Nigeria: Political, Economic, and Socio-Cultural Discussions

Posts tagged ‘Ebele’

“Aboki” vs. Leviathan: Nigeria Standing on Quicksand of Despotism

By Ahmed Garba

On February, 20, 2014, Nigerians woke up to learn that their stealth dictator, Emperor Ebele has suspended the Governor of Central Bank, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. In a manner consistent with hypocrisy, the emperor waited for Sanusi to be out of the country before carrying out his despicable (some might say calculated humiliation) act. Weren’t we here before, in 1976, when Yakubu Gowon was attending OAU meeting in Kampala, Uganda, only to be told that there had been a coup against his government; again in August of 1985, when Gen. Buhari was away in Saudi Arabia, and evil man Babangida staged a coup? No wonder Ebele once said that Babangida is “like a father to me”. Like father like son? It is important to point out that the first two cases involved military coups, where the coup plotters had to try to minimize insurrection or loss of lives. So, what is the Emperor’s excuse?

Alas, the Ebele that Nigerians thought they knew is not the Ebele there is.

Consider the facts revealed in a recent report that, a few days before the announcement of the CBN governor’s suspension, when Ebele sat down with his Kitchen cabinet, several options were tabled as to how the matter should be handled. The options ranged from the sensible, that is, let the governor run out his course peacefully, to the thuggish/ruffian let’s disgrace him out of office. Needless to say, we have seen which option Ebele found more acceptable. So, we are dealing with someone who truly believes in his own statement: “I don’t give a damn” about Nigeria and Nigerians.

Lest we forget, we have previously seen this display of flight of reason from our closet tyrant. Recall the way he handled the case of former President of Court of Appeals, Justice Isa Ayo Salami. We saw how the emperor pressed the panic button, when he thought that Justice Salami was going to “throw sand in his gari”. In a previous article, written two years ago, I chronicled Ebele’s tyrannical tendencies. It is worth revisiting.

GARRISON POLITICS: BRIGANDS in ABUJA

As noted by Daily Independent in this article, the term “Garrison Politics” was first introduced into Nigeria’s political lexicon by none other than PDP’s own former Senator, and retired Col. Ahmadu Ali. He chose it as a better replacement for the term “amala politics” that was being used to describe the rough and tumble style of politics practiced by Lamidi Adedibu in Oyo state. One now wonders if Senator/Col. Ali was consciously or subconsciously describing the true ideology of his own party–PDP, for, as we have been witnessing, PDP is quite at home in this bare knuckle, “do or die” politics, and they do it with all manners of malevolence. In addition to what Nigerians witnessed under Obasanjo (e.g. the unexplained murder of Bola Ige), current examples include the following:

  • Let us go back to the case of Justice Isa Ayo Salami, which represents the first ‘in your face’ frontal assault against what should have remained a respected Nigerian institution—The Nigerian Court of Appeals. Here was the head of Nigeria’s Court of Appeals being maltreated, disgraced, and unceremoniously removed from office by ballot thieves, who engaged the tools of garrison politics to soil the man, solely because Ebele’s political ambition supersedes justice and fairness in Nigeria. The saddest part of that event was that the National Judicial Council—a body that should have fought tooth and nail to uphold the dignity of the judiciary—shamefully allowed itself to become a willing accomplice against one of its own. And when they “came to their senses”, reversed themselves, and requested that Ebele reinstates the Justice, he “gave them the finger”, because, they had already sold their soul.
  • Then there was the murky case of Gen. Azazi. It had been rumored that, as a cabinet member, he sometimes ran out of patience with Ebele’s indolence, and he made it known at times. But when he left the cabinet, and dared to go out and announce that there is a link between Boko Haram and PDP, his goose was cooked. Without warning and under mysterious circumstances, Azazi had to settle with the lord, in a flaming helicopter above the sky in the creek. This, despite the gun running contribution that he had made to the militants in the creek–an act for which he was retired from the military.
  • When on independence day 2010, bombs went off in Abuja, Ebele wasted no time to exonerate “my people” (MEND). However, Henry Okah, a member of MEND, who confessed to the 2010 bombing was for some mysterious reason tried and convicted not in Nigeria where he committed the crime against Nigerians, but in South Africa. The accused, in his defence stated that he, together with the other perpetrators were instructed to blame the attack on Ebele’s opponents, ahead of the 2011 elections. Do we “know why the caged bird” didn’t sing otherwise? More importantly, do we know why an accused who committed a crime in Nigeria against Nigerians will not be extradited to face charges in Nigeria?
  • How about that veil threat against the governor of Barno state during the recent so-called presidential chat, in which Ebele threatened to withdraw soldiers from the state? Not only was that statement a clear betrayal of Ebele’s mentality, but somehow, it was followed by a barrage of bullets against the governor’s convoy, in less than 48 hours! Furthermore, there are new reports indicating that the wanton killing of students in Yobe state a couple of days earlier, was preceded by the mysterious withdrawal of soldiers manning a checkpoint around the school. The perpetrators also had good four hours to operate, despite the whole state being under “emergency rule”.
  • Nuhu Ribadu, who had previously been chased out of Nigeria by bullet, thanks to ‘vested interests, came back and made the mistake of thinking that when your country calls, you are duty-bound to respond. At least, this was his reason for accepting to chair the committee on subsidy removal crisis. What he didn’t count on was that Ebele never meant well for Nigeria. Soon as he submitted his report, not only was it thrown in the dumpster, but to the chagrin of Nigerians, his name and reputation were smeared by Ebele’s spokesman, Reuben Abati—the man who looks more like a Southern Sudanese than a Nigerian. Where are those people who took care of Shugaba Darma when you need them?
  • Now, it is Sanusi’s turn. That Emperor Ebele woke up one morning and suspended the Central Bank Governor was not unexpected–even Sanusi himself will say that it had been “telegraphed” from afar. But it is unprecedented. But then again, a lot is unprecedented where Ebele is concerned, starting with excruciating poverty in the country, extreme unemployment, never-before-seen level of ethno-religious division, and above all, unfathomable CORRUPTION!

    It is that last part, corruption that the “Aboki”, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi chose to take on, and do so damming Ebele’s commitment to brigandage. It is hardly any secrete within and outside Nigeria that Ebele is a man for whom any fight against corruption is an anathema. In fact, if you ask him, he will tell you that corruption is a “benediction”; and if he didn’t have that inferiority complex before white people, he would have stated this fact in Davos, Switzerland. Trouble is, Sanusi did not “get the memo/email”, that Ebele expects corruption to be photo-phobic; that it must remain allergic to sunlight or light from any source.

  • If Gen. Buhari had WAI (War Against Indiscipline), Ebele has WAT (War Against Transparency)!

    Since this event started unraveling, a lot has been said about the various “sins” of Sanusi, ranging from he talked too much, he was too brazen, he was not apolitical, etc., but I will submit that as far as Ebele is concerned, Sanusi’s cardinal sin is that, the audacious Aboki had trouble accepting that Ebele’s philosophy/ideology is: “It is our oyel”.

    The most surprising public evidence of this bare knuckle fist fight, or the rofo rofo fight as the Yorubas will put it, was the typical crude and crass manner in which the CBN governor was suspended while on official business trip, coupled with the litany of justifications publicly narrated in the letter of suspension. Even for brigands, such display of inelegance and doltish behavior is a new low. But then again, that is right Ebele’s alley. It had been reported that Sanusi was asked to resign but he refused. While confirming the story, Sanusi clarified that the reason given for the request was that, he had leaked his letter of September 2013 to Obasanjo and Amechi, an allegation that he denied. Question: If there was this mountain of evidence against Sanusi, wouldn’t it have been more legitimate to present these facts as concrete evidence for requesting his resignation? I would think that a more dignified way to effectuate the request for resignation will be to present the damning evidence of violations, along with the provisions of the law supporting the request for his resignation. So, most likely, the talk of asking Sanusi to resign must have been the first salvo of the garrison politics that is now unfolding.

    In fact, in all of the sundry list of justifications for suspending Sanusi, our aberrant tyrant–whose style falls way out in the tail end of outliers even for Nigeria, with all of her history of military rulership–did not border to provide Nigerians with the legal basis that informed his “rush to judgment”. Instead, what we got was endless list of allegations, laden with vile summation coming from that obscure Financial Reporting Council—an agency whose intended purpose is to set standards for how audit reports should be prepared. An agency whose own CEO (Jim Obazee) is himself mired in sexual harassment case. In addition, given the tone and style of the FRC report, it begs the question, can an organization that produces such a report, peppered with prejudice be trusted with the responsibility of setting audit reporting standards. Certainly, no Accounting/Auditing company will consider it professional to produce report using such language. In Sanusi’s suspension, as in the case of Justice Ayo Salami, the emperor resorted to the “recommendation” of a council to do his hatchet job, but the emperor did not accord the same value to the 2011 KPMG report on NNPC, or the Ribadu Committee Report on subsidy removal.

    Ebele may very well be showing his tendency towards vindictiveness. In a recent interview, Sanusi mentioned that, as far back as 2011, he had told Ebele that he has no interest in staying on as CBN governor after the end of his current contract. He also added that, Ebele was somewhat taken aback by that statement. Also, right around the 2011 presidential election, Sanusi wrote an article, I believe it was titled: “Why I will vote for Buhari”, in which he praised Buhari’s economic policy dubbed “Buharism”, which might be construed as a slight against Ebele and/or Ngozi. Taking these two events, coupled with Ebele’s established propensity for vindictiveness, one can see that Sanusi has been in Ebele’s cross hair for a long time. Therefore, his whistle blowing about NNPC’s shady activities is tantamount to the case of a chicken that is about to be roasted which then doused itself with cooking oil.

    Furthermore, when Sanusi spoke at a recent TEDx event, where he introduced Nigerian youths to the well entrenched claws of ‘vested interests’ in the country, and the deep-seated concept of rentier state, who would have failed to notice that he was alerting Nigerians that fighting corruption comes with a price?

    Interestingly enough, we have not heard from our northern political champions (NEF, ACF, etc.) on this matter. Even the former Kaduna Mafia (now Northern Cabal) have been uncharacteristically silent. I wonder if the barrage of SCUD missiles that Sanusi has been launching was about to claim them as collateral damage along the way. If so, then you can almost hear them saying, serves him right. Let him roast, after all, he knows enough ‘turanci’ to untangle himself.

    They say there is no honor among thieves, and they are right, whoever they are. As the heat intensifies on this matter, especially in the foreign press, Ngozi may very well have decided that it is time to throw Ebele under the bus. In this article, hear Ngozi trying to sanitize her image by sacrificing Ebele:

    “My position on this has been clear from the start. The Ministry of Finance’s reconciliation showed a shortfall of $10.8bn in NNPC remittances to the Federation account. After this, the conflicting claims continued with new figures such as $20bn being mentioned………I therefore want to see the truth from an investigation under the auspices of the Auditor-General, which in my view should be undertaken as a matter of extreme urgency by independent external auditor.”

    Is that the Accountant-General that is also involved in 3.5 billion naira scandal?

    In order to help us understand this sudden sense of duty that has overtaken Ngozi, the BBC reporter, Robert Peston added this:

    “On the face of it, this looks like a declaration of at least semi independence by the finance minister from Nigeria’s president, who has been accused of punishing the central bank governor for raising concerns about the allegedly missing oil billions…..The reason I say that is because – I am reliably led to believe – the finance minister is concerned that Goodluck Jonathan, if left to his own devices, would not have initiated an independent probe of the allegedly missing billions.”

    Isn’t Ngozi the so-called “Coordinating Minister of Economy”? The one given carte blanch authority over Nigeria’s economy, but who never bothered to raise alarm when billions of dollars went missing? Also, isn’t it amazing? when Sanusi raised alarm in his letter of September 2013, both Ebele and Ngozi could not be bothered. Now Ngozi is telling a BBC reporter that she wants investigation because Ebele will not initiate any probe on his own. Why didn’t she second Sanusi when he raised the issue initially? If you ask me, I’d say that somebody (hint, hint, Ngozi)–right before our wide-open, God-blessed eyes–wants to take the high moral ground and extricate herself from the pilfering quagmire that she helped create or sustain.

    Finally, let us not fool ourselves, every time Dokubo Asari threatens Nigeria and Nigerians, he is speaking with his own tongue, but from deep inside the mind of Ebele; and from the preceding instances of plundering banditry, it appears we are witnessing the evolution of an irascible Ebele into an unconscionable Leviathan. Therefore, while in 2011 Ebele’s political mantra was “Fresh Air”, come 2015, his new mantra may very well be “Burn baby Burn!”.

    Advertisements

    Agusta A109E: Kabu-Kabu In the Creek?

    By

    Ahmed Garba

    Death, they say awaits everyone.  And for us Muslims, it is unthinkable to question the event itself or its timing.  We generally don’t engage in that ‘jibby-jabber’ nonsense about why? why now? Why this person or that person? etc.  We humbly accept death as an unavoidable finality.  However, the sad crash of Nigerian Navy’s Helicopter, Agusta A109E that occurred on Saturday, December 15, 2012 yields itself to a lot of questions.

    Crash Site

    Crash Site

    According to the reports, and perhaps for the first time in the history of Nigeria, we are to learn that our so-called democratically ‘s’elected president had commandeered for his own personal use, in his own village, a $4 million helicopter purchased with public funds, and intended for

    the use of the Nigerian Navy!  Furthermore, as a mark of his I-don’t-give-a-damn generosity, he also thought it appropriate, to permit the use of this helicopter by his advisers.  This is how we now have on our hands, deaths at a funeral.

    Nigerian_Navy_A109

    Nigerian Navy’s $4,000,000 Agusta A109E

    Now, these facts compel one to wonder how appropriate this conduct is to the practice of presidential system of government.  Since Nigeria’s constitution was fashioned after the United States’, it is imperative to compare what obtains in the U.S. with respect to how a U.S. President uses public/military resources with how it is done in blundering Nigeria.  It turns out that an American President has no right to arrogate to himself a military helicopter for use other than official purposes.  In fact, an American president is required to pay part of the cost of running Air Force One–the president’s official jet, if the aircraft is used for non-official reasons, such as, campaign travels:

    “When Air Force One is used for political purposes, the president often reimburses the government for the cost of food, lodging and travel. The president or his election campaign pays back an amount that is “equivalent of the airfare that they would have paid had they used a commercial airline”, according to the Congressional Research Service.”

    Source: http://uspolitics.about.com/od/CampaignsElections/a/Air-Force-One-Cost.htm

    Yet, in our vulgar imitation of the American system, we have found ourselves burdened by an absolute Emperor instead of a President.  We appear to have a ruler, whose sense of impudence is crass beyond believe.  Let us go back and see if we can find any precedent where Nigeria has ever witnessed this churlish, inelegant conduct by previous heads of state.  We never heard of Gowon parking a military helicopter in Wusasa or his village in Plateau.  There was never any evidence of Babangida, despite his evilness, housing a military helicopter in Minna; we have no such proof for Abdulsalam either; nor do we have any proof that Buhari ever stored a military helicopter in Daura.  Now Obasanjo may be a different case, we may have to continue looking all over that expansive farm in Otta, but my guess is that we may still come up empty, because incestuous and crass as he may be, he still knows better than to be so overtly crude.  You’d think that these people, given their military background, and the absolute nature of their reign of power would have resorted to such boorishness, but no, it has to happen when we discovered ‘garrison democracy’ under Ebele.

    Young Commander Daba

    Young Commander Daba

    Six people perished in the crash of Agusta A109E but, two of these people–Commander Murtala Muhammed Daba, and Lt. David Adeyemi Sowole did not have to be there, if we had a president and a system that respected law, order, and human life.  These officers were supposed to be doing true and honest “Navy” work, not taxiing civilians all over the creek, like cab drivers.   I don’t know much about the man, Pa Tamunoobebara Douglas but, so far, I have not been able to come across any evidence that suggests that the man had contributed so much to Nigeria, that his burial commanded the sacrifice of highly trained officers of the Nigerian military, and the use of military resources.  It is therefore, an insult to the Nigerian military personnel to be used in this manner.

    Some people have been eager to justify the use of this helicopter and the young officers because they were transporting a retired General.  This is hogwash, utter and complete rubbish.  We have General Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria’s ruler for 9 years; General Babangida, Nigeria’s ruler and destroyer for 8 years; General Abdulsalami, Nigeria’s ruler for 1 year; General Buhari, Nigeria’s Head of State for about 2 years; Shehu Shagari Nigeria’s President for 4 years; General Obasanjo, Nigeria’s military ruler for 3 1/2 years and civilian president for 8 years!  Now, when did we see any of these people accorded the luxury of flying a Navy helicopter for personal trips after they had left office?  In fact, any of these people will be considered more qualified for such honor than Azazi, a man whose checkered record includes association with the shady characters of MEND.  Furthermore, we have been told that the helicopter made anywhere from 10 to 15 trips on that fateful day, are we to believe that Azazi enjoyed flying in the helicopter so much that he was going back and forth those many times?

    Since Ebele came along, we have been hearing all sorts of noise about the Ijaw nation and their (Oyel) oil.  Everything about Nigeria is predicated on ‘our oyel’.  I have to ask, since they love their creek, their ‘oyel’ and their general so much why didn’t they supply their ‘boys’ to fly their general?  After all, some of their MEND boys have been sent out for flight training at Nigeria’s expense.  Besides, using ‘their boys’ and leaving ‘our boys’ alone would have eliminated the insinuation of foul play, and conspiracy theories that are now beginning to occupy idle minds.

    As for Saucepan, I mean Suswan, who has been trying to capitalize on this incident to whip up ethno-religious conflict, let us recognize his hollering as an indication that, perhaps the deal he signed with the Oracle that got him into the governor’s mansion is coming due.  Consequently he is jumping ahead to pin his imminent demise on someone else.  It wouldn’t work.

    The unfortunate deaths of these young officers should be enough to motivate any well-meaning members of the legislature to sit up, confront and curtail the excesses of the despot that Nigeria calls president.  I would also hope that when Azazi’s funeral rolls around, the people of Ijaw nation do not expect to have another Navy helicopter ferrying them around in the Creek, since Pa Douglas already took down one, along with two non-Ijaw young officers.  Only Yakowa’s people should now be allowed to requisition for one.  May God forgive the dead,  Ameen.

    %d bloggers like this: