By Erasmus Ikhide
The damning verdict that Africa Continent has regressed terribly in the 21st century in every respect in modern memory has come to stay. African Union (AU) leadership in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is making more worsening mistakes which further dampened the thinning hope for a better future for the continent. The fraudulent honour done on President Muhammadu Buhari as an anti corruption hero by the African Union (AU) a few weeks ago is nothing but a blight on the continent’s conscience and a call to celebratory pillaging, looting and impunity.
Those African nations have failed themselves terribly is one troubling nightmare unsettling the efforts for a possible redemption. African plagues are not necessarily because it fails to contribute less than 5% to human and scientific advancement, but because of her celebration of failure and reward for brazen corruption in the face of ruthless civil wars mounted by beastly political gamblers and nurtured by innocent blood.
Virtually all the Africans leaders as much as the denizens of the old world and its archaic values, the tendency is to live in perpetual denial. “It’s a collective state of child-like daydreaming and regression into a phantasmagorical world of delusion and deception in which uncomfortable truths and reality are pressed out to be replaced by saccharine versions”, in the words of eminent Prof. Adebayo Williams. This strategic elision of the truth as a way of evading social responsibility and confrontation with evil is a function of African societies rooted in ritual and magic as the order of existence rather than hurtful science.
Truly, Africa is a continent in search heroes! From the outset, the African Union is a geo-political entity covering the entirety of the African continent with a unification mandate to speak with one voice, protect her people, solidarity for purposeful governance and African rearmament that will compete favourably with other continents of the world.
Over time, OAU lost its lustre, became lame duck and failed miserably to protect the rights and liberties of African citizens from their own political leaders. This has earned the organization debasing sobriquet “Dictators’ Club”. Worse of all is the new low the continent has been sunk: Africans selling themselves at auctions as slaves to fellow Africans in exchange for as little as $400 each has become a curse — not just on humanity — the despotic, corrupt African leaders who prefer personal vanity to actual governance.
The African Union has yet to come up with a permanent solution since the CNN came up with dehumanizing video footage on November 16, 2017, showing tens of thousands of migrants, many of them from West Africa held in horrific camps and warehouses on the Libyan coast, hoping to reach Europe. The sight of migrant admitting, “Sure, I was sold”, and many more migrants who are rescued at sea and brought to Italy telling the story of how they are beaten, tortured and in most cases — raped by traffickers in Libya is a clear evidence of how African continental leadership has failed itself — her people and the global community.
The head of the International Organization for Migration Mr. Mohammed Abdiker estimated that there are 700,000 to one million migrants in Libya, and more than 2,000 have died at sea in 2017 alone. Regrettably, 1/3 of the young women who end up as prostitutes on the streets of Italy are Nigerian girls — as young as 13, forced to sell themselves for as little as 10 euros (£8.90), most time — terrified into submission by the gang rape and voodoo curses. The record has shown that “more than 80 per cent of Nigerian teenage girls and young women who make it to Italy are forced into the sex trade”, as a result of the collapse of government structures since President Muhammadu Buhari took office in 2015.
It is either that the image brokers of African Union are victims of continental naivety or politically blind. If they believe Mr. Buhari has formed a government of angels — free of corruption in the midst of so much resources — why is Nigeria still in this political Egypt? Why is there so much blood, sorrow, pains and poverty? Where is the change President Buhari promised to tackle corruption?
That President Buhari has been designated as anti graft hero, its symbol or the man to champion graft crusade against theft of public treasury looters on the African continent explains why Africa is impossible and irredeemable. As I pen down this piece, tens of hundreds of Nigerians are protesting against President Buhari’s reinstatement of the Executive Secretary (ES) of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof. Usman Yusuf, who was suspended and under probe by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, on July 6, 2017, for allegedly defrauding NHIS the sum of N919m fraud and illegal withdrawal of N10 billion respectively without authorisation.
In a letter with a reference number, ‘SH/COS/10/6/A/29’, signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, the President informed the minister of Yusuf’s recall, adding that he (Yusuf) had been “admonished to work harmoniously with the minister.” President Buhari’s letter made no mention of the probe Yusuf was facing at the EFCC. Shamefully, Yusuf was being grilled by the men of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday when his letter of reinstatement was sent to the Federal Ministry of Health.
Yusuf, who is being probed by the EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, was accused of perpetrating fraud to the tune of N919m. A committee set up by the minister had submitted a probe report to the President last September accusing Yusuf of abuse of office. In the report which was compiled by senior officials of the health ministry, the Department of State Services and the ICPC, the panel described Yusuf as a public servant who “portrayed a holier than thou attitude but at the background, milked the agency dry” by conniving with others to perpetrate fraud to the tune of over N919m. According to the panel, the N919m was dubiously given as payment to consultants for staff training. In the midst of the obvious deceit all Nigerians told about the scam by President Buhari’s the minister of information was that Prof. Usman can still be probe while holding the same office!
Mr. Buhari’s government, without prejudice, is one of the biggest ORGANIZED FRAUD since Nigerian Independence. Late last year, facts emerged on how the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, twisted a 2013 high court judgment to ensure that former Chairman, Pension Reform Task Team, Mr. Abdul Rashid Maina, was recalled and promoted by the Federal Civil Service Commission, FCSC.
Malami had in a letter with Ref. No. HAGF/FCSC/2017/Vol. 1/3, directed the FCSC to give consequential effect to a judgment he said voided the process that led to Maina’s dismissal from service. On the strenght of the letter, the FCSC, at the end of a meeting it held on June 14, 2017, requested the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, OHCSF, vide a letter marked FC.4029/82/Vol. III/160, and dated June 21, to advise the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior to consider the AGF’s letter and make appropriate recommendations regarding Maina’s case.
In line with the directive, the Ministry of Interior, at its Senior Staff Committee meeting held on June 22, placed reliance on the AGF’s letter and recommended that Maina be reinstated into the Service as Deputy Director on Salary Grade Level 16. Consequently, the FCSC, on August 16, approved the reinstatement of Maina with effect from February 21, 2013 (being the date he was earlier dismissed from Service. The FCSC further okayed Maina to sit for the next promotion examination to the post of Director (Administration) with Salary Grade Level 17.
Meanwhile, contrary to claim by the AGF that Maina was given clean-bill-of-health by the a court of competent jurisdiction, a copy of the judgment obtained by journalists revealed that the court merely quashed a warrant of arrest that was issued against the former pension boss by the Nigerian Senate. The judgment which was delivered on March 27, 2013, by Justice Adamu Bello of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court (now retired), only faulted the process that led to the issuance of the warrant of arrest against Maina.
The court however did not clear Maina of allegation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, that he embezzled pension fund to the tune of N2billion. The court, in its judgment, equally did not insulate Maina from EFCC’s investigations. Rather, Justice Bello advised Maina to surrender himself to the authorities investigating the alleged N2 billion fraud.
Exerpts from the judgment read: “The implication of the failure to produce and annex these vital documents to the counter affidavit of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th and 9th respondents is that there is no evidence before me to show that the investigation commence by the said respondents is one validly commenced in accordance with the provisions of Section 88(1) of the 1999 constitution.
“It has such powers and when properly exercised, it can summon any person in Nigeria to give evidence and can also compel the attendance of any such person. Let me end the judgment by advising the applicant to submit himself voluntarily to the investigation by the Senate in order to show that he respects constituted authority. It is the least expected of him as a public officer and as a citizen of Nigeria”, Justice Bello held.
Again, the worse tragedy in the whole saga was Mr. President Buhari’s dumbness. He merely gives an evasive directive, ordering the re-sack of the re-instated and promoted pension thief, Abdulrasheed Maina he earlier gives order to be reinstated. President Buhari DID NOT sack his interior minister who facilitated this fraud in the Interior Ministry. He did not sack his attorney general or the COS who are all part of this roguery. He ordered the sack of Maina while his attorney general obtained an injunction in his defense to prevent the Senate Committee from investigating his reinstatement carried out by his government. Nigerians are yet to know the outcome of the unappropriated $25billion NNPC contract scandal under Maikati Baru, his Fulani brother — an amount more than the total Nigerian annual budget.
President Buhari did not only violate and desecrate the Nigeria Constitution he sworn to protect, but he has made Nigeria an exclusive preserve of northern Nigeria. All the key security appointments in his cabinet are all from Fulani extraction. They are as follow: Chief of Army Staff, Major-General, Tukur Buratai (Borno State); Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshall Sadique Abubakar (Bauchi State); Chief of Defence Intelligence, Air Vice Marshall Monday Morgan (Benue State); and National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno (Borno State).
Others are Mansur Mohammed Dan Alli Minister of Defence (Zamfara State), Abdulrahman Dambazzau Minister of Internal Affairs(Kaduna State), Lawal Daura (DG-SSS) (Katsina State) Ibrahim Magu Chairman, EFCC (Borno State), Mohammed Saliu Usman-AVM (Chief of Defence Intelligence (Adamawa State), Ibrahim Idris Inspector-General of Police (Niger State), Abubakar Malami (Attorney-General (Kebbi State), Ahmed Rufai Ababukar DG NIA (Katsina State), Abdullahi Gana Muhammadu Civil Defence (Niger State), Hamid Ali Controller-General of Customs (Bauchi State), Mohammed Babandede Comptroller-General of Immigration (Jigawa State), Ja’afaru Ahmed (Comptroller-General of Prisons) (Kebbi State).
Interestingly, section 14 subsection (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (as amended) states thus: “The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or any of its agencies”.
Since the end of the Nigeria Civil War, Nigerians have never be this divided along the ethnic line such that Fulani herdsmen which President Buhari openly associate with as the grand patron has killed over 10,000 people according to Amnesty International, in the last two and a half years. The reason the bloodbath going on in Nigeria remains unchecked is because Mr. Buhari has a history rooted in compromise, bigotry and bloodcurdling.
In fact, Prof. Farooq Kerogi described President appropriately when he wrote: “Perhaps Buhari never had any integrity to start with. It was our desperation for a hero that caused us to dress him in borrowed robes. What man of integrity would lie that he took a bank loan to buy his presidential nomination form while two of his children were enrolled in a United Kingdom university? What man of integrity would have a multimillion-naira house in Abuja but lied that he had modest houses only in Daura, Kaduna, and Kano? What man of integrity would be afraid to publicly and transparently declare his assets after promising to do so? What man of integrity chooses to be the sole signatory to his presidential campaign’s bank account to which millions of poor, struggling Nigerians donated tens of millions of naira and not give an account of how he spent the money? What man of integrity perpetually surrounds himself with corrupt people and, worse still, defends their corruption?”
African Union can still redeem itself if it wants to be taken seriously by global community and organizations. It has to dethrone President Buhari from that symbolic fraud of a position as an anti graft hero. AU should redress the anomalies and address President Buhari properly as an ambassador of corruption, sympathizer of Fulani Jihadists’ bigot and ethnic potentate.
Erasmus, A Public Affairs Analyst writes from Lagos, Nigeria.
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