Wednesday, December 26, 2007

For years, people have made allegations against Obasanjo and his administration and finally, the anti-corruption crusade has landed at his door. Just last week, his daughter, Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, was accused of creating an alias to receive illegal contracts worth N3.5 billion while her father was President.

Various individuals and groups have been quick to distance themselves from Obasanjo-Bello and her father. Aondoakaa announced that Yardy's administration will not intervene in this matter but will instead allow EFCC to finish its investigation. Even her fellow politicians have gone for the jugular as there are calls from AC members for her to step down from her position as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health. Groups like Afenifere are also demanding further investigation of the contract by the EFCC. Finally, there is a push in the National Assembly for a probe into the affairs of Obasanjo's administration, specifically a N59 billion telephone loan.

This Obasanjo-Bello case allows the EFCC to shun its reputation of avoiding an Obasanjo investigation. Yes, this scandal focuses on his daughter, but it will provide overwhelming public support for the EFCC to begin looking at Obasanjo's actions while he was President. As noted above, the National Assembly is now calling for probes of OBJ's affairs. And now, the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) has also publicly encouraged EFCC to investigate OBJ and others. Such calls are bound to increase now that there is a perceived chink in OBJ's armor. And, since Ribadu previously claimed that the EFCC would be bound to investigate and prosecute OBJ if and when his Commission receives credible evidence of wrongdoing, we can only wait and see whether the EFCC will have to keep its promise.

But even more importantly than EFCC, is Yardy's role in this situation. Aondoakaa's quick response to the Obasanjo-Bello's scandal betrays that he and his boss are knee deep in this situation. To my knowledge, this is the first time Aondoakaa and his 'oga' have been so quick to publicly distance themselves from any EFCC case. I wonder why. I personally believe that Yardy is allowing Obasanjo's foes to 'rubbish' OBJ for him. He is going to allow the anti-corruption crusade to weaken OBJ and all his allies. That will clear the way for him (Yardy) or whoever he chooses to control key positions and assets in Nigeria. How very Machiavellian of him. But, I wonder if in all the maneuvering and manipulating Nigerians will actually come out ahead or if citizens will continue to simply watch from the sidelines as the Big Boys continue to gobble up the national pie. And believe me, despite the excitement about the ongoing anti-corruption crusade, there are people who continue to pocket their piece of the national pie to the detriment of the masses. Business as usual.

The Obasanjo-Bello scandal highlights what is a sorry state of affairs for female politicians in Nigeria. This is the second high ranking female politician to get caught up in the anti-corruption crusade this year. I do not think this speaks well for future female politicians. In an age where women are making incredible political strides, I worry that the scandals involving Etteh and Obasanjo-Bello will stem advances Nigerian women are making in politics and other power positions.

Calm down, I know what you are thinking. Yes, in Nigeria, everybody "chops" so it is unfair to focus on a few bad, female eggs. However, women have traditionally been able to sell themselves as being different from men, more caring and understanding in a way that men fail to be. Could it be that there is a conspiracy to weaken women in Nigeria? No way. My tired, conspiracy-loving mind is simply working overtime.

Regardless, this Iyabogate story is yet to fully unravel. It seems Obasanjo-Bello is doing damage control. In an incredible coincidence, there is now evidence that the Austrian firm that accused Iyabo of fraud was found guilty of forgery in an Austrian court. The plot, as always, thickens.

15 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

Ayo Adene said...

i saw ms obasanjo bello at the airport recently. it was my first time seeing her live. i was like..wow. she wore a long white dress and walked like something out of madame tussauds. not that its bad to be prim and proper. it was just fascinating to see the ex-first daughter live. well, speaking of corruption in high places, whether this is proved or not, we do need to discourage all of us from ostentation. it is sooo not cool.let us find the zen in us and be at peace with justenough. and thanks for your comments on the longest cable car in africa? i am waiting for my check.(smile)

Waffarian said...

I agree with you, I am very sad that these two women, instead of using their positions to pave the way for other women, or at least be good examples have chosen the path they have. The women in Africa do not have the luxury to be corrupt, we always have to cease the chance for change. It is very sad indeed.

Sherri said...

it's not particularly shocking to me, it only shows the state of politics in naija. how many people go into politics for the love of country and man, and actually win? i bet not many.

i don't think it's a conspiracy at all, it just shows the quality of women that are able to attain political power in naija.

am liking ur Machiavellian theory o

Jinta said...

Nothing to do with conspiracy and their sex, all to do with their proximate relationships with OBJ - Etteh as, you know..., and Iyabo as daughter. As you say, these are chinks in the armour of 'their' baba (not mine) and his opponents will grab the opportunity.

rethots said...

Silence to Bhutto.

First thing first, "Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, was accused of creating an alias to receive illegal contracts worth N3.5 billion..." 'm not sure 'tis been confirmed that the contracts were illegal. My grouse is the pseudonym, please check same title on rethots.wordpress.com. My fear now is; hope the opposition (to EFCC) ain't succeeding? Nuhu's gone for a course (after which, he'll probably be promoted. Afterall, a worthy policeman he is. But then, the promotion'll make it impossible for him to continue as head, EFCC 'cos, that position's for a junior rank than he'll be then) oops, my pessimism.
Can we stop identifying some as female politicians? A politician is a politician, gender irrespective. A guilty man (when proven) is a guilty man ...it shouldn't have anything to do with advancing another's political advances.

Beauty said...

I am glad to see less angry people on the poll (22% death by hanging). Most people here seemed to think Ibori will rtn the money and still want to go-to-jail. He will hang on to our cash for as long as poss. Pls let us just take our money in order to rebuild.

The OBJ family (remember greedy stella RIP) was a soldier family and any ill gotten wealth should be returned. The OBJ family story will open up and it is only a matter of time.

New York Post on BB.
"She was a splendid con, persuading otherwise cynical Western politicians and "hardheaded" journalists that she was not only a brave woman crusading in the Islamic wilderness, but also a thoroughbred democrat. In fact, Bhutto was a frivolously wealthy feudal landlord amid bleak poverty.

The scion of a thieving political dynasty, she was always more concerned with power than with the wellbeing of the average Pakistani. Her program remained one of old-school patronage, not increased productivity or social decency. Educated in expensive Western schools, she permitted Pakistan's feeble education system to rot - opening the door to Islamists and their religious schools."

Ms. Catwalq said...

Bhenazir was such a beautiful woman. I never quiet understood what she was fighting for, but I always liked to watch the way she carried herself. Such a violent way to go. She and my mother are age mates...

Iyabogate: Me I am tired of these scandals...can we get some refreshing and inspiring news from Akunyili? You know women whose actions can help me focus my efforts in the new year?

Dojaa said...

I was facinated with Bhutto and was sad that she got herself killed. However i think her 19yr old son becoming leader of the party reveals a pathetic power hungry family. Who leaves a will handing over party leadership to their son? Ridiculous. And to think she was supposed to be fighting for democracy!

NneomaMD said...

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Ms. emmotions said...

i need u guys to understand that corruption is not peculiar to nigeria alone and most definately nothing to do with gender so there is absolutly no reason to keep going on aboout female politicians being worse.

@ sherri, i beg to differ on ur opinion about the quality of naija women thats able to attain power and naija's politics.
there are too many naija women in power and doing gr8 to question the quality of our naija women in power. have u had about our own akuyelu of NAFDAC? she is just one out of the many naija women out there doing us proud.

lets all be realistic here, corruption is every where u have politics and politicians.
corruption is not peculiar to naija, so i wonder why so much emphasis on nigerian politicians.

this is not to say that am in support of these 'sorry excuse for nigeria women in power's corruption which is not unconnected wit their greed to own it all.

mewwwws.... power intoxicates, the desire to acquire quick wealth a major driving force, the need to continue in affuluence even a higher force.
how many of us can swear that we wont do same when given the oppurtunity? these things has to do wit having a conscience and having the power to resist temptation.

compliment to ya all.

N.I.M.M.O said...

Nice post again.

Iyabogate: Her lawyers have been in the news of recent saying that 'Akinlawon' was her mother's maiden name (to which she had a right) and she used the pseudonym to protect her father who was president as at that time. They also asked for 'understanding'.

Well, next time you get a mail from a 419 guy under the pseudonym 'Her Excellent, Chief Mrs Miriam Sanni Abacha (Who knows? It could be his maiden name) asking to move $20 billion of her husband's loot into your account, just tell yourself 'understanding lo matter' and forward your account number.

Ms. Bhutto: I have since concluded that most Americans are ignorant of goings on in the world around them but the jealousy of their so called intelligentsia is worse.

They do not believe that the rest of the world can have heroes apart from the ones they create. This was how they demonized Mandela for so long until the guy stepped onto the streets and New York stood still. Now the same New York Times that called him a 'terrorist' scrambles for every interview op with him.

Unfortunately, Bhutto died. Mandela lives.

Funnily, the same words from the NYT editorial can be used to describe the lives of most American politicians:

"In fact, B**h was a frivolously wealthy feudal landlord amid bleak poverty.

The scion of a thieving political dynasty, he was always more concerned with power than with the wellbeing of the average American. His program remained one of old-school patronage, not increased productivity or social decency. Educated in expensive schools, he permitted America's feeble education system to rot - opening the door to Islamists and their religious schools."

Now, does that not remind you of George Dubya Bush?

N.I.M.M.O said...

Sorry, I couldn't finish my thots there.

Ms.Bhutto: Particularly more rankling is their lack of respect for other people and their feelings. If the good people of Pakistan want to mourn the death of a 'feudal' woman, it is their right and prerogative to do so.

Whatever your thoughts of her, the least you can do is to respect their wish to do so and let them be.

All they have written about Ms. Bhutto smacks of bad manners and plain jealousy. She has been martyred and in death, she gained immortality. She looms larger than life no matter how much bad press the NYT and other try to sully her memory.

I doubt if their Musharraf will ever be able to achieve this, even if he lives to be a hundred years.

About her son becoming head of the party, I believe its a question of political expediency. Its their own way of doing things, we should respect that.

Rather than have a protracted tussle for leadership that may last for years, this allows for a smooth transition. Besides, we all know that there are party bureaucrats who run things in the background and not the 19 year old.

For example, the PDP has been 'searching' for a Chairman for so long now that even the so called 'front runners' are falling by the way side every day. Now they say they will elect one in April 08. Lets hope it holds.

As for the Pakistanis, maybe its just their own way of saying 'A good name is better that silver or gold'.

There's a lesson there for us.

Sherri said...

@ms emotions,
there's a clear diff between elected and appointed.
akunyili like okonjo iwealla was appointed not elected


@ rethots and ms. emmotions: at no point was it my intention to suggest that female politicians are worse than male politicians. My objective was to point out my opinion that women will be judged differently from men even when they do the same things. Therefore, when female politicians (they are female and politicians) are disgraced, they open the door for certain elements to distrust other female politicians and lump all of them (corrupt and non-corrupt) together.

That perspective of painting a wide brush over all Nigerian female politicians is not fair, but believe it, that mindset exists and i am already hearing about it. And, I firmly believe that the scandals combined with the mindset of some individuals will set women back in Nigeria. I could be wrong of course, but thank goodness this is only my opinion. Thanks for your thoughts on this matter though and for pointing out what is a plain fact - that the actions of Etteh and alleged actions of Obasanjo-Bello have nothing to do with their gender. We must keep that in mind at all times.

@ Jinta: I have to say that I am second your thoughts. It is most likely their proximity to OBJ that put them in the position they are in - scandal. I thoroughly believe that there is an underlying campaign to 'rubbish' OBJ. We shall see where it goes. I just don't want innocent people drawn into the potential mess. Thanks for the insight, my brother.

@ Sherri: Yes, there is likely a difference between elected and appointed officials. These women cannot just become powerful politicians without the right connections. That is the case for all politicians regardless of gender. I will submit that there are a lot of incredible Nigerian women that are indeed powerful doing wonderful work and receiving recognition for it. If I may just drop the name of Evelyn Oputu who I just learned about. She is on the forefront of encouraging more foreign investment in Nigeria and is making waves in the foreign investment circles. People who have heard her speak have been left impressed.

Nevertheless, I am sure that there are female elected officials that are doing incredible work as well. Unfortunately, at this moment, I just do not know who they are. If you or anyone else has info on them, please share with us. After all, we are all trying to learn.


@ N.I.M.M.O.: Yes, when I get a 419 message from 'Maryam Abacha', I will be sure to understand. lol!

As to Benazhir Bhutto, although it is usually hard for me to disagree with Beauty, I have to say that I respectfully differ on her sentiments. I think your analysis is on point about the issues. It is possible that she had a big ego, but which politician doesn't? You have to have a large ego to some extent to get in that line of work. All one can hope is that those who decide to attempt to lead will have a larger drive to actually effect positive change.

Anyway, egos aside, her death has transformed her into a martyr for some. CNN spends almost 75% of their news time discussing her death and the various conspiracy theories that revolve it. No matter our feelings, the fact is that a woman died needlessly and violently. 23 others also died in the final attack on her life. I can only hope that something good will come out of it all.

Okay, I am getting tired and apologize for failing to respond to all the comments but must thank you all for engaging in conversation. I am now off to celebrate the new year and wish you all a wonderful 2008! God bless you and yours.

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