By Rotimi Fasan
HIS short, truculent neck and thick-set features are a cross between the looks of a buffalo and a rhinoceros. At close range (as I had during his visit to the High Court in Igbosere during the funeral rites for Gani), he seems uncompromising.
He comes on strong- too strong as to appear totally lacking in finesse. Iâ€™m sure if someone was to ask him why he is so abrasive, he would explain it away as part of the need to do his job without fear or favour. And so he assumes a take-no-prisoner approach that only strengthens oneâ€™s impression of him as an emptily arrogant man.
Once on an NTA network programme (Tuesday Night Live (?)), many months ago, he all but disgraced a journalist, one of several, invited in to ask questions of guests on the programme. The journalist had made a statement about the purported plan by government to â€œunbundleâ€ PHCN.
All the question required was some clarification but it was clear our man saw what the journalist had said as an opportunity to get back at Nigerian journalists who he probably saw as responsible for the apparently bad press that has being his lot since he came into office.
And he went for the journalistâ€™s jugular, practically calling his professional competence into question. But in general terms, Michael Aondoakaa, the round peg in a square hole that is, alas, Nigeriaâ€™s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, has always pretended not to be affected by Nigeriansâ€™ disapproval of his activities since he became a member of the Yarâ€™Adua administration.
Until last week when he came out screaming, through a release, that some people were out to â€œdestroyâ€ him.
According to the AGF, some Nigerians are out to sour the good relations between him and President Yarâ€™Adua. The tone of Aondoakaaâ€™s release sounded alarmed as to suggest that he feels quite rattled and, hopefully for a man with an unmanageable superiority complex and a tendency to defend the indefensible, chastened enough as to see the need to retrace his steps.
He is already promising that James Ibori, standing trial for money laundering in the UK and who Aondoakaa appears determined to shield from prosecution by his uncooperative attitude with foreign and local prosecutors- Aondoakaa, now singing a different tune, is promising Ibori will surely have his day in court.
Nigerians wait to see that. Even then there was something in the Aondoakaa release that suggested his alarmed response to those he accused of wanting to destroy him was precipitated by his need to protect his job, not a genuine offer of explanation from someone who realises not many think highly of him as a scrupulous public servant.
Yet Iâ€™m inclined to think that he has nothing to fear. Yarâ€™Adua hasnâ€™t acted in a manner to suggest that he follows the media or he would have relieved the AGF of his portfolio long ago. What is more, Aondoakaa is said to be in the good books of Turai Yarâ€™Adua, the countryâ€™s First Lady and de facto president who pulls the strings of power from behind.
There is no doubt that Mr. Aondoakaaâ€™s penchant for muscling his way through issues without care, arm twisting his subordinates and ignoring dissenting views of others outside Aso Rock, has served him well for long.
Until he suddenly ran into a terribly bad weather with his attempt to bully the EFCC into clearing -once again!- Ibori and Co of charges of money laundering in the matter concerning the divestment of Delta Stateâ€™s shares in V-Mobile.
Once more, Nigeriaâ€™s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice was seen abusing his position by doing the exact opposite of what he was appointed to do.
He reinforces that view of Nigerians as scammers by his misguided nationalism, if there is any merit to the impression he seeks to create that western security agencies, in this case the UK, want to impose their ways on supposedly weak countries, demanding to prosecute offenders in these countries where no prima facie case had been established.
That Ibori and Co have not been found guilty of any offence in the sales of V-Mobile shares is not the same thing as saying theyâ€™ve been cleared of all charges in the investigation. Without checking with the EFCC whose establishment he had been opposed to even while yet a private legal practitioner, Aondoakaa believed he could decide who should or should not be prosecuted in Nigeria.
He believes his should be the voice- but the only voice to decide what happens in Nigeriaâ€™s fight against corruption. He, the ultimate bully, who misapplies his power of prosecution without regard to the impression he creates around the world- he the one Nuhu Ribadu says is out to destroy him, this same Aondoakaa, it now appears, has learned a few tricks from his latest misadventure.
Now he wants to divert attention from his embarrassing conduct by trying to sound vulnerable with that talk about some people wanting to destroy him. It is perhaps for that reason that James Ibori who many believe is Aondoakaaâ€™s right hand man is also accusing the AGF of wanting to prosecute him by all means.
Funny talk. Nigerians wait to see how and when Aondoakaa hopes to do this. But lest some be misled, the only person after Aondoakaa is Aondoakaa himself. His own careless utterances and eagerness to serve the cause of corruption are his problem. It is what might ultimately push him out of his present office.