Condescension As Instrument of State Policy By Sonala Olumhense

Columnist: 
Sonala Olumhense

It is not strange, to me, that there is a loud argument over the report of the Petroleum Revenue Task Force chaired by Malam Nuhu Ribadu.
What is new, to me, is that the government is angry.  Actually, anger is hardly the emotion: the government seems to be outraged that there would be Nigerians, anywhere, who fail to see its good nature and achievements.  

The government is so disappointed that the presidential spokesman Reuben Abati employed rather uncouth language last week in an article, Jonathan and the Ribadu Report.  I will not repeat his choice of metaphor.

Of the main issue, Abati explained: “The committees in question and the probe into the Petroleum sector were initiated by President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure transparency and accountability in the extractive industry; the goal was to transform the sector and raise levels of integrity accordingly. Every step that has been taken by this administration in this regard has been in fulfillment of this well-stated principle. This includes the decision to completely deregulate the downstream sector, which has now resulted in the exposure of oily deals in that sector, with consequences for the indicted persons.”

The spokesman then went off to reaffirm his worship of Jonathan, listing a batch of praises that include political will; mature response; clear directives; and leadership.

Evidently, Abati has grown in the mischief industry.  Otherwise, it was a conscious choice to chase the smoke rather than the fire.  
In the real world, outside the magnificent gates of Aso Rock, none of the current rancor and clamor and rabble-rousing is really about the Ribadu Committee report.  It is not about oil or the committee or the petroleum sector.  

That part is the smoke.  The fire is much deeper.  It is about character and leadership.  When Nigerians doubt Jonathan’s motives and question his methods, it is because they know he wants them to accept a reality other than what they are witnessing with their eyes.   It is because they know he wants them to accept the portrait of his praise-singers and sundry assault dogs hired for the purpose.

Thus, when a government official says, repeats or regurgitates such drivel as “President Goodluck Jonathan [wants to] to ensure transparency and accountability,” it sharply contradicts what Nigerians know.  

What do Nigerians know?  To begin with, that their President, in his own words, does not give a damn.  

Before the whole world—and with the immediacy, pungency and urgency of the Internet and the social media networks—Mr. Jonathan declared that he does not give a damn about declaration of assets; that is: about leading the way, in practice, on transparency and accountability.

In case anyone has forgotten, Mr. Jonathan went further to explain that when he declared his assets in 2007, it was because President Umaru Yar’Adua compelled him to do so.  In his magnanimity, he stated that he does not want to declare his assets and impose on federal officials the obligation to do so.  

“The Federal Government has not done anything to stop or discourage the prosecution of indicted persons,” Abati wrote.  “We have made the point, again and again, that in this on-going fight against corruption, there will be no “cover ups”; and no “sacred cows,” and that President Jonathan’s only interest is the people’s interest.”

It is not true that there is an “on-going fight against corruption.”  Nor is it true that there are no cover ups (in quotation marks), and no sacred cows (wink-wink).  

Let me cite just five examples, in addition to Mr. Jonathan’s refusal to declare his assets, to debunk this propaganda.

First: the corruption-related reports that include two Halliburton reports and of several presidential commissions which have remained unimplemented.  You cannot have better examples of cover-ups or sacred cows.  

Second: the several Ministers in Mr. Jonathan’s cabinet that have been accused of corruption and excessive spending, including the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke.  It is one of the mysteries of official hypocrisy that the same Minister is the one that set up the committee the report of which is setting the country on fire.  Mrs. Allison-Madueke may well be innocent, but from where does she obtain her credibility?  Certainly not from the people of Nigeria, who are wondering whether they are supposed to laugh when someone says the same Minister is rooting out corruption and deepening reforms.   

Third: federal officials are quick to point to the oil subsidy scam as “proof” that Mr. Jonathan’s government is combating corruption.  It is not true.  The oil subsidy revelations were forced by the people through last January’s protests when the government found itself on the verge of being unseated.   Even then, everyone has seen how the prosecution of the scammers has been hampered by the government’s lack of interest in putting them in jail.  Only last week, the EFCC was reported to be negotiating a plea deal with some of them, including the son of the chairman of the ruling party, Bamanga Tukur.  Surely, that decision was not the EFCC’s to make, unless the commission also carries a PDP card.  

Fourth: Let us remember that long before the oil subsidy protests of January 2012 and their aftermath, there was the KPMG audit report of the NNPC which exposed widespread financial and managerial malfeasance in the NNPC.  And let us not forget that for over one year, until demanded by a Senate subcommittee, this “transparency and accountability” government had kept it hidden.  

Fifth: Transparency and accountability?  First Lady Patience Jonathan, a Bayelsa State civil servant by choice, this year disappeared abroad for nearly two months at public expense.  The President did not say one word to the nation about her disappearance, although there were credible reports of hospitalization.  That is exploitation, not only of public expenditure, but also of the democratic process.  That is not how to spell accountability.
But there is another critical level at which the propaganda about the character of the current government must be calibrated: the quality of Jonathan’s word.

Last year, one week before Mr. Jonathan took office, I detailed hundreds of his electoral promises.  Today, nearly two years later, only one of those pledges has been redeemed: ONE.  Mr. Jonathan does not even refer to them any longer.  

Similarly, while he describes his government as a government of transformation, I have repeatedly observed that he has not published his transformation plan.  That leaves the transformation talk in the precincts of propaganda.  

Let us also remember Jonathan’s many promises on jobs, which I have also detailed in this column, as well as his many vows to the public, one of them being to defeat Boko Haram last June.   None of these promises has been redeemed, and the geography of Nigeria continues to shrink around Abuja, while the quality of life plummets.  

Regrettably, the government cites Jonathan’s committeeing practice as demonstration of his goodwill and evidence of his success, State House officials condescendingly trying to force-feed the propaganda to the public.  

It is clear that the people are not buying it.  Committees may be good for Mr. Jonathan’s ego, but their effect has always been to Delay, Defer, Discourage and then Discontinue.

The condescension emerging from Aso Rock, which recently found new sharpness in connection with the Ribadu report, is a sad turn.  It is this government which has dug for itself the credibility canyon in which it lives, and it is only the government—through courageous decision-making and dogged implementation—which can redeem itself.

To be clear, Jonathan cannot achieve such an objective by claiming the ethical mountain-top his aides are pointing at.  He cannot achieve it by placing in charge of the storehouse Nigerians of dubious or doubtful records.    

What Nigerians are asking is someone who will inspire them through character and consistency.  Unfortunately, they continue to have thrown at them champions of compromise and accomplices to the crime.  

That road is guaranteed to lead back, to January 2012, not the future.

•    sonala.olumhense@gmail.com

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L5QA8

Giorgio Armani’s right hand Wanda McDaniel brought her daughter and both were spotted looking at (shock) other designers bags. New mom Becki Newton also picked up a gorgeous bag. So did Lisa Rinna, Marisol Nicols, Susan Campos, Maria Bell, Julia Sorkin, Kimberly Brooks, Lianne Weintraub, Kelly Styne, designer Magda Berliner and Colleen Bell.

BH tool

SAHARA REPORTERS IS BECOMING A TOOL. Isn't the editor conscious of recklessness in almost all their narratives??
It's just unfortunate that such a promising tool has turned itself into a propagandist weapon....even Aljazeera has been maligned by you......imagine.

Mediachat, Jonathan Vs Abati

Sonala, hope next week, to read your take on Mr Jonathan's bludgeoning of Dr Abati & co last Sunday 7PM per mediachat.

Condescension As Instrument of State Policy

You are absolutely right sir but come to think of it "Who asked for that?" It is precisely because we are divided into broken bits and pieces - North/South/East/Central/Ethnic nationlities etc- but never united as Nigerians. So the governing executhieves reckoned correctly that there is no consequence for mismanaging, exproprriation of Public property. So thye steal the Budgets, the Fuel Subsidy, Students Scolarships and even the retirees Pensions and there is absolutely no one answerable.

All cant discredit GEJ.

While people are critisizing the president for his lack of leadership potentials, others will see him as their hero for he represents a symbol of their origin or perhaps destination. GEJ is not doing well and everybody knows it. While you are critisizing his critics, you have forgotten to mention that these same reporters supported him when he sold them his propaganda as "the paupers son, the bear footed fisherman.. Etc." He promised heaven and gives exactly the opposite, people have to say so and thats exactly what they are saying. Saying the president has so far failed in what he has promised.

GEJ is a classic MARIONETTE!

Thanks Sonala. If anyone expects miracles from this President, then he/she does not understand the basic qualities of leadership:- Honesty, Forward-Looking, Competency, Inspiring and Intelligence.

OBJ set GEJ up: a classic MARIONETTE to protect his butt.
HAVE you NOTICED that the MOMENT GEJ ASKED for EFCC to reopen the FILE of HALIBURTON, OBJ TALKS about REVOLUTION!!?
GEJ has no significant political base and his bungling management style is made worse by his lack of political skill, exposure, sagacity and hopeless communication skills. Added to these flaws, is his lack of leadership by example. I have since given up him.

Should we continue to dwell on the disastrous state of our nation when the choices before us are so clear?

GEJ has endeared himself to the Parasites and victimiser of our people.
It is left for the victimized to indicate when they have had enough.

LEAVE ABATI OUT OF THESE!!!

Reuben ABATI has accepted to do a job as Jonathan's aide.
That job he is morally and legally bound to do to the best of his ability,so help him God.
Please stop villyfying him for all the blunders of the GEJ administartion.
Some of those condemning ABATI would do worse if they have a hundredth of his oppurtunities.
Leave ABATI alone please and face the issues.

The Great Conduit

That is what the Nigerian government has become. Unfortunately Sonala's approach is too simple. They have become used to him. The Nigerian state feather's too many nests that can only be dislodged through revolution. They probably laugh whenever they see his article. I'm happy Sonala himself said Jonathan doesn't give a damn. Reuben too no more gives a damn.

Condescension!

Condescension! The word that better describe GEJ and his presidency. More appropriate than the clueless tag. No word better portrays Jonathan and his team's attitude towards Nigerians than condescension. They feel and display condescending attitude towards all Nigerians. They consider themselves not answerable to anyone. That is why the president does not give a damn, and the ministers continue to lie between their teeth.

Condescension

Well said as usual. I just wonder if man must live by bread alone. what happen to people's conscience? Tell Reuben Abati that he lost me long time ago. I will be glad though if he has answer for my question: must we live by bread alone?

Panel to investigate why Yara Adua seized ribadus oil blocks

Only issue troubling d soul of Sonala is how to use his pen to reduce president Jonah to nothing b4 the eyes of BH, Buhari and Bakare-One can even tell the type of articles Sonala, Pius and Okey would pen for SR in his sleep. Its either about Jonah, Dame or the plane that brought Madam from a Germany to Abuja. Luk at the list of their backers in the system-Sanusi CBN, Ribadu, Buhari and El Rufai. The 5 full blooded fulani maharajas, which inlcludes Farouk and Tambuwal, can turn 9ja upside down with their syndicated writers when on any national assignment-Nobody including GEJ said No to the CONTENT of the Ribadu report. What went wrong with the said report, was the PROCESS-adopted by Ribadu in compiling it period. Again why did members of Idika Kalus committee on the same subject not court similar trouble-because Idika was not working 4 Buhari and tinubu-his was nation 1st-b4 self! Ribadu was self b4 nation! See d difference?

Ribadu 2 tour europe with d national band of boko haram

Only issue troubling d soul of Sonala is how to use his pen to reduce president Jonah to nothing b4 the eyes of BH, Buhari and Bakare-One can even tell the type of articles Sonala, Pius and Okey would pen for SR in his sleep. Its either about Jonah, Dame or the plane that brought Madam from a Germany to Abuja. Luk at the list of their backers in the system-Sanusi CBN, Ribadu, Buhari and El Rufai. The 5 full blooded fulani maharajas, which inlcludes Farouk and Tambuwal, can turn 9ja upside down with their syndicated writers when on any national assignment-Nobody including GEJ said No to the CONTENT of the Ribadu report. What went wrong with the said report, was the PROCESS-adopted by Ribadu in compiling it period. Again why did members of Idika Kalus committee on the same subject not court similar trouble-because Idika was not working 4 Buhari and tinubu-his was nation 1st-b4 self! Ribadu was self b4 nation! See d difference?

No transparency and accountability in GEJ's government! (3)

I have stated elsewhere on SR, in a rejoinder to OC's recent rant, that combating corruption involves a HOLISTIC, pragmatic approach and not showboating and selective appeasement. For a leader, a President of a country, it starts with him leading by example so that the followership will tow his example. Sadly, that is beyond the comprehension of Jonathan.

For Abati, his penchant for financial aggrandizement has beclouded his sense of decency that he has become seemingly a very pathetic psychiatric case. In the United States, some analysts would have written books on the psychology and transformation of Abati. This transformation may after all be a mental disease, but in Nigeria we do not accept such because in our consideration, the mad man, the mentally challenged, is only the one who is naked in the market place. Pity!

No transparency and accountability in GEJ's government! (2)

Every Nigerian knows that Jonathan has an ulterior motive in leaving my in-law, Diezani Allison-Madueke, as Minister of Petroleum Resources in spite of her repeatedly being caught with the cookie-jar. I will not be surprised that Diezani remains in that Ministry as long as GEJ is President. Further, GEJ appoints a man, Bon Otti, who cannot read accounting books of an oil and gas company to oversee the Department of Accounts and Finance in NNPC. Why? No doubt to fulfill his ulterior motives while publicly he and Abati assail us that they are combating corruption.

No transparency and accountability in GEJ's government! (1)

Jonathan's avowed policy to hide his assets cannot foster transparency and accountability in governance. He not only has to make his assets public but he has to affirm the TRUE and ACCURATE state of his assets. He cannot trend from having N5 in his account and then in 8 years as Dep. Governor and Governor accummulate N280 million in assets, and masquerades on SR such as OC and STANLEY IGWE because they are free-loading on NNPC's dollars do not see anything fishy in this acquisition, would expect professionals like me to also be hoodwinked.

Appointing Ribadu to chair a committee is not fighting corruption. There is a saying that you have to go to equity with clean hands. You cannot amass illicit wealth privately and then publicly pick a megaphone and propagate "transformation, transparency and accountability in the political process and in the oil sector" and expect to coerce me to accept your propaganda when the facts of your hidden loot are well known to me.

SaharaReporters should stop

SaharaReporters should stop this CAPTCHA nonsense. We do not have time to be repeating the crap just to post a comment. Let comments flow. Don't tell us you guys are using the nonsense to censor comments. It is absolutely unnecessary.

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