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General, Prove That You Are Not A Thief

April 19, 2010

It is a common saying in Nigeria that if a fish spouts from the river, we know how much its worth is and that if someone did not thread the path of lies, he is not likely to be accused. These sayings are very apt for General Babangida’s challenge to us, ordinary mortals to prove that he is a thief; rather he should prove that he is not a thief.

It is a common saying in Nigeria that if a fish spouts from the river, we know how much its worth is and that if someone did not thread the path of lies, he is not likely to be accused. These sayings are very apt for General Babangida’s challenge to us, ordinary mortals to prove that he is a thief; rather he should prove that he is not a thief.
The General who is warming up for a presidential contest in 2011 should also, for the sake of the office he is aspiring to, tell us why he should not be regarded as anti democracy and in addition, he should clear the air on all other unresolved mysteries that are woven around him and the government he once headed.

General Muhammadu Buhari is an ex- head of State, and he served as Chairman of PTF long after he had retired, today he is standing tall, his integrity is intact and he is highly respected in all parts of Nigeria and outside the shores of Nigeria. He had contested the presidential elections twice and still making efforts for a third attempt, but nobody has accused him of being a thief.

We would be happy as potential voters if General Babangida can prove to Nigerians how he came about his lavishly furnished mansion in Minna, though I have not been there but the interior of the house is not hidden from many people who have images of its different segments in their mail boxes, and believe me, the aesthetics qualify for a Saudi Royalty mansion. We can concede it to the General that a lot of people must have benefitted from the government he headed through numerous contracts awarded especially through the conduit pipes of wastes like DIFRI and NDE directorates, among many others but we need facts surrounding these issues.

Another money spinning business of the time was the ECOMOG mission in war torn Liberia that looks in retrospect, to have been deliberately prolonged to keep the war contractors in business at the expense of the blood of our young patriotic soldiers. The war also claimed the lives of two Nigerian journalists in the hands of the rebels; Tayo Awotunsin and Krees Imodibe of Champion and Guardian Newspapers. It would have been naïve of the ex-military president not to expect that his actions would be subjected to proper scrutiny at one stage or another and there is no doubt that the callings of his profession demand that they should be men of honour and integrity even though this was grossly compromised during the General’s era.

General Babangida should now come out in the open by publishing detailed responses to each and every allegation of wrong doing and issues that are shrouded in secrecy by shedding light on them. The General should even “rubbish” us all by going ahead to swear on Oath that all he would say are the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth and ask God to help him. once splashed images of his flamboyant family vacation in France on its website; granted that it is not out of place for a retired public officer of his status to be able to afford such a family vacation; but the General was also rumoured to be fond of travelling in private jets. Does he own a jet? If the answer is yes, we need to know the businesses he had engaged in since retirement. Did he win a lottery with heavy rewards? Granted that his numerous friends in the business community may have given him a blanket authorization to use their jets any time the need arises; we need to know who these benefactors are. And it should not be difficult for friends of the General to grant him the permission to expose their identities to help his presidential aspirations since they will continue to be major beneficiaries if he is elected the president of the federal republic of Nigeria.

Another issue that has refused to die is the death of Dele Giwa. Once again, let us absolve the General and his security agents of any culpability. In return for that, let the General tell us after he must have consulted with the individuals regarded as suspects in Giwa’s murder, why was the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi had to be hounded and persecuted so much simply for his innocent pursuit of what he believed was a murder committed by people in authority? Why did the General not use his executive powers to direct the suspects to appear in courts as he did in directing a review of Fela Anikulapo’s conviction when the ‘Abami Eda’  revealed that the judge that convicted him had begged him? Did the government fear that the suspects could cave in during cross examinations? 

Now that the General has stirred the hornet’s nest, he should also tell us whether the Gloria Okon saga was a myth, a mirage, a reality or blackmail. General Babangida should swear on Oath that he and any member of his family never had anything to do with Gloria Okon.  He should tell us whether it was MKO Abiola himself that told him to annul the elections he won because he had been reported in the past to have said that when he opens up on June 12, Nigerians would be shocked. When is the opportune time more than now that it would put him in a vantage position for his comeback attempts?  How about his latest indictment among other indicted highly placed individuals by the US authorities concerning Halliburton bribery scandal? All those indicted are very fortunate to be ‘eminent’ Nigerians; had they not come from this freakish country like ours, they would have been guests of EFCC, but alas! It is a country where high profile kleptomaniacs get court’s protection from arrests whereas a goat thief easily gets 18 years prison term.

As a military president, our dear General availed us the opportunity of understanding the two extremes; that a free and fair election is possible but that it is extremely dangerous to have it supervised by sophistry demagogues hence our insistence that from now on, only people of unblemished character whose patriotic blood course their veins should come forward to lead us. It may not also be out of place to assume that we may have ‘grossly misunderstood’ General Babangida because he has not spoken about all manners of allegations making rounds about his person.

Should the general therefore come out in black and white and reinforce his ‘innocence’ by swearing on Oath about every point of rebuttal , then we shall be glad to have him as one of the candidates and our next modest demand would only be for free and fair elections like the one he conducted and annulled in 1993.

The Nigeria electorate are very fair minded people; when the election results are announced, I am sure Nigerians will hand the General a verdict of ‘guilty as suspected’ by his assured resounding defeat at the polls.


SANI YERIMA is not new to controversy; he initiated Sharia as the governor of Zamfara state regardless of its divisive tendencies to the corporate interests of Nigeria a secular society. Ideally, every Nigerian has the inalienable rights to live and sojourn in any part of the country; practise the faith of his choice; enjoy freedom of speech; freedom of association and decent dressing. Unmindful of these rights and in absolute disregard for the precarious divisive situation the country was just emerging from in 1999 engendered by the greed of the elite to hold tenaciously to power, Sani Ahmed Yerima forged ahead with his Sharia program which expectedly elicited a lot of emotional feelings from different segments of the society. Thank God, seasoned politicians like the late Chief Bola Ige were in government at the time and somehow the otherwise irascible president Obasanjo handled the issue perceived as constitutional problem maturely and the country survived the heat.

A handful of people fell victim of the Yerima’s creation; Buba Bello Jangeb was to be the first victim to be judicially amputated in Zamfara albeit in Nigeria, Ibrahim Mamadi had 40 lashes in the full glare of others, fresh female graduates on Youth Corps assignment to the state were often harassed and assaulted for having on them long pants ignorantly perceived to be exclusively men’s dress. It is doubtful whether Sani Yerima’s Sharia added quantum leap to improve the quality of life in Zamfara state that lagged behind in infrastructure and other basic necessities of life.

Ahmed Yerima got elected into the senate and hardly has the Hansard of the upper legislative federal assembly recorded him with any meaningful contribution in his almost three years as a senator; television images however do occasionally show him chewing something when others are busy with their so called debates. The substance most likely should be ‘Goro’ (Kola nut) which the senator may be using to ward off sleep from the ‘big big turenchi’ of his colleagues.

If this senator cannot contribute to the debates in the chambers, he must stir a situation that will put him in prime news; he took for a wife a 13 year old minor of Egyptian descent perhaps from the lineage of Cleopatra. A thirteen year old should be a first year student in high school just coming out of elementary school. Surely the givers and the taker of the ‘bride’ must have played safe under the Islamic injunction that permits a girl’s hands to be given in marriage upon her first menstruation, but were science to have developed to what it is today where minors engagements in sexual intercourse can lead to a urinary related ailment, would that laws not have been changed?

Yerima and others in this kind of abuse should not demonize Islam and scare people away from the religion. Marriage to a minor may have been permitted in Islam, but is that morally right? It is as ridiculous as assuming that as a governor, Yerima had access to security vote he could dispense without recourse to the state legislature, but would it be right for him to be spending the money to acquire wives just because he cannot be queried about it?. Better put, will a person not have to go in an ambulance for medical emergency if he has to keep munching beyond what he can consume just because he has a blanket offer of ‘All –You-Can-Eat’ in a Chinese restaurant?

Islam should be a religion of peace, justice and kindness. It is a religion that enjoins believers not to receive interests on loans. It should not be turned into a religion of any form of terrorism be it bombing terrorism, amputation terrorism where constitutionalism and democracy have been embraced, it should not be a child abuse terrorism as in marrying a minor and it should not be a women abuse terrorism as in burying a woman alive to her neck and get her stoned to death especially where democracy thrives. Yerima as a governor did not put any welfare program in place for his people and a Sharia judgement that can alter a person’s life can be concluded in as early as thirty minutes, this is monstrous, barbaric and condemnable.

I would not know what the constitution of the federal republic says regarding minors, but if Ahmed Yerima has not flouted the laws of the land, he has committed a moral offence unbecoming of a senator and senators with modicum of dignity in them should condemn his actions on the floor of the assembly. Besides, Senator Sani is not in Zamfara presently, he is in Abuja, a cosmopolitan Municipality and probably residing in cosy suites probably designed, built and equipped by the so called ‘infidel’ contractors of the Western world. All organizations that have anything to do with child abuse issues should please coalesce and mount a concerted pressure to see to it that this weird senator is made to reverse his Stone Age decision.

Enough is enough for the debacle in the presidency; enough is not enough until Sani Ahmed Yerima is made to realize that Abuja cannot be equated to his harem in Zamfara.

“All I can tell you is that there’s a serious quandary when an IG and CP band together to disobey a legitimate order to apprehend a criminal suspect whose arrest has been okayed by the courts.”

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