In an investigative report titled ‘N5trn stolen under Jonathan - Investigation’ the Sunday Punch delivered a withering criticism of Goodluck Jonathan’s war on corruption. It reports that in just 2 years President Jonathan has presided over an orgy of corruption, fraud and embezzlement. In only his first 31 months in office an estimated N5trn has been pilfered under Mr. Jonathan’s watch.
N5trn is a lot of money. The Federal Government’s total revenue for the second quarter of 2012 (April to June) was N2.5trn. N5trn, which has gone missing under President Jonathan’s leadership, is Nigeria’s gross revenue for 6 months. The staggering scale of fraud is even more impressive considering it has been achieved in just the first 31 months of the President’s first term.
Sunday Punch estimated the magnitude of fraud perpetrated under President Jonathan by combining the findings of the Mallam Nuhu Ribadu Petroleum Task Force report, the Minister of Trade and Investment’s report on stolen crude, the House of Representatives fuel subsidy report and the investigations into the ecological fund, SIM card registration and frequency band spectrum sale.
According to the Petroleum Task Force report, 250,000 barrels of crude oil have been stolen a day at a cost of $6.3bn (N1.2trn) a year. In the two years of President Jonathan’s government, over $12.6bn (N2trn) has been lost (Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in May, said the government lost a fifth of its oil revenues to theft in April). In October, Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, in a letter to the President, said 24 million barrels of oil worth $1.6bn (N252bn) was stolen between July and September. In some cases ministers simply gave away millions of dollars of government money. According to the Ribadu report ministers of Petroleum Resources between 2008 and 2011 handed out seven discretionary oil licenses costing the government $183m (N29bn) in signature bonuses. 3 of these oil licences were awarded under Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, the current Minister of Petroleum.
A further N2.6trn paid by the Federal Government for oil subsidy in 2011 could not be properly accounted for and in July, the House of Representatives Committee on Environment discovered a tree seedling fraud worth N2bn awarded by the Ecological Fund office. The House also instituted a probe into the sale of the frequency band spectrum which was valued at over $50m but was allegedly sold for less than $6m by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). The House also opened an investigation into a N6.1bn project by the NCC to register all GSM telephone subscribers in Nigeria which has been described Mr. Usman Bawa, Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Communication as “a duplication of effort, a waste of resources and time.” According to Mr. Bawa, the 4 major GSM companies, who already register their customers, had completed 80% of the SIM registration process before the NCC project commenced. The NCC then requested a further N1bn in funding for this wasteful and unnecessary project after it suffered delays in execution.
The war against corruption is an unqualified failure, mostly because the war against corruption doesn't actually exist. It’s a myth perpetuated by self-serving politicians and a lie harshly exposed in the light of the damaging reports issued by various arms of the Federal Government. If there ever was a war against corruption then it ended a long time ago and it doesn't look like we won. Don’t tell that to President Jonathan though. At a church service in September to celebrate the 52nd anniversary of Nigeria’s independence, he admitted that corruption is a major challenge confronting the nation and an obstacle to its development. However, he remarked that the fight against corruption had ‘intensified’ and was ‘yielding fruit’. N5trn sure is a lot of fruit.
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300"] Olusegun Obasanjo, president of Nigeria, Brasília, 6 September 2005. Photographer: José Cruz/ABr. Deutsch: Nigerias Präsident Olusegun Obasanjo am 6. September 2005 in Brasília. Foto: José Cruz/ABr. Português: Brasília - Presidente da Nigéria, Olusegun Obasanjo fala durante almoço em sua homenagem, no Itamaraty. Foto: José Cruz/ABr. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)[/caption]
Goodluck Jonathan is Nigeria’s best loved president ever and a super successful anti-corruption crusader. You can’t argue with the facts! Since May 2011 President Jonathan has presided over an immensely successful period of Nigeria’s history that has seen us named by the Economist’s Economic Intelligence Unit as the worst place on earth to be born and declared by KPMG as the fraud capital of Africa. No one is more responsible for Jonathan’s unparalleled ‘successes’ than his political sugar daddy Olusegun Obasanjo. Obasanjo is a farmer and far too humble to take the credit for Jonathan’s success. He really should be a little less humble though.
Jonathan was 18 months into a rather unexpected and unremarkable stint as Governor of Bayelsa State when he was hand-picked by Obasanjo to run as the Vice-Presidential candidate of the PDP in the 2007 general election. Until then Jonathan had achieved remarkably little of note in his political career, by which I mean he had achieved precisely nothing. Goodluck Jonathan had been an unheralded and unknown Deputy Governor under Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, the kleptomaniac former governor who infamously fled prosecution in the UK disguised as an improbably unattractive woman.
An old copy of a pre-presidency Jonathan’s resume is floating around on the popular internet forum www.nairaland.com. It’s likely accurate and tallies with publicly available, non-hagiographical biographies of the President:
Now, 5 years after facilitating the improbably spectacular rise of an unprepared, poorly qualified Deputy Governor of a backwater state (no offence to Bayelsans) to Nigeria’s highest office, Obasanjo has not only fallen out with his protégé he’s now reportedly moving to restrict Jonathan’s disastrous residency of the Aso Villa to a single term. Yes, after rigging a dying man into the presidency, creating a constitutional crisis that almost brought the nation to its knees and then introducing Nigeria to the twin virtues of good luck and patience, Olusegun Obasanjo is not quite finished with his unsolicited contributions to Nigerian politics. Wonderful.
As I’m on a long-distance call with my parents, we discuss and share all the hilarious reactions to Turkish Officials blaming the power outage in 35 cities during election night on a cat. The headline at Huffington Post for the story is “Turkish Official Blames Election Night Power Outages On A Cat”. Who can take that seriously? I was couldn't keep quiet at the title alone. The electrical blackout spiraled the country that firmly believes in the possibility of change. Following that, officials had the audacity of holding an interfering cat liable. Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on April 1, “A cat entered a power distribution unit. It was the cause of the blackout and it’s not the first time that it has happened.” The BBC listed the four top April Fools Day trends, of which one was Yildiz’s comment. As bizarre as it is to announce this on April fool’s and expecting listeners to believe it, he did. Congratulations, we had a great laugh at the comments and pictures accompanied by them. One user posted this picture of a cat besides requisite tools and said, “Just caught the cat.” My personal favorite, Erdocat. “The true leader of the lobby has been caught,” Tamer Abdelaal (@zanesfather) tweeted. @ODTUOgrencileri posted this one, translating “Look, this is the last time I’ll explain our plan.” Look some up yourself on Twitter under the hashtag #catlobby for English results, and #kedilobisi for Turkish ones. How fair can an election be, if ballot boxes suspiciously disappear, found burnt, and inconsistencies among the boxes and report sheets as well as in the computerization process? Fraud seems to be the accurate clarification. Many Turks, including myself, call for a recount. Opposition parties deposited to the higher election board (YSK) more than 2,000 appeals to recount suspicious boxes. In all seriousness, who can take Turkey’s authority figures seriously anymore? Blocking Twitter and YouTube in a so-called democratic country takes integrity away as it is (let alone granting access again after a two-week ban). Corruption sweeps across parliament would have crossed the line, you'd think. General tremble in the Erdogan circle would've been it. Along with the results of the local election everyone seems to be in disbelief. Erdogan’s political party is crumbling apart and serves nothing but smelly, rotten fish to its followers. There’s no trust to rely on, and he will be made fun of and revolted against until he understands the meaning of respect, transparency and democracy.