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Before Saraki Forgets

August 26, 2017

Senator Bukola Saraki told Nigerians a few weeks ago that he refunded all the pension wages paid into his accounts by his predecessor back to Kwara State Government without showing the transfer receipts evidence of the refund!

The Nigerian ruling class has forgotten its memory. The suggestion in some quarters that those seeking elective and appointed office should be subjected to psychiatric evaluation may be right after all. I firmly subscribe to that school of thought. As a result of the ruling class' pathetic memory lapse deficiency and status arrogance, they've ascribed a similar fate to the long suffering Nigerians, the endless victims of their brain calcifications.

Senator Bukola Saraki told Nigerians a few weeks ago that he refunded all the pension wages paid into his accounts by his predecessor back to Kwara State Government without showing the transfer receipts evidence of the refund! He expects Nigerians to believe him. As a product of governance by fraud, Mr. Saraki's conscience is closed as to how other Nigerians reason. With all his medical, banking, and political career life, the only thing that can be teased out of him is his penchant for outright pillage. 

How best do we describe Senator Bukola Saraki's recent 'Pontius Palliate' sanctimoniousness that he has been an anti corruption angel ab initio, while corruption became the air the nation breathed under President Goodluck Jonathan's administration? 

Which of the Senate is Mr. Saraki talking about? Was it the same 7th Senate where Saraki was the Vice Chairman to Ahmed Makarfi on the Senate's Finance Committee that criminally connived with Mrs. Diezani and absolved her of all the alleged missing $20 billion? 

On May 28, 2014, the Nigerian Senate shocked Nigerians and the entire world with the news heading: "Missing $20 billion": Nigerian Senate clears Alison-Madueke, says no money missing"! There was a ridder in one particular news headline: "The Senate Committee says suspended CBN Governor Sanusi lied". In the report, the Senate's Finance Committee rejected claims by the suspended Governor of the Central Bank, Lamido Sanusi, (now Emire of Kano) that at least $20 billion (N3.2 trillion) in oil receipts were not paid into the government treasury by the state oil company, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.

The Senate’s Finance Committee, which probed the allegation vigorously, defended the petroleum and finance ministers and came up with a report that it found no evidence indicating that the huge sum was diverted or stolen, and described Mr. Sanusi’s claim as “incorrect” and “misleading”.

“There was never any unremitted $49.8 billion,” the committee headed by Ahmed Makarfi and his Vice Senator, Bukola Saraki said. Mr. Saraki who spoke on behalf of the committee said, "the report would be discussed at a later date by the entire Senate." That was infamy that drought Saraki and his gang at the time. The sacrificial lamb was the CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi. He could not survive President Goodluck Jonathan government for leaking his memo to President Goodluck Jonathan in September 2013 to the press that Central Bank had found out that as much as $49.8 billion oil receipts had been cornered by state officials.

The contradiction of President Jonathan and his administration over the scandalous looting the world has ever known in the history of oil industry profligacy is scarring and literarily eviscerating. Even though the government admitted it could not account for $10.8 billion, President Jonathan could not bring any of his political appointees or civil servants to justice over the oil scandal.

It was announced later that his government was commissioning an independent forensic audit of the NNPC that was meant to blindfold and deceive the people. Despite ordering audit firm, PriceWatersCooper, to carry out the probe, in the same token, the government insisted no funds were missing. President Jonathan even went further to say "if such an amount nearly the size of Nigeria’s entire budget was missing, the United States of America, would have known.

While the government failed to account for the outstanding $10.8 billion for days, leading to repeated rescheduling of the Senate hearing, the NNPC and the petroleum ministry later claimed the money formed part of subsidy payment for petrol, kerosene, and the cost for oil pipeline maintenance. To date, the nation is still in the dark about the actual amount expended on the subsidy heist and what each subsidy fraudsters got from the deal.  

Unfortunately for them, there were no documents to back those claims on the disappearance of the money. Standing facts on its head, the Senate's Finance Committee insisted that its own findings proved that Mr. Sanusi’s claims were misleading. The committee accepted altogether the explanations of the NNPC and the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, saying it could not establish how the figure of 49.8 billion US dollars was arrived at initially.

Those civil servants in the NNPC and PPPRA who connived with the Senate's Finance Committee, President Goodluck Jonathan, Mrs. Diezani, David Mark, Ahmed Makarfi, Bukola Saraki, and the super rich corrupt directors and permanent secretaries are still holding the fort in the oil industry. When you hear of certain permanent secretaries caught with $2 billion in his private apartment, you know where the money came from. 

Now this: If Saraki's Senate's Finance Committee could give a clean bill of health to the Petroleum Minister, why wouldn't Mrs. Diezani be emboldened to loot more and more the way she did? If President Jonathan could find Mrs. Diezani worthy of appointment with her daunting credentials of failures in her previous appointments, why wouldn't David Mark validate her righteousness? If President Jonathan could openly debase his exalted office with falsehoods in a national broadcast in defense of  Mrs. Diezani, why would Bukola Saraki not celebrate the loot? This is reciprocal altruism. After all, vampire bats and baboons have been observed feeding and protecting offspring within a colony not their own!

Part of Nigeria's woes is that the following are so ragged and raped by their rulers to the extent that they have become clinically immune to the news of looting of their commonwealth. News of political killings and hired assassins does not evoke empathy from the populace. 

There isn't any doubt as to why crass opportunism, barefaced impunity, and other banalities are plaguing the nation with high intensity. Nigerians are so economically castrated to the point of slavery and servitude in their own country to a stage, that if they do not genuflect to roguish political office holders, their next meal is not assured. 

When will the Nigerian slave masses realize that they're in bondage to attain their desired freedom? Nigeria is a nation that is in different kinds of bondage. The ruling class is in looting bondage, while the masses are in poverty bondage. The formal deafeningly have cloaked the minds of the rulers' indefinitely, and the latter keeps the downtrodden in the ditch upon which the exploitation exists.     

Unless and until we refuse to be manipulated by politicians of this caste with criminal credentials, the likes of Senator Saraki will continue to strive the political space with ignominy, creating an escape route for corrupt bizarre beings like Mrs. Diezani in the future and pauperizing the people.

Erasmus, A Public Affairs Analyst writes from Lagos
Follow me on twitter @Ikhideerasmus1