President Jonathan’s ‘Dollargate ‘ Scandal: Matters Arising

By Aonduna Tondu

The hollow denials by the Jonathan regime that it offered what is tantamount to a bribe to a delegation of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) are making matters worse for the president.

If anybody needed further evidence that the current government in Abuja is paying lip service to the anti-corruption fight, they got it last week by way of the very troubling revelations which suggest , amongst other incriminating and equally troubling details, that, under the orders of the president,  the Pastor Bakare-led outfit was given a whopping sum of fifty thousand dollars ($50.000.00) by, of all people,  the minister responsible for the Jonathan administration’s rehabilitation effort in the Niger Delta (ND), Mr. Orubebe.

The scope and magnitude of the scandal and its implications for the polity cannot be over-emphasised. And whatever made the SNG return the money to the presidency, the citizenry cannot in good conscience shrug this off. Or worse, try to rationalize the bad conduct of those concerned by saying that it is no big deal and that it is the president’s political enemies that are out to tarnish his ‘good’ name. Should Jonathan and his team insist on  remorselessly  engaging in obfuscation and contrived indignation, Nigerians must call their bluff by  insisting that they muster the courage to sue both Sahara Reporters (SR) and the SNG for defamation.

In its account of this sordid episode in a series of damaging  blunders that have come to define the Jonathan presidency, Sahara Reporters  had narrated how Bakare and his group had been invited to Aso Rock, ostensibly in the bid to convince them to have a change of heart and support Jonathan’s presidential ambition, just like the assistance they had staged earlier in support of the man’s acting presidency during the controversy surrounding the late Umaru Yar’Adua’s health. Pastor Bakare, we are told, has come out in his personal capacity to endorse Muhammadu Buhari who is also vying for the presidency in the 2011 elections on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). 

The SNG has said that when they initially refused to take the  money given to them by Mr. Orubebe, the latter explained that it was a ‘gift’ meant to help them with their transportation  and accommodation needs . After issuing denials that have not really addressed the issue at hand, the Jonathan government has futilely sought to impugn the integrity of both SR and the SNG. ‘’...What I however find intriguing is that there is absolutely no reason to bribe the Save Nigeria Group. When the body on its own volition rose to challenge the sense of drift that had befallen the country over the illness of our late leader, Mallam Umaru Musa Yar’adua, did anyone bribe them? So it is hard to believe that any right thinking person would attempt to do so now.  If a bribe is intended to induce someone to either do something, or to refrain from doing it, what in objective terms would I need to bribe the SNG for at this time? This is a false story that should be dismissed by all right thinking persons’’, wrote the minister of Niger Delta.

Mr. Orubebe’s subterfuge does amount to adding insult to injury. It speaks volumes, though, that he has carefully avoided threatening any court action, probably in the smug expectation that the hapless people of the country, in their traditional tolerance of evil and especially the turpitudes of their soi-disant leaders, will either ignore or soon forget the latest faux-pas of the Jonathan government. This kind of attitude is one of the key factors responsible for the sense of reckless impunity on the part of Nigeria’s ‘big ogas’.

As mentioned above, the alleged bribery has serious implications. The first is that the president’s very generous  ‘gift’ to the SNG is most likely the tip of the iceberg. It is indicative of the sleaze that the Jonathan administration has come to be associated with – a throwback to the kleptocratic tyranny of the former despot, Obasanjo, Mr. President’s mentor and godfather.

The second implication is that Jonathan’s anti-corruption stance is a ruse and that the president and his henchmen have no qualms in corruptly and desperately using state resources in the furtherance of mainly parochial goals of self-aggrandizement.

Importantly also, by their gesture, Jonathan and his allies are sending out an unmistakable message that the campaign against corruption is as good as dead under  the president’s stewardship.

Another implication is that the president has been seriously diminished in the eyes of the world. A situation whereby what should ordinarily be considered  a potent symbol of our legitimate aspirations, namely, the seat of the federal government, has been transformed into a grotesque den for pedestrian transactions, does call for both moral and political sanctions. Like the biblical Christ who chased fornicators , thieves and hagglers from His temple, so should the Nigerian people resolve to cause the dispersion of the present crop of ‘dollar mongers’ and merchants of power from the hallowed precinct of the Nigerian presidency. 

The fifth implication has to do with the mindset of people in government regarding public money and its devastating effect on the development (or lack of it) of the society. It is bad enough that the ‘easy money’ mentality has fuelled the rampant profligacy that is associated with public service in the country. It becomes unbearable when a senior  government official who is charged with his government’s programmes that are nominally aimed at providing basic facilities for the inhabitants of an ecologically ruined region like the Niger Delta is said to be recklessly dolling out money that could very well have been sourced from the budgetary allocations intended for those programmes. And we are not prepared to accept the self-indicting and reprehensible excuse that Jonathan  and his associates are using the money accruing from the sale of oil that is drilled in his backyard so it does not matter if he bribes in order to get what he wants.

Yet another implication has to do with the attitude of our leaders to the national currency, the naira. The decision by the president and his friends to use the American dollar for transactions, shady or otherwise, on Nigerian soil, is indicative of the contempt they have for our national patrimony. Where is the government’s mantra  which incites citizens to be patriotic and patronize local products? With their ‘dollarized thinking’, it is doubtful that Jonathan and his associates at the National Assembly  are interested in helping put in place fiscal measures that will improve the lives of the majority.

It should be noted that Pastor Bakare’s version of what transpired during his group’s encounter  with the president has been backed by a fellow member, Yinka Odumakin. As has been reported also, before money changed hands, there was a candid conversation with the president and some members of his inner-circle. In that exchange which took place in the wake of Atiku Abubakar’s emergence as the consensus candidate of the Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF), the president made it known that he was prepared to use the security forces in order to realize his electoral ambition. It was also hinted to the SNG delegation that the election time-table that the INEC has released for next year’s elections was done in such  a way as to provide the president the opportunity to pressurize the governors into working for his election. Jonathan is said to have told the visibly shocked SNG delegates that an incumbent cannot possibly lose an election! It is apparent that these schemers are so absorbed in their fantasies that they have chosen to close their eyes to the encouraging example of near-by Ghana.

The scary prospect of a president who  believes that an incumbent’s track record should not matter in electoral contests ought to serve as a cautionary tale for all of us. What President Jonathan  and his allies are invariably saying is that the Nigerian voter doesn’t count. What matters is for an  incumbent to rig elections and thereafter, count on the support of the organized civil society and the repression of the security agencies, not to mention other dubious loyalties, in order to legitimize the orchestrated  assault on the sovereign will of the people to choose their representatives. The president’s calculation may be devious but such a tactic had produced tangible but anti-people results in the past when the likes of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC )  and the Christian Association of Nigeria ( CAN) became ready-made tools of blackmail and intimidation against those wanting to protest through mass demonstrations the electoral heists of 2003 and 2007, respectively. This is precisely where Jonathan’s ‘Dollargate’ worries intensely, much more than the other ‘Dollargate’ – the one involving the smuggling on a presidential plane, some years ago,  of a huge sum of money in American currency, by  the erstwhile dictator and his ‘domestic assistant’ at the time, one ‘’Andy’’ Uba,  In that scandal , funds suspected to have been illegally acquired were hauled to the USA to be used in the purchase of merchandise for Obasanjo’s private farm business.

While calling for greater vigilance as the nation enters the election period, it is important to insist on  a transparent probe of President Jonathan’s ‘Dollargate’ scandal . ‘’...The 50 thousand dollar bribery scandal must not be treated lightly or swept under the carpet. The National Assembly and the EFCC must wade into the matter and get to the root of it. We demand a full probe and an immediate resignation of the minister of Niger Delta’’, said Shehu Sani, a human rights and pro-democracy advocate. We concur.

Aonduna Tondu. (aondunatondu@yahoo.com)
 

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Re-@AONDUNA

The fact is, both of them are from Benue State.

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@ Bethram Taylor do not

@ Bethram Taylor do not believe everything u read. If the US is worried, who made OBJ special envoy to the Congo?
@ Deri good one

Bethram Taylor, you represent

Bethram Taylor, you represent all that is wrong with Nigeria. Was it not the CIA that allegedly encouraged IBB to murder Abiola? In your estimation you like your elders past, think u can to sell off the South South because Jonathan is a weakling. Was Atiku not picked from his state by OBJ to become VP? Why did the CIA not get that aspect of the report?
Was it Jonathan that made Atiku the VP from OBJs camp? Why cant the said CIA report tell us how Buhari locked up innocents souls in his gulag which was thrown open to the whole world, when IBB overthrew his government?
Did the CIA encourage Chief Gani to occupy Aso Rock? If the CIA wants another Muttalab to occupy Aso Rock so be it.
The greatest mistake Goodluck made was to describe the militants in the creek as criminal. One day some day, we shall know who the real criminals are in Nigeria. Happily we are gradually gettin close to that point. Jonathan is yet to understand the plans of the old region against the south south. He wants the country to unite. I laugh. Because of the oil. No bi so? That is what Atikus consensus northern candidate means to Nigeria. Reports fished out from local newspapers and sent to the home office, is the usual thing done by most embassy staff including UN workers posted to work in foreign countries..Bethram Taylor is a member of the 2015 national tripod club-of IBB and Atiku-still theses are the same people who establish all sorts of NGOs in the name of change--underneat it lies their diabolical plans to further enslave the people of the south south region-Did the CIA not recruit IBB to ferry drugs for them--was the late Mobutu Sese seku not in the employ of the CIA? yet they claim our leader are corrupt. Was the CIA not paying Mobotu 250,000 dollars yearly wages to dis-orgainize africa and arrange coups such as the ones that killed the likes of Nkrumah? Who made it impossible for Awo to become president? Was it not the CIA? Was this same Bakare not alleged to hacve links with the CIA by the Ribadu group here. My only regret was that the money (gifted) Bakare in his wahala with Jonathan, was not donated to SR. I just wish he had released the 50k to them instead of all this noise from his camp.It wld have been more evidential than the story of the stew and the cook inside Aso Rock. cheers and cheers again-che sara sara.

Not bribe, is 'pocket money'

Yeah, Jona the lucky one didn't give bribe but only a cool chicken change of $50 thousand. My people, who is fooling whom here? Corruption is corruption. let's not beat about the bush and call a spade a spade. our presido bribed Pastor Tunde Bakare and Bakare refused bribe. Case closed. Jonathan is like all the other politicians in pdp. they are rotten. MEND, ur enemies are your own brothers like Jonathan and Orubebe.

Paid write up.

No objectivity in this article, bad belly and politic mix to give a very ill feeling. If any one believe the president bribed SNG with $50.000 then Goodluck is a cheap president.

How would a president looking for vote bribe a big movement like SNG with only $50k?

Just think for a moment.

BREAKING NEWS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S President expresses worry over the candidature of Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan according to a State department cable released by the WikiLeaks website.
Other releases by the group revealed U.S. anxiety at Jonathan’s attitude towards corruption in Nigeria, and concerns that the Nigerian President has surrounded himself with known corrupt politicians.
Worries over Jonathan’s association with former President Obasanjo, the likes of Tony Anenih and others, were shown in an October 2010 diplomatic message. "A Northern replacement for late Yar’Adua seems more ideal in the interest of balance of rotational presidency in Nigeria" said the cable posted on wikileaks.org on Wednesday.
Nigerian general elections come up in 2011 and the majority ruling party had agreed to a rotational presidency to balance power between the multi-ethnic groups in Nigeria.
The leaked document implied Obama would rather have a Nigerian President from the North to complete the agreed rotational periods in Africa’s most populous nation.Chavez trusts Cuban information almost more than his own intelligence services.

[Related: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in the spotlight]

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20101202/wl_nm/us_wikileaks_nigeria

pikin wey say him mama no go sleep, himsef no go sleep

Jonathan did not give bakare that 50k from Government coffers. He collected money from his campaign fund raising events also. So those who think the money was stolen from past oil wind falls, are missing the point.
How can (anotherdonkey)claim the money was given to him as bribe when in his interview, BAKARE admitted that, he had on several occasions informed the Europeans and Americans counterparts who request to pay for his flight ticket to keep their money in their pockets.
Nigerains are hypocrites.My friends tell me that have attended several Church events in Europe where money is often donated to pay the flight tickets of visiting pastors from Nigeria.
These are churches owned by the Oyibos. Are Nigerian telling me here that they are not aware of such?
If Bakare had made so much money from the pulpit, enough to empower him to tell those who brought Christianity to our door steps that, he is too rich to accept pea-nuts from Jona so be it.
Did Bakare clearly indicate that as the mission statement of SNG in their letter heading? If in 1970 our per capita in-come was at par with some developing economies of the world and its no longer so now, is that the fault of Jonathan?
Some for want of better things to do, blame Jonathan who was school at hat time for our being below the intaternational bench mark for poverty reduction?
Jonathan is only 7 months old. Yet Bakare is accusing him of being responsible for the cancer that has been with the nation for over 50yrs. There are humans struggling to introduce fiscal federalism or resource control in the creeks. Who among them have added their weak voices to the agitation for which Kensarowiwa was hanged?
Is 50K bigger than what the entire country has been stealing from the Niger Delta for over 50yrs?
The most important area I was searching for in that interview was where it was alleged that Jonathans group became jittery over the nomination of Atiku as the consensus candidate of the Ciromas North. I never saw it. So why must Jonathan be jittery over a man who cannot even travel to the USA where he has all his mansion located. While we suffer around the oil wells.
How many Niger Deltans own oil blocks in Nigeria?PIKIN WAY SAY HIM MAMA NO GO SLEEP HIMSELF NO GO SLEEP)

Jonathan is not our saviour.

I hate to burst the bubble of my fellow naijans but Jonathan is not the saviour. I and my friends want to support this man but his mistakes keep getting bigeger and bigger. Why on earth give that kind of money to individuals who are already rich and well fed when most naija people live on one dollar a day? Is Jonathan better than Atiku? i do not think so. great piece Tondu. Cheers.

Stop! critics of GEJ. Stop

Stop! critics of GEJ. Stop turning every good step taken by this administation to be evil. SNG initial said that they are non politician. When they SNG stood to see the ill Nigerian President, did you bribe them, if now GEJ fill addressing then and gave them gift is it bad? It is only that the SNG and SR are worst still, playing sectional politics. Bakari with his right thinking surpose to be turned to GOD and not to Buhari. Can Bakari say he has no sin or bribed any body. When IBB gave N10 millom each to the press for transportation people spoke

@ AONDUNA

Sorry o, this name too resemble that of Aondoakaa. I am suspicious of anybody bearing that sort of name, because they are never up to any good. Consider a name change, my good friend.

bribe or gift.

wen we go to govt agencies and we need fast attention and need to BRIBE our way through what do we say. oga/madam, "use this 500naira buy recharge card", "take this 100naira drink malt".
What wer u expecting orubebe to say, "take this 50,000dollars bribe so that ........."
Pls lets be reasonable here. they were bribed, what next is wat we should be asking.

Jonathan don dey fall him hand.

We don't get it

Problem is, for whatever reason, some people do not get it. In 1970, Nigeria's per capita GNI was higher than those for China, Malaysia, Singapore. In spite of huge easy oil money, ordinary Nigerians have continued to wallow in underdevelopment. We dont get it that our development has been stunted by corruption, especially, grand theft. It really makes no difference that the criminal is from my clan: the whole country suffers. Jonothon, Obosanjo, Abiku and their ilk all behave as if the only thing that matters is getting their dirty snouts in the Nigeria trough: their politics is not about service, otherwise, Nigeria would not be in the sorry state that it is in today.

We do not get it that the greedy path of the PDP rogues is continuing the path to perdition. We have had 50 years of it already!

Another Aonduna, cow leg article-master pay I pay!

The first paragraph of this meal ticket or Mcdonalds article is enough to make one want to throw out.
The piece is a clear indication of how some uncultured writers want to misdirect the thoughts of the nation on behalf of the Atiku Northern consensus (polluted water sachet) foundation he his errand boys want to lay for us and the saintly Buhari camp.
Bakares statement on the whole issue shows that the money was NEVER meant to bribe SNG.
Bakare also declared in his assertion that his body does not accept money even from global bodies that invite them for meetings.
And they have on many several occasions turned such juicy offers down from Europe.
Meaning its the policy of SNG, not to accept pre-paid flight tickets from Europe and America not to talk of Nigeria.
The body equally revealed that similar sitation have occured in their dealings with the developed economies of the world and have often gone to explain their position to them whenever such occurs.
Tell us where Jonathan went wrong here? Did the socalled SNG made these vital areas known to Jonathan? Yet they tell the OYIBO people that they do not take money for their air fares but not Nigerians.
If they had made these points clear in their letter to Jona or a seblance of it in their speech, wld he have gone back and requested his aids to give them that pea-nut for their transport?
Cause the (dash) or kola, even came as an after thought from Jonathan. He had seen them off before he requested the group to wait for him according Bakare.
Then whispered to Orubebe to come with him. Orubebe later arrived withn the sealed envelope and handed it over to them. What in the name of the Holy Spirit is wrong with that tell me oh ye Nigerians of the brotherhood of Saints. My worry initally was that the money was handed over to Bakare to assassinate Atiku. His interview showed none of that. He said its the policy of his NGO not to receive donation or transport fares except directed by the Holy Spirit which again is rare.
Bakare has through his interview, which Chief Aonduna Tondu did not know was going to be aired, made our Chief look very clownish in the very pit he attempted to dig for Jonathan.
Unaware that already we have been shown evidence that Jonathan did not bribe Bakare to raise him above what God has ordained him to be. Cheers and cheers again. That is Nigerian politcs for u-dirty to the core!

please SPARE ME GOODLUCK

I thank various writers on this issue.my humble quepstion is what is bribe?next what did the so called sng told Gej that he is not doing well?this question is what i demand the saharareporters to answer rather than glorifying evil.the SNG according to the report went to the resident to vent thier anger and disappointment which the SR found unnecessary to relay to us instead because as they porported said aids of sesident gave them 50000 dollars as transport fair not 4 them to do im any favour the resident head will be saperate with the body.lets us be reasonable 4 a time.consider if u re in president sheos.

Go and choke on your article.

Go and choke on your article. You all are beginning to sound like a broken record. We have heard you, GEJ bribed SNG. Are you all happy now?

Can we all move on please!

Dolar mongers

I like the funny title. Dollargate. Watergate. Nairagate. Our sleeping president is in a big mess o, Na bi small one. Like father like son. Him baba, the all poerful Olusegun Obasanjo was caught with piles of dollars in the US and now is the turn of the son. Up Bakare! Up Sahara reporters. we need the Rawlings solution for nigeria.

vote PDP out now.

GEJ should know that 2011 election is going to be diff from the previous (s)election we had.nigerians are more wiser now.so a seating president can loose election.
fellow nigerians pls lets all join hand together to vote peoples destruction party out come 2011.

EFCC SHOULD BE DISBANDED

EFCC would turn a blind eye to this. They would claim they never got any petition. But they are always quick to harrass the opposition with or without Petition not to even talk about ICPC if they even still exist.

It Is All Politics

It is all politics.

Nigerians are no fools.

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Who is bribing here?

This writer is just being emotional! If Orubebe decides to give something to his guest as is African tradition, that's between him and the respected Pastor and his group. If he thinks its a bribe and then returns it, then thats ok by him. Did the President give him the money? Pls dont drag our respected president into this matter! We ordinary Nigerians know who will not be our President by our votes.

Who is bribing here?

This writer is just being emotional! If Orubebe decides to give something to his guest as is African tradition, that's between him and the respected Pastor and his group. If he thinks its a bribe and then returns it, then thats ok by him. Did the President give him the money? Pls dont drag our respected president into this matter! We ordinary Nigerians know who will not be our President by our votes.

Dear Mr Tondu, I will like to

Dear Mr Tondu,

I will like to ask you one question. If someone comes to visit you at home can you give them money for transport and accommodation? I am not a politician but have made up my mind that I will be voting for Jonathan in the next elections if he is a candidate, last time out I voted for Buhari but believe his fire may have died down with age. Why am I telling you this history? Because most of us behave like Ostriches, burying our heads in the sands and offering sellectove and subjective opinion depending on our stand point. Me thinks it is an insult to thing that a sum of N7.5m can be used to "bribe" someone line Bakare, Odumakin and others in the encourage.

Thanks

Dear Mr Tondu, I will like to

Dear Mr Tondu,

I will like to ask you one question. If someone comes to visit you at home can you give them money for transport and accommodation? I am not a politician but have made up my mind that I will be voting for Jonathan in the next elections if he is a candidate, last time out I voted for Buhari but believe his fire may have died down with age. Why am I telling you this history? Because most of us behave like Ostriches, burying our heads in the sands and offering sellectove and subjective opinion depending on our stand point. Me thinks it is an insult to thing that a sum of N7.5m can be used to "bribe" someone line Bakare, Odumakin and others in the encourage.

Thanks

please, shut up

Tondu, there is a saying that 'the madman is not ashame of himself, rather it is the family members who are ashame'. I am ashame of this writeup. Shut up and fade out.

please, shut up

Tondu, there is a saying that 'the madman is not ashame of himself, rather it is the family members who are ashame'. I am ashame of this writeup. Shut up and fade out.

PDP's other choice is as rotten as they come - morally.

Thanks @Aonduna Tondu for a crisp article. I was prepared to give Goodluck a chance - as a polity cleanser.

With what has been going on recently, unless he does the PDP thing, he does not stand a chance of staying beyond the next election.

His ambition is now as dead as a dodo.

The sad thing is the other PDP choice is as morally rotten as they come.

PDP has no hope in a freely conducted election in Nigeria. Truly, which Nigerian of integrity would publicly want to be associated with these political beasts?

Where is the opposition? You cannot have any better chance of taking over than this. Goodluck and his men have shot themselves to pieces!

This Man go hear wen today

This writer has forgotten that Nigerians , especially the so-called youths have made any corrupt-gate a way of life. The next thing you hear from a typical Nigeria is that : ' Why are they jealous of the man' ? 'Its his own time';'God is with him'.
Morals have been thrown into the wind.
If this writer is not from the Niger Delta , nay an Ijaw, I bet it , he go hear wen today . Especially when him mama born am!!!
What a perverted generation !!

@Aonduna, well said.at last

@Aonduna, well said.at last somebody is thinking and asking the right questions