Chief Tony Anenih is not an individual who likes speaking to the press. That way, he probably assumes he could avoid getting in harm’s way, at least, from those he perceives as political foes who would not hesitate in spewing venom on him on account of his many perceived sins.
Shortly after the party he led as Board of Trustees Chairman lost at the 2015 general elections, Anenih went on political hibernation. He has however been in the news in the last few weeks, but again, for the wrong reasons as one of those fingered by the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki as one of the many chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who partook in the sharing of the $2.1 billion arms fund. Now Anenih is busy, alongside his spin doctors, making frantic infantile efforts at creating the impression that he is clean. In their haste to tie up loose ends, they are doing so with senile excuses.
Last week, the Uromi-born high chief created a comic relief when he alleged that he spent about N180 million of his hard earned money, ex gratia, to campaign for former President Jonathan. The money, he noted, is outside the (insufficient) N260million reportedly lodged in his account by the office of embattled former National Security Adviser, NSA. Therefore, rather than be slanted, slated and vilified for the small change he should be commended for his patriotic decision to add his widow’s might. But as it turned out, it was a declaration that sent his readers on the canvas clutching their ribs.
As if that was not enough, handlers of the former BoT chairman went further openly demanded for commendation on his behalf. In an opinion piece in the Vanguard newspapers of Sunday, January 17, 2016, one Francis Ehigiator, advised that every Nigeria, particularly those of Edo state origin, should endeavor to be fair when discussing matters concerning him. However, he did not expatiate on why they should be charitable to a man majority of his compatriots remember in moments of anger.
More than demand for respect for Anenih, Ehigiator went on to accuse Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, Edo State governor, of heresy. The governor’s sin, according to him, is that like every other concerned patriot, he demanded that instead of proffering incongruent arguments, it would serve a better purpose for the former BoT chairman to honourably return his loot, if it is true.
No one is in any doubt that corruption is holding Nigeria by the jugular. Good enough, a number of some highly placed individuals and groups are currently being alleged to be major partakers in some of the most worrisome corruption scams. More than that, some of the modus operandi they employed to virtually run the country aground over the years are also being unravelled. Most unfortunately, Chief Anenih, Ehigiator’s principal, is alleged to be one of the major players in the heist that has, for the wrong reasons, turned global gaze in our direction, for the umpteenth time. The expectation is that for the first time, the culprits will not be allowed to go scot-free this time around.
Sadly, a number of those under the anti corruption periscope are grandstanding and indulging in self pontificating when they should be busy presenting facts and figures meant to cleanse them of both legal and moral opprobrium.
That is the more reason Anenih doctors should do the needful and explain why he felt justified collecting campaign monies from the office of the NSA. Condemning patriots calling for accountability, as one of his spin doctors did by condemning Oshiomhole, is simply a futile attempt to divert attention. Indeed, Anenih should know that a thief cannot excuse his crime by pointing accusing fingers at just about any other individual in sight. Certainly, he cannot assume, as he did, that differences in political affiliations are enough for Oshiomhole to conclude that without proof, he (Anenih) is guilty as charged.
As both an elected governor and concerned patriot, Oshiomhole has a right to demand that if the allegations against Anenih are true, he should honourably return his share. How that became a crime is something the Iyasere of Ishan needs to explain.
Curiously, Anenih seems to have conveniently forgotten that his past is not entirely endearing to Nigerians who still remember the very celebrated N300billion road rehabilitation scam. No one but him should know that they will not be surprise that his name cropped up once more in another very odious scheme. Instead, he is holding the view that Oshiomhole is bitter with him on the supposition that the money is the “usual political largesse that presidents and governors are wont to dish out from security votes and other sources to political leaders. In his rather narrow prism, the governor is angry for not being considered worthy enough of being a beneficiary of the largesse. In so assuming, he forgot that as an elected servant of the people, the governor understands the rules guarding the use of security votes and will therefore not act in ways contrary to its appropriation. Rather than be so absent minded,
Anenih will do well reminding himself that the alleged transaction between himself and the NSA is an ingenious version of advanced fee fraud or 419.
Luckily, Anenih admitted that he received the said N260 million except that he futilely attempted to be infantile with his excuses for collecting. As he puts it, the money was meant for sorting out campaign issues arising from Jonathan’s re-election bid. There he had no hesitation acting as directed when the former President requested that he sent details of his bank account but that it was not possible for him to know then that the money came from other sources than the former president.
Convenient as the explanation appears, disputing it is akin to arguing with a man about the authenticity of his dream. The challenge is that even if one were to sleep on the same bed as the dreamer, it is never possible to experience his experience. In the end, even if he laces and embellishes it, there is no way anyone can prove otherwise.
Thus, even if it is possible that Anenih knew that the money came from Dasuki, he can turn the truth on its head on the as his excuses appear particularly on the assumption that is likely to provide a convenient alibi. This conclusion is hardly implausible for an unelected and perhaps unelectable public figure with loads of unsolved cases, including the one in question.
Rather than attempt to find an escape route by picking on Oshiomhole, it would have been better he reminded himself now that the source is no longer in doubt, it will truly be more honourable returning the N260 million paid into his account. The simple truth is that it is from misappropriated funds. At old age, Chief Tony Anenih should know when to draw the line between politicking and matters that touch the very fiber of the nation’s fabrics.
Omoarelojie, a social commentator writes from Benin City

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