FEATURE ARTICLE

Temple Chima UbochiThursday, June 14, 2007
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Bonn, Germany

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WABARA, TOO LATE TO TALK NOW!


Let no man deceive you with vain words (Biblical Proverb)

It is no time to go for the doctor when the patient is dead (Irish Proverb)

t is unfortunate that people always fail to learn from their mistakes or that of other people. It is unbelievable how people miss the opportunity they had to speak up, but, will start talking when it is no longer necessary and when the audiences might all “have gone home”.


Senator Adolphus Wabara is now talking and for him to start talking about the secrets he know that will bring Obasanjo down is a smack of childishness, cheap sentimentalism, an act of cowardice and a belated furry.

In June 2003, Wabara emerged as President of the Senate under very controversial circumstances. But all that lasted until March 2005 when a bribery allegation rocked the upper chamber of the National Assembly and Wabara alongside four other senators were accused along with some members of the House of Representatives of collecting N50 million bribe for budget approval from the then Minister of Education, Prof. Fabian Osuji.

The event that followed it led to Wabara's disgraceful exit as the number three citizen on April 5, 2005 when he resigned to pave the way for his successor, Senator Ken Nnamani. He was even dragged to court for collecting bribes.

When he disgraced himself out of office, Wabara barely existed as a senator only seen occasionally but never heard on any issue.

As the senate rounded up its debate on the controversial constitution amendment last year, Wabara was the last to speak. All I made out of his speech then was “that the fight against corruption will not be won if it is targeted at selected individuals”. Wabara in that speech wanted 42 state-structure Nigeria with each zone comprising of seven states. That means additional two states for the South-East.

On the same May 16, 2006 when the third term project was defeated at the National Assembly, Wabara, after speaking on other issues, came to the contentious tenure elongation scheme, philosophically saying that he personally wishes Obasanjo to continue indefinitely given the achievements of the president. That was all we heard from him.

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Then on May 31, 2007 at the close of the fifth session of the senate which was two days after Obasanjo handed over to Yar´Adua, he started opening up again after a long time in hibernation.

Senator Adolphus Wabara in his valedictory address at the session that marked the close of the fifth Senate presided over by his successor in office, Senator Ken Nnamani, dismissed as untrue the claim by former President Olusegun Obasanjo that he did not want a third term in office, saying Obasanjo wanted it badly but that the God of Nigeria denied him his “devilish plans.”

Wabara told the Senate that he was privileged to know certain things that were not in the realm of the ordinary Nigerians.

According to him, “We should not forget that the Third Term agenda collapsed right here in this hallowed Chamber and even if we did nothing else, this cannot be wished away. We had the courage to do the right thing, and we rescued our people and our country from the stranglehold of one man who recently said if he wanted Third Term, he would have had it. Obasanjo wanted Third Term badly but the God of Nigeria, the Allah of Nigeria, denied him his devilish plans”.

Wabara used the forum to remind Obasanjo that he resigned his position as Senate President to protect the integrity of the Upper Legislative chamber and not because of his fear of EFCC. Wabara had the gut only after Obasanjo left the political stage to say “I expected Obasanjo to step aside and face charges on the PTDF issue instead of clinging to power as Baba or is it Ali Baba and the forty thieves.”

Wabara claimed that some of the Senators, including him, were sacrificed because of their opposition to the “earlier incarnation of the Third Term Project.” An easy way to cover up!

Then in Daily Sun Newspaper of June 11, 2007 he seems to have turned into a talkative when nobody was listening to him, warning that he has Obasanjo’s killer secrets, saying that he will reveal them at the appropriate time:

“Adolphus Wabara declared that at the appropriate time, he would reveal all that he knew about former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, even as he declared that the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu was a stooge under the Obasanjo’s administration”.

Wabara said in that interview: “I was not number three citizen for nothing. Just as Atiku was taken for a ride, when he opened his Pandora’s Box, Nigerians were agog in disbelieve. And since we are all in the same government, we all have our own Pandora’s boxes waiting to be opened. But at the fullness of time, I’ll do that. I’m not waiting for him to jump start it, or to kick start it”.

On Ribadu, the former Senate President said “We have been saying it that you don’t run a parallel government because you are making all kinds of statements. If you finish your investigations, take your investigations to court and prosecute. I’m happy since Yar´Adua stepped in; he (Ribadu) is quiet. It doesn’t mean he is not doing his job. He is doing his job. But it is not for him to go to the pages of newspapers saying all kinds of things. What the president should say and what he shouldn’t say, he is the one saying them. It tells you that he is a robot. Otherwise if that is his style, why is he doing the right things now? He’s probably a robot or a stooge to Obasanjo.”

Senator Wabara is a man that had the opportunity to change things in positive ways for his people, but, blew the chance on the altar of selfishness, errors of judgement and political immaturity. Infact Wabara committed political suicide. He is dead politically and can never win election again even as a councillor in his ward. Why is he making noise? Playing to the gallery will not help him.

I still remember him lamenting and wailing during the 2005 Christmas celebrations how life changed, because, he celebrated it only with his wife and son as nobody came calling to identify with him. He was comparing the Christmas celebrations of 2005 with those of the years before when he was still the senate president and the number three man in Nigeria; when you hardly see space in his compound, because people was “trooping” in and out, trying to identify with the man of the moment then. Sadly for him, the 2005 Christmas season jerked him back to reality of life as “the head that once worn the golden crown started wearing a crown made of thorns”. He was left alone and on his own. All his friends when he was the senate president deserted him. Nobody wanted to identify with a failure. There will be more lonely Christmas seasons for Wabara. Moreso, now that he is no longer a senator.

Wabara forgot where he came from and then where he was going, because, for somebody to know where he/she is going, he/she must know where he is coming from.

His people, the Ukwa-Ngwa people, the Igbos and Nigerians that expected much from him were disappointed. Wabara failed his family, his village, his community, his local government area and most of all, the Ukwa-Ngwa people, the Igbos and Nigeria as a whole.

Let me tell Wabara a little about those he failed:

Senator Wabara, Obasanjo is not going for a beauty contest again and is not afraid of the jury. All that you and your colleagues at the senate then claimed to have achieved the last four years was the scuttling of the third term project. Who cares?

If some of us had the premonition that Yar´Adua will take the steam out of EFCC, we would have supported the third term project so that Obasanjo would have continued and sanitised the political arena. Afterall, what good is a democracy if it can’t bring in meaningful changes for the people? In Nigeria we have only “glorified democracy” that is nothing other than PDPcracy (clique rule).

The third term bill had other better intentions for Nigeria and if that the bill had sailed through, it would have definitely changed Nigeria for the better. Look at what we missed by throwing away the third term bill: Call for state creation; increased derivation; rotational presidency; direct funding of local governments and judicial as well as legislative independence etc.

Senator Wabara started his tenure as senate president by being “too” friendly to the presidency and Obasanjo used and dumped him. Typical of Obasanjo! Wabara gave Obasanjo the ammunition he needed to bring him down by his lack of decorum and miscalculated political steps.

Ken Nnamani that took over from Wabara learnt a fast lesson from him. That was why Nnamani stood his ground upon everything Obasanjo and PDP did lately to make him crack. Wabara witnessed everything that happened to Evan Enwerem, Pius Anyim and Chuba Okadigbo before him and still made the same mistakes the trio made. We need to re-examine the mental capability of senator Wabara, because, as an Igbo man he supposed to be wiser than he exhumes.

Wabara ruined his career and that of Prof. Osuji, a nice man that had the interest of his then ministry at heart! Wabara asked Osuji for the bribe in order to increase his ministry´s allocation and Osuji wanting to do something for his ministry because of his love for education, decided to go to his friend, the then Vice-chancellor of Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) to borrow the money to give to Wabara and his colleagues in crime. Osuji lost everything due to Wabara’s insatiable appetite for money.

If Wabara was still the senate president when the PDP gubernatorial nomination in Abia State was held, there was no way an Ukwa-Ngwa man wouldn’t have secured the nomination due to his influence and an Ukwa-Ngwa man could have defeated the PPA candidate that was rigged in as the governor of Abia State. Ukwa-Ngwa people having the number and the preponderance of votes would have matched whatever trick Orji Uzoh Kalu might have devised to rig his man in so as to continue being relevant in Abia State politics and maintaining his excruciating grip on the state, even all the way from United States where he will run to when the EFCC turns the heat on him. Is he still in Nigeria, if I may ask?

Unfortunately Abia State will remain the same for the next four or eight years, depending whether the present governor “wins” re-election in 2011. His mentor and predecessor Orji Uzoh Kalu did nothing for the state for the eight years he was incharge and that will continue for the next four and maybe eight years to come. Aba town, my home town; a city I am emotionally attached to and for me the best place in the world has been turned into a city of dungs. This is a city that gave Nigeria a lot. Aba and Abia State deserve better!

Few words for President Yar´Adua

President Yar´Adua should not expend his political capital on trivialities. He should not take the goodwill of the people for granted. People can make his reign as miserable as possible. He is not Obasanjo and will crack under pressure that Nigerians can bring to bear on him. He should be careful!

Nigerians decided to give Yar´Adua the benefit of doubt, taking into cognisance the process that threw him up on our faces, hoping that he will be a break from the past, but, if he can’t bring about the needed changes, I am sorry that he might not last. We are not judging him yet, but, his body language these two weeks since he took over is not too pleasing. Yar´Adua should not forget that Nigeria of 2007 and beyond will not be like the Nigeria before 2006. He should not underestimate the resolves of Nigerians, Things are getting to a breaking point; when the elasticity limit is surpassed, there will be no remedies again. Groundbreaking revolutions the world over started from no where and became all encompassing and all consuming. Nigerians are being pushed to the wall. I hope that Yar´Adua as a former Marxist understands what that means.

EFCC is the best thing that has happened to Nigeria since independence. Every body acknowledges the importance of the organisation, even those that oppose the method they are using in achieving their set out goal. If Yar´Adua makes EFCC to be everything less than what it was during Obasanjo’s tenure, then he is failing. What people like me want is the empowerment of the organisation more than Obasanjo did, but, it seems Yar´Adua is taking out the steam from the body to please his corrupt ex-colleagues.

Looting of treasuries and other crimes are deep rooted in Nigeria and must not be handled with kid gloves. President Yar´Adua should know that if he help put corrupt politicians behind bars, he has achieved a lot for Nigeria, because, incumbents of authority positions and others will be afraid to embezzle the commonwealth in their care and will use it to develop their respective states or whatever and that will mean “development” we all are craving for. There must be deterrence otherwise Nigeria will fall back to pre-1999 level.

Yar´Adua should remember how he lamented about where to get five million Naira to collect the PDP Presidential nomination form in 2006 when he was still a governor of a state and wanted to contest for the presidency. He could have easily dipped his hands into the state coffer to take the money, but, he didn’t. For the corrupt ex-governors that contested for the presidency then, the five million Naira figure was a peanut! There was no difference for them between their state’s fund and their personal money.

Yar´Adua declared his assets as of when due and he transformed his state from one of the least developed to a vibrant one. Yar´Adua rendered selfless services to his state as a governor while most of the other state governors squandered their state’s commonwealth and want now to be walking free. No way, they belong behind bars.

The corrupt politicians and ex-governors know how to circumvent justice through the law court because the judiciary in Nigeria can be compromised. That is why so many corrupt ex-governors decided not to run away again, Yar´Adua in order to please some of them took the steam and flame out of EFCC. Those that ran away are coming back because they are sure to buy their ways out in the law court. Atiku Abubakar who is one of the most corrupt Nigerians of all time might now decide to come back. The following ex-governors: Joshua Dariye, Boni Haruna, Saminu Turaki and Chimaroke Nnamani absconded, but, might be regretting it and might be making their ways back to Nigeria since EFCC is no more “biting”. It is now reported that Nnamani is back because there is nothing to fear again.

About Atiku Abubakar:

I feel disgusted by his attitude. He is such a person that Nigerians should be thankful to the Almighty in heaven that he was not elected the president. Nigerians should thank God for His infinite mercies that Atiku Abubakar is still being exposed.

United States grand jury said that: Former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, agreed to accept a bribe in the form of a percentage in order to assist United States Congressman, William Jefferson, secure a business deal in Nigeria. This US Grand Jury indicted Jefferson for racketeering, soliciting bribes, wire fraud, money-laundering, obstruction of justice, conspiracy and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Atiku reacted: Saying that he was a victim of a 419 scam in the controversial United States Congressman Williams Jefferson saga, saying further that he was exposed to a conman who dropped his name to swindle unsuspecting businessmen.

US Congressman Jefferson reacted: Insisting that part of the alleged bribe money belonging to FBI was meant for “it’s Nigerian Plan”. Claiming that FBI gave him the money to give to Atiku! Wonders will never end.

Atiku would have sell Nigeria without blinking, if, he was elected the president

Atiku and Jefferson’s saga is a clear case of lies, deceits and denials. They are victims of their own traps.

Atiku that supposed to protect Nigerians from conmen is himself crying to be a victim. What will ordinary Nigerians then do?

Jefferson is accusing the FBI of setting up Atiku. But Jefferson refused to tell us that he was the first person that reported Atiku to Obasanjo before even the FBI asked Nigeria to provide them with certain information about Atiku Abubakar. Infact Jefferson exposed Atiku Abubakar. Jefferson is a man that gained surreptitiously from many African countries by executing contracts and deals using front companies owned by him and his family. He even had deals with people like Emeka Offor. He and Atiku should be put away for life. My people say that “he who fetched firewood containing ants invited the lizards for picknick”. The preponderance of evidences against this duo is overwhelming.

It is always the case for African-Americans to hide under the cheap blackmail “that they are being persecuted because, they are blacks” anytime they are caught up in crime. We know that blacks in America and Europe are sometimes falsely accused, but, whenever that is the case, the whole world use to see it that way, but, Congressman Jefferson refused to tell us why FBI should rope Atiku in through him?

FBI and CIA will only go after somebody if that person is being considered a “threat to American interest and security”. Is Congressman Jefferson telling us that Atiku was and is still a threat to American existence in any way as to be the reason for the FBI setting Atiku up through him? What does FBI intended to achieve by going through Jefferson to get at a then sitting Vice-President of another country?

Atiku is claiming to be “clean”. Why was he the only vice-president in the whole wide world then that FBI went after?

Jefferson was not the only black member of the US Congress. Why was he chosen by the FBI to do their “dirty” bidding, if he claims to be innocent?

The simple answer is that Jefferson and Atiku are conmen themselves who fell into their own traps. Atiku is now back, the EFCC should prosecute him immediately. He is still bluffing, but, when the chips are down, he will face the reality of life.

My take on all these:

“For God so love Nigeria that He did not allowed Atiku Abubakar to be President, because he would have sell Nigeria at our back, but, gave us Yar´Adua in order to lift Nigeria out from the quagmires she is in”

The story that appeared on daily Champion of May 13, 2007 (Yar´Adua, Atiku strike deal) is too cold to be true. If Yar´Adua decides to incorporate Atiku in any way into his government, then is that the beginning of the end? Atiku is no longer comfort staying abroad because of the US Grand Jury’s report that implicated him in crime. Atiku is now afraid that a US court might issue an international arrest warrant on him anytime from now, that’s why he decided to accept to work with Yar´Adua now after rejecting the same offer for weeks. Atiku decided to return to Nigeria to hide from the American Judiciary System. Things worked out fine for him, because the EFCC that he ran away from is no longer as effectual as before, because Yar´Adua in trying to legitimise his flawed election decided to water down the powers and clout of the EFCC to please his corrupt political friends and opponents. Oh my God, we seem to have a big problem in Nigeria.

On the other hand, the news that, the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) has finally agreed to team up with Yar´Adua to form a government of national unity is pleasing and is just like music to my ears. This is what Nigerians want and is a step in the right direction. Unity government that is all inclusive is the best for Nigeria, as long as Atiku is not included.

The Ex-Governors are going to EFCC now with pomp and pageantries and those that ran away are coming back because they have seen that Yar´Adua has made EFCC a toothless bulldog. The ex-governors that supposed to be going to answer EFCC´s call like “fowls beaten by the rain” are now going there with deafening footsteps with no fears at all. Something is wrong here!

So far, the EFCC has quizzed about seven governors out of 15 billed to be questioned. Among ex - governors so far interrogated are Dr. Peter Odili, Chief James Ibori, Rev. Jolly Nyame, Alhaji Saminu Turaki, Alhaji Ahmed Sani Yarima, Senator Tinubu and Chief George Akume.

For instance, ex-governor Ibori of Delta state bankrolled Yar’Adua’s campaign, but, his successor is downsizing the ministries because, there is no money to maintain them. That means that so many people from Delta state will be out of work and that will entail hardship to such people and their families. Ibori is walking free bragging to be the “king-Maker”. He should go to jail to be the King of Kirikiri Prison.

There is a report that the on-going interrogation of former state governors by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yielded over N100 billion so far. It is not enough. Some of those ex - governors should be in jail; they raped their respective states and left them bare.

No corrupt ex-governor should be given appointment. It is unacceptable to Nigerians. From the reports reaching us, so many corrupt ex-governors submitted their names for ministerial and other appointments through their present state governors and chairmen of their party. The only ex-Governor that deserves an appointment is Donald Duke. He belongs to my generation and he rendered selfless services to Cross River State. We are calling upon President Yar´Adua to start grooming Duke for higher authority positions, because we know that he will one day be the president of Nigeria, no doubt about this.

Imagine where the departing governors handed over empty treasuries and debts to their successors, upon that they received their state’s monthly allocation for May few days before they left office.

Nigerians want a just and egalitarian Nigeria where all will have a sense of belonging. There are three arms of the Armed Forces (Army, Navy and Air Force) and three arms of the Para-Military Forces (Police, Custom and Immigration). There are six geo-political zones in Nigeria. Fairness demands that a person from each of the geo-political zone heads one of these arms of the Armed Forces and Para-Military Forces. This will be subjected to rotation within a time frame. There must be one senior person in each cadre from each of the geo-political zone that can be tapped to lead a branch of the Forces.

May I reiterate here that the Igbos should be treated fairly and equally, we can’t be watching Yar´Adua do the same things his predecessors did against the Igbos.

Yar´Adua had a meeting with the South-South Governors; he should also do the same with the South-East Governors. The leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, (NDPVF), Alhaji Mujahid Asari-Dakubo detained since September 19, 2005 has been released. A good thing! The leader of MASSOB Chief Ralph Uwazuruike should be released also. The longer the MASSOB leader is incarcerated, the more his followers get hardened and then the harder it will be to placate their minds and to solve the problem(s).

Yar´Adua wants to meet with Afenifere, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the three major ethnic, social and political groups in the country inorder to confer with the leadership of the groups as to provide them an insight into the working of his administration and the need to promote unity, peace and progress among the nation's ethnic groups. Yar´Adua also want to use the opportunity to assure the groups that no Nigerian, irrespective of his ethnic background would be marginalised by the current administration. That is good, but, let that transcend above mere words as soon as possible.

Yar´Adua promised in Germany (while attending the G-8 summit held there recently) to declare a state of emergency on the energy sector so as to have free hands to confront the problem by circumventing the bureaucratic hurdles of the National Assembly. Good thing!

Conclusion

Yar´Adua should “stand up” for the down-trodden. He pledged to be a servant-leader. Good, but let it not be only in words, because talk is talk and talk is cheap. We want actions.

Yar´Adua should make sure that no Nigerian is left behind; he should carry every body along.

Yar´Adua should not pretend not to know what is going on; that every day lots of Nigerians passes on because of poverty and disease.

I believe and hope that before his tenure runs out; I will see an end to hopelessness, suffering, giving in, injustice, death, poverty, ignorance, illiteracy, diseases, frustration etc amongst millions of Nigerians. If he fails to make that happen, then we will count him as a big failure. The expectations on him are overwhelming and he should not fail to “deliver” because he has no reason not to.

Nigeria is blessed in and out; Yar´Adua has everything to make the needed differences. There should be no excuse(s) for failing.