By Uduma Kalu
SINCE September 6, the nation has been awash with one detail or the other by the whistleblower Wikileaks which has released hundreds of classified US cables on Nigeria and its leaders.
Some of the cables detail the inner workings of Nigerian government, the corruption of its leaders and policies re, how the personalities clashed for one reason or the other. Indeed, one is now let into how the destiny of the nation is shaped. The reports are confessional stamens by the leaders.
For example, the cable said some officials in the office of the National Security Adviser once offered the United States Government full access to the biometric information stored in the international passports of Nigerians in 2007.
Leaders pocket Oil Money
The cable also said Obasanjo and PDP cronies pocketed at least $60Million on a daily basis, from corrupt NNPC officials in collaboration with foreign Multinational corporations. Maitama Sule, former Nigerian ambassador to the United Nations (1979-1983) and confidant of President Umaru Yar’Adua, “averred that First Lady Turai Yar’Adua is heavily involved in corrupt practices, and especially real estate fraud. Sule insisted that President Yar’Adua is committed to remaining personally untainted by corruption. To that end, Sule asserted, President Yar’Adua turned down approximately $60 million, which had been offered to him by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as the President’s personal “share” of Nigeria’s monthly oil earnings (Nigeria has produced around 2 million bpd, though production has dropped recently to 1.8 million bpd).
Sule said, the NNPC (beginning under former President Obasanjo’s administration) allocated USD 1.00 per barrel of Nigerian oil sold as a type of personal payment or ”kickback” to the President. Senate President David Mark and House Speaker Dimeji Bankole pocketed USD 0.50/barrel (e.g., $30 million).
Military Complicity in Bunkering
Yar’Adua was aware of military complicity in Niger Delta bunkering. The cable said the president “ will remove by the end of the week (or right after London trip) the Chiefs of Defense and Navy operations in order to send a signal to the military that he is serious about ending complicity by anyone in his government in oil bunkering.”
EFCC files on OBJ, Jonathan
WikiLeaks also said EFCC operatives say they had files containing Ibori, Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan’s corruption. EFCC Chair, Farida Waziri last Thursday in Abuja defended the Jonathans against corruption charges
Ashishana Okauru who resigned his appointment as Director of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abujahas the files. His removal from his post it said was part of a grand scheme by a group of ex-Governors and others who were under investigation for corruption by the EFCC, to cover up their past misdeeds and be able to run in the next elections by dismantling the EFCC and NFIU. The100 corruption-related case files with international linkages, approximately 26 of which were on Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) included files on the following: the Ibori and Siemens scandals; Olusegun Obasanjo’s power sector fraud; Obasanjo’s daughter Yabo Bello’s alleged money laundering activities; (then) Vice President Goodluck Jonathan’s suspected corruption in Bayelsa State; Files involving the Inspector General of Police; Files involving Attorney General Michael Aondoakaa; and files involving EFCC Chairperson Farida Waziri.
It said Waziri had been strategically appointed by AG Aondoakaa to prevent investigations of the former governors, pointing out that actions to block such investigations included the redeployment all EFCC personnel that had a hand in their cases. Mohamed and Modibbo were convinced that President Umaru Yar’Adua’s poor health had provided the former governors the opportunity to consolidate control over the country’s anti-corruption apparatus and enable them to participate in the next elections.
Furthermore, they said, the former governors had begun to cover their tracks by first convincing convinced the President to appoint Aondoakaa as AG as he would “do a good job” of defending the legal challenge of Yar’Adua’s election.
Having succeeded in accomplishing that, the former governors also arranged to have Mike Okiro appointed Inspector General of Police; and Waziri appointed to replace Ribadu at the EFCC in order to undermine the cases against them, as Waziri would be loyal to the AG and help quash the cases.
Yar’Adua also knew Aondoakaa was corrupt but could not sack him. The cable said Dimeji Bankole said Yar’adua used Aondoakaa to bribe the Judiciary. In fact, it said Yar’Adua team may have coughed out a whopping $57 million to procure a favourable judgment for 2007 polls and that the It further alleged that the judgment may have actually been written in the Presidency and handed to the jurists to read to the public. It said Yar’Adua instructed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), on February 20 to release $57 million to a minister. In turn, the informant noted, the minister would disburse the funds among top judges and military chiefs. As of February 18, three justices had declared privately an intention to overturn Yar’Adua’s election, contending the election was massively rigged and flawed. As well, the PDP chieftain alleged the Tribunal judgment had been written by the minister from North Central zone.
OBJ and 2007 elections
But WikiLeaks revealed how the Obasanjo presidency in the build up to the 2007 presidential election, tried to compromise the then Chief Justice of Nigeria, Idris Kutigi, in its desperation to stop Atiku Abubakar from contesting the election. It said Obasanjo presidency voted as much as N600 million to bribe the now retired eminent jurist but Kutigi was said to have rejected
Another United States cable released by Wikileaks revealed that the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido, believed that late President Umaru Yar’Adua did not have a cabinet but “just a bunch of politicians trying to survive politically without any commitment to government”
Obasanjo feared Yar’Adua
Obasanjo also regretted his choice of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2006, as he became concerned that he could be indicted for corruption, without his late successor helping him out of such a mess. Sule, a well-known confidante of President Umaru Yar’Adua, shared with officials of the United States Embassy on December 19, 2007 at his Kano residence. In such an event, the cable quoted Sule as remarking that: Obasanjo (as Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees) would choose another candidate, loyal to him to run on the party’s platform.
Jonathan and Yar’Adua
It cable also said Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, was waiting in-the-wing for the former President Umaru Yar’Adua to die for him to ascend the Presidency, WikiLeaks, the whistleblowing website has revealed. The revelation came from the discussion between United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms. Robin Renee Sanders, and the former Information Minister, Prof. Dora Akunyili.
Nigerian politicians profit from oil theft
Nigeria’s political elite and soldiers have profited from large-scale oil theft in the Niger Delta that may cost the country up to a tenth of its production, WikiLeaks said. Nigeria is the world’s eighth biggest exporter of crude oil but thieves take a sizeable proportion of its output by drilling into pipelines or sometimes hijacking barges loaded with oil, a type of theft known locally as “bunkering.” “Oil theft, widely referred to as ‘illegal bunkering’ in Nigeria, represents significant economic activity with serious ramifications for Nigeria’s economy, security, democracy and environment,” says the November 2009 cable sent by then-U.S. Consul-General Donna M. Blair, released by the anti-secrecy group. “No other, major oil-producing country … loses as much revenue from illicit oil bunkering as Nigeria, largely because the political elite, militants, and communities profit from such operations,” Blair added.
Why the refineries will never work
The allegation that international traders milked NNPC of hundreds of millions of dollars is yet another example of the poor management of Nigeria’s energy sector, and highlights the complex links between crude sales, fuel importation, refinery maintenance, and energy production here. “Otedola is probably right in suggesting that long-standing sweetheart deals between the NNPC and a variety of fuel traders is keeping the system inefficient. That may also explain why the GON just can’t seem to get its refineries running even after spending a billion dollars or more on maintenance contracts over the last four years.”
Okadigbo, Enwerem, Anyim
The cable said the first two Senate Presidents, Okadigbo and Enwerem, each of whom worked ceaselessly to effect the demise of the other, have temporarily united to unseat the third occupant of the office, Anyim.
Why OBJ retired Malu, others
President Obasanjo on April 24 abruptly retired Chief of Army Staff LTG Victor Malu, Chief of Naval Staff VADM V.K. Ombu and Chief of Air Staff, AVM Isaac Alfa. MG A.O. Ogomudia will replace Malu, and RADM S.I. Afolayan and AVM J.D. In a private message to diplomats, the reason was said to be because of the Administration unhappiness with Malu’s public opposition to its’ policies and suggests that Ombu and Alfa lost their jobs simultaneously largely in order to make Malu’s forced retirement look somehow routine. Clearly, none of the affected Service Chiefs was expecting the ax to fall when it did.
The cable noted that the US embassy saw the Zamfara sharia as bad sharia. And that former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), allegedly lured former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar into a political battle with ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo prior to the 2007 general election, the United States diplomatic mission in Nigeria was quoted to have reported in a dispatch to the States Department, just as IBB aide branded Tinubu and others Boko Haram to gain sympathy. In a conversation with an American official, Oronto Douglas ws said to have described Jonathan as “part of the system of corruption that had impoverished the Niger Delta for decades.”
Former EFFC boss said corruption under Obasanjo was worse than the Abacha Days. Ribadu told the US ambassador that Obasanjo was good at covering his tracks. He admitted that corruption was worse under Obasanjo.