Since I read the exposé by the
Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission (EFCC) on the
looted public funds that have
so far been traced to the former
minister of petroleum resources,
Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke,
I have been beside myself. The
Commission has advisedly used
the words -so far – which means its
investigation is still on and much
more illicit funds and items of
property procured with laundered
money could still be traced and
apprehended.
I have been optimistic that the
anti-corruption agency is spot-on
this time round on Diezani being
the actual owner of the sums of
money and items of property
disclosed in a syndicated article
by two staff members of its Public
Affairs Directorate, Mr Tony
Orilade and Aisha Gambari. On
looking at the essential thread
that runs through the property
acquisition and money deposits,
I was at great pains to doubt the
Commission’s narratives. The
modus operandi and modus
vivendi of the acts appear the same.
Assuming arguendo, that only a
half of the disclosed details of funds
looted outright as well as money
laundered was correct, Diezani
would still have dazzled many of
us. What the elegant Amazon has
proved in very clear terms is that
she can do better; and, has, in fact,
done better than a vast majority
of men whose preoccupation
in public office is believed to be
looting of public treasury and
conversion of our commonwealth
to private estates.
The Diezani persona that
the EFCC has presented to the
world has shattered the gender
characterisation that has, in the
annals of independent Nigeria,
created a perception of men as
being the only corrupt folks in
public office. It is sad that the
gorgeous Diezani is the one
trapped in the centre of the
melodrama of diverted public
funds, which stench is upsetting
the sensibilities of all Nigerians.
I am sure that former president,
Goodluck Jonathan, must have
been terribly embarrassed by the
emerging sleaze perpetrated by his
petroleum minister.
The dimensions of the alleged
looting alone are benumbing. What
exactly was Diezani’s problem?
Was she kleptomaniacal? Or
was she keeping money in trust
for some extended interests in
government? Anyhow, something
must be propelling her to acquire,
almost ad-infinitum, what she
would not have been able to finish spending in her entire life, even if
she were to live for 100 years on
earth and if she were to be spending
extravagantly every day.
Let us envision that former
President Jonathan had won the 2015
presidential election; Diezani would
certainly have been retained. And
for her, it would have been business
as usual. I can imagine Diezani
eventually becoming as rich as, or
even richer than the state. But if,
indeed, her hands have been caught
in the cookie jar of these crimes, then
I concur with the view expressed by
some friends that she is nothing but
a disgrace to womanhood.
Consider what N47.2 billion and
$487.5 million (well over N120
billion) both in property and in
cash, could do to the infrastructure
development of our nation. She has
reportedly forfeited a skyscraper
in Banana Island Foreshore Estate,
which value was put at $37.5 million.
A Federal High Court, sitting in
Lagos also ordered that the sums of
$2,740,197.96 and N84, 537,840.70
realised as rents on the property be
forfeited to the Federal Government.
More details are coming up.
I imagine the other hidden
funds yet to be discovered and I
cannot help getting more and more
flummoxed as to what point Diezani
was trying to prove. Was she in
competition with some persons in
the cabinet of Jonathan or with some
contemporaries in similar position in
some oil-producing nations? What
niche did she want to cut for herself? Did she want to become a super
woman by appropriating to herself
the funds that belong to all of us?
Was Diezani aiming to be richer
than King Croesus, the last king
of Lydia (c. 560-546 B.C.) who was
so famously rich that his name
became a byword for wealth in the
expression “rich as Croesus”? Was
Diezani planning to be the ultimate
money-woman to whom all men and
living beings must defer? Exactly
what was Diezani up to? She has
splashed the alleged “stolen” funds,
with the sybaritic indulgence of
Adnan Khashoggi, on exotic items
of property and jewelry. Khashoggi,
who died on June 6, this year, at 81
was a Saudi Arabian billionaire who
lavished his wealth on exotic parties,
estates, yachts, etc. In his heyday, he
spent $250,000 a day to maintain his
lifestyle.
Diezani has also reportedly kept
the raw filthy lucre in some accounts
traced to companies that allegedly
have links to her, according to the
EFCC. The Commission said that
aside from jewelry and property, she
has N23, 446,300,000 and $5milion
(about N1.5billion) in various
Nigerian banks. The Commission’s
breezy narrative is widely published
in the print and online media for
citizens’ contemplation.
As for me, at what point did
Diezani lose the good motherly
nature that is purportedly innate in
all women? Women have become
the quintessential reference point
in humility, discipline, integrity
and accountability? Men have
been known from the beginning of
time to represent the good, the bad
and the ugly of society, especially
as far as public office is concerned.
The narrative is fast changing and
Diezani is presenting a bizarre
comparative complexity.
Has the EFCC almost completely
unraveled Diezani? Is there a
correlation between the looted funds
uncovered by the Commission and
the allegedly missing $20 billion
under her watch as petroleum
minister? Did the diverted funds
come from other sources outside the
controversial $20 billion to which
former Central bank governor and
now emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido
Sanusi, drew public attention? There
must be some nexuses at some points
in time. We keep our fingers crossed.
The Commission should also do
well to disclose the sources of these
Diezani’s heists.
Personally, there are no tears
for Diezani for her overwhelming
proclivity for the grotesque “looting”
of our commonwealth and our
patrimony. She has, no doubt,
dazzled us. She should be given
the opportunities to defend herself.
Justice must be seen to be done so
that equity can also dazzle her within
the purview of the essential element
of quid pro quo. Indeed, the entire
episode is nauseating.

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