Mixed Metaphors: Ethical Jungles

Posted: January 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

Sonala Olumhense

I do not often find reason to support President Goodluck Jonathan’s tragi-comedy of a government, but I am in his corner over his investigation of curious financial donations being made by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Lamido Sanusi Lamido, to interests of his own choosing.

Among others, the CBN boss is reported to have given N4 billion given to Bayero University Kano; N10 billion given to Uthman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto; N500 million to the University of Benin; and N100 million to Kano, his home town.

The presidency alleges that by the donations, Mr. Sanusi violated due process and politicized his office.  As part of the enquiry last week, it summoned the Executive Secretary of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN), Jim Obazee, to cough up information on the donations.

The trouble is that Mr. Sanusi recently called out the Jonathan government in a letter to the President in September 2013, a document that subsequently leaked to the press.  In it, he declared that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had failed to repatriate to the Federation Account in 2012 and 2013 a whopping $49.8 billion.

Following subsequent “reconciliation” manoeuvres, the government declared that (only) a few dollars were actually yet to be “reconciled.”

President Jonathan would then ask Mr. Sanusi to resign his appointment, a kind offer the CBN chief turned down, saying that only the federal legislature could truncate his tenure.

Apparently, that has Mr. Jonathan got upset, resulting in the current “investigation.”  It would appear to be a serious gamble to get Mr. Jonathan upset, because it gets him thinking rule of law and due process and undue politicization.

I wish the president well, but Mr. Sanusi has been in the donation business for a couple of years.  In “Damnocracy Dividends,” another edition of my Mixed Metaphors in April 2012, I focused on the donation industry into which the CBN boss had ventured.

At that time, he had just donated the N100 million to Kano, completely unperturbed that anyone might suggest he had overstepped his bounds.

Mr. Jonathan made no such suggestion.

When the stench began to spread, Mr. Sanusi asked the bank to explain his conduct.  That was when Professor Sam Olofin of the CBN Board, falling on his face, told Nigerians that the “plan” had been [for Sanusi] to visit Kano and also St. Theresa Catholic Church in Madala, to make a donation to help Boko Haram bomb victims there.

The donation to Madalla was not made, apparently because the parish priest was not available.  Still Sanusi, completely without shame, led his delegation to the Emir of Kano and plunked down N100m.

As I said, President Jonathan saw nothing wrong.  Sanusi had not crossed any ethical or administrative boundary he recognized.

I wrote, “What Sanusi’s conduct confirms is that the rules by which we are playing at the highest levels in this country are no rules at all.  It is a jungle in which we make our own rules.”

That is the jungle that permits a leader to identify wrong only when he is personally challenged.  It explains why thieving government officials are never challenged, well-known thieves are given appointments and National Awards, and convicted thieves are given state pardon.

Speaking of identifications, how do you gauge the sincerity of the current government in Nigeria?  There may be no easier measure than the swiftness with which it announces an unpopular or policy or idea.  In 2011, one of President Jonathan’s first explorations was the option of a seven year term.

Earlier, when he took power in 2010, the first substantive action he announced was the decision to buy three new jets.  In the 2014 budget, he wants to buy another one.

Now, where is the devil?  Is anybody really looking for this guy?

Remember that in January 2012, President Jonathan, speaking at a New Year service at the First Baptist Church in Garki, Abuja, unveiled him as the one responsible for our problems.

“When you compare Nigeria to other nations, Nigeria is not moving fast enough,” he said.  “We have our challenges and that is where the devil comes in and puts road blocks.”

He is apparently still not under arrest.

And on the subject of arrests, Professor Attahiru Jega, the chairman of the so-called “Independent” National Electoral Commission, has warned Nigerians not to expect perfect elections next year.

Of course.  In March 2011, Professor Jega had wonderful news concerning Nigeria’s brand new electoral register.  “I must tell you that we have caught some high-profile double registrants and we may be able to start with them in terms of prosecution,” he said at the National Summit on Free and Fair Elections, declaring that justice was coming to Nigeria’s Big Men who “feel confident that they will get away with whatever they do.”
According to him, “For the first time, we are saying that if you violate the law, we have the capacity to apprehend and prosecute you.”

When you think about it, he actually said, “capacity.”  I thought he meant “intention.”  Little wonder not one big man has seen justice since those violations.  And now, Jega is about to sell another election.  Why should they be perfect?

Justice is easy, apparently, to impose on the vulnerable: Under Nigeria’s new Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, homosexuality has been “abolished.” Nigerians are not to practice it, or know it, or countenance it.

We do not see it, do not recognize it and do not maintain knowledge of it in our heads, unless we first purge it by identifying to the government people we know to be guilty of it.

When we do that, the government will presumably pause in its task of protecting the lootocracy, symbolized by the federal executive and the legislature, to assemble the guilty and ensure they are punished severely, with up to 14 years in jail.

And then, in addition to banning the gathering of homosexuals, the law prescribes 10 years for anyone or group who “supports the registration, operation and sustenance of gay clubs, societies, organizations, processions or meetings.”

To be clear, I have an objection to gay marriage, but Nigeria is going to be jailing people because they are gay in a country where the biggest thieves are celebrated, given National Honours and made leaders?

We are going to be jailing parents who love their children whether they are gay or straight because love does not discriminate?  We are going to be jailing doctors and nurses because they treat HIV& AIDS patients knowing but not telling the government that they are gay?  We are going to be jailing young boys and girls because they are reported to be gay but cannot hire the same expensive lawyers who defend the rich?

Finally, it turns out that Bamanga Tukur, the former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was merely reassigned, not neutralized.  In the PDP family, you are never bad enough to lose.


In an ethical jungle, you play for keeps.  There are no rules.


Countdown Calendar: There Are 490 Goodluck Jonathan Days Left.


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