‘Dasukigate’ brings Falae’s past to pain
Olu Falae, Secretary to the Federal Government (1986-1990) during the baleful years of Babangida’s ‘transition without end’ might have served as a Minister of Finance for a brief period in 1990 without collecting salary, managed to keep the exchange rate at N7.50k to one dollar until his exit in 1990 when it went down to N70 to a dollar. He was jailed as a NADECO chieftain by Abacha for standing by MKO Abiola during his failed battle to reclaim the victory freely and overwhelmingly given to him by Nigerians. Unfortunately these personal sacrifices and resourcefulness are not what will determine his legacies as a bureaucrat, banker and politician/elder statesman. Nigerians are likely going to remember him more as the intellectual pillar for Babangida disastrous Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) and a leader who partook of ‘Dasukigate’ slush fund to the tune of N100m ostensibly on behalf of his little known Social Democratic Party, (SDP), many believed, was sponsored by President Jonathan during the convocation of a self-serving Confab by a drowning government to undermine Bola Tinubu and his new Yoruba political leaders and in the process whittle down the influence of APC in the South- west.
But as it is often said, truth is immanent. Like water, it will find its way to torment and deride its enemies. ‘Dasukigate’ has now provided an opportunity to critically examine not only the motive of sponsors of a fringe party like Social Democratic Party with little or no electoral value, the despicable and unpatriotic objectives of its promoters but also to examine how Chief Olu Falae’s intervention at a critical period in our history contributed to the frustration of young Nigerian professionals who fled the country to work as second class citizens in Europe and America. Despite Margret Thatcher’s introduction of VISA following Olu Falae and Kalu Idika Kalu’s SAP, we today have up to two million well-trained Nigerians in Britain. The effect of SAP has been more devastating at home. Today there are millions of frustrated well-educated Nigerians youths in their late twenties and early thirties, regarded by many as a lost generation, who are still tied to the aprons of their parents at an age their peers during the pre and post independent years had already assumed leadership.
General Ibrahim Babangida, Olu Falae and Kalu Idika Kalu back in 1986 decreed ‘there was no alternative to Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP)’, an IMF economic poison, designed by the developed economies to solve their own social problems by further impoverishing the underdeveloped economies. The late Professor Sam Aluko dismissed such claim as intellectual fraud insisting there was even an alternative to death. Eskor Tuoyo and his group of radical thinkers correctly predicted the fate that finally befell Nigeria- the collapse of our industrial sector and condemnation of Nigeria to net importers of labour of other societies while our own youths roam the streets.
Falae, as an accessory to ill-conceived and badly implemented privatization and liberalization economic policy that allowed a few families, military men and their fronts to fraudulently corner our national assets is responsible for the disarray and a future of uncertainty of Nigerians in their early thirties who have opted or are eager to become slaves in Europe and America. Our frustrated youths who chose to ‘check out’ in droves through the desert and the sea have little to look up to following the confiscation of our national assets which started during the Babangida regime when for example, 60% of a company like the Ikeja Cocoa Industries Limited (CIL) which rightly belong to the children of poor western Nigeria cocoa farmers was sold to a newly registered Emerald Packaging Company for a miserable N9m, an amount lower than the cost of land on which the then 24 years old manufacturing company minus its machineries, raw materials and their other assets were located. This trend was completed by Babangida’s laboratory-baked PDP ‘new breed’ politicians who traded off national assets worth about $100b according to El Rufai, one time BPE Director General, for less than $5b between 1999 and 2014. Chief Olu Falae never took responsibility for his role as an accessory to crime of mortgaging the future of a whole generation of Nigerians.
Now the past has been brought to pain with the ‘Dasukigate’ which revealed that N260m of the $2.1b earmarked for arms to equip our embattled military found its way into to the account of Tony Anenih, a PDP chieftain. Anenih had said in his defence that the money, only a fraction of over N400m he claimed to have spent on his own for the 2015 battle, was ‘a part refund of the money former President Goodluck Jonathan instructed him to release to some political groups for mobilisation and post-election peace advocacy’. Of the amount, he said Chief Falae, the leader and founder of Social Democratic Party got N100m,Chief Rashidi Ladoja, leader of Accord Party got N100m while the remaining N63m went to a group headed by elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai . All the three elder-statesmen admitted the funds were meant to advance the chances of Jonathan in the 2015 election…
But Chief Falae like most well-informed Nigerians knew that another four years of Jonathan would have been disastrous for nation, that during his over five years in office, he served none but self and PDP wheelers and dealers and that those desperate for his re-election and who were moving around the country selling lies called ‘transformation agenda’ to our people were led mostly by those indicted by various House probes for pillaging the country resources. Having undermined the PDP constitution by contesting in 2010 and for reneging on an undertaking to do only one term, Chief Falae knew it was immoral for Jonathan to contest the 2015 election. Chief Falae similarly knew Jonathan’s attempt to exploit our religion and ethnic differences for electoral gain was a threat to national unity.
At the Chief Falae’s Yoruba home front where leadership is earned and lost when leaders betray the trust of the people, he knew that by openly identifying with the likes of Ayo Fayose, Olusegun Mimiko, Gbenga Daniel, Bode George and Musliu Obanikoro, that he and his half a dozen fellow Afenifere oligarchs who behave like cult members have lost their grip on the Yoruba voters. More than anybody else, Falae knew his Yoruba people who Awo back in 1947 said would not vote for you because you are a Yoruba man if you have no policy that will positively affect his life, would not vote for Jonathan who besides marginalizing Yoruba that fought for his emergence, but also remained a clueless leader all through his presidency. Finally, Falae more than anyone knew that Yoruba, the only group that has remained faithful to the idea of a united Nigeria since independence despite their endless campaign for regional autonomy and workable federalism, would not vote for a divisive candidate who had become a threat to the survival of Nigeria as a nation of many nationalities.
Why then did a brilliant and respected Falae, a man not known for greed go ahead to dirty his hands with PDP’s N100m bribe even with the full knowledge of the consequences of his action and the fate that awaits Yoruba leaders that swim against the general tide from an unforgiving followers? There are two plausible explanations in my view. He, like other members of Afenifere oligarchy was probably envious of the success of Bola Tinubu who with the support of young Yoruba intellectuals effortlessly retired them from politics after achieving what they had been unable to achieve during a lifelong battle –joining the Nigerian mainstream politics as an equal partner. It is also possible that our respected Falae had expected a repeat of the ‘Ekiti Magic’ and underestimated the resolve of Nigerians and the efficacy of the voters card reader which for the first time allowed votes to count. But either way, I sympathise with Falae. He knows the fate that awaits him. The Yoruba hardly forgive when leaders who they look up to for direction commit error of judgment.