While the majority of the Nigerian people were still trying to solace themselves on the somber and harsh realities which characterized the earliest days of this month by looking for some tinge of hope to latch on to, a time bomb was unleashed on the nation from the nerve center of the NNPC, precisely from the quarters of the minister of state for petroleum resources, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu.
The several political disasters and untold national crises beleaguering Nigerians are cascadingly becoming too unbecoming and unendurable. And as bitter as this may sound, it is the harsh reality we all cannot disprove. Every single month in the year 2017 has been marred by one national crisis or another. A pithy chronicling of these patent crises will not only leave you nonplussed but also make you begin to wonder if really the country can be salvaged from going to wrack and ruin.
It is an undeniable fact that since January 2017 till present, Nigeria has been blighted by several adverse events among which are but not limited to: the suspension of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal over a grass-cutting opprobrium worth N233 million; the recovery of $9,772, 800 and £74,000 from former GMD NNPC, Andrew Yakubu; the discovery and seizure of $43 million allegedly owned by suspended National Intelligence Agency DG Ayodele Oke; President Buhari's junket away from the country over an undisclosed ailment for 180days in total; the reappearance of Lassa Fever, the acquittal of the notorious Senate president of Nigeria, Bukola Saraki, who was charged with 18 counts of false assets declaration and other related offenses since 2015; Buhari's Riot Act upon his return from the U.K. and on Nigeria's Independence Day; Operation Python Dance and Operation Crocodile Smile; the outbreak of MonkeyPox Virus, etcetera etcetera!
What is aggravating, however, is the confounding calm and resilience of Nigerians in the face of these numerous idiosyncrasies relentlessly defining this administration and sadly, our country Nigeria.
While the majority of the Nigerian people were still trying to solace themselves on the somber and harsh realities which characterized the earliest days of this month by looking for some tinge of hope to latch on to, a time bomb was unleashed on the nation from the nerve center of the NNPC, precisely from the quarters of the minister of state for petroleum resources, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu. Apparently, Kachiwku had written a letter to president Buhari narrating the impudence of Maikanti Baru, the GMD of NNPC, albeit, with much more precedence to Baru's sheer disregard for due process which led to controversial appointments and the award of contracts worth twenty-five billion dollars. Of course, most Nigerians were thrown off balance by this shocking revelation. But, as is like many such cases in the past, I have learned to be prepared for the worse, especially whensoever issues like this come up.
Unsurprisingly, Kachikwu's letter has whipped up a lot of reactions from different directions both within and outside the country. However, in a ridiculous attempt to mitigate the weighty issues raised in Kachikwu's letter, some political fanatics of president Buhari and the ethnic jingoists from the northern section of the country have disgustingly and depressingly interpreted the leaked letter to be a deliberate assault on president Buhari's contrived persona of an anti-corruption champion.
Interestingly, some recreants have continued to jibber-jabber that Ibe Kachikwu should have resigned, purportedly because he's a "house nigger" to our bigot president who did not only refuse to see Kachikwu before the letter was leaked, but was also, as predicted by some of us, quick to take sides with his puppet, Baru after the letter was leaked to the public. Again, the mostly jaundiced perception that Kachikwu should have resigned or should resign is faulty and depressing. If Kachikwu resigns, then what happens? Will his resignation thwart the vicious circle of corruption in our MDAs? Will Kachikwu's resignation discourage people like Baru from gleefully and selfishly giving out contracts like birthday gifts? If no, then, Kachikwu's resignation is imprudent.
More importantly for me, however, beyond the knee-jerk reactions to this leaked letter which may as well be the biggest inkling so far on the monumental putrescence in the NNPC, some serious questions must be asked with unwavering resolve to get answers. Among many others, we must ask president Buhari why he has yet to suspend Maikanti Baru over the serious allegations of sustained indecency in the award of contracts and disregard for due process. Also, we must ask president Buhari why he has yet to order an investigation into the cataclysmal issues of insubordination and corruption raised in Kachikwu's letter. We must also ask president Buhari why he called for 'sanity' on this issue when he should have used this case to strongly propagate his anti-corruption fight if truly he meant to fight corruption. Even more important, let us ask president Buhari whether or not he homologated oil contracts as indicated by Baru, particularly the NNPC/CNL JV Project Falcon worth $780 million on July 31 and NNPC/SPDC JV Project Santolina worth $1 billion on July 10 - a time when the president was indubitably in the United Kingdom dealing with his unknown ailment as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo held sway to keep the country moving. Should this particular allegation alone be true, president Buhari would have committed an impeachable offense, an unconstitutional act, and would have betrayed the mantra of sincerity upon which Nigerians elected him president. These for me are questions seriously begging answers that cannot be simply wished away or deliberately ignored.
At this time when our nation is at the edge of a disastrous precipice; when even the police are left with no option but to take to the streets; when teachers are flunking exams like it's a deadly kamikaze, the least this country should settle for should be accountability and transparency. And these ethea for me should be upheld at all times as Kachikwu is demanding right now. Even though the man may have his flaws, at this time that he has decided to bell the cat against all odds and limitations, the least we can do as Nigerians would be to organize and vehemently ramp up our support demanding answers to the allegations in Kachikwu's letter. For this fight is neither about Kachikwu nor NNPC, it is about the future of our dear country.