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Posted April 12th, 2009 By: Erasmus U Ikedilo.

It is common knowledge that Nigeria ranks amongst the seven highest producers of crude petroleum in the world. We also do know that crude oil has not given up it’s leadership position as economy booster. Whereas other frontline oil-producing countries like Saudi Arabia,Kuwait, Iran etc speak nuclear, Nigeria still battles with feeding it’s people. This does not mean that there are no excessively rich Nigerians whose wealth if equitably distributed will instantly render the phrase ‘poverty in Nigeria’ non-existent. The bad news is that majority of Nigerian families fall within poverty range while a small percent comprising former military rulers, presidents,governors and their lieutenants, and some young men and women who ammased wealth through various unaccounted for fair or foul means. Some of these young overnight millionaires and billionaires made their money by serving as conduit tools for siphoning the country’s treasury into the overseas personal bank accounts of their masters vis-à-vis president(s),governors, chairpersons of local governments and heads of govt ministries and parastatals. In fairness however some of these wealthy young guys made it through hardwork in transparently honest businesses. With this scenario about Nigeria in view it is very difficult for foreign countries and even we Nigerians in diaspora to understand or defend the continued impression of poverty in Nigeria as eloquently emphasized in President Yar’Adua’s 7-Point agenda. There are two likely reasons the federal government has chosen to present the country as poverty-stricken rather than do the right thing that will readily erase all vestiges of poverty from our country; that is retrieving as much of the nation’s finances as possible stolen by the former leaders like Olusegun Obasanjo,Atiku Abubakar, Ibrahim Babangida, Abdusallam Abubakar and numerous others whose total loot is estimated in trillions of dollars which conveniently takes care of the nation’s ten year budget. The Yar’Adua’s administration could be doing what it is doing (1) To attract financial and moral support from wealthy foreign humanitarian organizations and governments. (2) By not investigating prosecuting their dishonest predecessors and retrieving the nation’s stolen money the intent is to guarantee and ensure a prosecution-free loot for the incumbents on their exit from power. Besides the agony of these unfortunate poor Nigerians watching the ostentatious display and reckless spending of their money by these unchallengeable remoursless former leaders makes the intentions of the government even more hypocritical and dishonest.

If this administration were honest and not hypocritical, why would the EFCC wait this long to go for both Olusegun Obasanjo and Atiku Abubakar who openly told Nigerians and the world at large about each others loots. What other source could have provided stronger and more reliable evidence than hearing directly from the two topmost leaders during their tenure who by virtue of their official closeness knew themselves inside-out. The greatest insult to Nigerians is the open television broadcast cum display of the reconciliation of these two enemies of Nigeria performed in Ogun state in the watchful eyes of Yar’Adua, and the EFCC. This reconciliation move was arranged by other offending party big shots in order to stop any possible more future aggressive revealations that might expose and hurt them. Afterall it does not require a genius to know that money/funds looted from any government or organisation’’s treasury are best disbursed or invested into personal enterprises when all mouths are shut If Obasanjo and Atiku Abubakar are so much above the law because they are ex-president and ex-vice president, where lies the rule of law that Yar’Adua has been too loud about? Perhaps senator Iyabo Obasanjo Bello by virtue of inheritance as ex-president’s daughter, is entitled to the same immunity that her own ten million naira N10,000000 scandal was hurriedly put to rest. Even the senate committee that was investigating the case suddenly either got dissolved or put into ther cooler/freezer and nobody is talking about it instead that shameless senator Iyabo boldly stands up on the senate floor as a committee chair-person, most days of senate meetings/deliberations to show Nigerians that she is not just a sacred cow but also above the law. Shame to David Mark and his Kangaroo senate. Senator Ken Nnamani’s senate would neither have tolerated senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello’s official misconduct for one moment, nor haulted an already investigating panel/committee on the matter not to think of allowing her head any senate committee. If Ken Nnamani and his administration could successfully frustrate her father Olusegun Obasanjo’s mad inordinate ambition of wanting a third term as President, who then is Iyabo? But should Nigerians really be surprised at the dismal performance of the incumbent senate president David Mark if majority in his senatorial zone are of the strong opinion that he did not win the last election, that he is in the senate by rigging and connivance of the election tribunal. If that belief was reliable, what else should one expect?

The obvious conclusion is that Yar’Adua;s government is fully aware of the quickest way of recovering from these notorious past leaders the big stolen money that could be used to create millions of middle manpower and minimum wage jobs thereby at least reducing considerably the level of poverty in our country. Afterall no country not even USA is poverty-free. If this administration therefore continues with it’s propaganda about poverty eradication without doing what it should start with for the fear that such an action would hurt their chances of making their own money on leaving office, then the regime is hypocritical, dishonest and ofcourse corrupt. Consequently the inclusion of “eradication of corruption” in President Yar’Adua’s 7-Point Agenda is intended to mislead and deceive the world because it requires an honest leadership to eradicate corruption. When the national assemblymen who are put in place to check the excesses of the executive have been so emasculated that they now blindly endorse all executive actions who then is gonno bail the cat?. If all leaders are comfortably wealthy and corrupt, how then can they ever plan to eradicate poverty, a condition that resulted from their corrupt handling of the nation’s finances. For Nigerians to ever hope for poverty-free country, a completely change of attitude must be paramount amongst the leaders. Selfishness greed and wanton desire to amass wealth for their future generations must be the qualities never to be considered for the country’s leadership positions. I hope that President Yar’Adua’s administration will strive to achieve it. God bless Nigeria.

Erasmus U Ikedilo
Maryland, USA

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