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Magu, maggots and Maga dogs | By Festus Adedayo

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Again, the system felled Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) last week. It had always done that. Olusegun Obasanjo, the maiden president at inception of Nigeria’s fourth republic, first erected the crucifixion upon which a crime-fighting czar was hung. While employing the old Yoruba verbal denunciation of thieves by way of pouting lips, clapping both hands repeatedly, literally poking hands into the face of the accused and shouting Ole! Ole! E ki’gbe ole, ole!, Obasanjo did all that against former Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun in January, 2005.

He did more: Obasanjo asked Balogun to immediately tender his letter of resignation, on account of huge theft of public money traced to him. The dossier lay threateningly on the table before Obasanjo that morning inside the Aso Rock Villa. As narrated by Nuhu Ribadu, first EFCC’s Chairman’s biographer, Prof Wale Adebanwi in his A Paradise for Maggots, Balogun went on all fours as a tribal symbolic solicitation to Obasanjo to, in my words, kill me at home and not kill me abroad, whose Yoruba translation was, pa mi si’le, ma pa mi si’ta. A total sum of N2.7 billion in five different banks and jaw-dropping number of choice properties had been traced to the police chief whose mantra for combating crime was Operation Fire for Fire.

Three people were at that meeting: Obasanjo, his Chief of Staff, Abdullahi Mohammed and Balogun himself. Mohammed had earlier summoned Balogun, on behalf of the President. The three of them, being and having affinity with the Yoruba nation (Mohammed hailed from Ilorin, Kwara State), could connect with Balogun’s symbol-baiting prostration. Here was the bodily hefty, giant-in-position Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police in total surrender to his accuser. Tafa Balogun was not only prostrate, in that prostrating position, he was pliant, literally castrated of his manhood and was in subdued acceptance of his guilt.

Balogun was to be dragged by the EFCC to court a few weeks later. He had been handcuffed and even dragged on the floor by young police officers who probably had not stopped sucking their mothers’ teats when he joined the police force. Then Chief Superintendent of Police, Ibrahim Magu, one of the EFCC operatives under Ribadu, led that operation that saw a huge crime czar like Balogun falling with a deafening thud like a common felon.

Thoroughly defoliated of his manhood in the public by Magu and his boys, Balogun had reportedly pleaded with them that, “I can change your lives, please. Let me settle you and let’s settle this. I can make you rich for life.”
Within the period he held the brunt of power, Ribadu oscillated in the air like a pestilence to a commune of Nigerian fraudsters and corrupt Politically-Exposed Persons (PEPs) who were mutating in the air like a ravaging virus.

Aside allegations against him that he was Obasanjo’s poo-poo bowl carrier, Ribadu succeeded in instilling fears into the hearts of Nigerian malefactors clothed in the euphemism of political office holders. His rout of criminals was so celebrated that late literary giant, Chinua Achebe, in lauding the clinical way he fought crime and criminals, compared him to Eliot Ness.

Ness was an American crime-bursting legend of the 1930s renowned for bringing down the Al Capone gang in Chicago, Illinois. His law enforcement team, a 1,000-strong group called Bureau of Prohibition, was nicknamed The Untouchables. When the system was to chop Ribadu off, it made mincemeat of him and flushed the Adamawa-born crime-buster down the cistern like a common felon.

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In quick successions, Farida Waziri and Ibrahim Lamorde came, appointed into office by Presidents Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. They also made noise and got some criminals to scamper off their felonies. However, not long after, they became the proverbial Maga dogs, biting the systemic hands that recruited and fed them, thereby getting drenched in the sewage waters that seemed to have been reserved for Nigerian crime-busting chiefs. So, why did the four EFCC czars come into office with so much hope, so much adulations, expectations, vapory glories, but ended up being drenched in a haze of ignominy?

Is there a latent systemic error that will always ensure that the after-office graveyards of these crime lords must be garlanded with stench and shame?
As against what its minders are making us to believe, it is a huge minus to the Muhammadu Buhari government that Magu is being tried now. It is either the government has no mind of its own and was amenable to being swept right, left and center by the currents of some individuals’ whims and caprices, or that it is seriously implicated in the politics of crime-fighting, the ocean of which is alleged to have drowned Magu. This is because, in the cache of allegations said to have been leveled against the ex-EFCC boss, there is a rehash of same allegations which the DSS, about five years ago, saw as reasons why Magu’s nomination should not be upheld by the Nigerian senate.

Throughout the years spent by Magu as EFCC chair, those who understood the workings of the mind of the Buhari government claimed that he was an insider-outsider therein. This meant that though Magu was of the government, he was not for them. If he was for them, his confirmation as EFCC chair shouldn’t have lingered as embarrassingly as it did, like the cry of a wife who clandestinely murdered her hubby. There is the claim that he was of the Bola Tinubu/Yemi Osinbajo rump of the current power calculus. This then must explain why it was easy for those who cooked the slur on the Vice President’s name, using alleged proceedings of Magu’s interrogation, to reinforce the believability of their claim.

The truth is, there are far weightier allegations against Buhari government functionaries hanging in the public domain than those leveled against Magu. For instance, owning property in Dubai, UAE is alleged to be one of Magu’s errs. However, it is common knowledge that the UAE remains a haven where corruptly acquired wealth is laundered for the Nigerian political elite and owning eye-popping property in this Arab country is the rule, rather than the exception. No wonder cyber-heist kingpins like Hushpuppi and Woodberry found a comforting nest there. A minister in Buhari’s government was recently accused of owning humongous mansions in Abuja. His riposte was that he acquired them as a teacher.

The Attorney General of the Federation, the one who must be popping champagne for having seen the back of Magu, also has a mountain load of his own allegations trailing him like recalcitrant flies envelope oozing stench. There is no doubt that illicit financial outflows from Nigeria daily trickle out of PEPs’ conduits and pipes.

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The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai was, not long ago, enmeshed in an asset declaration scandal pronged on allegation of ownership of property in Dubai. In his reply, he claimed that the property belonged to his unstated family and that the family made these investments in this Middle East city in 2013, long before his appointment. No further questions were asked. No further investigations needed to be carried out. As far as Nigeria and government were concerned, Buratai’s answers were QED.

Matthew Page, in a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace page, had made a damning condemnation of this capricious craving of Nigeria’s political elite. “For Nigeria’s corrupt political elites, Dubai is the perfect place to stash their ill-gotten gains and enjoy luxury real estate worth millions. But unless authorities stop turning a blind eye, the long-term costs to Nigeria’s economy and Dubai’s reputation could be high,” he had written.
If the truth be told, Magu was an accident waiting to happen on the Nigerian crime-fighting system. So also were his predecessors.

This is because, an office which is that consequential is subjected to inconsequential indices of operations which cannot but render its occupants dead on arrival. What procedure, process or rules guide the appointment of EFCC czars? In other words, how do they emerge? Are they chosen on account of moral gallantry, their ethnicity, man-knows-man procedure or mere seniority? How many times did past occupiers of that office, before and after coming on board, demonstrate ability to look at enticing lures in the face and tell them to go jump inside the River Niger? Elliot Ness, who Achebe compared Ribadu to, in 1931, had a member of the Al Capone gang bait with two $1,000 notes (about $17,000) if he turned a blind eye to the group’s illegal merchandizing. He refused and even though he died penurious at age 54, Ness’ heroic reputation is legendary in America.

Is there a crime-fighting institution or architecture in Nigeria? The answer is no. Our measurement of their suitability is the candidate’s ethnic affiliation, the person who introduces them and their loyalty to the occupier of authority seat. To expect a thorough-bred czar to come out of such a nebulous system is hypocrisy of the highest order.

The story is told of how Obasanjo picked Dora Akunyili without any bother about her ethnicity but a buzz that she had demonstrated an unusual moral courage alien to this clime while working with the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) as pharmacist. When she eventually came on board at NAFDAC, she merely rehashed what was her internal constitution. In serious climes, anyone who is to be appointed into an office as critical as the EFCC, who would naturally confront billions of Naira in kickbacks and illicit perks of office must have been psychologically grilled before society can arrive at their suitability. In Nigeria, politicians, who know the criminal functionality of having their Man Fridays occupy such positions, fight tooth and nail to have them in office.

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Again, are we being fair to appoint a policeman with no pedigree of snubbing ill-gotten wealth, whose salary is a paltry few thousands of Naira, to superintend over a potential illicit wealth empire like the EFCC? The Carnegie Endowment said PEPs – “individuals who are or have been entrusted with a prominent public function” like Magu and the likes, “are at higher risk of involvement in unlawful activity due to their positions of influence and access to assets.” In fact, it states that, as at 2016, the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (now known as C4ADS) “acquired the data of a private database of Dubai real estate information (dubbed the  ‘Sandcastles’ data) and that, at a conservative estimate, “at least 800 properties were found to have links to Nigerian PEPs or their family members, associates, and suspected proxies.”

So why are we crying wolf now when we exposed a police officer whose take-home is less than a million naira to assets in multiple of billion naira worth?

In a Nigeria that is brimming with street mindsets of fraudulently acquired wealth, of filthy wealthy men and women who crawl in a cesspit like maggots, are we sincere to think we would always have men/women who will kick against what has become normal among us? Are we seriously looking for a clean EFCC chairman in this dirty clime? Those are the honest questions we must ask ourselves. If we now seek a person who is unlike the filth associated with us, should we just pick them peremptorily like they pick a fallen mango off the tree?

This is why, if we think that, with Muhammed Umar as replacement for Magu, or even any substantive name brought up eventually, the maladies in the EFCC would stop, we are fooling ourselves and are on a Pyrrhic victory binge. This is because, no institution of consequence is so forged in saner clime.

By the way, I read that Magu is bitterly complaining that his tormentors-in-chief had treated him with rank ignominy, like a common criminal, inside the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence (FCIID) dungeon where he is said to be currently held. Oh, right? How did he, as CSP who led the assault operation against Tafa Balogun, treat the then Inspector General of Police? Wickedness is like the story in the Myth of Sisyphus, a 1942 essay by the Algerian-French philosopher, Albert Camus. While Sisyphus pushes the boulder down the mountain, he goes back again and does the same thing, till the end of time. Good is the only thing that can break the jinx.

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Opinion

Appeal to  University of Ilorin Management | By Isreal Olayinka

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Parents of over 400 new 2019/2020 Jambites who were given admission into the University were asked to leave due to their lateness to pay school fees. This are student who passed IJMB,  passed post IJMB, paid acceptance fees, done their departmental registration, they have been receiving lectures and along the line they were told not to pay into the school portal because the portal was hijacked and some were told by their L A to finish departmental registration before paying schooi fees into the University portal.

 

But unfortunately, the University portal was closed and the management refused to open it even for late payment that attracts additional fee. The affected Jambites, student union, parents even some top lecturers appealed on behalf of the students but alas the management refused to open the University portal.

 

Then come the matric, over 400 Jambites were told to go back home, when IJMB 2020/2021 have closed. That means the affected students will be home for 2years before they can sit for another IJMB.

We, the parents of the affected JAMBITES hereby appeal to all Nigerians to please do what they can to help appeal to the management of the University to at least defer their admission for the year 2020/21 academic session, since they have the admission letters, and have paid and the University have recieved their acceptance fees.
Thank you.

By Pastor Isreal Olayinka

 

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Arotile: Mi Lord, permit me to cross-examine death | By Festus Adedayo

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When death strikes, there is no allowance for cross-examination by any lawyer, Ayinla Omowura, Yoruba’s Apala musician, sang in a tribute to a Joseph Osowumi, which he rendered as bi’ku ba de, ko si loya ti o s’ojuse… No, permit me to cross-examine this offender, Mi Lord!

The news of 22-year old Computer Science undergraduate of the University of Port Harcourt, Kenneth Gift, his girlfriend, Dandy Spice and mother, Dorah Aninah, arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for suspected computer compromise fraud in Agbor, Delta State and the death of first female combat pilot, Tolulope Arotile hit me about the same time. In a Nigeria where a preponderance of youths get entangled in fraud, literally walking about in a fog on the reason for their existence, you cannot but be downcast on hearing the news of the death of Arotile. I was.

The death of this inspiring young lady shook the entire country. It could not but be so. Arotile was like an oasis in a desert of bad news that had become the middle name of Nigerian youth. So there is such a class of brilliant, committed and patriotic young people here, at a time when all we see is ferment and hopelessness? So people still envision legitimate greatness and work towards it like this young pilot did, achieving renown and garlands at such tender age? So Nigerian youths are not all about internet scam, fraud and silly and slavish thirst to go abroad?

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Arotile’s death drew me into the barren rhetoric of questioning human existence all over again. Why did she have to die and not any one of those disreputable fellows who are engaged in illicit scams? Judging by the unholy antecedents of power equations, could Arotile have been parceled for her death as alleged in some quarters? If this is so, why would God allow this machination against a promising icon to fructify?

Whenever I am in a bind about needless deaths like this, I run to philosophy. I have mopped up enough epistles about death from the holy writs that don’t just add up, as they have grossly failed to assuage me. I have heard that being finite, when human beings die, existence continues beyond death and as such, Tolulope may be on a higher assignment from her Maker. This, both theology and philosophy agree, is so since assignments after death have higher and greater value than being in this world.

On why such a young flower like this must wither at plumule, I have heard Martin Heidegger, (1889-1976) in his bid to show that we are a “being toward death” say that, “As soon as we are born, we are old enough to die.” Yet, I am not satisfied. Seeking to satisfy me was Karl Jaspers, the German-Swiss psychiatrist and philosopher’s position about why Arotile had to die. Death is not the absolute end of the human being, he says, and a human being isn’t merely a physical entity. He is a deathless being, said Jaspers.

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To tell you the truth, I am still not satisfied. It is easier to put up with the deaths of human beings who have gone past their prime and have discharged enough assignments on this earthly journey. Indeed, the exit of those whose existence cause pain to mankind is even good riddance to bad rubbish. Not this Amazon, this heroine and a potentially great woman brutally cut down in her prime.

We must find out if indeed Arotile’s Maker willingly called her for a greater assignment. Or that she was wickedly pulled out from this miserable meal that mankind calls an engaging cuisine. Could she have been killed for revenge, to stop her rise in the dog-eat-dog military profession or to revenge her affront against Nigerian enemies in her strike from the air against insurgents?

It is heartwarming that the Nigerian Air Force has promised to probe Arotile’s death. After writing this last sentence which sounded as comforting as the melody of a banjo, I laughed at my own foolishness. What came out of Attorney General of the Federation, Ajibola Ige’s murder? What came out of the murder of Dr. Abayomi Oniororo, Ministry of Foreign Affairs son of Niyi Oniororo in circumstances almost similar to Arotile’s, nineteen years ago? Haven’t I lived long enough in Nigeria to know that good is never requited and bad never gets retribution?

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Who is an infidel? | By Adebayo Ojo

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This is a coinage of our two (2) Holy books- The Holy Quran and the Bible. There are many other Holy Books, but those 2 books are the prominent ones in our country.

In Islam, the infidels or Kuffr are those who do not subscribe to the tenets of Islamic faith. Christians are not regarded by the Holy Quran and Islam as infidels even though they don’t subscribe to the tenets of Islam. They are referred to as ” polytheists” because of their belief in Trinity.

Kuffr are the infidels because they do not believe in the existence of Allah and his prophets. Also, they do not believe in the day of judgement. They are what we know in common parlance as Pagans.

We also have the “Munafeqeen” who are even worse than the infidels. They are pretenders and or impostors who profess to believe in Allah and the Prophets whereas their conducts and behaviours are exactly opposite of what they profess.

Speaking for myself , pagans and atheists are not the same .

Nigerian Muslims and Christians are fond of referring to non-practitioners of their faiths as pagans and those they majorly referred to as pagans and infidels in Nigeria are our traditional worshippers.  Our various traditional religions as far as I am concerned are not neither pagans nor infidels, but they are adherents of whatever they believe in.

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We Africans have serious problems and they are complex problems . How can we allow foreign religions to subjugate and subvert our own religions to the extent that they have been blacklisted and labelled as idol worshippers and infidels. We worshipped and served God ( Eledumare) before the introduction  of Islam and Christianity into Nigeria. The only difference is that our modes of worshipping God is different from theirs.

We as Africans always feel inferior because same way that we were tricked and or indoctrinated to throw our traditional religions was the same manner we are doing away with our identities,languages,  food, clothing and many other  things that we are noted for or associated with. So sad and unfortunate.

I will use the story of Prophet Ibraheem ( PBOH) or Abraham to drive home my point.

Prophet Ibraheem or Abraham is described by both Islam and Christianity as the Father of faith because he redeemed his pledge to Allah or God that if God should give him a Son , he would offer the Son as a sacrifice to God or Allah. He kept that vow he made with Allah or God. He tried to slaughter his Son in obedience to Allah or God but it was said that Allah or God was pleased with his absolute faith and loyalty that He produced a live ram in replacement of his Son. The Son was thus saved and the ram was slaughtered in replacement.

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Let’s converse that story of Prophet Ibraheem or Abraham with that of the Ile-Ife heroine, Moremi who bravely undertook to rescue her people from the Ugbo marauders who were regularly invading Ile -Ife then and were always looting the town and also took them as slaves.

Before Moremi surrendered herself as captive of the Ugbo marauders, she went to River Esinmirin and vowed or pledged with the god or goddess of Esinmirin that if she should make her mission successful, she would give Esinmirin whatever it may ask of her.

Esinmirin told her that her mission would be successful, but that she must offer as sacrifice to it anything that first came out from her home to wellcome her on the way.

When she returned from Ugboland after a very successful mission, her only Son who had been bedridden since she left for Ugboland suddenly and mysteriously became well and rushed out to wellcome her mother on hearing of her heroic return.

Moremi felt very sad ,but in keeping faith with her vow or pledge to Esinmirin, she took her only child, the Son to Esinmirin river and threw her into the river in fulfilment of her pledge or vow.

I want very sound Muslims and Christians to please enlighten and educate me on the difference between the stories of Prophet Ibraheem or Abraham and that of Moremi.

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Why will history applauded Prophet Ibraheem or Abraham as a Believer and another history will adjudge Moremi as a pagan or infidel?

The second question that I need enlightenment on is – What was or is the religion of Prophet Ibraheem or Abraham that His God will demand for slaughtering of human being as offering?

 

Mutalubi Ojo Adebayo Esq, writes from Ibadan, Oyo state

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