By SOC Okenwa…
Kano is a city-state up north just like Lagos, Enugu, Kaduna, Ekiti etc. A cosmopolitan city just like Lagos in the south-west the city-state is reputed to be the economic nerve-centre of the north. In the south-east you have Onitsha in Anambra state. Densely-populated like Lagos Kano is rich in her cultural and academic heritage. It hosts the famous prestigious Bayero University. The late Nigerian crude and rude dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha hailed from Kano. Kano has had great Governors and Emirs. The late handsome Abubakar Rimi was one of the best Governors the state had ever produced. But the state had equally had the misfortune of having had as Governor one executive ‘imbecile’, the late Aliyu Sabo Bakin Zuwo for whom the mineral resources of the state meant “fanta, coke and sprite”!
Kano city was the place where the Inspector-General of the Nigerian Police Force, Ibrahim Idris, had ignominiously acted out his famous or infamous “transmission” drama some months ago. And it happens to be the place where the incumbent President and his handlers had often boasted of having ‘2 million votes’ safely in the electoral bank as it were. That claim could be in their wild imagination but with IGP Idris as the then Commissioner of Police in Kano state the then opposition APC presidential candidate (and now President) pulled out a massive electoral ‘monkey business’ that permitted him to beat ex-President Goodluck Jonathan silly in the last presidential poll of 2015. The opposition PDP had accused the APC of importing foreign voters and manufacturing fictitious ‘voters’ to swell the number in Kano!
When the late goggled kleptocratic Abacha was in power following the criminal annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential poll won fair and square by the assassinated Bashorun MKO Abiola (distinguishing himself along with Gen. Ibrahim Babangida as professional coup-plotters) some investigative American journalists had ‘invaded’ the Lagos MMA with a hidden minute camera in their lenses with which they recorded obscene scenes of corrupt bribe-taking at the Mutala Muhammed International Airport in Ikeja.
When the video was published it had elicited a national outcry, a scandal that saw some implicated heads rolling. Abacha fired those involved even though after his timely demise we have learnt about the sleazy “Abacha Loot” (billions of Dollars and Pounds hidden in offshore bank accounts!) In Igboland it is often said proverbially that one who strikes with a cutlass does not allow such dangerous object to pass behind him!
Read also: “The spirit of error” in Nigerian politics
Corruption in Nigeria is never a new phenomenon. It is as old as the controversial Lugardian amalgamation of 1914. Gen. Ibrahim Babangida had been accused by critics of generously democratizing and instutionalising corruption during his giddy years as a military despot decades ago. Today Nigeria bleeds to death as a result of passive and active corruption permeating every facet of our national life. Some foreign leaders had disrespectfully described the country as “fantastically corrupt”! And majority of Nigerians agreed with such description.
Way back in 2015, prior to the presidential election of that year, the then opposition candidate (Buhari) had promised to wage an unrelenting war against graft in the event of his victory at the poll. Of course, three and half years down the line President Buhari has fought graft and billions of Naira and millions of Dollars siphoned by our crafty politicians had reportedly been recovered yet the cankerworm cannot be said to have been conquered substantially. It has been fought more on national TV and pages of newspapers. When you use propaganda to prosecute a battle against corruption then there is bound to be controversies generated by such tactics and methods.
Today in Nigeria new ways and strategies are being deviced by our devious politicians to steal the state resources and go scot-free. They hide the filthy lucre these days in pit latrines, huge water reservoirs or their grandmothers’ dilapidated abodes in the hinterland! Some smartly dig holes inside their homes and hide theirs and others simply open up the ceilings in the apartments and tuck theirs away in safety! They do these in order to avoid the prowling eagle eyes of the EFCC operatives or the traditional banking exposures.
Recently the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, was involved in a graphic executive corruption captured live on video! The trending video that had since gone viral online was made available by an online media portal (Daily Nigerian). In the video Ganduje was seen clearly receiving 5 million Dollars as kickback from a contractor in the state. The Abuja-based journalist, Jafaar Jafaar, is said to have gone into hiding following the publication of the video in his website. He said he had received countless death threats from unknown people! Let him not end up like the late Dele Giwa or Godwin Agbroko please!
A hard look at the video revealed the trapped executive APC Governor of Kano state enthusiastically receiving bundles upon bundles of crisp Dollar bills — hiding some inside his flowing ‘babanriga’ and concealing others inside a big envelope! The state government had issued a damage-control press statement in which the Governor denied the visual allegation and blamed his political opponents for sponsoring the “serial blackmailer and extorter” behind the video exposé. The press release went on to say that the video was doctored or cloned, one primarily aimed at tarnishing the good image of the Governor ahead of the gubernatorial election of nert year in the state.
While we may not disagree to some extent that political motives could be imputed to the sting graft operation mounted by a disgruntled contractor perhaps working in cahoot with vested political interests in the state the authenticity of the video had been vouched for by some professionals who should know better. So the veracity of same could not be dismissed with a wave of the hand.
Governor Ganduje cannot claim to be guber paragon in every stretch of imagination. Besides, he cannot lay any claim to being pious. Simply dismissing the video as the handiwork of his political adversaries cannot possibly stand any hard scrutiny. A trap was set for him in the spirit of cupidity and fell to it hook, line and sinker! The ramifications could turn out to be dangerous for his future political career. Ganduje is like every other Governor in Nigeria: corrupt and inept!
Kano is famed for infamy indeed! Some years ago a federal lawmaker, Farouk Lawan, was captured collecting a hefty bribe of about $500,000 dollars from an oil magnate, Femi Otedola. Legislator Lawan was leading a House of Representatives panel investigating illicit fuel subsidy payments in 2012 when it was discovered that he sought and obtained a ‘settlement’ a la Babangida in order to clear Otedola’s company of any wrongdoing!
Unlike Ganduje however Lawan never denied the authenticity of his own ‘Lawan-gate’ at that time. Rather he had said he recognised collecting the bribe-money but only as a ‘set-up’ for Otedola. But the oil big man based in Lagos countered such ‘Lawanian’ balderdash by saying that he was the one that organized it all in order to expose Lawan for whom he was.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should get cracking by doing the needful in this regard. The Magu-led anti-graft agency ought to have swung into action upon this disturbing revelation coming to light by dutifully launching an investigation into the Ganduje-gate with the sole objective of getting to the root of the matter. In other climes where corruption is not as rampant as ours and where same is not institutionalized the anti-graft agencies yonder do not wait for any ‘order from above’ for them to do their jobs.
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