“The Young Shall Grow and the old shall go.” Dele Sobowale 2018.
My apologies to those expecting part two of this article last week. It was not due to ethnic or religious partiality. Nothing of the sort is responsible as this article will show. I detest all those who shoot their way into power or were beneficiaries of stolen mandates whether they come from Ibogun, Daura or from my own hometown, Agbowa-Ikosi in Lagos State. I regard all past and present military rulers as the worst types of rulers alive. Nothing will ever change that perception.
Last week I had to clear my mind about my late brother; without which a mental block would have set in. It would have been impossible for me to write anything else. Blood, I have discovered, is even thicker than writer’s ink. Now we can proceed with today’s business.
“Politicians are their own grave-diggers. Will Rogers, 1879-1935.
When the first old false historian accused the other of squandering $16 billion on power and he asked, rhetorically, “Where is the power? Where is the power?” he mentioned nobody’s name. But, a response came soon enough which reminded me of an incident about sixty years ago in our neighbourhood in Lagos. It will help to shed light on the matter. One of the neighbours had raised alarm that her chicken was missing. All efforts to find the bird proved abortive. Then one person suggested they should call the jujuman. He came and just as he was about to cast a spell on the thief, the wife of a notorious burglar raised her voice. “Please don’t cast the spell yet on the thief; wait until my husband returns, and I will ask him about the chicken.”
When Buhari mentioned about $16 billion spent, numerous voices were raised in defence of only former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Did they know something the rest of us don’t know? One of them, Femi Fani-Kayode, ex-this, ex-that under Obasanjo, volunteered the information that Buhari was indicted by a probe into the operations of the Petroleum Trust Fund, PTF, during Abacha’s administration. Even if true, even a dunce knows that an indictment handed down to someone for fraud committed from 1996 to 1998 does not exonerate another individual accused of mismanaging $16 billion from 1999-2007. I will return to this matter later to illustrate how politicians and “militicians” take themselves to the cemetery of public opinion.
A rejoinder came from the fellow calling himself the spokesman for Obasanjo. OBJ must have a knack for appointing such incompetents as his echoes. His major line of defence consisted of telling us that Obasanjo has explained all about the funds in his book. Really? When was the first and last time the answer to a commission of inquiry was offered by an accused writing a book instead of appearing before a panel of inquiry? Obasanjo, in fact, bluntly refused to appear before any probe panel to answer questions. He offered to send written statements which will constitute his own defence; but no appearance before a panel.
Houdini, 1874-1926, US magician and escape artist.
Just in case readers get away with the impression that Obasanjo’s refusal to appear before the House Committee established to probe the power sector scam was an aberration, let me quickly disabuse their minds of such a notion. Obasanjo was a serial subject of various inquiries and he was a Houdini when it came to escaping open inquiries, only to turn around and claim innocence. Let me quickly provide three well documented examples.
It took Buhari almost three years to have the audacity to spend billions of naira on anticipatory approval in 2018. It took Obasanjo only the first week in office in 1999 to release N10 billion for what was billed as Poverty Alleviation Programme, PAP. Till today, there is no report anywhere detailing how the N10 billion vanished. Emboldened by that violation of the Nigerian constitution, he graduated in 2006 to spending N140 billion for the Census that year.
(See: THE GUARDIAN, 23 August 2006 “Senate Grills Usman, Soludo over N2 trillion oil funds”). But, “the Mother of all swindles” was the looting by Obasanjo’s government of the accounts of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF. All these and other corrupt practices are documented in my book PDP: CORRUPTION INCORPORATED. It has been in the public domain for several years and nobody, Obasanjo included, has challenged the facts. Read it and you will come to the conclusion that Obasanjo’s self-righteous posture is not only undeserved, it is contrary to the facts available. Obasanjo continues to run free because Yar’Adua, Jonathan and now Buhari lack the guts and the patriotism to probe his administration under which close to N8 trillion needs to be accounted for.
In Chapter 6 of that book, I had gone into more details about the looting of the PDTF than any other atrocity committed between 1999 and 2007. Below are some observations from it.
The Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PDTF, was established by the Gowon administration by Decree No 25 of 4th June 1973. The decree provided that a fixed percentage of oil revenue should be paid into the PTDF account. “The fund shall be available for the purposes of training Nigerians to qualify as graduates, professionals, technicians and craftsmen…. p180”.
“Even from 1974, the year after Gowon signed the decree into law, nothing was heard of the PDTF…gradually “Presidents” lapsed into silence over the amounts collected into the PTDF account and the disbursements made from it and for what purpose.” “It would probably require another book to list and discuss all the withdrawals from the PTDF account which are clear violations of the decree.”
“Like most people who are clever by half, Obasanjo was the author of his own indictment by the Senate Ad Hoc Committee set up in 2007 to investigate the mismanagement of the PTDF by OBJ and his administration…”
There is no need to summarise the entire chapter. But, Obasanjo refused to appear before the Senate Ad Hoc Committee. Instead, on 16 March 2007, he sent a badly reasoned letter which failed to address the subjects of the Senate probe. But, even with his clever footwork, like Ali Shuffle, Obasanjo could not escape the conclusion voiced by Senator Daisy Danjuma who declared that “I was shocked, disturbed at the extent of gross abuse of office, privileges and misapplication of public funds….PTDF was paying for services that were outside its mandate and this was a regular feature in the report.”
Among disbursements authorized was the release of funds to purchase a PEUGEOT 607 Sedan car with all options for a lady of easy virtue. I have the facts, so nobody should challenge that – unless they want to embarrass the “lady” – now living in well-deserved obscurity.
I leave untouched for now the scam called:Duty Waiver” – which reached its zenith under Obasanjo.
Obasanjo’s defender should go and find something else to do. You can try, but deodorizing sh*t does not turn it to something you want to eat.
MIND YOUR BUSINESS
“The youths should wait until after 2019”. Old soldier.
John F Kennedy, 1917-1963, was 43 years old when he became the youngest President of the United States. He was 45 when he announced that the US would send a man to the moon and bring him back safely. The US did it in 1969. France has a leader still under 40; looking and sounding more presidential than all the old men in power in Africa even today. Arap Moi, Mugabe, Banda, etc got us into the mess Africa is in.
Any old man asking the youth in Nigeria to wait until after 2019 should be told to mind his own business. We are witnesses to the atrocious leadership the old provide. Perhaps its time we try the young. At least, they will not spend millions of undisclosed dollars in London hospitals.