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To whom should Patience Jonathan explain her source of wealth?


Everyone knows Patience Jonathan was a business woman even before she got married; to query her source of wealth, is at best, an attempt to humiliate her

There is no doubt that President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has recorded some milestone in its fight against corruption. 

The prudent management of government funds through the Single Treasury Account [TSA] has substantially, if not totally eliminated leakages and profligacy in government, notwithstanding the position of the critics of the policy. 

However, government has taken few steps in the fight against corruption that appear to suggest double standard in the execution of the fight.

When the current All Progressives Congress [APC] administration came on board, the outgoing administration, knowing full well that President Muhammadu Buhari [PMB], will go extra length to recover looted funds in the hands of government officials, warned that the probe of past administrations should not be selective, but whole. 

So far, only the administration of former President Jonathan appears to be receiving probe treatment. 

Search light is yet to be beamed on past administrations.

The recent reports that the former first lady of Nigeria, Dame Patience Jonathan had sued the Financial and Economic Crimes Commission [EFCC] for freezing her bank account, apart from strengthening the theory of double standard in the fight against the menace of corruption, appears to have heralded the extension of the fight to individuals who were not public officers in the past. 

Every Nigerian knows that Dame Patience Jonathan was a business woman even before she got married to former President Jonathan, for EFCC and CSO to query her source of wealth, is at best, an attempt to humiliate her and further tell citizens of the country that Nigeria is a classical example of George Orwell’s animal farm, where some animals are more equal than others.

Many fair minded Nigerians had reasoned that, if the former first lady’s explanation as to how she opened the accounts in question were not satisfactory to EFCC, what they had expected the Commission to do was to comb the Banks and other Financial Institutions Act [BOFIA] to see if there was infraction of the law. 

For instance, is it an offence for somebody to open an account in the bank through a proxy? If so, what is the penalty? 

But, to ask Dame Patience Jonathan to explain her source of wealth is tantamount to asking all former first ladies in Nigeria to explain same. 

Come to think of it, is it not preposterous for any right thinking Nigerian to question Dame Patience Jonathan of her source of wealth, when we know that her region lays the golden egg in Nigeria? 

If General Theophilus Danjuma could tell Nigerians that he did not know what to do with money, in apparent reaction to the 500 million dollars he realized from the sale of his oil well in the Niger Delta, while should one of the owners of the same oil in the region, who is, and was not a public office holder be made to explain her source of mere 31.4 million dollars?

Watchers of events in Nigeria have reasoned that Dame Patience Jonathan is in the eyes of the storm because she is from the South Southern part of Nigeria. 

They hinged their argument on the fact that after the civil war, the Northern elites appropriated 90% of Nigerian oil wells in the Niger Delta to themselves, thereby, becoming billionaire in hard currencies overnight. 

It is a well-known fact that 80% of investments in oil and gas in the Niger Delta belong to Northerners. 

Many Nigerians believe that the crisis in the Niger Delta region is because of the reckless manner the Northern elites cornered the wealth of the Nation from the region to them-selves. 

If Dame Patience Jonathan were to come from the North, will the Northern led EFCC be treating her like this, they asked? 

Unless we want to deceive ourselves in Nigeria, it is not possible for a former first family not to have their own oil well, not to even talk of a first family from the Niger Delta. 

If we may ask, is there any former first family in Nigeria without an oil well in the Niger Delta region?

Only recently, the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, why warning the PMB led administration of negative implication of creating overnight billionaires through the Foreign Exchange subsidy sales; succeeded in highlighting the fact that the elite class controls the wealth of the nation. 

He even said that as a privileged Nigerian [elite], he can sit in the comfort of his room and order for 10 million dollars Forex at government approved price of N197. 

Every informed Nigerian knows how much profit Emir Sanusi would have made if he decides to join the league. 

He further said, it appears the current administration has substituted fuel subsidy with forex subsidy. If we may ask, who are those Emir Sanusi talked about? 

As far as this writer is concerned, they are the privileged class in the society [elites].

In a nutshell, there is no need for government through EFCC to subject Dame Patience Jonathan to this type of scrutiny because in the first place she was not a public office holder to suggest that the money voted to her office was embezzled by her or her cronies. 

Also, to attack her business interests is to suggest that her husband, former President Goodluck Jonathan committed a crime by conceding defeat in the Presidential election of 2015; the implication of this is sure incubation of sit-tight leadership in the future.

Emeka Oraetoka, Information Management Expert & Researcher, wrote in from Abuja; e-mail: oramekllis@lycos.com   


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