GOD’S WHEEL, OBASANJO AND ATIKU
By Garba Shehu
One of the intriguing things about justice is its extraordinary patience. It gives crooks enough time be fool themselves about the permanency of being ensconced in cocoon of impunity. Above all, it has the devastating capacity to ultimately expose the hypocrisy of self righteous pseudo-patriots!
The speed at which justice is coming to knock at the doors of Obasanjo’s moral soldiers seems to be leaving many Nigerians breathless and humbling those that arrogantly abuse power. Nasir El-Rufai, Nuhu Ribadu and Fani Kayode were once regarded as former President Obasanjo’s blue-eyed boys who could do no wrong and therefore, assigned to attack those branded as corrupt by their vindictive and dubiously puritanical boss.
In fact, these boys were favoured enough to attack Obasanjo’s enemies with a view to destroying their reputations and political careers. Nuhu Ribadu once boasted before a foreign audience that if he opened the dirty secrets of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, many people could run away but he didn’t provide specifics of such bombastic claim.
Although he raided the Bank PHB in search of Atiku’s “stolen” billions, Nuhu Ribadu didn’t tell Nigerians the nature of his findings up to the point he was disgraced out of office. Ironically, while he was raiding Bank PHB in search of money allegedly stolen by the former Vice President, Ribadu was not interested in raiding the accounts of Ota Farms after Obasanjo told a startled nation that his he was (is) making 30 million monthly from the process of his Ota Farms.
Most Nigerians were bewildered by Ribadu’s total indifference to how Obasanjo became an overnight billionaire after becoming a President. Gen. Obasanjo was virtually bankrupt when he came out of jail in 1999 and he had only N20,000 in his account according to records of his assets declaration before the Code of Conduct Bureau. His businesses were in ruin when he was in jail but few months after taking office, Ota Farms transformed to overnight prosperity, thanks to the influence of public office. Yet Ribadu saw nothing wrong in finding out how Ota Farms could be making 30 million monthly after Obasanjo became a President.
In fact, Ribadu himself has been struck by the same virus of corruption he was trying to destroy. He is wanted by the EFCC to account for how assets of convicts were disposed and the obliteration of records in respect of the sales.
Besides, his Former Agency wants him to explain the sources of his sudden wealth, especially how he managed to buy expensive properties in Dubai and the United Kingdom. In fact, tongues are also wagging how he managed to buy an AIG guest house at N250 million under the dubious monetization policy of the Obasnjo administration.
Instead of addressing these issues, Ribadu launched a well-funded propaganda offensive against the Yar’adua administration to divert attention from his sudden acquisition of wealth. A former Police Commissioner, Abubakar Bula Tsav told the Source Magazine two months ago that Ribadu “is the richest servicing police officer in Nigeria.” It is a case of the hunter being hunted. Ribadu has not only been dismissed from the Police Force but is also facing big question marks about how he became a millionaire overnight while fighting others to explain the sources of their wealth. Hypocrisy has short legs; it can’t run far and fast without falling by the way side. His desperate quest for public sympathy is to sidestep the issues affecting his sources of wealth. He repeatedly spurned invitations by EFCC and chose to show up only when his successor was not in the office. The stunt was designed to produce a dramatic effect by fooling the wider and uncritical public that he has nothing to hide.
Former FCT Minister, Nasir El-Rufai, is another Obasanjo’s Rottweiller who has now become a fugitive from justice over his inability to explain what happened to the N32 billion proceeds from the sale of federal government houses. He repeatedly refused to honour invitations by the EFCC over the issue and instead advised the agency to send him all the questions online. He claimed that he could not sacrifice his law studies in London to return to Nigeria and waste his time. His reputation is at stake and most Nigerians find the pretext of legal studies as a ploy to avoid accountability.
While he was in office, El-Rufai openly took sides with Obasanjo and repeatedly accused Atiku Abubakar of corruption and that the former Vice President was doing deals at the Bureau of Public Enterprises when it was under his supervision. But he couldn’t provide specific evidence of those deals. How ironic that such a moral watchdog is today a fugitive from justice! El-Rufai has disappointed his admirers. As a champion of accountability, he should come home and explain his role about the N32 billion proceeds from the sale of federal government houses.
The fate of Femi Fani Kayode, former Minister of Aviation, is another interesting irony of those that preach morality they do not have. Was it not Fani Kayode that openly insisted that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar should leave the Federal Executive Council Meeting because he was indicted by the so-called Administrative panel on PTDF? How come he is now facing charges of stealing N240 million? How come such a Saint is now spending his Christmas with common criminals in jail? Because he was in the good books of Obasanjo, he was appointed into the sensitive position of Aviation Minister and given N19.5 billion to rescue the aviation industry which was confronted with frequent air accidents, especially from 2005 and 2006. Is he not facing charges about the mismanagement of these funds while innocent air passengers were dying?
At a point in time, Fani-Kayode was so powerful as to make the former President stop his deputy from the use of his official jet. Abandoned in Lagos without the plane to bring him back to his office and family in Abuja, Atiku was left with no option than to charter a private aircraft. His mortal sin at that time was that he had used his visit time in Lagos to attend the congress of his new party, the AC wher he picked it’s ticket for the presidential contest.
On the minister’s directive,the control tower detained the chartered plane at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport,to be released only when Atiku secured the intervention of the former Chief of Staff,General Abdullahi Mohammed(rtd). What an irony! While they were in office, El-Rufai, Nuhu Ribadu and Fani Kayode were ready to question the integrity of anybody in the name of loyalty to Obasanjo. And today justice is knocking at their doors, revealing their hypocrisies. Truly, the earth is made of glass and therefore, the rogue has no hiding place because justice will eventually catch up with him. And today that is the fate that has befallen the loose cannons of the Obasanjo administration that pretended a morality they did not have.
By Garba Shehu,
Media Consultant to H.E.Atiku Abubakar, Former Vice President