Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Gang Jonathan and the looting of Nigeria, By Babatope Ibidapo


Gang Jonathan

The author says Nigerians must get up to fight to get the country back on its feet.

The official rape of Nigeria, unbeknownst to all her citizens commenced officially when President Goodluck Jonathan took over as Acting President in the twilight of Umar Yar’adua’s sickly Presidency.

That official rape escalated when Jonathan was elected President in 2011 marking the onset of the most rapacious rape of a country by its country men under the watch of someone elected to watch the barn.

The revelations are shocking. The data and figures unbelievable! Nigeria is in the vice grip of a group of power hungry and money sucking demons who are bleeding the county to death. The investigative report by Sunday Punch newspapers, Nigeria’s largest circulating newspapers revealed that over five trillion naira of government funds has been stolen through fraud, embezzlement and theft since President Jonathan assumed office on May 6th, 2010. There you have it. This is according to the Punch newspaper. Not the Action Congress of Nigeria, Lai Mohammed or the CPC or Femi Falana” SERAP. Not done yet, the Punch newspaper, emboldened by detailed information of malfeasance and embezzlement under the Jonathan government ran what will remain perhaps a Pulitzer Prize winning editorial. The Punch Editorial of December 3, 2012 titled, “Jonathan Spendthrift: Enough is Enough” was a touchdown against team Jonathan and what many in boxing will call a TKO.

Call it a meal- culpa. It was a damning political verdict which the spin doctors will find difficult to spin. With permission, I seek to quote the Punch. “Nothing typifies the frivolous, insensitive and completely inept leadership troubling Nigeria currently than the recent approval of a N2.2billion banquet hall for Aso Villa by the Federal Executive Council (The Jonathan Gang Members).… just one of the dozens of the eye-opening government expenses, President Jonathan is proposing to build a party hall in the palatial Aso Rock while million of Nigerians are hungry and jobless” The Punch was not done yet. “This has taken profligacy in public expenditure to absurd lengths. Jonathan has probably expects Nigerians to give him and the other FEC members a standing ovation for initiating the project but he is greatly mistaken”.

Rather than keep watch, the Jonathan government has invited “countryman” and carpet baggers to come and chop. The heist and plunder of our collective patrimony is afoot and proceeding with much brazenness and alacrity before our very eyes. The Amnesty programme has become a national drain pipe. Under the guise of the amnesty, billions of naira meant for the development of Nigeria is siphoned to a section of the country. Not just a section, but a clique that services yet another clique of so-called militants.

Tompolo, a barely literate militant leader has been handed the most lucrative maritime contract through presidential fiat. Or do we start to talk about the billions that have been squandered by the President’s wife, Patience Jonathan on an office that is unconstitutional.

But there is more troubling news. According to Nasir El-Rufai, there is a pending Question President Jonathan needs to answer. “In the meantime, what most Nigerians simply want to know from the president is what happened to N5trillion in 30 months. That is the $31bn question which Dr Jonathan ought to answer”. Nigerians indeed need that answer now. If need be we must get on the street to demand for answers and sanctions. Nasir was not done yet. “When I wrote an article in 2011, stating that the government of President Goodluck Jonathan was spending two billion naira every day, including weekends, on security without commensurate returns on the lives of Nigerians, the president’s reaction was to have his then chief goon, General Awoye Azazi, arrest and detain me for publishing ‘misleading information’. In retrospect, I agree with the accusation – because the amount I stated hugely understated the grand larceny going on in government.

Assuming that Jonathan has been in power since May 2010, the figure works out to an incredulous $1bn stolen each month. If you add the average borrowing of another $1bn per month since Jonathan took office, then the true scale of the epic theft becomes clearer”.

Nigerians also need answers to why there is suddenly a bazaar of contract by the FEC. For instance, a bazaar of contracts has been on and it climaxed only this week with a contract award of 28 billion naira by the Federal Executive Council, (FEC).The detail, timing etc are of the contracts are questionable, the price tag, staggering.

For instance, less than 40 days to Christmas, a rail contract is awarded. Then there is the plan for another National Identity Card scheme to cost N6.3 billion. The list continues. Some of these decisions are almost unpardonable and most objectionable. No one needs further proof that this government lacks thinking capacity, out of touch with both the people and reality and simply a team of trainees in power as Lai Mohammed once described the President and his team. Under this government, Nigeria is not working. Only the pockets and bank accounts of top PDP henchmen, Jonathan Yes Men and Kinsmen are working and twitching with ill gotten wealth.

The PDP must answer for this rape of the countries resources. PDP should remove the log in its eyes and leave Lagos to work. Stop sponsoring fake reports against the opposition. There is slush money everywhere for blackmail and propaganda; there is too much money for mischief as they say in America.

Unfortunately, as if sedated or in self denial, Nigerians have become docile and most accommodating of a leader and his gang whose unbridled lust for corruption has effectively mortgaged the future of well over five million graduates who will never find a job and millions yet who will never enjoy quality educations. What about the millions of women who will die at child birth and children and the sickly who will die because we lack the basic standard hospitals. Just a week after a report by the British based Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Nigeria as the worst place for a baby to be born in 2013. Nigeria came number 80 of the 83 countries surveyed. We never got a whimper of response for the government and to think in the same week, the same government will announce a 2.2 billion naira banquet hall project is beyond me.

Whatever happened to being angry? Whatever happened to standing up to fight for our rights? Whatever happened to a people who stood up in times past to demand for the exit of so-called leaders who in the first place had no business running our lives?

Not even under the military did we witness the brazen theft and larceny now commonplace under Jonathan and the Generals, Babangida and Abacha and their cohorts will tell you what they faced and how the anger of frustrated Nigerians smoked them out of power. That was my Nigeria. Not now. When in fact we are under a democracy and we can assert our freedom without fear that the guns and jackboots will be turned against us.

I so much love Egypt. As you read this, Egypt is perhaps still boiling. In the throes of a people’s revolution unwilling to yield too much ground to masked dictators and demanding that things be done right in order to protect the rights of the people. If the Arab spring was an inspiration, the Arab Winter now taking place is the real thing-the actualization of people power. Why can’t Nigeria have its own ‘Arab Spring’? We live in a country that loves to lap up rumours and lies. Salacious stories of scandals make the rounds. We lap it all up and go our way. Our army of online critics and writers have become mere opportunists using the online platforms to make money by publishing thrash or sponsored articles.

We unfortunately as a people are sold a lie by the government and those procured to hide the lies and to distract Nigerians by pointing to others as thieves. The Will Nigeria and Pointblank news online and their publishers readily come to mind. Rather than expose the raping of Nigeria by Jonathan and the gang, they have been recruited to distract Nigerians by reporting allegations against other Nigerians both formerly elected and serving. These are allegations that are for the most parts baseless and unproven. Most have been dismissed for lack of evidence.

The attempt by these online sites to also serve as online courts by criticizing the judgments of lawfully constituted tribunals that have cleared certain politicians of wrong doing is laughable and speaks to their desperateness. What is of concern is why they are chasing after some rats when the rattlesnakes raping our country presently are amok in broad daylight. Tax payers’ money is being used to pay them and also oil the propaganda machine of the Jonathan government. The Jonathan government and the Doyin Okupes of this world need to hear it from me: No amount of propaganda can replace performance or protect them from the billions.

They are daily looting from our treasury. The allegations of corruptly receiving a house gift from a construction company, which has been consistently leveled against Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe must be investigated. The Ribadu report on the Oil Industry must be implemented and the Oil Minister, Deziani investigated. The list is long. The Jonathan gang members are having a field day feasting on our collective resources. Thus far, they have succeeded in running and hiding. But no more, Nigerians cannot wait till 2015 to act. Time to act is now. The Punch editorial was right when it called upon Nigerians and the civil society to act now by putting the feet of the government to the fire. The opposition parties must also pick up the gauntlet to hold this rampaging Jonathan gang down before we will all wake up one day and there will be no country.

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