How should I look at Nigeria’s president, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua; as a thief, a usurper, or as the President and commander-in-chief of the Federal Government of Nigeria? This question applies not just to Yar’Adua but to all the men who have been privileged to occupy the government house; from Dodan Barracks to State House Marina to Aso Villa.
Nigeria presently have seven living ex heads of state and commander-in-thief (sorry, commander-in-chief). these have been honoured as members of the National Council of State, with hefty pensions for life, state provided protection and security, and other appurtenances of power – all at our expense.
But, should I really revere Gowon, Buhari and Babangida as my ex leaders bearing in mind their manner of ascension to power? Where the constitution of Nigeria expressly provides that: “The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall not be governed, nor shall any persons or group of persons take control of the Government of Nigeria or any part thereof, except in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution”. (Chapter 1) does that not make these men criminals?
Come to think of it, If Nigeria criminal law teaches me that time does not run against a crime, shouldn’t they be tried for treason?
The Nigeria criminal codes criminalise robbery – it defines stealing as: “A person who fraudulently takes anything capable of being stolen, or fraudulently converts to his own use or to the use of any other person anything capable of being stolen, is said to steal that thing”. (Chapter 34) and so if the evidence shows that Babangida stole 12 billion dollars from the Gulf Oil windfall, does that not make him a thief?
Does that not make him liable to imprisonment in harmony with Section 390: “Any person who steals anything capable of being stolen is guilty of a felony, and is liable, if no other punishment is provided, to imprisonment for three years”? – Instead of a seat at the National Council of States?
Moreover, seeing that he forcefully took over the government by the use of armed soldiers, thus giving him access to the vaults of our central Bank by force, does that not introduce the element of arms, thus making him an armed robber? Shouldn’t he be condemned as such and made to face the firing squad?
Our law expressly provides that no government official shall have a foreign account, and yet it is an open secret that from head to toe, they flout this law with impunity. Orji Uzor Kalu accussed Obasanjo of maintaing a foreign accountm and yet nothing happened.
If that were so, and we are now in a democracy and under the rule of law, should the National Assembly allocate these hefty material and sundry benefits to them, thus rewarding them for their acts of brigandage?
Ok, alright, odimma, many Nigerians believe that Obasanjo did not win the 1999, and 2007 elections, and yet he served for 8 years as president. In the end, CALCOL have submitted evidence of criminal acts perpetrated by Obasanjo while in power, should I really come to his defence when a BBC Journalist labelled him a corrupt president? Should I still respect him as my president?
And now to our man of the moment; without an iota of doubt, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua has no mandate to be the president of Nigeria. He himself admitted as much when he proclaimed that the election that brought him to power was fraudulent and promised to reform the electoral process.
I advised him then to reject the result and cancel the election and order a re-run; promising him that we would then vote for him; armed with a legitimate mandate, he would then be an effective president.
Unfortunately, he refused to listen; the lures of lucre proved irresistible. Should the fact that the Supreme Court legalised his election make it legitimate? The Saharareporters stridently reported that the presidency bribed the Supreme Court Justices to get the judicial result and even mentioned the hand through which the bribe money was channelled.
I took their report with a pinch of salt then because I refused to believe that their eminence would be so corrupted until the incredible was actually confirmed to me by someone who should know, a very reliable source!
The source added that in fact the legal fee for Yar’Adua’s solicitors was in the neighbourhood of 1 Billion Naira! 1 Billion Naira of our money, and that the money was delivered in cash? why cash? why no paper trail?
Is Yar’Adua aware that he should not use government money to pay the legal fees for his election tribunal case? That if he does that, he is stealing? And that it makes him a thief and a robber?
So is Yar’Adua a thief then? If so, should I still regard as my president? Should a robber, who stole our collective property, be honoured as my leader? If he illegitimately bought and rigged an election to become the president, does that not make him a usurper, and if so, should I still respect him as my president?
Ok, now that Yar’Adua has become president, I decided to give him the benefit of doubt, not just because we are powerless to change the situation, but also because of his antecedents as an ascetic simple man, less prone to corruption.
If fact, during the first years of his presidency, I called a friend in Nigeria to complain that Yar’Adua seems so slow, he agreed but prefers him still. He reasoned that its better for him to remain there and do nothing instead of allowing the “PDP thieves” to loot the whole money.
I also believe Yar’Adua when he proclaimed at his inauguration that he will maintain a “zero tolerance to corruption”. But now Saharareporters are reporting again that with the aid of his wife, the Yar’Adua family and their cronies are engaging in massive looting of our oil money. And don’t tell me to disregard Saharareporters because they have been proved correct countless times.
I am really confused because I am not just a concerned citizen, I am also a devout Christian and I take my Bible seriously. Now my Bible has commanded me at Romans chapter 13 verses 1: “Let every soul be subject unto the governing powers”; and at verse 7: “Give everyone what you owe him… if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour”.
But does not the same Bible say, “Those who honour me I will honour, but those who despise me will be disdained” (1Samuel 2:30) – Have PDP honoured me if they disregarded my vote, took away my right as a Nigerian citizen to elect my president, and arrogantly gave it to Yar’Adua?
Have Nigerian leaders honoured me by stealing us dry, mismanaged our commonwealth and made me a second class citizen in my own country? Have they honoured me if by their actions and inactions they have hounded me out of my country thus making me a third class citizen in a foreign land?
Should I honour and respect a thief, even if he is the President?