Earlier in the week, precisely on Monday, October 24, while delivering a lecture at the famous Oxford University, former President Goodluck Jonathan was quoted to have said that his administration fought corruption without making noise.
He went further to state that he did not share in the belief that a former National Security Adviser, Ibrahim Dasuki, who served under him, stole $2.2 billion meant for the purchase of arms to equip the military in the fight against terrorist group, Boko Haram.
He said in the course of the lecture, “They said the NSA stole $2.2 billion. I do not believe somebody can just steal $2.2 billion. We bought warships, we bought aircraft, we bought lots of weapons for the army and so on and so forth and you are still saying $2.2 billion, so where did we get the money to buy all those things?
“Yes, there were some issues; yes, there are still corruption issues; but some of it were blown, I’d say exaggerated, and they give a very bad impression about our nation. You cannot say the NSA stole $2.2billion. It is not just possible.”
The former President added, “One thing about the issue of corruption is that these matters are in court. Let’s allow some of these processes to end. Lately some judges’ homes were also invaded. There are so many things involved and we have to follow up these matters to conclusion before we know the fact.
“I don’t want to be seen as a former president challenging what the sitting government is doing, so I have decided to keep quiet for the court to look into them.”
Much as former President Jonathan may be right as to the need to wait on the courts in proving the guilt or otherwise of the accused, it is instructive to note that majority of Nigerians have also realised that the current economic situation of the country is largely not unconnected with past administrations’ financial recklessness.
The former President, perhaps, needs to be reminded that nobody has accused Dasuki of stealing $2.2 billion. He was only accused of misappropriating the sum, and many of the beneficiaries of the misappropriation have confessed to collecting various sums of money.
To be sure, Dasuki had told investigators that, in disbursing the alleged N2.2 billion arms money, he “acted based on President Jonathan’s instruction.”
It is quite shocking that the former President could come out openly before an international audience to glorify Dasuki or anyone, who has been strongly accused as an actor in the historic looting of our commonwealth
In the aftermath, Iyorcha Ayu had since confessed to collecting N350 million for consultation; Bode George claimed to have collected $30,000 and not N100 million as alleged; former Governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa disclosed that he got N4.1 billion for ‘spiritual purposes’ and another N100 million from Isa Yuguda, who didn’t tell him what it was meant for; media mogul, Raymond Dokpesi confessed to collecting N2.1 billion from Dasuki for ‘publicity’; Yuguda also claimed to have given N100 million each to Peter Odili, Nwobodo and George.
Dasuki also told investigators that Jonathan asked him to convert N10 billion to foreign currency for the Peoples Democratic Party delegates to the special national convention to confirm his nomination as PDP presidential candidate; former governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau also confessed that N950 million was shared in his house and jailed National Maritime and Security Agency, Jim Akpobolemi, also disclosed that he paid former militant leader, Tompolo N13 billion for Maritime University based on an “order from above.”
A former Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, allegedly hid $32 million in a pit toilet; Femi Fani-Kayode got paid N740 million as spokesman for the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation; former PDP National Publicity Secretary got N400 million; former finance minister, Nenadi Usman got N3.5 billion; former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, confessed to collecting over N4 billion, which he allegedly shared between Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose and Iyiola Omisore. The list seems endless.
Under Jonathan’s watch, his Minister of Aviation, now a senator of the Federal Republic, Stella Oduah, allegedly bought two bullet proof BMW cars for over N250 million at a time millions of Nigerians could not afford one square meal. And despite the hues and cries by the Nigerian public, he did nothing.
As if all of these were not enough, Dame Patience Jonathan, the former President’s wife is alleged to have in her account $31 million. Evidence abounds that her salary as a permanent secretary in Bayelsa State is not enough to earn her that sum. The former First Lady even had the audacity to sue the Federal Government for freezing the account where the money was found!
To the former President, all these were no evidence of corruption thriving under his watch. If after fighting corruption, all these yet happened, one may need to ponder on what would have happened if he did not ‘fight corruption.’
As they say, silence is golden. Former President Jonathan would have done himself a lot of good, had he only limited himself to the theme he was asked to speak on, rather than open a can of worms that not only exposed and ridiculed him before the entire world, but called to question his alleged fight against corruption.
It is quite shocking that the former President could glorify Dasuki or anyone, who has been strongly accused as an actor in the historic looting of our commonwealth, and which had contributed immensely to our present economic quagmire.
While still enjoying his freedom, Jonathan should be warned to keep quiet whenever he is confronted with the urge to defend an ugly situation.