Archive for December 2012

GEJ’s 5-DAY ₦161BN CONSPIRACY   7 comments

Since its inception, the Goodluck Jonathan administration has treated Nigerians to very intriguing, sometimes laughable, events featuring dramatic twists and the sort of conspiracies that can only be the stuff of grand corruption! The most dramatic of such events, of course, remains the cowardly and botched attempt to remove the fuel subsidy in January 2012.

In the first weeks of December 2012, however, the Jonathan administration presented Nigerians with another very dramatic twist to the bigger fuel subsidy narrative. It was a conspiracy by fuel barons, who enjoy the regime’s subservience, to forcefully draw out more funds from the national till after facing what appeared to be some resistance to that devilish plan from the Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (NOI). What followed was equally devilish – the kidnapping of NOI’s mum to compel her to play along with the plan and release the requested funds!

What GEJ’s administration effectively staged was a drama, literally, that incidentally, perfectly suits German playwright Gustav Freytag’s 5-act dramatic structure which consists of five parts: An exposition, a rising action, a climax, a falling action and a revelation – or dénouement.

On December 15, Steve Ade (Twitter: @steve_ade) lucidly presented GEJ’s 5-day, 5-act fuel subsidy conspiracy as follows:
– Exposition: “Sunday (December 9): The Minister’s mum was kidnapped (rather adultnapped).”
– Rising action: “Monday (December 10): Kidnappers asked for a $1bn (₦161bn) ransom.”
– Climax: “Tuesday (December 11): GEJ sent a supplementary budget of ₦161bn ($1bn) to the [NASS].”
– Falling action: “Thursday (December 13): The Senate passed the supplementary budget of ₦161bn ($1bn).”
– Dénouement: “Friday (December 14): The Minister’s mum was released.”

On December 17, at a press conference three days after her mother’s release, NOI said: “[Her mother’s kidnappers] told her that I must get on the radio and television and announce my resignation. When she asked why, they told her it was because I did not pay oil subsidy money.” To foreclose any further details related to her mum’s kidnap and the said conspiracy, NOI deliberately refused to take questions from pressmen at the news conference.

For an administration that was battle-ready to remove the fuel subsidy without any qualms earlier this year, it is evident that their motive for insisting on a supplementary subsidy allocation for three weeks, at the cost of ₦161bn, was certainly not in the masses’ interest. By the way, to further lend credibility to the above claim, if indeed the ₦161bn was needed to service the provision of more subsidised fuel, what explains the fuel scarcity that has remained the norm in many parts of the country since it was approved?

Nigeria’s present ruling class is not at all sophisticated in their whims and caprices. They are only able to cash in on the people’s subdued deportment. Expressing this view, political commentator, Dada Olusegun, remarked that “It must be so frustrating for the federal government that we know their every game.” Not saluting their chicanery but, elsewhere, the bad guys operate using usually complex methods. It often takes a lot of peering to unearth massive corruption in other countries. The Rupert Murdoch scandal in the British press and the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme in the US demonstrate how well doctored-up corruption can be in, especially Western countries. In Nigeria, the corrupt [oil] cabal have a rather very clear and direct way of operating – pillaging state funds by simply compelling their puppets in government to play along in their unholy acts.

It’s not me alone who thinks that Jonathan’s governance is more fiction than reality. Adenike Adebayo recently tweeted: “Blockbuster action movie showing at your nearest cinema called CORRUPTION, starring Goodluck E. J., PhD.” In May, Adebowale Adejugbe established very striking parallels between Jonathan and Charles Logan, a cowardly and reluctant US president in the blockbuster movie, ‘24’. Jonathan’s record on leadership is so shambolic and far from reality that, at best, it fits only fictional examples and images.

Twice this year, on January 1 and December 25, Jonathan publicly said he is slow in order to avoid making mistakes. Truth is, Jonathan is actually very slow and timid to take bold and decisive steps that guarantee good governance for the masses but very swift and daring to act in favour of the corrupt elements and vested interests that have defined the most part of his administration. For example, Jonathan swiftly pursued the fuel subsidy removal, speedily approved a very controversial recommendation for Justice Ayo Salami’s retirement and quickly set this latest ₦161bn conspiracy in motion whereas he has remained very slow on tackling corruption, insecurity, health, infrastructure, environmental degradation and pollution in the Niger Delta and other challenges facing the nation. In fact, more often than not, when confronted by very important issues, Jonathan has resorted to his habitual and lazy approach of creating committees and more committees.

In all, like the above ₦161bn conspiracy demonstrates, Jonathan’s administration is manifestly a blockbuster tragicomedy. It is up to Nigerians to make sure this movie ends in 2015! What Nigeria desperately needs at the pinnacle of its political leadership is a reality show on good governance – not a tragicomedy on corruption!

If you are still one of those finding it hard to ascertain the background to this latest fuel-subsidy conspiracy, some detailed facts and figures on the subsidy, courtesy of Ogunyemi Bukola’s “The Jonathan Metrics of Fuel Subsidy Scam” will do you good: