I am not by any figment of my imagination or by virtue of my extensive studies all through my school years alongside my long unbroken journalism experience known any word like Dasukigate. Neither have I ever intentionally or mistakenly applied the word in any way in the tons of written and spoken words I have had to author this far in my career.
But thank God for the peculiarity of the Nigerian and his ability to coin some meaningful words out of nothing and yet make same become popularly acceptable coinage of expression across the land. Anyways, some argue that Dasukigate is a derivative of the Watergate scandal that rocked the United States presidency of Richard Nixon decades back. According to Wikipedia, it was a major political scandal that occurred in the United States in the 1970s, following a break-in at the Democratic National Committee, DNC headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. and President Richard Nixon’s administration’s attempted cover-up of its involvement. When the conspiracy was discovered and investigated by the U.S. Congress, the Nixon administration’s resistance to its probes led to a constitutional crisis.
Ever since, the term Watergate has come to encompass an array of clandestine and often illegal activities undertaken by members of the Nixon administration. Those activities included such “dirty tricks” as bugging the offices of political opponents and people of whom Nixon or his officials were suspicious. Nixon and his close aides ordered harassment of activist groups and political figures, using the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, and the Internal Revenue Service, IRS among several other unholy antics and tactics. Thus, just as it has become in the United States, Dasukigate as applied here has to do with every action, inaction, facts and farce related to the alleged $2.1billion arms deal under the purvey of immediate past National Security Adviser and retired army Colonel, Sambo Dasuki.
So far, dozens of fellow countrymen have had sessions of drilling and, as some add, grilling from the anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to either ascertain what share of the loot they were given vis-à-vis what is available for refund.
Thus, from media moguls like owner of influential African Independent Television and Ray Power FM, High Chief Raymond Aleogho Dokpesi, his ThisDay newspaper counter, Prince Nduka Obaigbena as well as top politicians, security brass hats and business men, a lot of explanations and extractions are being gotten by the EFCC; and where necessary, refunds are being paid.
If efforts on the parts of both the EFCC and members of the Dasukigate constituency ended there, the need for this article would not have arisen. After all, more serious cases are being prosecuted in our law courts with little or no noise and all the razzmatazz that have trailed the quest to recover the alleged $2.1billion requisitioned for equipment of our military but allegedly looted by suspected members of the Dasukigate community. But perhaps, given the membership of top political players in the community, the quietude with which the EFCC ought to have prosecuted its loot recovery agenda has been compromised. It could also mean that there is something wrong with the procedure being employed by the anti-graft agency, which to me is not different from the scenario in a typical police station where a suspect and the Sergeant on duty among others could be in some shouting match; some call it, supremacy match.
Herein lies the distraction that the whole exercise has become.
First, it was the Dasuki bail saga. He applied to the court to be allowed to go on medicare offshore,; he allegedly got the nod. But his holders would not hear that. Then like Paul Maas’ The Valachi Papers, all kinds of grandstanding and reportage, many truths, half-truths and outright lies are being thrown up from all ends.
For the record, The Valachi Papers is a 1972 crime movie starring Charles Bronson and Lino Ventura and directed by Terence Young, it tells the true story of Joseph Valachi, a Mafia informant in the early 1960s. The film was produced in Italy, with many scenes dubbed into English.
The movie begins in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, where an aging prisoner named Joseph Valachi (Charles Bronson) is imprisoned for smuggling heroin. The boss of his crime family, Vito Genovese (Lino Ventura), is imprisoned there as well. Genovese is certain that Valachi is an informant, and gives him the “kiss of death.” Valachi kisses him back.
Valachi mistakenly kills a fellow prisoner who he wrongly thinks is a mob assassin. Told of the mistake by federal agents, Valachi becomes an informant, mistakenly recognized as the first in the history of the American mafia. He tells his life story in flashbacks. The movie traces Valachi from a young punk to a gangster associating with bosses like Salvatore Maranzano (Joseph Wiseman). Maranzano tells a mourner at a funeral, “I cannot bring back the dead. I can only kill the living.” Valachi marries a boss’s daughter, played by Bronson’s real-life wife Jill Ireland.
The film which was clearly poorly produced departed from the true story of Joseph Valachi, as recounted in the Peter Maas book, in a number of ways. Though using real names and depicting real events, the movie also contained numerous events that were fictionalised. Among them were the castration scene and the “I can only kill the living” Maranzano comment, which was widely ridiculed by critics.
Simply put, all the different stories being bandied about the arms deal and who got what from the loot may just become a replay of movie, The Valachi Papers in the sense that its plot, filming, production and eventual release may be nothing short of the disappointing reviews that followed the hype that heralded The Valachi movie premiere.
My reasons: With the noise-some pestilence Dasukigate has become, Nigerians would soon begin to lose interest in the whole saga. The public show being made of it by the EFCC due to the agency’s indiscretions is really buoying this fear. Already, the joke is being made that if your wife, child, dog or spare tyre is missing, the first suspect must be Dasuki. The same goes for when your salary is delayed or your promotion is not coming. That is how unfortunately unserious Nigerians have now made Dasukigate become.
Another factor is the predominance of politically active Nigerians in the scandal. With their antics and knowledge of how the entire process, from the EFCC through the federal government to the courts work, politicians armed with the alleged loots easily get off the hook back to freedom. After all, we have seen many done so in other alleged graft cases. By frustrating court procedures alongside the convenient plea-bargain option waiting in the wings, before long they return to freedom and business becomes usual.
Add the foregoing to claims of need for medicare abroad and bare-faced effrontery by some who will refuse to make any refunds, much sooner than later, we will all discover that the nation has lost very precious but scarce resources making the drama out of Dasukigate.
And until EFCC learns to package its assignment with real professionalism expected from a critical anti-graft agency that it truly is, without the public show it is now known to be doing, its good efforts in fighting graft now and after now will continue to be seen as very unpleasant distraction in a nation in a hurry to change positively.