NIGERIAN CURIOSITY'S PERSON OF 2007

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Nigerian Curiosity Person of 2007 is someone, who for better or for worse, has had an extensive impact on Nigeria and Nigerians over the course of the last year. This person is a pivotal character in Nigeria's social, economic and political discourse and I believe that this person will remain a crucial factor in our future.

In deciding who was worthy of such characterization, I had to think long and hard about which Nigerians, for better or worse, will go down in our history books as having stood out. This approach meant that I had to acknowledge that the Person of 2007 could be either a hero, a villain or both, depending on one's vantage point. After all, perception is subjective, right?

Thus, without further ado, Nigerian Curiosity's Person of 2007 is ......

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MICHAEL KAASE AONDOAKAA

WHY AONDOAKAA?
I am not privy to knowledge about what the future holds. But, I can say with ample conviction that no matter what happens, Nigerians will forever talk about Michael Aondoakaa. In Nigeria's future, this very controversial Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), will either be considered the savior of Nigeria's anti-corruption crusade for saving the nation from uncoordinated and unfair efforts at investigating and punishing corrupt practices. Or, he will be resigned to the classification of saboteur of the anti-corruption crusade and hence, possibly the nation's quest for greatness. Besides, the Nigerian public tends to hear more from Aondoakaa than anyother political figure. He is thus a fitting news maker that could be (and obviously is) being recognized for his impact on society.

Apart from that, he is the only Nigerian official that shares the same name with an actual geographic location within the nation's territorial boundaries - Latitude - 7.0667 ; Longitude - 8.8333. You just can't beat that!


Mid-range map of Aondoakaa







SAVIOR VS. SABOTEUR
For all our efforts as a nation, most can agree that corruption is the one issue that, if not adequately addressed, will prevent our ability to succeed in other arenas of our existence. Consequently, Aondoakaa has played a significant role in shaping the future of Nigeria's anti-corruption crusade. Only time will tell whether his actions, both subtle and overt, were concluded for the benefit of the many - and thus to the nation's benefit - or for the benefit of a few - and thus, the nation's detriment.

THE "AONDOAKAA EFFECT"
The anti-corruption crusade that Nigeria witnessed over the last few months reflects a pivotal point in Nigeria's history and Michael Kase Aondoakaa's imprint on this crusade cannot be denied. The consequences of this imprint, which I call the "Aondoakaa Effect" are already beginning to be revealed to anyone who takes a few moments to put two and two together. I will only present three incidents, but I am sure others have many more stories to tell.

1. AONDOAKAA VS. RIBADU/EFCC: HE WON THE WAR
Even before landing his current position, Aondoakaa and the EFCC have been at loggerheads. He has defended more than one client that was under investigation by the Commission. However, from the very moment he was chosen as AGF, it became clear that Aondoakaa and the EFCC's head, Nuhu Ribadu, would provide substantial entertainment for most political observers. Both men constantly went at each other. Sometimes, Ribadu won various battles such as preventing the "muffling" of the EFCC which, according to Aondoakaa, needed to receive explicit permission before initiating any new corruption cases. Despite this, it appears that Aondoakaa eventually won the war because as of today, Ribadu is no longer the head of the EFCC. He instead is on "training assignment" in Kuru, Jos.

2. THE DARIYE ISSUE
The arrest, after his repatriation from the UK, of Joshua Dariye, former Governer of Plateau State, was a moment that offered much prominence to the EFCC. The Commission basked in the limelight and even informed the nation that their case against Dariye was a "test case" for future cases against other corrupt governors. However, in the months that followed, it became clear that although Aondoakaa eventually returned Dariye's stolen loot under much media fanfare, his opinion differed from Ribadu, on how Dariye's case, and stolen money, was to be treated. And now, so soon after Ribadu was removed from the EFCC, the Commission has "withdrawn all money laundering charges" against Dariye. It appears that the "Aondoakaa Effect" is just beginning.

3. A NEW ANTI-CORRUPTION APPROACH
In line with his role as the face of Nigerian Justice, Aondoakaa announced in Indonesia that Nigeria will be introducing a new crime bill that will pave the way for a continuing and effective anti-corruption approach. At the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, the AGF stressed that for too long, due process and the observance of the rule of law had been lacking in the nation's quest to bring corrupt officials to justice. He said,
"Our objective is to enhance effectiveness and efficiency of the system in place, to deprive corrupt officials and offenders, including their families and associates, of the benefits of their crime. Of more importance is the aim of reinforcing public trust in the rule of law, protecting the economic value of seized assets and ensure [sic] investment of the assets for public good..."
Apparently, Aondoakaa is at the helm of steering the nation towards a better, more trustworthy and unbiased way of dealing with corruption in the country. The resulting crime bill will take Nigeria away from the "old way" of doing things, which means Ribadu and the EFCC's way of doing things. This new approach, of which little more is known, could become a lasting legacy to Aondoakaa and the nation's quest to make sure that corruption does not pay. I submit that this proposed new bill is just another example of the "Aondoakaa Effect".

ONLY TIME WILL TELL
By now, it is clear that no matter what one thinks of Aondoakaa, he will play an integral role in the development of the nation. Of course, no definite conclusion or judgment can be reached about Nigeria's AGF because even though history begins now, the writers of our history will begin their task much later in time. And, at that point, who knows what will end up in the history books? Only time will tell. But I know for certain that Nigerian Curiosity's Person of 2007, Micheal Kase Aondoakaa, and his imprint on the anti-corruption crusade, will be a key element of that story.


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16 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

Doja said...

I guess the judiciary is faring better under him....only history will tell the full story.

webround said...

as you said, "time will tell".

ijebuman said...

Definitely 'a saboteur of the anti-corruption crusade'

He is just another offensive loud mouthed government official, whom Yawn'Adua needs to rein in before he does too much damage to his government.

rethots said...

Eventually (though not always) we all come to limelight (15 minutes of glory), only, we cannot determine what would be thot of us (good or bad, 'tis the public's decision). But then, we can always sway the public's opinion (& what we would be remembered for) by our acts (& actions).

That said, i personally have no high regards for "I don't care" oops, Aondoakaa.

Nice review, Nigerian Curiosity.

TheAfroBeat said...

Here here for Aondoakaa, saviour, saboteur, or just plain SILLY! Knowing our country, this is probably not the only award he'll be winning in 2008. Will be watching this space...

1st and 2nd runners-up?

Jinta said...

i think we all now where he stands...

controversial said...

Interesting write up. But, I think that if you poll the average person, they would call that man a pure sinner. Besides, everything I have read at this website about Andoooka has been less than favorable. So, although I applaud you for trying to appear unbiased or politically correct, let's call a spade a spade - you think he is a saboteur too.

Waffarian said...

Ah ah? I did not win?

Aondoakaa...his name just gives me a headache...how do you pronounce that name anyway? I think the man is up to no good anyway, watched him give an interview on TV, he gave me a headache there as well.

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

@ Doja: Nigeria's Judiciary (Judges) are doing quite well in the arena of public review. The Election Tribunal has overturned many a fraudulent election result.

However, the Judiciary is separate from the Ministry of Justice. Sorry to give the wrong impression. The ministry of Justice takes people to court or is sued by plaintiffs, but it is independent of the Judicial/Court system. Anyone have additional info on this issue? Please share with us. Kibaati seems to know quite a bit about Nigerian legal system and could shed some light. I will go knock on his door...

@ Webround: Indeed. Thanks for stopping by. Your blog has become a gem for my not-so techy mind!

@ Ijebuman: lol! the AGF is a very polarizing figure. And about him being loud mouthed, I got a phone call recently from someone that had the pleasure of meeting him at a restaurant. All I can say is that Aondoakaa was apparently very 'entertaining'.

@ rethots: so that's what they call him - "I dont care"? Interesting. Thanks for sharing that. lol!

@ Afrobeat: Oh, I am sure the AGF will receive more chieftancy titles than he can count over the course of the year and his time in office.

As to the runner's up, they were - Ibrahim Gambari (who I will feature at a later date) and the 'Average Nigerian', in that order. Thanks for asking, I think I will add that info to the post.

@ Jinta: lol.I don't know why your brief comment seems funny to me, but I implore you to elaborate nonetheless.

@ Controversial: I've never seen you around these parts, but your comment suggests you have spent some time here. So, I'll say thanks for leaving a comment.

Now, I know that I am tough on Aondoakaa and his friends, but truth be told, I have to be fair (sometimes). I have been told by some that the AGF is quite charming. So, who knows, he might end up favorably in the history books and public opinion over time. I have to cling on to some hope that despite his antics, he is trying to do the best for the nation. Without hope (which happens sometimes), writing about Nigerian issues would be depressing and quite impossible.

So, I return to my original conclusion, which is that the AGF is my pick for Person of the Year for making what will be a lasting imprint on Nigeria's fight against corruption. Saint or Saboteur/Sinner? I simply don't know.

Thanks for your comment and don't be a stranger.

@ Waffy: lol! The comments to this post are making me laugh. Well not the last comment (no offense Controversial), that made me serious.

Anyway, don't worry, I will create a special award just for you Waffy! And as to the Aondoakaa-generating headaches, that just reinforces my theory about the man's 'Effect'.

pamelastitch said...

hmmm, me I no want headache so I go carry myself go but before I go:

http://www.africanloft.com/holla-to-your-valentine-win-75/

Ms. emmotions said...

Aondoakaa......after reading this write up, i found myself wondering where i place him ...the good side or the bad and to my greatest suprise, i find that i dont have an answer to this.
deep down, i think he has so many characters in him, he chooses when to be honest/charming and when to be corupt/ a brute, but from what i have seen so far, i think he has been on the bad side more often that the good side.
i feel funny wen i draw conclusions / make decision when my tots are these scattered, u naw when i dont know wat to believe hence my choice and decision to tow ur line solomonsydelle......only time will tell his impact for sure.

as always, am amaized at ur grasp on nigerian politiccs and political issues.....weldone i must say

Kiibaati said...

Aondoakaa?

You know what they say about the Nobel peace prize? It is usually given to people before they deserve it.

And very few actually end up deserving it at the end.

Only time will tell if Aondoakaa will prove to be historically relevant in the long run. But as for person of 2007, this is one award too soon.

Jinta said...

the man is so arrogant, he can't even pretend. at least my nomination - ibori - tried to lie about the billions he stole.

this ado...whatever man simply rides roughshod over our intelligence and that annoys me no end

i'd like to be locked in a room with him so i can visit my primeval inclinations on him

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

Why do I suddenly feel that Aondoaka's PR machine has been at work? Just last week, a friend of mine who is a lawyer actually called him a 'brilliant lawyer', in fact he called him Bola Ige's successor.

And I wondered if my friend had been 'settled'.

Now, even if he had, I know Solomonsydelle cannot be settled, so what is happening? Biko nu.

Suddenly Aondoaka is looking good. Now he claims credit for the judicial humiliation of Maurice Iwu at the election tribunals - they are just reversing all the mago-mago Iwu did - as well as the arrests and trial of Ibori and co.

However, I think Ribadu had laid the groundwork for all these.

Dariye: We all saw that coming. Maybe the newly created 'Saint' Dariye will run for President in 2011.

@Genomics: maybe you should try and Google 'Ribadu' too. Its the name of a village in Taraba state.

Can't argue with your choice though. For good or or for bad, the guy is affecting his situation.

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