The North and Dasukigate
But talking of Nigerian courts is another kettle of fish entirely where it concerns the north which, incidentally, controls the judiciary a full hundred percent – the CJN, the President of the Court of Appeal, even the Attorney-General of the Federation are all from the north, one reason we are having a rash of calls for properly restructuring the country.
I ask, as you begin to read this article, to pay more premium on its therapeutic purpose, rather than see the columnist as an unreconstructed ethnic jingoist, trying to further widen the gaps between our many ethnic groups. That said, why is it so easy for the average northerner, from what we have seen, time and again, and the one now unfolding, menacingly, before our very faces, to go after, and luxuriate, in unearned opulence, mostly funds from public sources to which they usually collectively like to assume a legitimate claim? Or who would forget the late Kano State governor, Barkin Zuwo, in a hurry? As at now, and still counting, the following northern ‘who is who’, have been implicated in the nauseatingly unravelling Dasukigate – and there must be many more from where these ones come from: Col Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser, a former Minister of State, Finance, Bashir Yuguda, ex-Director of Finance, ONSA, Shuabu Salihu, former Sokoto State governor, Attahiru Bafarawa, for whom the PDP laid a red carpet as President Jonathan welcomed him into that party, a former Executive Director of NNPC, Aminu Babakusa, and the governor’s son, Sagir Attahiru. Not satisfied, they even brought in their companies to partake of the bazaar which, left to Dasuki, should all have gone to northerners like himself. And, of course, you still can bet your last dime that we are yet going to have the names of a retinue of Alhajis and Alhajas whose daily job is no tougher than merely visiting the office of the National Security Adviser to be loaded with unearned money while millions of Nigerians from other parts of the country slave away in the hot African sun, not knowing where the next meal would come from. These things happen when a people have no shame; just as it speaks to an excessive cronyism. For instance, all the ONSA staff mentioned in this shameless scam are from the north as if it were a family business. These things can only happen in a culture that worships money and would do just about anything to amass it, no matter how earned. There are, of course, still a good number of decent northerners who abhor this type of public shame even as we appreciate the fact that those named are innocent until proven guilty before the law. But talking of Nigerian courts is another kettle of fish entirely where it concerns the north which, incidentally, controls the judiciary a full hundred percent – the CJN, the President of the Court of Appeal, even the Attorney-General of the Federation are all from the north, one reason we are having a rash of calls for properly restructuring the country. One critical Institution of state the status quo in the judiciary has negatively impacted, over the years, is our electoral system. So bad was the unfair use to which some northern elements put it that on 9 May, 2010, in an article captioned: THE HAMMER VERDICT, (a play on the judge’s name), I wrote as follows: ” . . .the meeting was subsequently informed that the then President of the Court of Appeal -a Katsina man, -who empanelled the Election Tribunals in cahoots with the presidency, which another Katsina man heads – had taken the opportunity to plant malleable, and thoroughly pliable northern judges in the electoral tribunals holding in the South-West, even appointing them chairmen, to ensure that the Southwest remains tied to the apron strings of the feudal north. Consequent upon this, the three, then on-going tribunals in Ogun, Osun and Ekiti, all had three northern members, among them, naturally, the Chairman. Of the three tribunals, only the result of Osun is being awaited with the two already declared going in favour of the PDP. (As expected, Osun was later declared for the PDP only for both Ekiti and Osun results to be reversed at the Appeal Court). It is hoped that the ongoing ‘name and shame’, of otherwise respected northerners would teach appropriate lessons if they want Nigerians from other parts to accord the north its deserved respect.
The time to start that change of heart should be now that we are laying the building blocks of the new Nigeria we are now eagerly constructing under the sterling lead of General Muhammadu Buhari, incidentally a northerner, a Nigerian Army General, former Head of State, as well as former chairman, Petroleum Trust Fund, who not only does not own a petrol station, but would most probably not recognise an oil block if he sees one. You appreciate this rather unbelievable Nigerian ‘exemplarism’ when you remember that some of his former colleagues, even juniors, now live in hilltop mansions, in stinking opulence, far away from the Nigerian hoi polloi. Northern leaders, emirs, top political leaders, clerics, as well as their several socio-political organisations would be doing Nigeria a great favour if they would not attempt to pressure the president into allowing those complicit in this heist to have any soft landing whatever. The possibility has already been floated and although we think Nigerians know President Buhari well enough, there must be a limit to which he can stand up to such pressure, especially from the high and mighty, some of who he may personally have high regards for. It must, however, be poignantly told the president that if he collapses, and buckles to any such entreaties and he would have written off his place in history, which God forbids. Today, the world over, people remember Turkey’s Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, just as the world is celebrating Lee Kuan YEW, the man who took Singapore from the Third, to the First world; incidentally the title of his magnum opus. I personally believe that it is too late in the day for a spartan Muhammadu Buhari to have his integrity compromised. Which is why it was good to read from highly regarded northern leaders like Professor Ango Abdullahi, chairman, Northern Elders Forum, and Ibrahim Coomassie, his counterpart at the Arewa Consultative Forum, both expressing support for the president’s anti-corruption war and, emphatically disclaiming any intent to prevail on the president to soft pedal. Not a few Nigerians have poured cold water on these public disclaimers but, because of their own integrity, and the many ways these things can detract from the respect due the north, as I have dutifully tried to show in this piece, one can only hope that these leaders will not, themselves, fall into the tempting hands of the PDP people who would do anything to save their arses. The north must realise that those named are certainly not the type of ambassadors they should want to see as the face of the outstanding legacies of the Uthman Dan Fodio’s, the Ahmadu Bello’s or even the Tafawa Balewa’s. Although President Shehu Shagari was, in the NPN, surrounded by about the worst specimen of humanity, from all parts of the country, he served and left with his personal integrity intact. No self-respecting elder, who loves the north, should be seen interceding for these illegal bounty sharers.
To further persuade any would-be peace-makers – these men do not even deserve a plea bargain – they should understand that anybody benefiting financially from funds which should have been spent, equipping our fighting forces, could never have wanted to see an end to the murderous Boko Haram scourge. The result then is that these people are, one way or the other, vicariously responsible for the thousands of murders by Boko Haram, responsible for the fate of millions of our compatriots currently uprooted from their homes and living as internally displaced refugees in their own country. They should ponder the fate of thousands of widows and orphans who no longer have anybody to turn to as bread winner. We can only imagine what future awaits these compatriots of ours, victims of corrupt men in power, who would rather lay their ugly hands on monies that never belonged to them. They showed no mercy and should receive none. Nigeria needs money no doubt, but so do we need to teach our youth abiding moral lessons.
Whoever is found guilty must go to jail. They must have their comeuppance.