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EFFC’s dangerous gamble, by Abia Govt

Posted by From LUCKY NWANKWERE in Abuja on 2006/10/02 | Views: 333 |

EFFC’s dangerous gamble, by Abia Govt


One prominent feature of the Federal Government’s anti-corruption crusade is that it is deliberately targeted at perceived enemies of the government. Since the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was set up in 2002 it has never left anybody in doubt about its mission as an agent of vendetta and political suppression. All the persons so far arrested, tried or jailed by the commission are visible critics of the misrule of the Federal Government.

One prominent feature of the Federal Government’s anti-corruption crusade is that it is deliberately targeted at perceived enemies of the government. Since the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was set up in 2002 it has never left anybody in doubt about its mission as an agent of vendetta and political suppression. All the persons so far arrested, tried or jailed by the commission are visible critics of the misrule of the Federal Government.

It was not therefore surprising when the Chairman of the Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu appeared before the Senate to cast aspersion and disparage the person and exalted office of the Executive governor of Abia State. Ribadu’s comportment and general mien belied the genuineness of his mission.

His appearance and composure smacked of personal animosity, hate and spitefulness. Indeed, he did not hide the fact that he was sent by his sponsors to demean and vilify the person of the governor to either demoralize the governor in his bid for the president in 2007 or scare millions of his followers who have daily expressed their preference for him.

On several occasions in the past the EFCC has been challenged to publish any facts available to it about its spurious claims on Governor Kalu to no avail. In known democracies all over the world it is not the practice to make wild and unsubstantiated claims about individuals or established institutions. The practice is to support such claims with verifiable facts and figures. But in Nigeria, the reverse is the case. What Mallam Ribadu did on the floor of the Senate was not only malicious and tendentious but insensible and fallacious. Reeling out figures without provable facts was quite unfortunate.

For every reasonable watcher of Ribadu’s theatricals on the floor of the Senate it was not too difficult to decipher what he had set out to achieve. He was at the Senate to paint Governor Kalu black in furtherance of the devious machinations of the federal government to suppress, intimidate and silence the vocal voices opposed to the failed Third Term Agenda.

What Ribadu did was not totally unexpected, because we have it on good authority that there is a wicked script by the Federal Government to deal decisively, in whatever way feasible, with all those who worked against President Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure elongation project.

Governor Kalu’s ordeal since 2001 stemmed from the fact that he has stoutly opposed the arm-twisting style of leadership of the President.

The clampdown on Slok Air, Slok Oil and other business concerns of the governor (which he set up ever before he became governor) is designed to emasculate the governor, and shut him out of political limelight. Incidentally, Slok Air which was seemingly rejected by the Nigerian government on flimsy excuses has now turned the darling of many countries in the West African sub-region. Suffice it to say, that the new plot against Governor Kalu by the Federal Government is borne out of envy, morbid apprehension and hatred, because the recent meteoric rise of the governor was the least thing they had expected.

It could be recalled that only last week the governor threatened to release more damning facts on the Obasanjo/Atiku face-off. Afraid of the possible fall-out of the threat the Federal Government moved fast, using Ribadu, to pre-empt him.

We wish to state the umpteenth time, that President Olusegun Obasanjo owes our nation a duty to explain how he has managed the vast oil resources of Nigeria, including the operations of NNPC, PTDF, National ID Card Project, refineries, NPA, Federal Ministries of Works, Mines and Power. Even the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission (RMFC) recently indicted President Olusegun Obasanjo for spending $13.2billion in a blurred manner.

Governor Kalu has challenged him at different times to give account of his stewardship by first declaring his assets publicly. For these reasons, we wish to state unequivocally that President Olusegun Obasanjo no longer has the moral authority to continue to preside over the affairs of this great nation.

It is painful that EFCC has abandoned its statutory role and has continued to grandstand, making itself a willing tool in the hands of greedy, vicious and desperate politicians. Despite its holier-than-thou dispositions the commission has remained substantially a corrupt and toothless bulldog going by the perception of the international community to its operations.

We challenge the commission to name any big cheese working under President Obasanjo whom it has either arrested or interrogated since it was established. Those on the commission’s supposed wanted list are either critics of the federal government, those opposed to the dead Third Term agenda, or burgeoning and promising politicians and businessmen.

Every Nigerian is aware of the role Governor Kalu has played in our present political dispensation. He has stood out as an octopus in fighting the ills in our nation’s socio-political life. This has attracted him the scorn and vilification of the federal political actors. What is his sin? Is it that he has asked for the equitable rights of his Igbo people or because he has declared interest to succeed President Obasanjo? It is on record that no Igbo man (or even Nigerian) before him has made as much sacrifice as he has in stabilizing the nation’s shaky political life.

It is, therefore, understandable that the federal government would naturally be uncomfortable with his rising political profile. But one thing the federal government and its agents should know is that no amount of intimidation or harassment can stop the governor from his God-destined mission of giving Nigeria focused and responsible leadership.

We cannot fathom where Ribadu got his mind-boggling figure of N25billion as the amount misappropriated by the government of Abia State. Only two months ago the same commission under Ribadu said the state government embezzled N53billion. Why the conflicting figures? How much is the allocation of Abia State for one single person to embezzle N25 billion? Those who churn out these spurious figures definitely are surely ignorant about the workings of government. Government of Abia State has established procedure on fiscal matters, and this makes it impossible for anybody to short-change the government.

Perhaps those who sponsor Ribadu and his agents have deliberately refused to acknowledge the fact that Governor Kalu was the first to start the anti-corruption crusade for as far back as 1999. The success story of his government is hinged on his unrelenting war against corruption and commitment to fiscal discipline. Past quiet investigations, particularly before the 2003 general elections, have shown the governor as a prudent manager of scarce resources.

For seven and half years, Governor Kalu has worked under severe conditions to rescue the people of Abia State from hunger, poverty and neglect. Despite the huge debt portfolio of the government, which it inherited from its predecessors, the governor has worked assiduously and conscientiously to make Abia State the number one in terms of development and peace. It may sound incredible that a government that is bogged down by heavy deductions at source in Abuja could still pay workers’ salaries when due, offer tuition-free education from primary to secondary school, free medical scheme, rehabilitate over 860 primary schools, 400 roads, and discharge other onerous responsibilities that have attracted him the commendation of the people. For instance, between 1999 till date Abia State has received a total of N80 billion. Out of this amount 89% went into payment of salaries, pensions and gratuities.

The people of Abia State and all well-meaning individuals feel saddened by the present development and have shown unequalled solidarity with the governor. We are encouraged by the numerous calls from within and outside the country since Ribadu’s outburst. We wonder why it has taken Ribadu this long to come out with his tale-tall story. We believe that at the fullness of time the truth will come out. But we are certain that the present campaign of calumny against the governor will not deter him from serving the people of Abia State as he has always done. We caution those who plot to ride on the back of others to cling to power to remember that evil has an expiry date. Very soon they will pay for their evil ways.

2007 elections are at the centre of the present dust that Ribadu has raised. The game plan is to shut out any person seen as an obstacle to the evil plan to elongate the tenure of the present regime. But Nigerians and the international community will stoutly and persistently oppose it. Let Ribadu and his cohorts know that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Dr. A.C.B. Agbazuere, JP
Hon. Commissioner for information, Culture and Tourism.

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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

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Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown