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Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan

(Opinion) EFCC’s anticipated letter to Jonathan

Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan
Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan

BOLANLE BOLAWOLE

“Have you heard the news? The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is said to be contemplating writing a letter to yesterday’s man of power, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan”

“What for?”

“Did you ask what for? Do you not reside in this country?”

“Of course, I do! There are a million and one reasons that can make anyone want to write a letter to the former president”

“EFCC is not anybody’s ‘anyone’; the mere mention of that name connotes missing money” “I see! Between missing persons and missing money, it is difficult to say which is more rampant in this country these days”

“It is not difficult. Missing money is more rampant”.

“Does it then mean that they have traced some missing money to Otuoke?”

“The letter will reveal that” “What an irony! Who be EFCC or who born monkey when Jonathan was Jonathan?” “Such is life!

That is what Zik of blessed memory called ‘no condition is permanent’”

“Unfortunately, our leaders don’t get to realise this when they are in power” “Don’t blame them; power is the most dastardly of all intoxicants in the whole world; it excludes no one, be they Christian or Muslim, progressive or conservative”

“The current holders of power appear to have begun to get tipsy with the same intoxicant”

“That is understandable” “But they are supposed to be change agents”

“They are! The change began when Muhammadu Buhari replaced Goodluck Jonathan; the EFCC would-be letter to Jonathan is another evidence of change”

“You are right; few months ago, who in EFCC dare shine torchlight on Jonathan’s face?”

“Like an unruly policeman reeking of “burukutu” and “kain-kain” would belch ‘who goes there?’”

“Those must not be the kind of policemen who will write the Jonathan letter” “You are right. They will most likely get some accomplished letter-writers or “ogbonge” lawyers to do the letter” “Like who and who?”

“Have you forgotten oga Tony Momoh? The letter-writing wizard of the IBB regime; mercifully, he is a top gun in the ruling All Progressives Congress”

“That was a long time ago; the man must have gone stale. We are in the digital age; not the analogue of yore”

“How, then, about the Otta farmer?” Perfect! He is current and digital; besides, he writes letters that drip with blood, malice, and vindictiveness”

“How soon are we to expect the letter?”

“No one is sure yet; but it should be pretty soon because it is best to hit the iron while it is still very hot”

“You are right; the revelations of the arms deal saga are mind-boggling. This is therefore the right time for the Oga at the top when the bazaar took place to tell his own side of the story” “But don’t forget that this is Nigeria; often, the more you look the less you see”

“This case is too straightforward to admit of any ‘mago-mago’ or ‘iwuru-wuru’”

“You are being too idealistic. Already, it has been said that EFCC will seek clearance before it can write the letter” “Clearance from who? Is the EFCC not an independent anti-corruption agency?” “Yes, but up to the point that it knows it limits; there are no powers without restraint”

“It means, then, that it is not totally independent”

“Correct! No one is; not even the president who said he belonged to no one is totally independent” “But by law as well as by intent, the EFCC is meant to be independent”

“On paper, yes; the truth, however, is, he who pays the piper dictates the tune”

“That way, not much will be achieved in the anti-graft war”

“Correct; not much was ever planned to be achieved, be it in the past, now, or in the future” “How can that be; seeing that there is so much talk about the war against corruption?” “For the simple fact that none is immune from corruption; the ruling party as well as the opposition; public as well as private sector”

“But Buhari is seen by most Nigerians to be incorruptible”

“Not after he admitted collecting exotic cars from Jonathan” “It was his legitimate entitlement as a retired head of state”

“Agreed; but the timing was awfully wrong. He possibly never imagined the depth of the corruption in the Jonathan administration”

“That may be true but another plausible explanation could be that offered by the Western media” “And what was it?”

“They referred to Buhari as one of the least corrupt African leaders”

“Meaning that they do not believe that there is a single African leader who is not tainted” “Correct. The only difference is the extent of corruption” “When placed side-by-side other African leaders, Buhari could qualify as a saint”

“Correct. But there is a caveat; the West is usually jaundiced about all things Black; racism cannot be ruled out of their put-them-down syndrome”

“That is true because corruption is also rife in the West; witness what is happening in FIFA. The culprits are not limited to any creed, race or region” “Back to the EFCC letter: What happens if the president declines to approve?”

“Finito! The matter gets swept under the carpet”

“Not with all the revelations that have already escaped into the public domain; and not with all the people already charged to court, some of who are singing like canary”

“A respectable SAN has suggested a way out: Jonathan should go to Buhari and confess his ‘sins’”

“After which…?”

“Forgiveness, of course! It is only he who covers his sins that the Bible says will not prosper; for those who confess and forsake their sins, there is remission of sin”

“That is moral sin; we are talking here of monumental financial crimes; thereby causing untold hardship to the citizenry”

“Not every citizen sees it that way. For some, ethnic, political party, and religious sentiments supersede any national consideration”

“You mean once the thief is your own man, nothing else matters?”

“Exactly; but where do we go from here?”

“No where! We merry-go-round and walk in circles! We propose cosmetic changes that won’t last and that won’t take us far”

“Let us assume for the purpose of argument that the EFCC gets the clearance to write Jonathan a ‘love’ letter?”

“That will only be the first hurdle crossed”

“What did you mean ‘the first hurdle crossed’? What other hurdles would there be?

” We must thereafter wait with bated breath to see whether the man will reply the letter or shred it” “Like ex-President Obasanjo caused his PDP membership card to be shredded in public?” “Exactly!”

“But that will be serious. Ex-presidents don’t have immunity; they can be compelled to behave” “That is on paper; in real life, it is immunity for life”

“I expect a bold and forthright person like Buhari to bell the cat”

“He will be the last person to do that” “How do you mean?”

“Simple: He belongs to the club” “Of ex-presidents?”

“Yes; but more importantly, to the club of ex-presidents who trampled the law and dared a sitting president to arrest him if he could”

“I see! That was in 2011 when he allegedly made those incendiary statements that threatened election-rigging with mayhem”

“Exactly! Despite that many innocent Nigerians lost their lives, Buhari walked away scot-free” “Blame Jonathan who was spineless” “It is now Jonathan’s turn to hold Buhari to ransom. If he refuses to reply any letter from the EFCC or snub any invitation from the anti-graft agency, let Buhari order his arrest if he can” “So it is now tit-for-tat?”

“Exactly! What goes around comes around”

“I agree with you; the precedents on ground are not encouraging at all”

“Our leaders have a poor sense of history. If only Buhari knew there would be a day like this, he would not have thumbed his long nose at Jonathan in 2011”

“Now is the time for the Otuoke boy to maintain studded silence and his trade-mark emotionless grin while Buhari roils in his own stew”

“Remember, too, that when Obasanjo set up the Oputa panel, the trio of Buhari, IBB, and Abdulsalami shunned it and nothing happened”

“You are right. It was amazing that even Obasanjo could not compel them to attend”

“Does it then mean that Jonathan will escape justice?”

“No! He will be guilty as charged in the court of public opinion”

“But there is a way Buhari can negotiate the corner?” “How?”

“The same way he tried to solve the Umaru Dikko problem”

“Crating? It failed and the attempt gave Buhari’s dictatorial military regime a bloodied nose”

“Correct, but now the pyramid is inverted and Buhari could very much be in the good books of the Western powers”

“How do you mean? The West will never support crating?”

“You are still ensconced in the past. Umaru Dikko is dead and gone; have you forgotten?”

“But whenever we talk of crating, it still brings back memories, whether fond or distasteful, of the man” “The focus now is Jonathan. Buhari dare not haul him before a law court; neither will he want to let him go scot-free”

“I understand the dilemma; to prosecute him may be seen by many as putting the whole Ijaw nation or the entire South-south in the dock”

“Correct; and to let him walk away will rubbish the anti-graft war”

“It is a lose-lose situation” “But which can be turned into a win-win situation”

“How?”

“A British court has almost virtually indicted Jonathan of grand corruption in the Malabu oil deal case. Jonathan needs only to commit the same error as James Ibori to end up in prison” “But will he be that foolish? He will never go near Britain”

“Marabouts can charm him”

“What if his own prayer warriors successfully counter the marabouts?”

“Then Buhari will have to try the Dikko option”

“What?”

“Crate Jonathan in Nigeria and send him to London! I am sure Britain will not object to that”

“Now I understand! Otuoke boy must henceforth watch where he goes; sleep with one eye closed; and throw curious and suspicious glances around himself, even while in his bedroom!”

LAST WORD: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to the readers of this column!

 

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