By Tony Eluemunor
Last Saturday, I detailed out the meat of the various Police statements Nuhu Ribadu wrote concerning the whopping $15m bribery he claimed he rejected while he was Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
His Nigerian statement contradicted the one he made in London. His successor, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, in his single statement, contradicted Ribadu. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) staff seconded to EFCC, Mr. James Garba’s statement tallied with Larmorde’s as both contradicted Ribadu’s.
For instance, where Ribadu claimed that Chief James Onanefe Ibori, the former Governor of Delta state’s boys or servants brought out the two bags filled with dollars and gave to him, both Lamorde and Garba made it crystal clear that neither Ibori nor Ribadu was there when they picked up the money from Andy Ubah’s house as Ubah himself directed his some men to bring out the money. Garba said that under Ubah’s direction, his boys loaded the huge but lone bag of money into the booth of Lamorde’s Avensis car.
To make confusion worse confounded, former President Olusegun Obasanjo wrote in his book, MY WATCH that he approached Ibori to make restitution to Delta state and so he brought some money to Ribadu. I wonder why even Obasanjo would have taken himself so serious as to put that reasoning totally bereft of common sense into a book that he would want people to take seriously. Under what law was Obasanjo acting?
If none, then why would he expect anyone to take that as an obvious fib? Or why would anyone so incriminate himself? Or, would that not have been a guilty plea even before a case got before any court? But in case you are asking the obvious question, if that were true, why did that turn into a bribe to the EFCC chairman?
Then Andy Uba stunned the world when he called all the others who spoke on the matter, liars. But EFCC lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs grandly contradicted all by saying in court that the EFCC received the bribe money from “unknown agents of Chief James Ibori”. Unknown agents? I thought Ribadu and Obasanjo had said that the money came from Ibori? Pray, how many versions should a single event have …if it is being truthfully rendered?
Hey, I did not set out to just repeat myself today. I recounted the essence of my write up of last week to raise another important issue; whether morals do matter in how we evaluate the achievements of even anti—corruption tsars or graft-fighting Presidents or those who pretend to do so. And if we fail to, what would stop them from becoming not just monsters and/or hypocrites?
Actually, DO MORALS MATTER is a title of a book written by Joseph S. Nye, Jr. who is the University Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at Harvard University. He is a renowned scholar of Politics and International Relations. The publishers, Oxford University Press will not release this book into the market until next year. But its review in the current edition of the widely respected Foreign Policy magazine annexed my interest. The book provides the ethics score card of each American President since 1945. Most especially, the book establishes a scorecard for each President’s ethical decisions.
Hmmm! Does any Nigerian care about the ethics of our leaders, police and military personnel, judges and lawyers, Permanent Secretaries? Are our law enforcement agents ethical officers? Does it matter if they aren’t? Or back to the point, did Ribadu lie in that bribery allegation?
I decided to walk this path this Saturday because a few of the reactions to my last week’s article from some old students of my secondary school appear to show that they did not appreciate the importance of the topic. In fact, two of them totally missed the whole point. Heh the article also mentioned as an aside, some journalists at Daily Independence newspaper.
I said that an MD of the newspaper approved the purchase of a newspaper printing press timing belt for N180 thousand but later cut it down to N120 thousand. In his newspaper’s management meeting of this week Monday, nobody asked him why he so bushwhacked the organisation he heads. Beyond that, just because I brought up some shenanigans in that organisations, he and his puppet master decided to stop the paper from publishing me. But who actally erred?This reminds me of W.B. Yeats “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold…The best lack all conviction, while the worst are filled with passionate intensity.”
Now, why is Donald Trump facing impeachment proceedings? He is accused of trying to pressure Ukraine into investigating unsubstantiated corruption claims against his political rival, Joe Biden, and his son who worked with Ukrainian gas company Burisma. Finish. That is not as bad as the transgressions of a President who falsified events and cooked up allegations against his political opponents or his pretentious anti-graft hypocrite who would claim to have rejected a hefty bribe when nobody bribed him. That is why I keep reminding us to discuss this issue.
DELTA GOVT’S WESTERN DELTA UNIVERSITY DECLARATION
Who says that great declarations must be made in large cities or in momentous gatherings? Hey, remember that the Schengen visa was agreed upon in a small wine-making town in south-eastern Luxembourg. Okay, I grant that its location; the tripoint where the borders of Germany, France, and Luxembourg meet must have helped in its choice of where to sign the agreement for a pan-European Union common visa.
I know of many declarations made in small villages and university campuses; the late Gen Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu gave his best speech of the Nigerian civil war in the village of Ahiara in 1969 while “The Iron Curtain” became a phrase when former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill condemned the Soviet Union’s policies in Europe and declared, “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent,” in 1946 at Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, USA.
On Tuesday 5th November, the Delta state government made an earth-shaking declaration that should change the very nature of higher education in the state. Commissioner for High Education, Prof. Patrick Mouboghare declared that an Education Trust Fund will soon be launched to ensure that tertiary education, whether public or private, is adequately funded. This will make the standard of the state’s universities second to none in the country, and the state will surely harvest the attendant benefits.
Prof Mouboghare drew a sustained applause while commissioning new student hostels to accommodate thousands of students and some classroom blocks, when he announced that Delta state is arranging with some organisations to provide 24-hour electricity to schools. Depending on the individual needs of each institution, and its location, solar power or wind energy may be exploited to generate the electricity an institution would need. There is no doubt that it is only when such constant electricity is present in schools that computers or e-libraries will become meaningful. Students’ behaviour and sensibilities will improve.
With adequate facilities and round the clock electricity, any university would soar. His Excellency, Governor Ifeany Okowa is surely taking Delta higher and higher.