Betta Edu: A Clear Case of Misunderstanding
BY EGUONO ODJEGBA
Clearly, it would appear that majority of Nigerians who have expressed concerns about the most recent attempted financial heist believed to have been thwarted by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) are unaware of the real nature of the theft in question, in all its moral, customs, financial or economic ramifications.
In the circumstances, the majority of those expressing concerns and opinions, whether of purely, routine social commentary, consternation or indignation, may have engaged in these expressions from faulty, uninformed positions; since the matter is actually more complex and technical and hence, requires a thorough understanding of its nature before an informed and objective position can be taken.
Mere prattling on the basis of imagined hurt or routine fault finding will avail us nothing; unless we make the effort to dissect and critically reflect over what has happened for the purpose of gaining the right insight, and thus be in a position to prevent future occurrence through clarified, earnest and purposeful interventions.
The delectable Dr. Betta Edu is only a victim of circumstances in that she allowed her youthful exuberance to override her judgment, making her run at a speed and manner that is professionally inappropriate in the field of compulsive thieving and primitive plundering, that specialty which appears to be the exclusive, genetic preserve of Nigerian politicians, families and their appointees.
Perhaps, we shall yet speak about its other dynamics which includes the assemblage of this special caste of individuals and the defining laws of homogenous attraction that binds them as an organic whole.
It is thus a misrepresentation of the facts of the matter to hold Dr. Edu the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation solely responsible for what is otherwise an organized and illegal corporate heist ingenuously structured through questionable windows of financial funneling, which unfortunately went awry.
It smacks of utter dishonesty when the APC led government and the civil service including the OAGF and others already talking about it pretend that Edu has done something objectionable and out of the blues except that she was in too much haste; whereto, her behavior may be adjudged as capable of hurting the sensibilities of the common people.
For a long time already, the humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation ministry has served as the tunnel of illicit financial funneling, serving top notch political personages and known to the presidency and top chieftains of the ruling party; for at least close to a decade now.
Former President Muhammadu Buhari and his successor, friend and political ally, President Bola Tinubu knows of the existential importance of this ministry and its agencies, which like the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Plc, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) etc has served as a huge source of financial getaway route with the support of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the big four money deposit banks.
The big banks, not in terms of honest, occupational growth but merely as receivers of proceeds of corruption, open and hidden, whose ownership as members of the Nigerian elite remain untouchable, forever protected by the presidency and political elites for obvious reasons.
It’s a close knit underworld corporate gang that is capable of pulling the most atrocious and unconscionable heist for the most ridiculous, most unlikely, and reprehensible human adventure.
Betta’s predecessor, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq, rumoured at a time to be President Buhari’s girlfriend, didn’t land the juicy top job to engage in idle ladies gossip but to attend to the needs of the occupant of Aso Rock and the other vultures such as he may put forward, relying on his unlimited powers. Of course, only an idiot as it were, would serve in such a mine field without participating in the pilferage, now and then to attend to his or her personal cupidity.
Nigerians must credit Edu with some intelligence, and shouldn’t expect that knowing the nature of the ministry as redefined by our political leaders, to have remained the odd onlooker and not also engage in the brisk business of self enrichment; knowing full well that there are no serious repercussions; because, were it otherwise, she would have been immediately briefed upon resumption, of the ongoing ‘jail term’ of her predecessor.
But Hajiya Umar-Farouq and the leaders of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) were having the best of time and in the spirit of chivalry, nurturing the conspiracy of silence and absolute blessed forgetfulness, engendered by a well laid out protective walls of mutual affinity against accountability.
Perhaps it is instructive to mention that such was made possible not just by the indifference or alleged connivance of the EFCC but by and large, by Nigerians alarming sense of complacency and our disturbing societal permissiveness; so to speak.
While the unlucky Nigerian masses are eager to move on as we resign to fate under the circumstances, the more criminally adept political and economic elites, become more emboldened to continue to plunder the commonwealth, and with their ill gotten wealth, buy over the media, religion and the judiciary; and thus achieve helpful silence that only produces muffled murmuring at the worst of circumstances.
Dr. Betta Edu who is finely read and already exposed to our kinds of brutal politics under the tutelage of Prof. Ayande, erstwhile Cross River political and intellectual popinjay, knew in advance the crooked workings of her federal ministry, especially the knowledge that so far, with protection from the presidency; anything goes.
What she possibly didn’t know and what came as a surprise even to those familiar with the special duty unofficial agenda of the ministry is the possibility of the inscrutable divine intervention in the affairs of men; which tore through the rank of the minders of the Abuja kleptomaniacs; leaving confusion and consternation in its trail.
Lest Nigerians fall for the dummy clearly woven by the Abuja spin doctors that Edu was knowingly stopped as a response to improved corporate governance of the present administration; it is barefaced lie. The incident has proved to be one of huge embarrassment to the presidency; hence the resort to urgent actions to sway public temper and obviate the facts of what has become a culture.
It is in the context of this reality that the youthful political upstart was described as a victim of circumstance, in the foregoing; and also, listening to the songs of solidarity already coming from her home front. Having foolishly exposed one of Aso Rock’s treasure wells, she may well pay the price of the scapegoat through agonizing drill; which is already ongoing at the EFCC; but just so to insulate the presidency.
She will also suffer moments of political wilderness and abandonment by her political and religious godfathers, associates and those she may have fronted for; but it would only be for a short while; Edu will be rehabilated.
It would be foolhardy to take to heart, concerns and expression of indignations of various forms by politicians; such expressions are nothing but pretenses known in local parlance as ‘eye service’.
Make no mistake, those who sponsored her nomination are not in the best of mood and are also agonizing, ostensibly for losing their agent in the political market, and hence may have ultimately lost all permutations and its beneficial forecast; unless President Tinubu makes her replacement, in the event he finds it hard or politically inappropriate to provide her sufficient soft landing that will guarantee her return to office.
When you are further told by Abuja people that her traveling papers and that of her predecessor, in addition to other co-accused in similar malfeasances have been confiscated, don’t imagine that their case is extremely bad; no political case can be worse than some of the principal officers in this government.
The noisy claims in both official and non official quarters that purport that this government or any since 1999, save the short stint of President Umaru Yar’Adua is genuinely committed to the fight against corruption is not only a ruse but outright propaganda and or ‘eye service’.
Ask Senator Adams Oshiohmole or the Senate President, His Excellency, Godswill Akpabio, who are living examples of the political dynamics of corruption and acceptance. Those who are in government or the opposition that purports to be fighting or speaking against corruption are merely engaged in the race for relevance, they’ll do whatever it takes to get carried along.
Ask immediate past Akwa Ibom State Governor, His Excellency Emmanuel Udom, ask the spokesman of the Atiku Abubakar Presidential Organisation, Daniel Bwala, who are already racing against time to be able to befriend President Ahmed Tinubu. Ask Kenneth Okonkwo, until few days ago, Labour Party spokesman, currently speaking what sounds like an Igbo-Swahili dialect.
All the grandstanding considered, to what intent and purposes? Through being friends, to be afforded the opportunity and desire to seek protection against corruption and or get absorbed into the present political dispensation for the possibility of partaking in the sharing of the national largesse.
Betta Edu is only one unlucky members of the rampaging gang, the botched transfer of N585 million meant for grant to the so-called Vulnerable Groups (VG) in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Lagos and Ogun States is also begging the question of how the ministry identified the VG. How authentic is this VG and what assurance is there that the grant distributed in the past and the current troubled one, would reach the desired citizens and not end up in private accounts of the organizers?
Can the EFCC which is gloating over this current stoppage of Edu’s failed transfer project, say it has not been involved in the diversion of similar grants in the past, through acts of omission and commission, through conspiracy of silence and collusion? There are reasons to believe that the EFCC stinks and have a long time already, lost focus!
Sadly, Edu by reasons of her professional training as a medic cannot plead ignorance the due process. As a minister, she was not just ready to play by the rule in view of the appalling record of past massive leadership failure…from the office of the president, ministers, governors, commissioners, the MDAs and CEOs.
Our system, particularly our political leadership, including the engine room of public service, the civil service has for a long time too, acquired the satanic propensity to act against all the mechanism and moral gauge that promotes productive endeavours that underpins national development.
The psychology of graft appears to function in the reverse order where our officials are more responsive to the entrapment of graft than using the national treasury to run the system. Thus far, both the political sector and the public service have become immune to all the virtues expected to build the country.
To wit, we have a society that revels in total immorality, nurtured to full turgidity in which operators of our system have become unashamedly passionate, like Edu and the rest, aligning with our paranoid sense of judgment, investigation and prosecutorial bankruptcy; plus the rich display of our terrible permissiveness.
When it is said that the future belongs to the youth, it is doubtful if such declarations whether by the clergy, politicians and or educators actually rests on foolproof practical knowledge and therefore, on profound intellectual evidences.
But let us not blame the youths but to redefine the concept in the light of our peculiarity; since such phrase has become very objectionable.
From all empirical evidence, the future of Nigeria belongs to the itchy hands, the morally decadent and bankrupt elites (political and economic) who appeared solely wired to steal from everywhere and at any time like rats, without compunction.
That is the only reason the operators of this government and its officials can afford to make the decision to serve themselves, not just to serve themselves first, but even to allocate 80percent of the national resources to cater for themselves under dubious schemes; deceitfully deploying their offices and positions as the fundamental basis of the immoral, highly skewed expenditure.
Betta Edu is only a tell tale expression of this government and the ones before it, operated by the same tribe of persons, inspired by an acute sense of kleptomania, under different names that suits their fancy.
Were it otherwise, the funds that has so far been released to members of the National Assembly for purchase of vehicles alone, is more than enough to fix the Eleme-Onne seaports bad access roads in Port Harcourt, River State.
While critical economic infrastructures such as the nation’s ports and rail system are in very deplorable states and impairing optimal performances, President Tinubu and his political bed fellows are squandering the scarce resources on taking care of their immediate questionable desires that bothers mainly on opulence and extravagant lifestyle; which appointees like Dr. Betta Edu finds very attractive.