I stumbled over an article on Sahara Reporters entitled, "Why Buhari Must Order The Immediate Arrest Of Okonjo-Iweala And CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele" by Ilesanmi Omabomi.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala & Godwin Emefiele

On the surface, the writer appeared to be a genuinely concerned Nigerian seeking for the success of President Muhammadu Buhari's much-touted fight against corruption, but a careful reading of the article revealed the desire for a lopsided fight against corruption designed to only trap enemies of the ruling party by any means possible. Sadly, this has been the bane of the recent anti-corruption fight, with people from opposing parties only interested in the prosecution of the ‘corruption’ perpetrated by political enemies, given the same circumstances, they turn a blind eye to their political allies.

For instance, the Central Bank Of Nigeria’s (CBN) transactions under the immediate past President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GEJ, are purportedly being X-rayed in this so-called anti-corruption fight, but somehow Ilesanmi Omabomi ‘s X-Ray is only focused on the tenure of current CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, while deliberately ignoring the tenure of the former CBN governor, and current Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi?

Ilesanmi Omabomi despite not having any damning or smoking gun evidence against the current CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and the former Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, started by quoting from the supposed legal point that, "subordinate has no legal obligation to obey illegal orders from his/her superior". This he did in order to undermine the statement made by the former coordinating minister of the economy that she performed her duties professionally and obeyed directives from the president. In the first paragraph, Omabomi alleged, and I quote, "Few days ago, Okonjo-Iweala admitted giving Sambo Dasuki the sum of $322 million on the orders of former President Goodluck Jonathan. Before that, the same Okonjo-Iweala admitted spending $2 billion from the Excess Crude Oil account on the orders of the former President. The Central Bank of Nigeria under Godwin Emefiele has admitted giving Sambo Dasuki billions of naira and dollars on the orders of the former president". Mr. Ilesanmi Omabomi is, therefore, aware of the fact that the duo did as directed by their principal. They neither spent the money themselves nor diverted it into their personal accounts. The sums, however, were expended in ventures clearly spelt out to the duo by their principal until otherwise proven.

Mr. Ilesanmi Omabomi is also aware that in cases such as the above, the authorization of the National Assembly ought to have been obtained. The question then is why did Ilesanmi Omabomi start and end at Godwin Emefiele even though the administration under trial here is that of Goodluck Jonathan? The first CBN Governor under the tenure of former president GEJ was the current Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, and it was on record that during his tenure as a governor, he donated 100 Million Naira to Muslim victims of Boko haram, without the approval of the National Assembly. Mr. Omabomi did not find this breach of office worthy of mention in his lop-sided article, not to mention worthy of investigation. Recall that his focus is on GEJ's tenure, why would our collective attempt to probe the CBN under the said tenure start and end with Emefiele who came after Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, and was CBN governor for only the last year of President Jonathan’s tenure?

Even President Muhammadu Buhari himself in recent times, appropriated bailout funds to insolvent states (mostly APC governed states) who were unable to pay their workers without the approval of the National Assembly. My reference to the bailout funds by the President is not to criticise the "favour" done by the president for the insolvent state governors, but rather to call out Ilesanmi Omabomi's hypocrisy. It is an open secret that most of these governors were responsible for sponsoring the APC’s presidential campaign with funds from their States’ coffers. Mr. Ilesanmi Omabomi, like most of his co-travelers, is clearly blinded by ethnic based sentiments and Party politics.

Furthermore, Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s tenure as governor was tainted with allegations of infractions of the provisions of Public Procurement Act by politically conscious Nigerians who are aware of the Financial Reporting Council reports that nailed Mr. Sanusi.  It was alleged that by deliberately refusing to be bound by the provisions of the Act, the CBN under Mr. Sanusi has not only decided to act in an unlawful manner but has also persisted in promoting a governance regime characterised by financial recklessness, waste and impunity, as demonstrated by the contents of it 2012 Financial Statements.

Mr. Ilesanmi Omabomi is not alone in this journey of course. The new distraction in town is news former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki's alleged crimes, arrest, and ‘goats and yam’ stories about Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Former President Goodluck Jonathan, Deziani Allison-Madueke, and recently Godwin Emefiele - the comments and mass hysteria that follow the resulting assumed intellectual debate is overwhelming. Come to think of it. Does the President who is not part of the investigation of these alleged financial crimes have the powers to determine who should be arrested or not? The answer is “No.”   It is the courts and the police that have the power to issue arrest warrants and effect arrests, and this is done through the issuance of bench warrants. Only Section 215(3) of the 1999 Constitution makes the closest reference to the powers of the President in such matters, it states thus, “the President or such other Minister of the Government of the Federation as he may authorise in that behalf may give to the Inspector-General of Police such lawful instructions with respect to the maintenance and securing of public safety and public order as he may consider necessary, and the Inspector General of Police shall comply with those or cause them to be complied with.” So on what premise is Mr. Ilesanmi Omabomi requesting the President to carry out his desire to directly effect arrests of citizens?

The point is that any scrutiny of the CBN during the tenure of President Goodluck Jonathan should be all encompassing and should include Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s tenure as CBN governor. We have heard of the alleged dubious sale of Intercontinental Bank and several other donations to universities carried out by the current Emir. Whether or not the sale was fraudulent should also be investigated as part of the fight against corruption, unless the current government is only concerned with certain persons and interests and not a fight against corruption per se, is already being believed in some quarters.

At the end of the day, every well-meaning Nigerian expects to see a holistic fight against corruption, and not a selective one. The title of Emir should not constitute a barrier to a legal investigation neither should anyone be subjected to malicious prosecution based on his party, ethnicity or religion. We do hope that the EFCC would also proceed to ‘arrest’ (using the words of Ilesanmi Omabomi) Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi to answer questions pertaining to various allegations raised concerning his tenure at the CBN, failing which the much talked about anti-corruption fight will only be a contrived sham, and as already believed in some quarters, a tool used to fight politics, enemies and opponents.

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