Home Latest News Probing all past govts: Matters Arising By Dele Sobowale

Probing all past govts: Matters Arising By Dele Sobowale


“Don’t single me out for probe, Jonathan tells Buhari.”

PUNCH, May 28, 2015, p 2.

Call it a plea for equity or an appeal for consideration, Jonathan’s published advice to Buhari was one few people, this time last year, would have imagined likely. It has never happened in Africa for an incumbent President to be clearly defeated in an election.

Only the most die-hard faithful or those suffering from utter despair clung to faint hope that Jonathan would win. And, as long as he remained in office, there would be no probe of any kind. GEJ was a firm believer in letting sleeping dogs lie – even if they are afflicted with infectious ailments. At any rate, a probe by Jonathan would have meant probing his party men and cronies; and that was unthinkable; also unfortunate.

Then the wheels of fortune brought about unforeseen change and, like sharks, a lot of people smell blood of top people in the Nigerian political waters. They are moving in for the kill. Jonathan’s advice, which will be partly reproduced below, is the first of several which will be made in the future to stave off ultimate disaster for the former President and his associates.

President Muhammadu Buhari

His closest associate, Mrs Patience Jonathan, had made the possibility of post-office imprisonment a campaign issue. “I don’t want to go and give my husband food in prison”, she said on many campaign trips. Why she thought there was any possibility of that happening might soon become clear – if, indeed, Buhari heeds the calls for probe of the Jonathan administration.

Unfortunately for Jonathan many of the areas of investigation have been pointed out to him in the past; and, he had failed to take action. And, whereas, his government might have provided soft landing for those indicted, none of them now has chance for leniency or amnesty.

Jonathan is vulnerable to prosecution for one charge – evading Assets Declaration as required by the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria. It is doubtful if any court of law would accept as defense the fact that Obasanjo also committed the same offense. He also has outstanding a Code of Conduct Bureau indictment of himself as well as twelve other governors in the 2007 class for deliberate under-declaration of assets.

That said; let me quickly announce my total support for Jonathan’s call for total, instead of selective probe. According to GEJ, “I believe that anybody calling for probe must ensure that these probes are extended beyond the Jonathan administration; otherwise to me, it will be a witch-hunt. If you are sincere, it is not just the Jonathan administration that should be probed.” No greater truth had been told in Nigeria since 1914. We must start elsewhere. However, if the probes would not get bogged down, we should cast our nets, for now, only as far back as 1999.

I will gladly send Jonathan a copy of my book PDP: CORRUPTION INCORPORATED, which provides several starting points for probing the Obasanjo administration, including some people now taking shelter under the APC. In fact, no justice can be done if we don’t start with Obasanjo. Reading that book, Jonathan will discover that Nigeria was already being taken to the cleaners by the PDP government in Abuja while he was still a “Spare Tyre” in Bayelsa, by the same self-righteous Obasanjo who had been highly critical of GEJ. Obasanjo designed the template for the corrupt practices which have occurred since 1999. Let me provide some examples.

For eight years the OBJ administration allocated funds for the repair of Nigeria’s four refineries, for Turn-Around-Maintenance, TAM. The refineries failed to work. During Obasanjo’s regime a Group Managing Director of the NNPC lodged in the Presidential Suite at, now, Transcorp, racking up a bill about four times what would have been needed to provide a house for him. It was also under Obasanjo that the PTDF was robbed blind. (See Chapter 6, HOW PTDF WAS RAIDED).

Left to me, any probe which does not include OBJ’s tenure would be incomplete and if GEJ needs materials to send a petition, in the event of such exclusion, he should feel free to contact me. It will amount to partial justice if he goes down while some hypocrites who did worse are left to roam around and sermonize about corruption. But, on this matter, I am on all fours with him. I want him to receive a fair deal after leaving office.


“Even debts owed by states and this nation from 1960, they are saying it is Jonathan’s administration that is owing all the debts..The Attorney-General is aware of the massive judgment debts..it is about $1bn [N210bn]. Jonathan, May 27, 2015, Aso Rock, Abuja.

Increasingly, the former Finance Minister is cutting the figure of someone not to be believed whenever she announces figures. Otherwise, how do we reconcile the statement by Jonathan about debts owed since 1960 with the announcement in 2004/5 that we had gotten out of debt; after she raided our external reserves to pay $24bn to creditors? And, for God’s sake, who ever, until now, heard about $1bn [N197bn] judgment debts? Why had governments not been paying and how much of the $1bn accumulated since 1999? Are we now dealing with incorrigible law-breakers in the Executive Branch?  More than ever, there must be a probe.

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