- Category: DANIEL ELOMBAH
- Monday, 14 May 2012
- By Daniel Elombah
"In presenting myself for service, I make no pretence that I have a magic wand that will solve all of Nigeria's problems or that I am the most intelligent Nigerian, Far from it. What I do promise is this: If I am elected President in 2011, I will make a covenant with you the Nigerian people to always do right by you, to tell you the
truth at all times, to carry you along and most importantly to listen to you, fellow citizens in our communities and also those of you on this page" - President Goodluck Jonathan Kicking Off his 2011 Campaign on Facebook.
The entire London staff of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM)’s chief investment officer are set to lose their jobs as a $2 billion trading loss prompts the first executive departures as soon as this week. The first member of the team to resign today was Ina Drew, who oversees the unit.
Achilles Macris, who ran the London desk that made the botched trades, is expected to depart along with one of his senior lieutenants, Javier Martin-Artajo. They will follow Mrs Drew, one of the most powerful women on Wall Street, out of the door today. Other likely departures in London include Bruno Iksil, the banker nicknamed “Voldemort” and “the Whale” because of the big positions he took in the credit markets. He is said to be directly responsible for the trades and, according to the Wall Street Journal, is almost certain to be on the hit list.
Chief Executive Jamie Dimon, 56, announced the loss May 10, assailing his firm’s handling of trading in synthetic credit securities as “flawed, complex, poorly reviewed, poorly executed and poorly monitored.”
Action, not Words
Three weeks ago, a report by Nigeria’s House of Representatives Committee found that Nigeria’s subsidy regime between 2009 and 2011 - the period the report covers - was fraught with "endemic corruption and entrenched inefficiency".
Investigators looking into the subsidy found importers were being paid for 59 million liters a day, while the country only consumes 35 million and found that mismanagement and theft by fuel marketers and government officials cost $6.8 billion (1.1trillion Naira)over three years -- about a quarter of Nigeria's annual budget.
It has been three weeks since the House produced the report detailing massive corruption in the state subsidized petrol import scheme and Jonathan has yet to indicate how he intends to respond. Why? Simply because many of the suspects are his allies, friends and supporters!
But if President Jonathan is what his spokesman Reuben Abati says he is - charismatic, a man who has the common touch, lot of colour and dynamism to his personality, a symbol of hope for many young Nigerians, change agent”, etc etc - heads would have rolled by now, just as heads are rolling in JP Morgan.
If I were Goodluck Jonathan, I will prosecute anyone, be it friend or family that is found guilty of these scandals. This action, if he takes it, may save his presidency, but Inaction on one of the biggest corruption scandals in Nigerian history will hurt Jonathan's reformist credentials and further alienate his government from a disillusioned population. It could also prompt major public protests.
Inaction will show that contrary to Reuben Abati’s assertion, President Jonathan is indeed “colourless, clueless and slow to act on issues of national importance.”
The President is currently facing a frustrated and alienated people at home. Right now, Nigerians are very, very, apprehensive about his ability, independent from unelected forces, to handle the Presidency. They see Boko Haram as having the upper hand. They see scandals coming from the SEC, the telecom sector, and then this subsidy scandal and they ask; could it get any worse?
Jonathan should act decisively. Any shift or attempt to appease the culprits, or be lenient to them, or shove it off under the carpet, will be met by national resistance. If Jonathan's administration wants to demonstrate it is bedevilled with corruption, this subsidy scandal is an opportunity.
The money involved in this scandal is so humongous that Nigerians cannot let go easily. Most Nigerians are mad and outraged and rightly so. Those involved are the greediest, most corrupt bastards, Nigerians have ever seen. They should be held as economic saboteurs, and formally charged as such.
Yes there could be a political show-down between the cabal and this presidency; Yes, the cabal with fight back and yes, the PDP may face repercussions, but at the end, Jonathan will win, if he is seen by Nigerians as finally fighting or confronting the cabal. He has the “federal might” at his disposal.
The Transform Nigeria Movement (TNM) known officially as Transform Nigeria Citizens Initiative yesterday joined millions of other Nigerians to call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to implement the entire recommendations of the House of Representatives report on the nation’s fuel subsidy regime.
In a press statement made available to Elombah.com, the global group made up of Nigerians at home and in Diaspora said the findings of the ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives was not surprising given the prevailing poor institutional linkages, infrastructural weakness, governance and process lapses as well as some kind of impunity, which appear to frustrate all efforts at enthroning openness, transparency and good business ethics in the oil and gas industry over the years.
TNM also said that Nigeria will not make any meaningful progress unless these leakages that haemorrhage the economy are plugged. Exposing and prosecuting these culprits is a first step and consistent with the role of the legislature in the implementation of the global principles of extractive industries transparency initiative, which Nigeria voluntarily signed up to in 2003.
Expressing anxiety at the conflicting signals coming from the Federal government on the results of the probe, the group said: “We are particularly concerned that the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke (SAN), last week described the report as mere “fact finding”.
“First indications that the report may be heading for what has been called the “mortuary of probes” has already emerged when the Political Adviser to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Alhaji Ali Gullack, described it as lacking credibility.
“Transform Nigeria Movement recalls that on 16 January 2012, Diezani Alison-Madueke (Mrs.) CON Honorable Minister of Petroleum Resources with Presidential approval, had written to invite the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to “immediately review all payments made in respect of subsidies on PMS and kerosene and to take all necessary steps to prosecute any incidence of malfeasance, fraud, over-invoicing, and related illegalities in an open and transparent manner.”
“While we appreciate the AG’s position that “in discharging this onerous responsibility, government must be guided by the dictates of the rule of law and due process as required of any democratically elected and responsible government”, We Urge the President Goodluck Jonathan and his Attorney General Mohammed Adoke, SAN, to make good Mr. President’s initial reaction to the Report of the Fuel Subsidy probe to the effect that “any person found wanting will be prosecuted, irrespective of the person’s standing in the society”.
The group also launched a signature drive to garner support for their position. So far about 200 Nigerians have signed the online petition.
Other groups like the Save Nigeria Group has also demanded prosecution of those indicted in the oil subsidy probe.
Prominent Nigerians last week spoke with one voice, calling on President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to immediately commence the prosecution of all those indicted by the oil subsidy probe. Those that spoke out included Former PDP Chairman, Audu Ogbeh, CNPP’s Osita Okechukwu, Fasehun and others.
In the same vein The Speaker, House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, said last week that the House would take necessary steps to ensure that those indicted in the oil subsidy probe faced justice. Jonathan should not lose the initiative!
Already, strikes are been planned, so, failure to do something or being seen as weak on this issue will determine to what extent he continues to be an effective President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
If Jonathan will live up to the promise made to Nigerians quoted above when he declared his presidential ambition in 20111, “to listen to you, fellow citizens” ‘he will stop wasting time and haul these subsidy crooks before the courts of law.
The populace will lose the remaining trust in this government, if these perpetrators, “these unconscionable looters, these economic saboteurs and these unpatriotic, greedy bastards, walk free”.
Like the leadership of the JP Morgan who insist “the management changes that have to take place to ensure that a firm line has been drawn under this,” Jonathan should draw a line to this scandal and start by sacking his Ministers, Heads of NNPC and any other government official indicted by the probe.
Nigerians expect no less from this administration!