Quizzing President Jonathan: Beyond Fuel Subsidy By Okey Ndibe

Okey Ndibe
Columnist: 
Okey Ndibe

Those who last April hailed President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as a consummate democrat and people’s man must now solve the puzzle of how their man shed his tame demeanor for the armor of violence. It is remarkable that, despite the provocations of a failed, inept and corrupt state, Nigerians exhibited extreme restraint during their protests against raised fuel prices. By contrast, Jonathan – who has accumulated no funds of trust since finding himself the president – decided to unleash soldiers on largely peaceful protesters.

Significantly, Mr. Jonathan, who fancies himself a transformational leader, is staunchly against lifting a finger against the cabal of fuel importers that defrauded Nigerians of hundreds of billions of naira in the name of fuel subsidy. If our president ever sends a soldier to the doorstep of some member of the cabal, it would be to protect the scam artist. But when dehumanized Nigerians, their backs against the wall for decades, demand accountability and a curtailment of corruption, Mr. Jonathan suddenly remembers he’s commander-in-chief. He deploys his well-armed forces on a mission to maim and kill the victims of his (and past) government’s contemptible, self-serving policies.

Even if the protests cease, Mr. Jonathan – who seems obsessed with looking strong and decisive in dealing with impoverished Nigerians – would be mistaken to gloat. Nigeria has entered a different phase in its history, a phase in which anything can happen. A president who has depleted his goodwill, as Jonathan has done, will find himself utterly alone – and sorry – if (or when) he faces a serious test.

Transformational leader – indeed! We have on our hands a president with a knack for prescribing the wrong antidote. The major ideas of his short presidency have been uniformly off the transformational mark.

His first significant political proposal was to change the constitution in order to allow a single term of seven years for the president and governor. He sought to sell that non-starter as the panacea for the sundry maladies that plague our political space, from violent, rigged elections to corruption.

Then, faced with the scourge of terrorism that’s had a chilling effect on Nigerians in several northern cities and towns, including Abuja, and now threatens to plunge Nigeria into a sectarian war, Mr. Jonathan proposed that we pray and then patiently resign ourselves until such a time as the terrorists in our midst reach saturation point and choose to abandon their gory pastime! It was only belatedly that the president came up with the idea of targeted declaration of a state of emergency in selected local government areas. Nobody can quite say what purpose that measure is serving; nobody knows how it curtails terror.

And now, in a country roiled by the gruesome killings of worshipers leaving a Catholic Church on Christmas Day, Mr. Jonathan decided that it was a priority to remove so-called fuel subsidy on New Year’s. That singular action – thank God! – has opened Nigerians’ eyes to the essential scam and organized fraud that pass for governance in our would-be nation.

President Jonathan has entrusted the defense of his unpopular policy to the tag team of Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke, and Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

The threesome has done a wretched job of justifying the removal of subsidy. At best, their argument – made most eloquently by the CBN’s Sanusi – is that licensed fuel marketers have made a sport of defrauding Nigerians of hundreds of billions of naira in fuel subsidy. That conclusion is so impeccable that Nigerians, I conjecture, would unanimously accept its truism.

Most Nigerians part ways with Jonathan and his team only with regard to their bizarre insistence that the logical – indeed only – answer is to remove fuel subsidy. More than anything, that solution signifies a government that’s so ineffectual as to be non-existent.

So here are a few questions for Mr. Jonathan and his troika of advocates.

You have the police, the SSS, the Ministry of Justice and other law enforcement and security apparati at your disposal. How many fuel marketing fraudsters have they ever interrogated, arraigned, and prosecuted? Does it make sense to presume to run a government that permits alleged criminals to walk? Where’s the justice of imposing a burden of higher fuel prices on Nigerians instead of going after the cabal – or mafia – that gobbles up the subsidy?

Your government has accused unscrupulous Nigerian officials (NNPC, the Customs, and PPPRA) of colluding with fraudulent fuel marketers to falsify fuel import data in order to fleece the country. Again, with all the agencies at your disposal, how many of the conniving officials have you ever unmasked, fired or tried? How many have you forced to refund their ill-received gain? Why can’t your government check apparently fraudulent claims of fuel shipments against the records of the foreign refineries (that sold the fuel) and the shipping companies (that reportedly freighted them to our shores)?

Your government provides “security vote” for all the ministers. What’s the security vote? Why does any minister need such a vote? Are your ministers – say of information or agriculture – now in the (side) business of combating terrorists as well? If not, why then hand them free cash that’s deceptively couched as “security vote”? Why, in addition, do your ministers have access to as many as ten SUVs each?

To stay with this security vote matter: Do you know of any other country in the world where the president, governors, ministers and local government councilors are given cash that they need not account for – in the nebulous name of handling security? If you were dragged before a tribunal of the people and asked to explain the expenditure of your monthly security votes, would you be up to the task?

Nigerian legislators hold the world record in the salaries and allowances they collect. Every quarter, your government calmly deposits the equivalent of $1.4 million in the account of each member of the House of Representatives, and $1.7 million for senators. These payments are called constituency allowance. Please tell Nigerians how these payments advance the interests of the various constituencies, or foster the ends of development and democracy.

For that matter – yes, let’s make things a bit personal – please detail for Nigerians the impact you have made in their lives since becoming president. What are the achievements of your presidency? If you were asked to set out the achievements of each member of your cabinet, are you confident of making a case that they have served Nigeria creditably? And can you justify what they have received in compensation?

You, Mr. Jonathan, have often made the point that, given its huge population, Nigeria is not really a wealthy nation. Why then do you not realize the oddity of the presidency boasting a fleet of eight (or more) airplanes? Are you aware that many leaders of wealthier nations don’t own one jet, but must travel by commercial airlines?

Nigerian politicians are enamored of pompous titles. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo called himself the “founder of modern Nigeria.” Our senators are “distinguished,” even if they don’t know how to spell the word bill. Our ministers are “honorable,” even when they’re solely adept at dishonorable conduct. Our “excellent” governors are “icons” and boast of “totally reinventing the art of governance.” Every Nigerian political office holder trumpets her/his delivery of the “dividends of democracy” and claims to be moving the nation/state/local government area “forward.” You’ve styled yourself a transformational leader. And so it goes.

Then this: Nigerian elections are marked by corruption and violence. Do you believe, for a moment, that the politicians who perpetrate all that bribing of electoral officials and all that violence are desperate to have the opportunity to serve us?

On a routine basis, you and other officials fly abroad for medical checkups, treatments – or even to die. Why are you unwilling to enjoy the “wonderful” healthcare system that you and your cohorts have bequeathed to the rest of Nigerians? Why do you and other top government officials expend huge costs on foreign trips to seek medical treatment? If you, your ministers and governors are paying attention to bettering our nation, why are you and your ilk in a haste to send your children and wards to foreign countries for their education?

We’ve touched on Nigeria’s lawmakers, but we must return to them yet again. As arguably the world’s most expensive legislature, what exactly are their members’ achievements? What concrete contributions have they made in close to thirteen years to Nigerians’ well being? If you fit the transformational bill, why aren’t you out proposing that Nigeria change to a part time legislature – with each legislator earning allowances based on the number of sessions that she/he sits?

The immunity clause in the Nigerian constitution shields the president and his deputy as well as governors and their deputies from prosecution even when they commit crimes. Do you agree with this expansive principle of immunity? Why not champion a constitution amendment to ensure that those who commit crimes whilst in office – whether as president or governor – can be docked immediately? Remember that former President Bill Clinton of the US was tried for lying on oath about his relationship with a young intern, Monica Lewinsky. More recently, former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was sentenced to fourteen years in jail for seeking to auction off President Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder.

In sum, why should Nigerians trust you and your government to reduce infant and maternal mortality rates and improve the country’s infrastructure when you can’t handle the simple task of identifying a handful of leeches who’ve been stealing from fuel subsidy funds? Why should the rest of us endure inhuman, serf-worthy privations while you and your inept team live like emperors and unconscionable conquerors?

Please follow me on twitter @ OkeyNdibe
(okeyndibe@gmail.com)

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Crossing the Rubicon.....

It may not appear like it now, but this man by his action has opened the door to his & the ruling elites DOWNFALL. This traitor from Otuoke did not earn the moniker "Clown Prince" by mistake. As a student of history, i must remind you all that in the last 2 big peoples march against Oppression of Oligarchies(French Revolution & Russian revolution), it was the government at the time who invited in, the people who would precipitate their downfall. In the case of Louis XVI, he was broke, so he called the legislature(which hadnt met in 100yrs) to session, & they eventually cut his Head & his wife's Head.And in the case of Russia, the Kerensky govt(whites) invted the Bolsheviks(reds) into the govt, and the Czar, his familiy, and thousands of aristocrats were WIPED OUT. Mark my words, the zoologist from Otuoke signed his death warrant & that of thousands of traitors today, the 16th day of January in the year of A.D. 2012.

Answer To Pragraphs 11, 12, And 23

Okey, may God grant you long life and good health for your altruism.

To summarize your questions in the above mentioned paragraphs: why hasn't Jonathan used the powers available to him as commander-in-chief to prosecute the oil cabals since he has acknoweledged that they are the ones fleecing the nations economy?

Answer: because he is their "commander -in-thief". In other words, Jonathan is the "high priest" of the occultic brotherhood of oil cabals.

On this note, I will like to voice my displeasure that he will never do anything about this, even if the whole nation shouts itself hoarse!

@Yom Yom is Okey a reporter-u are too empty for my taste

The Senate yesterday threw its weight behind the FG’s move to investigate activities in the oil and gas sector. Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, unveiled Senate’s support for the probe in a statement. He also commended GEJ and the organised labour for reaching a truce in the lingering crisis caused by the withdrawal of petrol subsidy) @YOM YOM the senator is an Igbo man like you-and Okey. Guess your anger has to do with yr failed attempt at regime change-even Fashola himself just hours before soldiers were sent to the streets of lagos, deplored the destruction of Gov properties such as street lights among other items by protesters. In spite of the amnesty deal signed between militants and Gov in the niger delta, we still have soldiers occupying the nook and crannies of the SS region. Dont we have special law enforment units deplored against protesters in the USA? Are the soldiers going to be in lagos forever?

Mr Okey you have said it

Mr Okey you have said it all,it is time for Nigerians to (CALL A SPADE A SPADE)One who always seek his rights without the corresponding responsibilities is Irresponsibe,Selfish, and Immature,this is the attitude of our so called government at all levels in nigeria.
They are all foolish people,In all the countries I have travelled,everything government were run by government with all interest at heart and corrupt people were prosecuted,In nigeria the government officials will sit in their comfort zones and deligate their jobs to private individuals who are close to the people in government and thereby could not monitor the contracts,ask question,audit accounts,sack or prosecute etc,Nigerian leaders are all selfish....

Okey the probe of fuel importers by EFCC is-already on!

(The Senate yesterday threw its weight behind the FG’s move to investigate activities in the oil and gas sector. Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, unveiled Senate’s support for the probe in a statement. He also commended GEJ and the organised labour for reaching a truce in the lingering crisis caused by the withdrawal of petrol subsidy) @YOM YOM the senator is an Igbo man like you-and Okey. Guess your anger has to do with yr failed attempt at regime change-even Fashola himself just hours before soldiers were sent to the streets of lagos, deplored the destruction of Gov properties such as street lights among other items by protesters. In spite of the amnesty deal signed between militants and Gov in the niger delta, we still have soldiers occupying the nook and crannies of the SS region. Dont we have special law enforment units deplored against protesters in the USA? Are the soldiers going to be in lagos forever?

I wonder wheather those

I wonder wheather those bastards supporting the presidency policy will not pay these exhorbitant levies of petroleum when the dust settle.Some Idiots are telling me it is all for development. What does Jonathan and his advisers know as development? If they want development it is better they revive the city metro in all states and increse our electricity. South Africa with 46 million people generates 45 000 megawatts when nigeria with 170 million people generates 4000. Instead they are buying inflated flying buses. There is no road in nigeria. Why buying buses? Where are the military? It will be better.

THANK YOU OKEY

THANK YOU FOR ARTICUTING THESE IMPORTANT ISSUES. MR PRESIDENT PLEASE ANSWER. WE HOPE ABATI WILL READ IT AND SHOW YOU.

@ anonymous.What good things do you want him report?

 

@anonymous you asked okey ndibe why he never reporeted anything good about nigeria? If benin ore road was fixed he will report, if the power has been fixed he will report, if Lagos Ibadan expressway was fixed he will report, if all the corrupt governors were bihind bars he will report, if the corruption in nigeria police has changed he will report,  If political corruption has changed he will report, if security is good in nigeria he will report, if many of our youths have been employed he will report, if ASUU issues has been sorted out he will report,  if boko haram doesn't exist anymore he will report, and you asked if he was perfect? You forgot he didn't campaign to become nigeria president fool.

A Pathologic Case

There's this tragic inflexibility of wil or outright defiance shown by pathologic ditherers with proven reputation for cluelessness, inaction, a certain poverty of strenght (intellectual or physical) & self-confessed developmental deprivation in material goods, if in d exercise of power they are suddenly thrown into d spotlight because of a certain 'decision' or 'action' of theirs.

They suffer d delusion of thinking themselves courageous @ such points so no chthonic essence can make them flinch!

At such a point, their mind go thus-
Wao! Me? Making all these folks scurry? I must enjoy this fleeting 'power' to the fullest!

Very dangerous men! Power in their hands is like fire in d hands of amature arsonists!

Hitler, Sadam, Mussolini, Mobuto Sese Seko, Bokassa, Abacha, Amin Dada, Muammar....and Nigeria's latest entrant!
Small men. Africa's bane. Democracy's bane. Pathetic folks.
Let's pray for d living amongst them.
On your kneels pls.

Dr Ndibe, don't kill the

Dr Ndibe, don't kill the messenger. My brother Dumbo Jo is a mere deliverer of goods to gwamentin Najeriya. He did not create these perks you are talking. He inherited them from the godless Hausa Fulani cum Aremu criminal regimes. The criminal junta of arna Gowon introduced these obscene perks and over the years they have assumed geometric progression. They reached their peak during the short regime of Musa. An gode Allah Baal called Musa home promptly, otherwise by now Turai and her concubines would have sold off Lagos to pay government bills. As a matter of fact my brother Dumbo Jo is a good man. Nobody has caught him dipping his fingers into any funds belonging to the people.

Okey, you have said it all.

Okey, Jonathan Goodluck is the head of the government of gangsters. He will do all in his power to protect them but what he doesn't realise is that he has just lit the fuse that will blow them all up.

Let's hear from some idiots that will want to defend him.

Thank you very much okey ndibe for the brilliant write up. Some fools that have no brain will soon praise this evil man, as for me  i've always known that gej is very corrupt but sillently.

work in progress

you have never ever reported anything good about Nigeria nor profer any robust sustainable solution (s) to her numerous challenges. what do you enjoy in villifying our country and our president? are you perfect as a person? as far as i know, we are all work-in-progress including you. please balance your criticisms to add value to your ideas.

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