The Nigerian political actors from 1999 to date sees politics and participatory governance as a means of acquiring humongous wealth while totally ignoring the real essence of serving the impoverished Nigerian people essentially starved of basic amenities of life in our various communities that make up the 774 local government structures created to empower Nigerians at the grassroots. It’s on record that most of our crooked political actors just simply cook up the books when it comes to budget padding and wall-eye vision of implementation of their ideas of governance projects. The result is the mind bogling craze for material acquisition by our politicians. Conducting forensic analysis of our serial budgets in the country, it won’t be a strange development to find budgets showing up in subsequent annual budgets of states or the federal government.
Under the ex president, Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan and the present government, corruption has worked on 4 legs with regard to some dare davil acts of some State governors literily playing out James Bond motion pictures in their states. In Bayelsa, Plateau and Delta under the crooked leadership late so called Governor General of Nigeria, late Diepreye Alamieyesiegha, Joshua Dariye and James Ibori of Bayelsa, Plateau and Delta states respectively corruption stuck like a sour thumb.
Late governor alamiesiegha was arrested at Heathrow airport in September 2005 and had his passport confiscated. He faced three money-laundering charges after police found £1m in cash at his London address and property in his name worth £10m.
Having dramatically returned to Nigeria incognito, he forfeited a £1.25m bail bond he posted with the courts knowing that he is expected to be immune from legal action until the end of his term as governor in 2007.
Mr Alamieyeseigha was coy and comical when asked how he evaded British controls to make it back to his village in the Niger delta. “I don’t know myself. I just woke up and found myself in Amassoma.”
Nigerian newspapers quoted unnamed aides who described a journey in drag. Dressed as a woman, the governor is said to have taken a Eurostar train from London to Paris and then flown to Douala, a port city in Cameroon neighbouring Nigeria, where a speedboat took him home under cover of darkness. The disguise was helped by the fugitive’s weight loss during his stay in Europe, which included a tummy tuck operation in Germany..Thousands lined the streets to cheer his cavalcade through the province but elsewhere several thousand people marched in protest at his return.
Ibori, in 2012, had pleaded guilty to money laundering and other charges in a UK court and was consequently sentenced to 13 years imprisonment. Some of his associates were also convicted and sentenced to prison over similar charges. The UK is now set to return the first tranche of £4.2 million recovered from associates of Ibori to Nigeria.The UK and Nigeria signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Abuja recently to kick-start the process. Malami, who signed on behalf of the federal government, said in consonance with existing framework engaged in the management of previous recoveries, the Federal Executive Council had directed that the repatriated funds should be spent on completing the Second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kano Expressway and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway under the coordination of the NSIA.
The crystal matter of fact here is that there’s hardly any precedent here from the assertions of our revered Attorney General, Abubakar to support his quest to use a coy legal mumbo Jumbo to “acquire” this £4.2millions on behalf of the FEC. This refund by the British Government is a proceed of crime committed basically against Delta State. You can’t work in Delta State and receive your salaries in Abuja. It has never worked that way in any clime. The funds confiscated from ex Governor of Plateau State, Joshua Dariye in the UK was indeed recovered by the agents of the federal government, repatriated to Nigeria and remitted back to the coffers of plateau State without a fuss. The funds seized from the late Diepreye Alamieyesiegha in the UK was recovered by the federal government and remitted in strict compliance with section 42 of Nigeria’s oft battered constitution. As a matter equity, all states of Nigeria are entitled to equal rights and opportunities. I am not from Delta State. I really don’t have to come from the state to defend a noble cause. Malami can not rule on this matter or the FEC allowed to speak from both sides of their mouths on a matter that affects the goose and the gander. Unless this cross-fire between Malami and Delta State government, another tranche of £20 million that maybe repatriated soon will be a matter of another round of cross fire between Malami and Delta state.
Malami’s claim that the FEC authorised the disbursement of this £4.2 million on different ongoing projects in the country sounds like tragic comedy. You can’t spend the money you don’t have. The mention of the 2nd Niger bridge that’s been the subject of serial budget allocations since 2015 is also a political gimmick and emotional blackmail to the Southeast region. The Lagos-Ibadan highway project has also been on from the ex president Jonathan era. Beyond the politics of funds repatriation, our lawmakers need to effectively collaborate with the new Czar of the efcc, 40 years old Abdulrasheed Bawa to review the Nigerian constitution that offers sitting governors and presidents immunity to illegally acquire stupendous wealth in office. A system that allows a holes in our banking and financial systems that allowed the likes of james Ibori the window to illegally acquire the following before he was arrested, jailed and released: a house in exclusive and reclusive house in Hampstead, North London worth £2.2 million, a property in Shaftsbury, Dorset worth £311,000,.a fleet of adored Range Rovers worth £600,000, a £120,000 Continental Bentley GT, a £3.2 million mansion in Sancton, near Johannesburg, a Mercedes benz Mayback bought for £407,000. The anti corruption fight needs to be reinvigorated in having a holistic second look at our Justice administration systems in Nigeria.