Iyabo Obasanjo Is Not Guilty, We Are
Akintokunbo A Adejumo
Now that the title of this article has grabbed your attention, please read on. Thank you.
Virtue, they say, is the moral excellence of a person. A virtue is a trait valued as being good. The conceptual opposite of virtue is vice. Unselfishness, truthfulness or honesty, morality, honesty, compassion, moderation, commitment, modesty, acceptance, etc are all virtues recognised by major religious faiths, and indeed by many cultures all over the world. Vice is a practice or habit that is considered immoral, depraved, and/or degrading in the associated society. It includes, among others, corruption, insincerity, diffidence, greed, selfishness, favoritism, callousness, excesses, irresponsibility, denial, vanity, indifference, stupidity, etc.
One thing that is very certain in Nigerian politics today is that our politicians never disappoint you with their total lack of virtues, antics or utterances. In most cases, the antics are absurd and devoid of any integrity, while their utterances are inane and devoid of any sense of responsibility or knowledge. They are completely mired in vice, some of which, of course include corruption and lack of morals. Hence, the unfortunate situation we find ourselves today in Nigeria.
It is common these days to find a politician or civil servant who goes to church or the mosque everyday to pray to God or Allah, yet when they get to the office on Monday morning, all that is in their heads is how to misappropriate or embezzle money that they are supposed to expend to improve the lot of their people. But they want the money for themselves only. They therefore contravene not only the laws of Man, but that of the Creator too.
Anyway, the comedy and the farce are over. Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, the over-promoted, under-qualified ex-first daughter, who should never have been within a million miles of the Nigerian Senate, is back in the “hallowed” chambers, and all is forgiven. The truth is that the Senate, as a democratic body has damaged its credibility and sincerity of purpose by welcoming her back without so much as a slap on the wrist.
So, Senator Iyabo Obasanjo, who after several months in hiding and playing hide and seek game with the EFCC, appeared before the courts and was granted bail. She then went to her Abeokuta city, her constituency as she now acknowledges, and was given a rousing welcome by some association or the other. The newspapers termed them “her kinsmen and women”. It was during this reception that she declared that she was not guilty of the allegations of her involvement in the Ministry of Finance’s 300 million Naira scandal, and where she herself had admitted receiving 10 million, purportedly for her Senate Committee on Health, of which she is the Chairperson.
She would say that, wouldn’t she? They all do say that, don’t they? Alamieyeseigha said that, Atiku is saying that, Ibori is saying that, and ALL the other corrupt ex-Governors, indicted former ministers, senators, etc involved in numerous scandals being exposed on a daily basis in Nigeria other etc. All of them are not guilty, yet we can’t find all the money entrusted to them or to be used for specific projects to develop the country. All the billions just up and disappeared into thin air.
For this woman to have the gut and insult all Nigerians is very galling. But then, there is a lot of precedent. They all insult us, these crooked and shameless politicians. Here is a woman, the ex-first daughter of Nigeria, as she liked to be called, whose father was very broke before he became the President of Nigeria in 1999 and is now a multi-billionaire. Then her fortunes changed for the better. She was first appointed a Commissioner in her home state of Ogun State (we all know why Gbenga Daniel did this); she then became a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and then steering herself to become the Chairperson of an important and influential Senate Committee.
Controversy has been following her since. She used a fake name (impersonation) to get some contracts, and she got away with it – only in Nigeria can that happen – without even a slap on the wrist. She became a fugitive as a result of this most recent scandal. Despite this misdemeanour, unbecoming of a person who calls herself a Senator, the Senate itself failed to sanction her, and this include her not attending any session for over two months, while she was still getting paid her salary as a Senator as well as other allowances. In fact, the Senate stuck their neck out for her and immediately absolved her of any crime or involvement in a crime, as if they are a court of law.
I understand that on her first day back in the Senate, after her hiding, she was given a standing ovation in the chambers. Shame on them all. But then, they would do that, wouldn’t they? They are all the same – they spend the better part of their time not carrying out what they are elected for, but busy chasing contracts all over Abuja, sharing money in “Ghana Must Go” bags, engaging in shady deals, lobbying for position, money and power. They do this with so much enthusiasm that if they had applied the same enthusiasm to the job at hand of moving the country forward, we probably will not be where we are today - stagnation, moribund governance, poverty, corruption, etc.
I was intrigued by the gall of this lady, who will never qualify for a beauty contest, not to talk of win it. Her father’s girlfriend in the House of Representatives tried the same ruse, but failed. Iyabo is also thinking she will get away with it, (and she may well get away with it for now) but eventually, even if all her cohorts and fellow travellers in corruption hang on and cover each other up as much as they like, one day will be one day.
At the reception held for her by her “kinsmen and women”, she further went on to say she has never stolen any money from the people of Nigeria. The impudence of that woman! May the Lord forgive her, because that is barefaced lying. But then, it proves that if you are liar, you will be corrupt, you will steal. This is a woman who has just recently completed and opened a big hotel in Ibadan, where they charge 35,000 Naira per night – not for an ordinary Nigerian, and is said to have similar hotels in Abeokuta, Lagos and Abuja.
But you see, Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello is not a thief, or rather, not an ordinary thief. She took loans to do all these. She did business to do all these. Not a single kobo came from the people of Nigeria. Or maybe her father gave her the money now that he is a multi-billionaire as they said.
Yes, she could say that, and we have to agree too, after all, the case is still in court and she has not been pronounced guilty as charged. The Lord have mercy on her. She had better not seek to run for another time as a senator. The people of her constituency, Abeokuta, should do the right thing and reject her outright. In fact she should never be allowed near a ballot box. I hope I am right, or else the next position she will be gunning for is that of the Governor of Ogun State, and knowing the greedy and murderous party she belongs to, who want to rule Nigeria for the next sixty years, and she might well get it.
This woman has not learnt anything because nobody – the Senate, the Nigerian government, her father, her people – has taught her anything. She has not been made to face any music. She has not been severely reprimanded for her many indiscretions and misdemeanours. She has not been taught how to be ashamed and embarrassed for wrong-doing. She has not been taught a lesson in civility, servitude and remorse. She is not aware of the damage she has done to the name of Nigeria, the reputation of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the damage to her own and family’s name and reputation (if indeed there are any left). She is a very shameless individual, lacks conscience and does not know what it is to be a Senator representing millions of people in a democracy, and what she owes to her people. With a Senator of her type overseeing the provision of healthcare services to our people, we can now see the reason why patients have to bring their own cotton wool, medicine and sterilised water to hospital wards in UCH, LUTH and the rest of our miserable excuses for hospitals across Nigeria.
This is true of all our leaders, past and present, to the cost of their long-suffering, helpless and downtrodden people. They just take us for granted, and they have been doing so since our independence. They do not have any sense of responsibility either for their actions or towards their people. All they have is arrogance and corruption on their mind. They believe that the people will do nothing and will continue to do nothing despite their gross misbehaviour. (It is not longer a simple matter of misbehaviour; it has become criminal genocide, because a lot of Nigerians are losing their lives, directly or indirectly, as a result of their actions or inactions).
I am not sure those jokers and idiots who call themselves Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are aware of the implication or significance of Iyabo’s farce. It is a direct indictment of the Nigerian Senate. Iyabo has brought the Nigerian Senate into disrepute. She has demonstrated that the whole chamber is nothing but a huge, expensive joke on Nigerian. The Nigerian Senate is a laughing stock of the democratic world, but they do not realise it nor do they care.
We must no longer tolerate them or their behaviour. And if you ask me, one way of doing this is to ensure we do not re-elect those of them seeking further terms in 2011 or whenever. We have to continue making them realise that Nigeria is not for them only, but for all of us. We have to apply pressure on them and let them get into their thick heads that we do not like them because they are ruining and killing us, they are not doing what we want; they are inconsiderate, selfish and corrupt. We have to make them know that they must pay for all the pains and agony they have been inflicting on us for so many decades.
This is not only for Iyabo, but so many other politicians of her ilk. We often delude ourselves by saying that only a few people are holding Nigeria hostage from development and progress, but compatriots, that is far from the truth; that list is growing alarmingly everyday. If we don’t believe this, then their “juju” is working on us. It is no longer a few; it is a lot of calculating nonentities and thieves who are bent on enriching themselves at the expense of the people of Nigeria. In fact as one thief drops out, or even stays in this list, five more are inside. Everybody is fighting for a share of the national cake, if indeed there is a cake, and they are prepared to do anything, anything, to achieve their dubious aims.
Let the truth be said always.
Akintokunbo Adejumo lives and works in London, UK. A graduate of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria (1979) and University of Manitoba, Canada (1985), he also writes on topical issues for newspapers and internet media including Nigeriaworld.com, Nigeria Today Online, Nigerians In America, Nigeria Village Square, Champions Newspaper, Gamji.com etc.
He is also the Coordinator of CHAMPIONS FOR NIGERIA, (www.championsfornigeria.org) an organisation devoted to celebrating genuine progress, excellence, commitment, selfless and unalloyed service to Nigeria and Nigerians.