By Mohammed Adamu
Poor Bankole. Victim or villain, scapegoat or sacrificial lamb, it does not matter anymore! He is already in the blender! Just don’t ask, ‘when will they blend him?’ Putting ‘accused’ persons in the ‘blender’ is about the worst our anti-corruption agencies have done! – they raise all hues and cries; they conjure the planetary winds and just when all the necessary tempests have been properly invoked, the ‘eagle’ descends from the troubled skies, and with its powerful tendons lift the prey.
You do not ever get to hear how the ‘eagle’ has supped. Or whether it has lost the prey in the seventh heaven.
And you think it’s like Shakespeare’s “sound and fury” –‘signifying nothing.’ No! The “sounds and furies” created by our anti-corruption agencies always signify something: you are either in the ‘way’ of ‘power’ or ‘power’ is in your way. Either way, the rule is that you have to give ‘way’ to power! Because if power gives way to everyone who enters power’s way or if power gives way to everyone whose way power enters, then ‘power’ loses its essence –which as you know is to be powerful!
And that is why it is hard to tell when our anti-corruption agencies are truly in it for altruistic reasons and when for politically-motivated causes; when, especially the EFCC, is fighting corruption or when it is cheaply playing the proverbial cat’s paw pulling Mr. President’s crunchy political chestnuts out of fire. And which makes the line between ‘saints’ and ‘sinners’ thinner and thinner. Because, who to believe: a desperate government always drenched unconcealed with political motives or the very adversaries she throws up for inquisition on the anti-corruption gyroscope?
Are those on the anti-corruption ‘clean bill of health’ only who have managed to stay out of incumbency’s trouble’s ways, or are those in its sick bay simply victims of incumbency’s power-play? Because now, corruption charges –contrived or concrete- against ‘non-conformists’ have a miraculous way of suddenly coming to life and assuming a notoriety entirely their own.
This farce heralded the Jonathan administration when, for telling truth to power about zoning, Ogbulafor suddenly became ‘corrupt’. And with a sickening display of ostensible righteousness, our anti-corruption Caesars, suddenly remembered a decade-old case file! And not to leave you in doubt the whole gambit was about removing Ogbulafor, not ‘corruption’, he was not only replaced, with one already ‘indicted’, but the celebrated ended!
Remember the EFCC ‘winds’ just before the last Presidential Primaries of the PDP. No sooner had it whipped the governors into Jonathan’s anti-zoning rank and file, than it ended! I was happy even the ‘gong’ about my brother, Lamido suddenly ended! Not the least the sudden pre-election cat and mouse between EFCC and Tinubu; and which happily became a post-election bi-partisan love tango with PDP breaking neck to pay back electoral good turns received from an erstwhile EFCC’s ‘most wanted’.
Yet you have to give kudos to the Caesarean, Farida for arresting former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole. Only don’t ever ask: ‘where was Farida when the nation’s coffers became Jonathan’s personal campaign?’ that’ll be kill-joy!
But without prejudice to the facts before EFCC, the truth is as with virtually every high-profile case, even this is no less politically motivated. Bankole’ ordeal bears the outlines of things past and of the shape of things to come, on the political front.
Chief among reasons leading to his travails was his openly pro-North posture both in the trying days of Jonathan’s quest for Acting Presidency and in the subsequent zoning brouhaha, for keeping the House unsexed by the Jonathan philandering power mongers. Many say Bankole’s totally unsupportive role revealed deep seated anti-Jonathan affront that must not go unpunished.
They reckoned that such strong, amiable political character from the deeply progressive South West and one who has garnered tremendous Northern goodwill could play a crucial role in any northern bid for power when (not if!) Jonathan reneges on his single-term pledge. For the Jonathan hawks, the ‘House finance matter’ became a heaven-sent double-edged sword for pay-back and for preemptive action.
Then former Lagos State Governor Tinubu’s all too apparent Vice Presidential ambition come 2011; the man who believes his party’s recent electoral feat entitles him to solely negotiate the South West. He has good reasons to view any rival for prominence in the region with hostility. Not surprisingly, his media empire has played a damaging role in orchestrating Bankole’s troubles. In fact the current efforts to present Tinibu as the new Awo by de-campaigning the late sage’s family is evidence no one is sacred. Not Bankole!
Nor should former President Obasanjo have any less reasons to delight in Bankole’s travails; not the least of which was the circumstances leading to Bankole’s emergence as Speaker; which was doubly obnoxious: not only removing his candidate, Etteh, it represented a second major defeat for Obasanjo. These and the jostling for influence within Egbaland (the traditional homestead of both men), and Obj’s well known aversion for contending Yoruba forces on the national political arena, make Bankole’s travails all the more an Obj delight.
Then the core Awoists who see the entire Bankole family as always too politically pro-northern and Dimeji’s political ascendancy as the rise of a rival tendency in the political equation of the South West. They are generally averse to the emergence of any new national leaders in the mold of the late MKO. This group is still in a quandary on how to approach 2015. It’ll welcome the removal of potential rivals, like Bankole.
Forget about Farida! There’s more to Bankole’s travails than meets the eye! And those rejoicing over the young man’s predicament may yet rue the role they now play. In politics a ‘cat and mouse’ may soon become a ‘love tango’!