Adeleke Otunuga, CMSaturday, February 18, 2006
[email protected]
Laurel, MD, USA



t has been sometime since I vented my opinion about the intrigues and unfolding scenarios regarding governance and democracy in Nigeria through this medium. This inconspicuous absence is not intentional, although it is deliberate. The last few months of my entrepreneurial, educational, social, and work life have been very busy ones. I had become just content with taking quick scan of news items concerning Nigeria, and shaking my head in disgust at the misleaders who mismanage our resources. It does look like the political interlopers are never short of disparaging mud shots with which they continually assault our collective psyche. The current OBJ's FG and Bola Tinubu's face-off is one of such slimy face smears. I consider the idiocy of this face-off an accidental savage that must not be allowed to go without a response.

The Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu made some comments, in which he called President Obasanjo an ingrate who returned to power in 2003 on the backs of the South-West governors. In the Thursday February 16, 2006 edition of the Daily Sun, it was reported that the presidential attack greyhound - Fani-Kayode - had hardly allowed Tinubu to lick the droop resulting from his barrage on Mr. President from his lips when he (Fani-Kayode) fired his reply salvo. For calling OBJ an ingrate, Fani-Kayode charged, Tinubu erred. "As regards the issue of support for the 2003 elections," Fani-Kayode fumed, " [there was] nothing to be grateful for him [Tinubu] for."

But Fani-Kayode was, surprisingly more decorous and decent in his reply this time around. At least Fani-Kayode was more discerning in his application of decency rules than the Works and Housing Minister, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe. According to the minister, Tinubu should be in jail for certificate forgery if not for the intervention of OBJ in 2003 through the then Inspector-General of Police, Musiliu Smith. OBJ was said to have instructed Musiliu Smith to violate the calling of his office in defense of Tinubu. Hear Ogunlewe, "It was the then Inspector General of police that went to court to say that the court cannot compel the police to do the investigation. It would have been easier for the court to insist that he must be investigated and that Inspector General of police was working for government."


And herein lays the problem. Considering the nature of the verbal attacks and counter-attacks between these men, certain empirical conclusions could be drawn. First, it may be right to conclude that Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, being a cabinet member in OBJ's cabinet, and being one of the power brokers close to OBJ, is privy to some information that the ordinary citizen may not be privy to. That there was a certificate scandal involving the Lagos State Governor was incontestable. That certain interested parties went to court seeking a declaration that Tinubu was not fit to contest to be Lagos State governor was also incontestable. The way and manner the case came to be settled was, however, unclear to Nigerians. Now we know.

So much for the much-touted anti-corruption campaign of the federal government. Unfortunately, the evidences are getting stacked up. The Ngige-Uba debacle where the power and might of the FG lent credence to Uba's criminality, the Adedibu-Ladoja fiasco in which Obasanjo's support helped scuttle the wishes of the Oyo people, and now a revelation of how the OBJ's federal government helped Tinubu remain in power through the illegal use of the instrumentality of office - the police force headed by Musiliu Smith. Because this revelation is coming from a top OBJ aide, no amount of denial will make any sensible person believe otherwise. And since we are led to believe this atrocious revelation, we would be right in passing a comment.

It is now obvious the message the OBJ's government is passing to Nigerians, especially in light of the government's anti-corruption drive. By helping Tinubu perpetuate his certificate forgery, OBJ performed criminally, and should be talking to Akanbi's ICPC right now. By abusing the power and privilege of his office, and by deploying his official resources against the wishes of the people through whom such power is derived in the first place, Musiliu Smith also erred, and should normally be arrested immediately. By possessing information regarding the performance of a crime and failing to report such to the appropriate quarters, Ogunlewe also erred criminally, and should be arrested. For the perpetuation of injustice as this one is no less heinous than the crime for which Tafa Balogun was docked for, nor is it less grave than those for which Alamco is facing trial. In the matter of Tinubu's certificate forgery, OBJ and his conniving aides should be under serious investigation. Except that in Nigeria, some men are clearly above the law, because they are the law. So much for the anti-corruption crusade. What is the next course of action open to us, Nigerians?