Nigeria’s political journey has not been smooth since independence. The political prebendaries have deliberately frustrated and destroyed Nigeria’s democratic vehicle.
They took possession of the resources that belong to the people and shared our patrimonies among themselves.
Jame Onanefe Ibori is not a novice in the political arena of Nigeria; his story is well-documented and has made heavy headlines. He has been with the establishment of looters for decades, from where he acquired the experience with which he looted an entire state treasury.
Leaders ought to listen to the people, but Nigeria’s rulers behave as though they were the creators of heaven and earth.
They make themselves available, picked all calls, relate with people as a gimmick to get to power. But once there, they isolate themselves from the people who voted them in and assume the place of a demigod.
James Ibori was the former governor of Delta State, who contested and won on January 9, 1999 under the platform of People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Ibori never concealed his criminal tendencies, forging his own certificate of birth and passport in order to contest for governorship election in the state.
It is not a secret anymore that Ibori looted and emptied the state treasury as a sitting governor. Ibori single-handedly emptied the state treasury and rendered Deltans hopeless. He ruined that state in totality.
Ibori neglected his people by looting and impoverishing them. His kinsmen along with some activists in the state raised alarm about the way Ibori piloted the affairs of the state.
Tired of his criminal attitude, a petition was written and sent to the Office of the EFCC Chairman under the leadership of Nuhu Ribadu, accusing James Ibori of abuse of office and mismanagement of public funds.
Although Ibori had a lawyer in United Kingdom who ran his offshore companies for him, the Metropolitan Police in the UK paraded and raided his lawyer’s office, one barrister Bhadresh Gohil. A computer hard drive was found hidden in his office that contained details of several offshore companies which the attorney managed for Ibori.
In August 2007, as a result of corruption and money laundering perpetrated by Ibori, a United Kingdom Court confiscated Ibori’s assets worth of $35million.
Meanwhile, on December 12, 2007, same year James Ibori was arrested by EFCC officials in Asokoro, Abuja, he was being accused of money laundering with other criminal related-offences, including the theft of over $250 million from Delta State treasury.
Those who knew Ibori at that time were also aware of his flamboyant lifestyle as Governor of Delta State who was unconcerned about the plight of his people.
Now that the loots have been repatriated, the Attorney-General of the Federation Abubakar Malami takes possession of the funds under the guise of using it for road construction.
It is very clear even to the unlearned that the funds being repatriated do not belong to the Federal Government and one wonders why the Federal Government is so overly desperate to take over the money!
The money was stolen from the treasury of Delta State, it therefore belongs to the people of Delta. Malami has no moral justification whatsoever to lay claim over funds that belong to Delta State. This desperate appropriation of other people’s funds is disturbingly suspicious.
Malami is a cunning man who is desperate to divert the money under reference with a deceptive claim of using it for the construction roads. Same roads that are captured in our budgets annually? His desperation makes me wonder if Malami is now in charge of Nigeria’s budget.
Abubakar Malami cannot decide what type of project the money should be used for. He has no jurisdictional power over the money.
One would wonder why Abubakar Malami himself has not been prosecuted or questioned over some shady deals he has carried out since his appointment as Nigeria’s attorney-general.
We should ask him why he is always asking for the transfer of some corruption case files to his office without any further investigation. The story of such cases usually ends inside his drawer, no arrests are made – let alone prosecuting the people who are culpable.
Malami has in recent times been on the spotlight with some corruption allegations. Being a public official, one needs to be worried where and how Malami got the money with which he built a mansion with interior designs made of gold.
He built a big complex both in Abuja and Kano State, not to talk about the one in Kebbi State – all with public funds! Also, he bought an expensive car for his son and lavished billions in his son’s wedding.
Malami claimed that they signed a memorandum of understanding with the British Government to repatriate the money. One should ask Malami if the Delta State Government was present at the moment they were signing the MOU with the British Government.
My concern is that the people of Delta State should not abdicate their responsibilities and allow Malami to re-loot what their son has looted before it was repatriated.
If Malami claims to be genuinely concerned about the looted money, he should hold a town hall meeting with the people of Delta State and ask them the kind of investment they intend making with the repatriated funds.