"I want Nigeria to be a country with people who fear God; a country whose citizens obey the rule of law and due process; a country where the citizens shun evil acts and do the right things to promote peace in Nigeria and the world at large."This was apparently Yardy's wish for Nigeria at the end of this year's Ramadan. Yardy seems to know how to say the right things even though it typically takes him too long to actually say it. Case in point, he is yet to comment on the continuing saga of the battling egos - Michael Aondoakaa (Attorney General of the Federation) and Nuhu Ribadu (EFCC). Don King announced recently that he wanted to plan another 'Rumble in the Jungle'. Unknown to him, Rumble in the Jungle 2 is taking place right now in Nigeria and it involves the current Ibori investigation.
THE IBORI INVESTIGATION
James Ibori is the former governor of Delta State. He has $35 million in assets in the U.K. and it includes a private jet. In addition to being under investigation by the EFCC, British authorities are investigating the UK-based assets of Ibori on the allegation that they were the proceeds of crime. British authorities have thus attempted to freeze Ibori's assets. Unfortunately, this attempt was thwarted by non other than a frequent character at this very blog - Mr. Michael Aondoakaa, SAN.
Aondoakaa wrote a letter on Ibori's behalf to the British Court that influenced its decision in lifting a previously placed restraint order on Ibori's possessions. Please note that Aondoakaa initially denied writing such a letter but the Nigerian media pestered him into admitting his lie and confirming that he did communicate with the British court. Yes, you don't have to remind me, Ibori is innocent until proven guilty. But, as a result of his assistance, Ibori's assets in the U.K. can be now liquidated, and the cash raised can then be hidden, if he (Ibori) so chooses. And assuming that he is eventually proven guilty, where will that leave hungry, suffering, uneducated Nigerians who have had their future robbed by those meant to serve them? This act by Aondoakaa, has not only frustrated the efforts of British authorities but is a pin in the eye of Ribadu and the EFCC which is working with British authorities in determining whether Ibori amassed his wealth through illegal means. By sending a secret letter on Ibori's behalf and then lying about it, Aondoakaa's actions reinforce the allegations that himself and his boss are working to protect certain powerful and corrupt Nigerians to the detriment of Nigerians and our quest to destroy corruption's hold on our nation. He has also given Ribadu more cause to attack him!
Even more important than the tug of war between Aondoakaa and Ribadu is the shameful way that these men are paying a serious disservice to Nigeria. Imagine, the world continues to look at us and laugh. The only thing that smart, patriotic Nigerians can do, is hang their heads in shame. Not only are we bombarded by constant 419/internet scam attention, the useless shenanigans of unelected officials seemingly provide fodder for more Nigerian jokes.
Don't get me wrong, I am not necessarily a fan of Nuhu Ribadu, and have criticized him in the past (regarding his support of Wolfowitz and antagonizing Aondoakaa). I will go a step further and acknowledge that the laws empowering agencies like the EFCC, ICPC and others need to be streamlined and checks and balances must be introduced. After all, there is no one to keep the EFCC in check and that is very dangerous. Nevertheless, I continue to be stupefied by the constant power struggle between himself and Aondoakaa and am saddened to see this soap opera play out on the global scale!
YARDY CONTINUES TO DO "SOF'LY, SOF'LY"
Again, I challenge Yardy to TAKE A STAND and bring an end to this madness. I understand that he strongly believes in non-interference but as President, he will not always have the luxury of non-action. As in the Etteh scandal, Yardy's voice has been practically nonexistent. It is crucial for the President of the Nigerian Federation to be the yardstick by which most things and happenings, especially political, are measured. Can you imagine how much of an impact he could make in this and other situations if he just spoke up? Fire Aondoakaa, fire Ribadu, announce to the nation that you are firmly behind anti-corruption and firmly behind creating progress. Be tough! These men and Mrs. Etteh are not symbols of progress, no matter how much they want to be and thus Yardy should distance himself from their behavior. Take the time to talk to the people, personally. We all know that Nigeria's tag-line is sometimes - "This is not the way we do things here..." and Yardy bucked that tradition by releasing his assets for all to see. When he did that, he gave so many people hope that a new day was on the horizon for Nigeria. However, it is my opinion that Yardy's 'soft and slow' style is going to allow him to be overtaken by his brazen and much more aggressive subordinates who will turn an already struggling nation into a battleground to fulfill their egoism and crush their perceived foes! Who will suffer the consequences? Why, the very people that these men and women are sworn to serve, defend and protect.
Yar'Adua should take a cue from his wishes for Nigeria. Especially the final sentence quoted above. He should promote peace by getting rid of the divisive factors that are clearly not interested in Nigerian peace or progress. Come on, Yardy. We are waiting for you to DO SOMETHING GOOD!
To understand the Aondoakaa/Ribadu fiasco, please read the following:
POLITICAL SOAP OPERAS, NIGERIAN STYLE