Ghost dollars, grotesque state By Louis Odion, FNGE

Ex-Ghanaian President Jerry John Rawlings….Wold this kind of a thing happen a country governed by him?

Like a typical Shakespearean comedy,
the great dollar find in Lagos
penultimate Thursday following a whistle blower’s tip-off seems to have
inadvertently bequeathed to the public space a slew of memorable jokes – some
quite libelous.
In the ensuing orgy of
finger-pointing, someone would ask that his quarry be made to excrete more of
the alleged loot so that the latter’s now recognizable bulging pot-belly – very
much like advanced pregnancy – could return to normal.
In response, the addressee would
declare that such allegation could only emanate from the erratic imagination of
a psychiatric patient unable to adhere strictly to his medication regimen –
clearly a poignant innuendo at his accuser, well known to have survived some
mental health challenge in the past.


As if that was not hilarious enough,
a photograph – obviously captured with a zoom lens – of Ayo Oke, the embattled
Director General of the Nigerian
Intelligence
Agency (NIA),
surfaced online Wednesday depicting the bespectacled spook shedding tears in
the forecourt of Aso Rock in what
should shock custodians of the cloak-and-dagger tradition of the spy world.

The Rich & Tush ex-NIA DG, Ayodele Oke

(However, this could not be
independently verified at this writing.)
Oke’s
emotional meltdown, presumably over
the sorry turn of events, reportedly followed his inability to secure audience
with the Vice President after the
news of his suspension.
If true, it would be a different
kettle of fish altogether. Just when did it become permissible for a top
service brass to shed tears so cheaply in public? A lion heart, stern
visage and grace under extreme duress are supposed to be the minimum
pre-qualifications to be admitted into the secret service.

The Osborne Towers…The New Central Bank of Nigeria?

Also implicated is Oke’s own spouse. Earlier, one account
alleged she was the courier who, in various guises and disguises, had smuggled
in over the time the mountain of dollars in bits with “Ghana Must Go” bags. She was said to have
gone to great lengths to conceal the air of prosperity
around her in shabby clothes.

Ex-Governor Adamu Mu’azu & Immediate Past PDP Chairman, Landlord, 16B Osborne Towers, Ikoyi. Is he a thief?

Since every thing was hush hush,
even the usually nosy resident security guards never quite succeeded in unraveling
the name or identity of the mystery tenant on the seventh floor of the Osborne Towers. For that reason, the
flat was reportedly referred to conveniently as “Apartment – – –
(pronounced as dash, dash, dash).”

Ghost Dollars….More than the budget of Togo, Lome & Accra

Well, beneath the foregoing comic
barbs and pathetic imageries surely lay a bigger tragedy. What is
invariably laid bare is an increasingly dysfunctional state. Truth be told, the
suspension on Wednesday of Oke does very little to wash the Buhari presidency clean of reproach arising from a curious failure to act
promptly.
Given the gravity
of the issues involved, it is very scandalous that no one has spoken
directly to the Nigerian people thus far on the multi-billion cash haul at Ikoyi.

Nigeria’s Minister of Information, Mr. Lai Mohammed….Has refused to say something about Ghost Dollars

Why is it always a difficult task
for an increasingly distressed Presidency to seize a defining moment to
reconnect with the people, thus owning its little
victory?The press release announcing the suspension of Oke and
Lawal
can never be a substitute. Any suggestion that since NIA was involved,
information be hoarded “for national security” is most laughable
indeed. Note, what is involved here is taxpayers’ money.

The Author, Louis Odion FNGE….Captures the entire drama in a fiery presentation 

As a mark of accountability to the
Nigerian public, one would have thought the Information Minister would
issue a statement within 24 hours after the matter hit the airwaves. That
should have preceded the duo’s suspension and helped to deflect
the assortment of salacious conspiracy theories, rumors and wild speculations
that have filled the airwaves in the last one week. The most
outlandish of the rumors being that President
Buhari’s
perceived procrastination was only trying to shield someone in his
camp.

Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan….Are his fingers clean of shits?

Again, one account claimed that
apart from the cash uncovered at the “safe house”, some Jonathan/Sambo 2015 election campaign
paraphernalia were also recovered. How true is this?
Indeed, the snippets in the public
domain in the past one week were gleaned from “sources” by the media.
From experience, not everything published or aired is true. Such channels are
prone to abuse. Sometimes, some mischief-makers would give false leads to
reporters hungry for exclusives simply to settle scores with enemies at the
expense of truth. It is therefore no coincidence that the airwaves have since
been filled with all manner of conspiracy theories.

Governor Nyesom Wike….Shouted for the Dollars ‘Na Our Money o’

In Rivers, Governor Nyesom Wike would have the nation believe that the
money is part of the proceeds from the hurried sale of the state’s turbine
assets by his predecessor in 2014. He further alleged that a substantial part
of the money was diverted to fund Buhari’s
presidential campaigns in 2015. An accusation stoutly denied by Rotimi
Amaechi
, now the Transport minister.

Ex-PDP BOT Chair, Anthony Anenih, his daughter sold her flat to Mrs. Folashade Oke

Overall, the initial spin put out by
Oke’s
friends and enablers that the cash warehoused in the “safe house” was
from funds approved by former President Goodluck
Jonathan
came off its wonky hinge after a vigorous disclaimer by the Central Bank.
According to the apex bank, at no
time did it truck any cash to NIA as
far as it could remember.  
The veil would seem completely
yanked off the masquerade two days later following an unconfirmed report that
the so-called “safe house” is owned by a company controlled by Oke’s wife. If true, then this should
inspire the next blockbuster Nollywood flick that could tentatively be
entitled, “The Making of a Billionaire Whistleblower”.
So, where did Oke get his cash? By magic? Could it be part of the $15b
devoured like a buffet in Dasukigate?

President Muhammadu Buhari….Sad and Angry over the entire drama

These are some of the big puzzles
expected to be resolved in the times ahead.
Also sent on suspension on Wednesday
is the Secretary to the Federal Government, Lawal Babachir, trailed
in the past six months by staggering allegations of helping himself to hundreds
of millions of naira through incestuous contract awards to cut grass at the
camps of internally displaced persons in the North-east.
According to the Presidency
statement, both Oke and Lawal are to stay off work pending
the report of a top-level panel headed by the Vice President. The fact-finding
committee is given two weeks to complete its work.

Ex-SGF Babachir Lawal, blew away with the ill-wind of Ghost Dollars

In the final analysis, unlike the
seeming sleep-walking Presidency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) deserves kudos for busting the Osborne
Towers
scam
. Some commentators, obviously with antipathy for the agency, have,
as usual, been pouring invectives on its chairman, Ibrahim Magu, for being
“so excitable” and preferring “high media drama” to
“inter-agency cooperation/collaboration” even after being told that
NIA owned the cash upon the arrival of EFCC agents at the location.
Predictably, the cash was explained away as meant for “covert
operations” to keep the country safe.

Super Corp & Anti-Corruption Czar, Ibrahim Magu of EFCC….A Great Man

But had Magu acquiesced and told
his men to vacate the place, how would the rest of us have known that it is
possible, even at a time of severe recession, for an institution of state to
sit idly over N13b cash for two consecutive years, unknown apparently also to
the commander-in-chief himself?We are talking of a figure that represents what
four or five states in Nigeria get as
federal allocation in a month being at the disposal of one federal DG!
Please, Nigerians can do with even
more drama, if that is all the price required of them price to know the truth.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo…His Panel has two weeks to submit report on the Lawal/Oke fraud

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