Here we go again By Nasiru Suwaid

Nasiru Suwaid

There is a new trend of rubbishing findings of probe with charges of illegitimacy, Nasiru Suwaid opines.
It is psychologists who often say it is an evident sign of madness for individuals or groups to perform the same function repetitively and expect a different result each time such a task is undertaken.

So I was shocked with the reaction of most Nigerians who exhibited a grave sense of betrayal on the outcome of the Nuhu Ribadu’s Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force. Right before the very eyes of the Nigerian President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the report of the task force threatened to turn into a monumental charade and comical play performed in front of a gullible audience.

In an act unheard of in the historical annals of the deeply obedient and highly sycophantic national civil service, a former holder of the eminent office of the Head of Service of the Federation openly dissented on a public presentation of a report. His whimsical stance was that what was unveiled was not agreed upon by all members of the government panel.

Yet, what happened was a classic depiction of what happened a few months ago in the same sector of the economy, with the same indicted players. The cleverly manufactured self destructive tendency, availed in the current controversy involving the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation administration equally manifested in the Farouk Lawan’ Ad-hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Probe, when a member of committee, its chairman, openly undermined its sanctity before the very eyes of the Nigerian Public. The member tainted the fairness of its outcomes with issues of influence peddling and charges of corrupt enrichment.

This created a trend in which the present administration is propounding a new behavioral trait. Whenever Nigerians demand for an investigation on any agency accused of and even proven of open acts of corruption, it usually sets of an administrative panel to confirm or disprove the allegation of corruption. But upon reaching the indictment stage, a self destructive strain is engineered to rob the committee of legitimacy, thereby creating an atmosphere of distrust and throwing up questions of legality of such reports.

Actually, what happened at the main chamber of the Presidential Villa was an open dissent by two members of the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force -Steve Oronsaye and Bernard Otti – who disagreed with the conclusion of the committee. They claimed the finished product was not an aggregated consensus, but a mere hatchet job of the chairman of the committee in the person of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, specifically to rope in individuals he has personal issues with. The duo also stands to be affected by the indictment as they shamelessly accepted appointments in the establishment they were mandated to investigate. They forwent the ethics of conflict of interest and loyalty while performing assigned national duty.

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What is more mystifying is the action of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison Madueke, who primarily acts on behalf of the Nigerian president, to appoint individuals into board and management that will investigate government agencies such as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. It is uncanny that she appointed the two men without thinking that there is an underhand  plot to undermine the committee works by creating questions of credibility on the assignment either by Oronsaye and Otti attempting to influence the expected outcome of the panel or in the most extreme case (and as it seemingly happened), to seek the destruction of the whole committee report, by withering at the credibility of the group.

Indeed, that the Minister of Petroleum Resources, would petulantly spring to the defence of the committee only adds to the laughable side of this incidence which is the fact that the intelligence of the Nigerian people is being played with. Even a dimwit would know that it is by her engineering that this Oronsaye and Otti bubble arose. The appointment of the two members of the committees into the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation is a contrived attempt to disrupt investigations into an agency she directly supervises.  As if investigations reveal an illegal infraction of the law, it is her office and person that stands to bears the full brunt of the probable interdiction.

So, there arises the plausible question that troubles the mind, who is this ensuing drama fooling?  Is it the Nigerian people now wiser at the antics of some public officials making every effort to cover clear evidences of corruption or do the appointed persons not realize that they have been found out?

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