FEATURE ARTICLE

Babs AjayiFriday, May 30, 2014
Babsajayi@yahoo.com
Gatineau, Quebec, Canada

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OPEN LETTER TO MS. DIEZANI ALISON-MADUEKE

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Dear Ms. Diezani,

write you as a citizen of our nation, a campaigner for transparency in government and a keen observer of the wasteful ways of those of you in government today, considering the huge profligacy and mind blowing licentiousness we are witnessing in our nation today. The office you hold is a public office which, ordinarily, should make you the servant of the Nigerian people, but - and unfortunately - you have acted, behaved and continue to act and behave like the master of the Nigerian people; you behave like a lord unto yourself and do not feel obliged to be accountable, and detest the need to report to the people or their representatives at the National Assembly. It is not that you are not aware that Nigeria is a democracy and there are three levels of government involved in running the affairs of the nation, but act and react like we are in a dictatorship under Goodluck Jonathan, who is free to do what he likes and wants and who is the only person you owe an explanation, and the only person you discuss the oil and gas wealth of our nation and its people with. Ms. Diezani, you are wrong, very wrong. It may be true that Next Newspaper no longer exist but that newspaper did enough to expose a lot of your excesses, abuses and disregard for due process during its short time on the news stand.

Your name always comes up for all the wrong and unworthy reasons, and your image is often always negative despite your claim to know one or two things about public relations. People associate you with being obnoxious, rude, devious, irresponsible, unethical and greedy. The emotional modifiers associated with you are such that make people feel that you are combative, selfish, baleful, rude and crude. People feel that the nation and its people will benefit nothing by dealing with you since you will ensure that you take care of yourself and your masters first. The words often used to describe you are these: obnoxious, wicked, feisty, opportunistic, uncouth, and myopic and a stumbling block. The majority of the Nigerian people, including people in the Niger Delta, conclusively consider you to be very unreliable, dysfunctional and very unproductive in the responsibility entrusted to you. Most will rather see you shown the door immediately and be probed and prosecuted. You are seen as someone who frustrate others and make the lives of the people around you difficult. You also make the lives of the people miserable by your failure to render and complete simple tasks relating to product availability, regular supply, monitoring and inspection. All of these have made you probably the most hated person in Nigeria because you bring pains and hardship to families, yet you are left in the job by an equally unproductive and clueless president, both of you sharing so much in common in the areas of failed outcomes, lack of ideas and yet desperation to hold on notwithstanding terrible performance, and this is because of the perks of office and the opportunity to abuse office with impunity (?).

Your well touted transformation agenda in the oil and gas industry has been a ruse and resulted in more queues for kerosene and diesel all across the nation. It has transformed petrol into a scarce commodity and transformed oil subsidy marketers into billionaires. The hardship of our mothers and daughters and millions of our women in search of kerosene all over the nation is a clear indication of your failure to make any difference, beside very negative, very combative and unproductive difference. Most Nigerian newspapers reported the scarcity of petrol, kerosene and diesel in several states virtually every week, month and year since your coming and yet you held on to office. It makes many wonder why you hold on to a position where you have not been able to positively impact on the lives of the people. As if that is not enough, billions of dollars have been reported missing from the accounts of the corporation you supervise - and you still hold on while the person who exposed the disappearance of the money was suspended! The NNPC accounts have not been audited in years, not one year since your appointment. The suspension of the wrong person validates the fact that corruption is a legacy and a way of life of the Jonathan administration. I would have thought that the person whose ministry is unable to account for such a huge amount like $20 billion should have been dismissed or suspended.

Subsidy was ordered removed on kerosene by the late president Yar'Ardua but you disobeyed and disregarded that order with the excuse that you do not want the people to suffer, but the people are suffering ever more and cannot get kerosene; queuing up for days, exposed to a difficult life, and being forced to pay more than double the price to buy from the black market. The problem of unavailability to kerosene has been with us throughout your tenure and you have remained in office. You flout presidential orders and failed to add any value, yet you remain in office! This, in itself, is a wonder of our time. Isn't it very strange and shocking that with all the controversies surrounding you and the dearth of the products you are supposed to make available to the people and the nation you have continued to act and behave like all is well and sure with your office? You now have plans to increase the pump price of petrol, cooking gas, diesel and kerosene products, the very products you have not been able to make available to our people. This will be nothing more than pouring petrol into an already burning house to hasten its demise. The destruction you are overseeing/supervising and the decline you have been responsible for are actions that will make Professor Tam David-West regret that he is alive to witness your workwomanship and genius-in-reverse work. You have become the tool of pain for the people and the agent of chaos in the nation. You are now the source of ponder and amazement by the majority of our people who wonder for how long more your reign of darkness and art of waywardness will continue.

Though you are doing very little where it matters most and achieving nothing of substance, yet you are wasting the nation's resources and abusing your office without any regard for probity and process. You fly private jets at the expense of the nation and for your pleasure and the pleasure of your family and friends. Unsurprisingly, however, Mr. Jonathan has expressed his support for this reckless behaviour even as the National Assembly is making effort to look into the private jet saga. But despite your repeated denials and despite sending paid sidekicks and placard bearers to go on a solidarity support you have refused and failed to go before the House of Representatives Public Account Committee that is probing the private jet matter. Rather than going before the representatives of the people to defend yourself and to show proof of your innocence, you have instead gone to court to ask it to stop the probe! I am shocked that you will rather go to court to waste time (or to buy time) rather than take advantage of the opportunity provided by the House of Representatives Public Account Committee to vigorously defend your name. The House Public Account Committee has a right to look into the matter and every right to invite you to answer questions, and every right to demand for documents from your ministry, the NNPC and its other subsidiaries, but you have stalled the probe and also prevented NNPC and its subsidiaries from providing the documents the Public Account Committee had requested. Your refusal to abide by the rule of law and plot to scuttle the work of the Public Account Committee are actions that clearly present you in a very bad light. You have gone to court twice now and doing everything possible to make the probe impossible. You owe the Nigerian people full explanation and need to show cause why the House of Representatives should not find you in contempt and demand that you should be arrested and jailed until you purge yourself of your acts of recalcitrance and behaviour detrimental to the work of the House.

Clearly, you are part of the problem and not the solution. You have entrenched yourself as an obstacle to progress, but you cannot see that, your view is clouded and your judgement obstructed by self-delusion. I do not blame you that you are unable to see that you are part of the problem because people get myopic and find it very difficult to see themselves clearly in the mirror at that point of illusion. You and your boss in Aso Rock are obstacles to progress because you focus predominantly on yourselves and what's in it for you (WIIFM). You address issues from that narrow perspective of WIIFM, what you can get, what benefits will accrue to you, rather than what benefits the people will derive from what you are doing. And when it comes to doing, you do your own thing and follow your own dream more than ninety percent of the time and do little to justify the trust and responsibility reposed in you. Do you ever think this issue will go away and the nation will look the other way? For how long are we supposed to ignore the recklessness and abuse going on right before our very eyes while people suffer untold hardship to get cooking gas, kerosene or petrol? For how long are you going to continue to pretend that all is well and billions of dollars is not missing from our oil and gas accounts and the Federation Accounts?

Ms. Diezani, this is the time to bow out and render account. This is the time to let civility take control and end all the troubles and misdeeds you have committed. Many inside NNPC are disgusted and very unhappy about most of your actions and inactions, which has put their professional competence in doubt. Perverting truth has been your forte over the years and you have used that to the detriment of the nation. Now you are trying to introduce your old Public Relations clients, the very same who worked on the Saro-Wiwa and Ogoni account, to help launder a badly battered government image. Please stop. Those PR firms added no value to your foreign masters during the Ogoni crisis and they will not be able to add any value to a government that is irresponsible, clueless, and bereft of ideas. Please do not throw $800 million at these agencies when our teaching hospitals lack basic facilities. The government is deficient in several areas and it is the deficiencies that ought to be addressed and focus placed on the people. I know you do not want to hear this but I have to add it: Please reclaim all oil blocks you and your predecessors gave to individuals and return them to the Nigerian people. Corruption has grown huge fangs since you came to the petroleum ministry and this is the time to undo the crooked and unfair deals you entered into on behalf of the people. You have served Jonathan, Alamieyeseigha, a few other individuals and yourself rather than serving our people. In so doing, you have done great disservice to our people and our nation.

You cannot continue to postpone the evil day, because it will happen and you will be held accountable. The nation demands accountability, the whole world has come to the conclusion that transparency will be the order of the day and the new way of doing business. I must add that you have nowhere to hide and you cannot stop the trend towards change and transparency, neither you nor Jonathan. The whole nation is standing up against corruption, financial recklessness and mindless abuse of state funds. The people now know why they are poor, they know why there is no maternal care in our clinics, they know why there are no drugs in our hospitals, and they know why the armed forces lacked the equipment and tools to fight Boko Haram - they know it was all down to corruption and looting. And they want change today. So why not resign and submit yourself to the scrutiny of the representatives of the people? This is the time. Change has come to stay and transparency and accountability are here for good.

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