object of ridicule, likened it to a toothless barking dog that can’t bite.

Unfortunately Ibori isn’t the only bad egg that was or still in government, most public servants and political office holders are highly corrupt and ungodly. Obviously, the blessed nation is unfortunately inundated with unscrupulous individuals who are just passively intelligent and think success is denying their fellow humans the dividend of democracy, carting away the profits from Gods depositions in minerals, human and agricultural resources. It’s unbecoming of these self identified leaders who directly emerge from the worst political party in the history of Nigeria. The little I know about political party is enough to convince me PDP is nothing close to an institution to be called political party. It is money making venture, a political investment by a group of people surreptitiously siphoning the resources of the country through numerous pawns at their disposal called public office holders, a party that entrenched a do or die party activity in the country. Even if parties in the past nursed certain do or die ambition, it wasn’t publicly expressed, and they all wanted to genuinely serve the public. James Ibori’s corrupt leadership style is not exclusive to him but a phenomenon in PDP-led government, a pronounced picture of what the entire PDP-led government stands for in all the state they rule and federal government. From inception of PDP, the country’s political activities have spiraled into a more dangerous game of life and death. More corrupt activities have been recorded, from corrupt governor to chairmen. At the center, the story is not different more so that the government has been lead by PDP for over a decade now; cabinet members have a misinformed orientation of their relevance, contracts are awarded without due process and at the end little or no obvious execution would be done.

After the 1999 elections, PDP captured 26 out of the 36 states but most of the states came off worst after the expiration of their tenure, over 50% of the governors had corrupt charges against them. From 2007, some governors who emerged under the umbrella of PDP had their mandate repudiated and a fresh election was ordered by tribunals. In 2011, under the former chairman Farida Waziri, The EFCC placed the PDP former governors of Oyo, Ogun, Nasarawa, and Gombe on its watch list. Later on, almost 40 prominent politicians were placed on the advisory list in its 100 main list of high profile case; it contained names of former serving ministers who by default were all PDP members and the national assembly party members. Few of those on the list are former Jigawa state governor Saminu Turaki, ex-presidents daughter Iyabo Obasanjo, former speaker Dimeji Bankole, former ministers like Femi Fani Kayode,Babalola Borishade, Adenike grange etc . Also on the list are ex-governors of Adamawa, Plateau etc. while some untouchables in PDP are Anthony Anenih, a member who had several naira budgeted under him for repair of roads but failed to deliver, former governor Peter Odili of rivers states, Abdullahi Adamu of Nassarawa, Bukola Saraki, Joshua Dariye, great bone collector of the hallowed chamber, deputy senate president Ibrahim Mantu and the former South West PDP chairman Bode George who was later convicted and sentenced to two years. Ayo Fayose Ekiti, Chimaroke Nnamani Enugu, Sani Ahmed Zanfara, Saminu Suraki Jigawa, Rashidi Ladoja Oyo, Joshua Dariye plateau, Jolly Nyame Taraba while the former governor of Edo state, chief Lucky Igbinediaon was let off the hook having been slammed with a 191 count charge for corrupt enrichment, money laundering etc. The EFCC appealed his ruling and the federal high court in Enugu eventually sentenced him to a fine of N3, 579,524.16

The likes of ibori are out there in government, flaunting their ego, embezzling to secure a posterity they don’t have a say over. Every state has a frustrating experience of inequality and mismanagement of public treasury. The governed live in abject lack and total rejection while those saddled with alleviating this social-economic lack are busy allocating funds to their wards, hugely investing in foreign properties and foreign account. These appalling acts of PDP members who hold public and political offices beg for urgent intervention buy stake holders, interest groups and youth alike. A destructive structure has been institutionalized by the party that ordinary councilor makes a fortune out of office. This party has no definition for good governance; they took delivery of the democratic dispensation and since have monopolized the political terrain, handing to the people a misinformed and self centered definition of democracy with its attendant bad governance. Under this party we have experienced the height of judicial injustice, high level of corruption in almost all the PDP lead administration.

It’s now difficult to mention any PDP lead government at any level in the different arms and not have a thing or two to say about them. More PDP governors had their elections nullified by the tribunal –Bayelsa, Rivers, Ekiti, Osun, Delta in 2010 etc; this brings the question of how the election was initially conducted? Of cause, it was never free or fair to have made the wrong person emerge the winner. Some states even had to wait for months/ years before a tribunal could conclude a verdict on re-elections. All the money spent, salary collected and allocations made within this period goes down the drain and a fresh election still attracts huge amount.  No wonder from 1999 t0 2011, there were enough election cases than the tribunals could handle and it wasn’t exclusive to state level, the local government and federal level elections were nothing different. In fact, the former president, Yaradua confirmed the election that secured his presidency was neither free nor fair.

Corruption/mismanagement has been on the increase in the polity since the entity called PDP took over power; it has been from one corrupt issue to another embezzling sagar. It’s like a doctrine instilled into every member the moment they become one. Although, it can’t be argued other party office holders are not corrupt as information available indicted people like former Lagos state governor Bola Tinubu, the focus is on PDP because at the federal level, only PDP candidate has emerged as the president, when this happens, the central has power to influence state elections and state, local government elections. Thus, since 1999, more PDP candidate has emerged as winners both at the state and local government. Most of the mismanagement and bad governance was recorded under a PDP lead government, even at the national assembly, most of its members since 1999 till date are PDP members, and few of their leaders at a point were even indicted. Former speaker Mrs. Patricia Etteh was accused of financial misappropriation in the N628m house renovation scandal and former Senate president Adolphus Wabara was mentioned in the N55 million corruption scandals. Lastly,PDP has taken it upon its self to choose INEC chairman, by default, all the INEC chairmen had been answerable and favorable to PDP, and hence, we haven’t recorded a truly free and fair election after 1993.

Ibori was just a member who exemplified the doctrine of the party, even having been formerly convicted in U.K – in 1991 for stealing, in cahoots with his wife who worked as a cashier, from the Neasden, London, branch of the DIY shop Wickes, also found guilty in 1992 for being in possession of a stolen credit card and having used it to fraudulently withdraw $1,590 still found his way to the party who force any candidate on the people as long as its corrupt interest is guaranteed. There are other major ibori’s in the system, many more show of shame to be displayed by the largest party in Africa. Who will save Nigerians from PDP? God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Manuel Adesola

adesolasholer@yahoo.com

twitter handle : @manueladesola

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