By Muyiwa Olayinka
Nigeria woke up to another disturbing news about a monumental sleaze involiving the Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr. Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, and the former first lady Dame Goodluck Jonathan over an alleged $31.4 million.
A total amount $20 million has been traced to different accounts of the former first lady, Dame Patience Jonathan and her associates. From the $20 million, $15 million were traced to accounts of domestic staffs and $5 million were traced directly to her acccount.
She has confirmed that the money belongs to her, by challenging the freezing order of the federal high court. She’s asking for damages for infringing on her privacy.
This is rather disturbing and nauseating. One wonders how she had been able to amass such wealth, despite the poverty rate in Nigeria. Background checks show that our former first lady was a teacher,and a civil servant in her state, Bayelsa.
She was promoted to a Permanet Secretary by Gov Seriake Dickson. She never served in that capacity because as at that time, she was already the first lady.
Some have argued what is the fuss about a first lady having a measly $5 million in her account. I beg to disagree with that assertion because in Nigeria, we tend to rationalise norms to an un usual developmemt
This is Nigerian mentality. Or is it Nigerian idionsycratic thinking?
Since the issue became public knowledge, many properties own by the first were revealed. She was said to own an airline Air Peace airlines.
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Secondly, she owns Aridolf hotels in Bayelsa state.
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It is only Nigeria we condone or accept a situation where leaders take people for granted and do not care whose ox is gored.
We are constly bombarded with ostentatious lifestyles of our leaders. For crying out loud, what is the first family going to do with this stupendous riches, when constitutionally, the welfare of the first family is the responsibilit of the state.
When is the money being amassed going to be spent?
It is more ridiculous that should in case of death, the family members will not have access to these ill gotten wealth. For starters, these blood monies will be concealed from their kiths and kins
The question is of what benefit is this act of corruption?
These funds will be stashed in a foreign accounts. Our loss will be the gains of the countries where the monies were kept, in case of eventualities.
We must understand that this act of self enrichment is not restricted to the Jonathans, many past presidents and leaders have been involved in shady deals and the guilt of filthy lucre.
The country has been receiving ill gotten funds from the Abachas family. The Abdulsalami’s government collected the first tranche from the family, successive government are still collecting.
President Buhari tweeted in that his government is awaiting monies allegedly stolen by the Abacha’s administration.
Former military president Babangida lives in a 50 room hill top mansion in Minna, Niger state.
Gen Abdulsalam moved to a multi million dollars house after he handed over to President Olusegun Obasanjo. The house is a palatial mansion in Minna.
Former President Obasanjo copied his colleague in the army. He lives in a hill top mansion that houses his presidential library. He became more richer after he left office.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan built an estate in Otuoke when he handed over to General Buhari. His house was reportedly attacked during the crisis in the Niger Delta crisis.
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President Buhari told us he had no money when he wanted to contest election. He claimed he took a bank loan to pay N23 million for the nomination form of his party. But shortly after wining election he declared N30 million in bank accounts, several landed and properties in Nigeria.
The President was packaged as if he lives a spartan lifestyle. But our dear president now rocks Versace shoes worth $640.
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Only God knows what will become of him by the time he leaves office. Probably he too will have his hilltop mansion in Daura.
We have been treated to how his family members have been living in opulence.
One of her daughters, Zahra is giving the stars in the entertainment world a run for their money. She rocks a N275,000 shoe on her 21st birthday.
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The first lady was enmeshed in bribery scandal in the Halliburton affair. A Aisha Buhari was accussed of bribing an American congress man of $117,000. She adorned almost a N11 million watch in her official portrait of first lady.
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On her botched trip to USA, madam rocked a vey expensive bag that costs a cut throat amount of money.
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I have consistently argued that this government is selective in probing past leaders and serving officials of this government.
President Buhari ordered the probe of defense equipment procurement between 2007 to 2015.
During the period under review, most chief of army staffs were involved. But from the interim report only two were found wanting. They are Lt Gen Ihejerika and Minimah. Gen Dambazzu a former chief of army staff was not indicted.
One wonders how the current Chief of Army staff, Gen Buratai was exonerated despite the fact it was confirmed that he owns two houses in Dubai worth $1.5 million.
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Our traditional leaders are not left out in this race of displays of wealth.
The Emir of Kano warned President Buhari of the dire consequences of not attending to the state of the economy. He affirmed that the president has to put a stop to the slide of drift in the foreign exchange market.
He reportedly bought himself a Rolls Royce for Sallah celebration.
He had a Rolls Royce before this new one
Our Emir also rocks Louboutini golden spike shoes. One of his children displayed it gleefully. A pair of this shoe costs about $1000 or more.
Our leaders consistently tell us to patronise made in Nigeria products while they romance and have penchant appetite for expensive foreign goods.
Do we have to talk about our religious leaders?
Jets were being bought like toys as if they are cheap. Parkings, maintenance runs into thousands of dollars. This is the fad of the moment. They dressed sharply wearing bespoke suits more than top bank executives.
From expensive cars to shoes and wristwatches. A man of God, Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo reportedly bought a hand bag for a princely sum of N1 million.
How about Senator Dino Melaye’s style. His garage parades different ranges of exotic cars as if it is a show room. His house is arabian style of mansion but one wonders what he does for a living.
I have talked about our leaders but how about ordinary Nigerians. Most Nigerians exhibit ostentatious life styles on daily basis. Are we not guilty at our levels?
I remember a neighbour of mine, luck smiled on him by winning Premier lottery, popularly call Baba Ijebu. He won N900,000 and quickly purchased a N750,000 Toyota camry car. He had to register the vehicle and after some weeks after satisfying his un usual hunger, went begging to fuel his cars.
Unfortunately, he was unable to maintain the car, he sold it for N300,000, and he was back to his life of penury.
Most Nigerians will like to see the successful prosecution of these cases to restore confidence and bring back sanity.
However most of us are like this. We talk about corruption pointing accussing fingers at our leaders but if we are found in position of authority, we will probably do worse things.
Some school of thoughts defends act of corruption as a result of insecurity. That Nigerians use oportunities to steal the nation blind in order to guarantee their future. They may not be far from the truth but does staggering amount of monies secures one’s future.
Nigeria is almost getting to a point that if care is not taking, a rich man will be scared to enjoy his wealth because of perverse poverty. We are almost getting to a point of revolution. It is becoming more difficult to survive in Nigeria.
So next time we hear about corruption stories, we should honestly ask ourselves if we are better before we cast the first stone.