By Denrele  Animasaun from  London

“Political language … is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”-George Orwell

I  must  admit I   was  not aware  of Farouk Lawan until the  buzz of  the recent  scandal. The   scandal, I   will come to that later. I found   out that the gentle man was a PDP member in 1999, and again in 2003 and 2007. In fact, I was piqued by his legislative interests as “Appropriation, Information and Education. He is also considered a strong   future candidate for   future governorship of Kano State.

In the  hallow corridors  of  the   House of  Representatives,  he  is  seen  as  a  big man. The Chairman of the House Ad hoc Committee Monitoring the Fuel Subsidy regime, Hon. Farouk Lawan waltzed around; calling the shots and was the man you needed to reckon with when it comes to matters arising from the fuel subsidy probe.

So  back  to the  scandal , Femi Otedola, a  businessman  had  previously   been   besmirched with  his  alliance  with Aliko Dangote over breach of trust in their line of business . Insisting that he had nothing to hide or fear over what had happened, Otedola maintained if he was in the wrong he would not have involved the security agencies in the first instance.

In a reference to the strong denials made by Lawan since the scandal became public, Otedola stated: “When he (Lawan) demanded the bribe, I called the agencies. That is because I had nothing to hide. When the bribe was paid, why did he not call and report it to the agencies if he had nothing to, (do with it).”

So Otedola has come forward to accuse Lawan of extorting money from him to remove Zenon’s name from the list of companies that collected foreign exchange from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) without importing petroleum products.  But Lawan said it was Otedola who initiated the bribe offer. Someone is not telling the truth.

This sensation is worthy of a Hollywood box office hit. Otedola had revealed how Lawan and Emenalo had collected $620,000 from him, as part payment of $3 million, in a sting operation masterminded by security agencies. He narrated how Lawan had allegedly approached him a few days before the report was to be tabled on April 18 before the House, demanding money so that Zenon’s name would be kept out of the report. Otedola also said the ad hoc committee’s secretary, Mr. Boniface Emenalo, collected $120,000 on Lawan’s behalf.

So pardon me, the secret service were involved! Yes, you heard me. So this must be so thorough and above board. This is the stuff of a novel. This is  a grand scale accusation and  what  is so galling is  not the  amount  but  the fact that, we  have  all known that a  lot  of  money  changes  hands  but  the  fact that this  information can  be   freely  offered  in  the  public  domain,  is  suspect. More so  if  the   sting  was   to  deliver  the  head  of  a seasoned  member of the  House  of  Representatives,  is  highly  suspect.

What is the motive?  Who is to gain   from the expose is what needs to be established.

It  is  a known  fact  that  there is grand scale corruption in high places, it is emblematic of how the bad and the not so great Nigerian business and political leaders are well-known for. In  civilised society,  and  I  use this in  its   real  sense,  you should  be  asking  why then is  Otedola’s company  involved  directly   with  Lawan ?

Especially in his   official capacity. And did Otedola who claimed to have carried out sting acting  with   full   blessing of the Secret Service?  Was any   deal made with the Secret Service?  Or  did   Otedola, as a concerned citizen, go  to  the  Secret  Service   because  Lawan   had  ask   for  a  bribe?

Lawan was caught on tape taking bribe from an oil marketer, Femi Otedola. To doctor the panel’s report. If this  is  proven, then it is a miracle that Nigeria is  making  stride to rid the  country  of corruption! If this is so, then most politicians  should  be  prepared for  the SSS to make arrest  and   enquiries  into the   whole  of the House of  Representatives, then  the  Cabinet,  then  it will cover a lot  of  grounds that  they  may   have  to  call  in foreign  services   to  get  a  grasp of what  has  been  a  known  secret that  corruption  and   bribery   oils  the  cogs  of  every  aspect  of   most  Nigerians’   lives.

Lawan, who had hitherto denied that neither he nor any member of the committee collected money from any of the oil marketers, told reporters in Abuja that he actually collected $500,000 from Otedola, whom he accused of offering him the money to influence the probe panel’s report. Emenalo admitted collecting money on Lawan’s behalf but said Otedola offered him $100,000. Lawan has denied (?) All  the  evidence that it is baseless and it is  motivated by ulterior motives.

We   expect that this   would   follow the due   process as the House refer the matter to its Committee on Ethics and Privileges for probe. We also hear that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke, has promised that the Federal Government will take appropriate action when it receives the report of investigation into the allegation.

I really do not think the average  Nigerian will hold its breathe and  judging from the opinions of  many,  they are not surprised at  the large amount of money nor are they interested in the intricacies of  the scandal.The people have lost  faith in the system that the truth   will ever surface.

The subsidy probe will be rubbished and nothing will come out of it. The marketers will come out smelling roses.


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