President Olusegun Obasanjo who first dealt with the case and despite his avowed toughness and rigidity in matters of economic interest of the country, he had to agree to terms he felt were in the interest of the country.
By Abdulmumini Ali
The relentless recycling of the same sets of allegations of impropriety against Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi state have, despite the fact that they have remained in the front burner in the consciousness of political opponents, failed to hold any water.
We have always seen the allegations for what they are: the fallacy in the imagination of a segment of the Nigerian press, which has made a habit of overblowing any allegation of imaginary infraction against a top northern politician, while looking away when a much more serious malfeasance in established against their paymasters and politicians of southern extraction.
The allegations against Bagudu have not been proven beyond the curious repetitiveness of the same lines. Many Nigerians have been made to believe that all the allegations, as far as the so-called ‘’Abacha loot’’ are concerned, are pure truth simply because the Kebbi state Governor has refused to take the bait of cajoling him into replying or refuting the allegations so that they would have the benefit of misquoting him or changing the color of his statements in order to give their hatred-filled animosity against Bagudu the much needed cover of objectivity.
Some of us who have seen beyond the facade of objective journalism which they always bandy about in order to give some credibility to their bigoted reportage, have refused to be fooled because there are very important lines that are glaringly missing in the allegations.
Even to those of us that are laymen in matters of fiscal policies, we can, from our ‘’ill-informed’’ positions, deduce that there indeed is a campaign laced with ethnic, religious, political and geographical sentiments that had been well oiled and launched aimed at keeping the anti-Abacha bad press perpetually in the psyche of Nigerians.
Otherwise, the allegations against Atiku Bagudu, as we all know, have been handled by four different presidents – all of them democratically elected and none of them had deemed it fit to go a step further to act differently from one another.
It was President Olusegun Obasanjo who first dealt with the case and despite his avowed toughness and rigidity in matters of economic interest of the country, he had to agree to terms he felt were in the interest of the country. The terms were known to both local and international press. Diplomatic and international anti-corruption and
money laundering institutions as well as legal entities were equally abreast of the agreements that went into the way and manner Obasanjo, in his wisdom and after looking at all the angles to make the best out of the matter for the country, resolved the matter.
When the late Umaru Musa ‘Yar Adua succeeded Obasanjo, he too, after reanalysis and perusing the agreements entered into by his predecessor, decided to leave it as agreed. He agreed to abide by the terms not because he was helpless or ba cause he was Bagudu’s ‘brother’ but because there was no evidence that Nigeria had been ripped off in the matter. In spite of all the noise and campaign of calumny waged against the person of Atiku Bagudu by the same bigoted section of the Nigerian media, neither Obasanjo nor Yar Adua ever deemed it fit to revisit the case or open a different layer of legal struggle to reopen it or lament at the way the country was fleeced.
Enter Goodluck Jonathan who, just like Obasanjo was not ‘’Atiku Bagudu’s brother.’’ If a chance to change the content of the agreements or to at least lampoon it had existed, either Obasanjo or Jonathan would have gladly embraced it, to embarrass not just Atiku Bagudu, but to have a go at the North and criminalize its leadership.
Mohammadu Buhari too, despite his credentials as a no nonsense, incorruptible and extremely uncompromising leader, assumed office in 2015 and was thought to have what it takes to revisit the case and launch a very serious effort to, in addition to bringing back what is Nigeria’s, begin to distance himself to Atiku Bagudu who has also, by then, become the democratically elected Governor of Kebbi state. Buhari did neither and instead, was so much impressed by Bagudu’s carriage, intellect, patriotism and commitment to the service of Nigeria that he entrusted him with several adhoc appointments, one of which was to oversee a revolution to make Nigeria self sufficient in rice production.
He made a good job of it and today, Kebbi state lead the way in rice farming while a number of other frontiers and agricultural hubs in other parts of the country have been added to the chain. As it is today, Nigeria produces close to 80 percent of the rice it needs and is the leading rice producing nation in Africa.
The key point here is that while the bigoted section of the Nigerian press continued to beat the anti-Bagudu/Abacha drum, four presidents including two Christians from the southern part of the country have failed to, with all the privileged insights and information at their disposal from around the globe saw nothing untoward or injurious to the country to such an extent that they elected to keep their cool and move on.
As I highlighted from the onset, this piece came about out of a curious layman’s understanding of the matter. Can anybody educate me on:
What, on earth would make four democratically elected presidents, two from the south and two from the north, to play along the ‘’Abacha Loot’’ matter, if indeed, there was more to it, to suggest that Nigeria had not gotten a better deal? And if truly Nigeria was fleeced, was it not with the complicity of Obasanjo and the tacit endorsement of three other presidents?
Can we, in all honesty, assume that the bigoted section of the Nigerian press that has not hidden its crass partisanship and anti/north mindset was more patriotic than a set of four democratically elected presidents who had privileges of access to security/diplomatic reports on this matter?
We can see that even when the so-called Panama papers mentioned many other people including key figures from the southern part, these same media outlets decided to just fleetingly gloss over other cases and in the case of Atiku Bagudu, continued to spin more poison and fire more arrows, in a way that will concentrate much of the spotlight on the man they have sworn to bring down?
Ali wrote in from Tudun Jukun, Zaria
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