By Anthony Kola-Olusanya
Recently, around the middle of December 2013, in the south-central city of Jaén, Spain, a thief helped the Spanish police to arrest a suspected paedophile football coach after the thief tipped them off as a result of incriminating videotapes stolen from the man’s home.
The videotapes, three in number, contained graphic recordings of sexual abuse against children aged about 10. The thief after watching the video wrote the police an anonymous letter giving them the address of the suspect, alongside the videotapes in a brown envelope and placed it beneath a parked brown car.
In the letter to the police, the thief wrote “I have had the misfortune to have these tapes fall into my hands and feel obliged to submit them so you can do your work and put this … in jail for life.” The Spanish police have since identified the alleged suspect from the content of the videotapes and arrested him after a search of his home and the indoor football club where he worked.
Interestingly, the suspect had earlier reported a burglary at his home nine days earlier, listing several appliances as stolen, but making no mention of his missing video camera and tapes. For reference sake, a paedophile is a person who is 16 years of age or older, who is primarily or exclusively sexually attracted to children who have not begun puberty (girls 10 years old or less, and boys 11 year old or less, on average). Meanwhile, the police had asked the thief to report at the police station to answer the case of burglary despite cooperating with the police in the arrest of the paedophile coach.
About the same in Nigeria, the two people that have taken part in the plundering of Nigeria topped the headlines in the national media, blogosphere and social media world. These two people are former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a former military head of State and retired army general, and Chibuke Rotimi Amaechi, a former speaker and present governor of Rivers State.
The former was in the news for his 18-page treatise to President Jonathan on the present situation of things between both of them, their party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Nigeria. The thrust of Chief Obasanjo letter entitled “Before it’s too late” on one part, it was meant to forewarn President Jonathan about the worsening state of the nation in relation to governance breakdown, massive looting and corruption, insecurity, exponential increase in unemployment among others.
On the part of the latter, Gov. Amaechi at a public function was quoted saying “we steal because you never stoned us for it.” Gov. Amaechi words were more of an in-your-face-scorn of the Nigerians in general. On the other side of the two communications which have gone viral on the social media was a salient call for the people to stand up and revolt against the rot plaguing the country.
The actions of both men can be likened to that of the Spanish thief mentioned earlier above. Both have through their communications have reported other criminal actions of others out of supposed concern for the Nigeria. Both Obasanjo and Amaechi’s letters are similar to the Spanish thief’s note to the police that helped arrested the paedophile coach.
Rather than been arrested like the Spanish thief for their roles in the destruction and entrenchment of corruption and other plagues bedevilling the country, unfortunately both men have somehow been successful at stealing Nigerians’ focus from the real issues.
Even though Gov. Amaechi and other thieves who recently decamped from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) may escape arrest and the wrath of law momentarily, his message remains poignantly relevant because of its importance as a future guide to what should be direction of the people’s action.
“Even the musicians, you’re singing about us, the leaders? If you see a thief and you allow him to be stealing, what do you do? You have stoned nobody that’s why we are stealing. Who have you stoned? We came out and you started dancing, the oil subsidy, we told you they stole N2.3trillion, what did you do? Instead you’re protesting. The oil subsidy that is not reaching the poor, few individuals are going away with the money, you have done nothing … It’s good to steal if you can’t fight back. You have heard about $50 billion, nobody is talking… In some countries people will be on the street, until they return that money. $50billion is N8trillion, it will change Nigeria. Me I want to steal only $1billion, let them bring it.”
The context of word captured in full here is very strong yet very damning. A friend of mine has compared his vituperation to that of rapists who always blame their victims for committing the crime of rape; it’s always about the way she dressed, the way she looked at me, the way she talked to me, she has been taking my money etc., but no excuse absolves a rapist of the crime he has committed.
Since Gov. Amaechi decided to reference other climes, it just as important for me to bring to his awareness what occurs in those climes to those who corruptly enriched themselves or their families from state coffers. For the avoidance of doubt, Gov. Amaechi, just recently in nearby Ghana, President John Dramani Mahama relieved the deputy minister of communication, Victoria Hammah, of her position a day after she was heard in a leaked tape to radio stations saying she would not quit politics until she has made at least $1 million.
In the United State, the governor of President Obama’s home state of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich is presently in jail for attempting to sell the vacant senate seat of President Obama to the highest bidder. Even Congressman Jesse Jackson Jnr. and his wife are not spared either for daring to spend campaign funds on themselves. In communist China, a top party official was sentenced to jail for corruption while the uncle of the North Korean Leader was also recently convicted and killed for corruptive practices against the state.
In other climes, Gov. Amaechi and many of his likes will be cooling their asses in police cell awaiting trial for corruption, besides the fact that, he would have ceased to be the governor of Rivers State. Perhaps, Gov. Amaechi does not know that those who steal from the public have not been spared either by the laws of their land, which abhors corruption and corrupt practices.
Unfortunately, this isn’t so because President Jonathan’s failure to provide leadership in the fight against corruption in Nigeria. Perhaps because he too is implicitly corrupt too, has chosen to gloss over the Gov. Amaechi’s comment regarding the stealing of government fund and bleeding of country’s coffers dry. Although Gov. Amaechi may be protected by immunity for now, his newly assumed ‘neo-progressive’ stance may not be enough to save him from future prosecution and jail-term for corruption.
As for Chief Obasanjo, his despicable roles in the emergence and elevation criminally motivated economic and political crimes in Nigeria is still very fresh in our minds and can never be forgiven. If Chief Obasanjo had allowed enthronement of genuine democracy in 2007, without forcing the duo of late Alhaji Umar Yar’ Adua and Goodluck Jonathan on Nigeria, perhaps the nation could have fared better.
Just perhaps, corruption, insecurity, bad governance, may have been reduced to the barest minimum. Perhaps, our education and health sectors would have been better by now or be on the road to full restoration. Perhaps, had Chief Obasanjo strengthened the anti-corruption institutions like the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) while in the office, the likes of Gov. Amaechi and other thieves likes him including Chief Obasanjo wouldn’t be as bold to bully Nigerians with their ill-gotten wealth and stolen largesse.
In addition, Dr. Jonathan, the only sit-in president presiding over a most corrupt and crime ridden Nigeria, and his fellow travellers would have exercised some caution in the daily destruction of Nigeria, if the judiciary hadn’t been compromised during Chief Obasanjo’s period in Nigeria. Sadly, this is not the case, and this explains why Nigeria has become a country of anything-goes. What a shame, the once vibrant most populous black nation has become a dancing floor for criminals to practice corruption and other vices.
But lest, Gov. Amaechi and his fellow thieving friends across the political divide forget, the revolution in Nigeria is not far in the horizon and Nigerians will not just stone you thieves, but you will all be publicly tried for your crimes against the people and Nigeria and executed. The only regret for Gov. Amaechi and his fellow thieves is that they will not be able to use their private jets to escape the wrath of the people when Nigerians stand up. Finally, although thieves can become can become heroes just for a moment, a thief will remain a criminal forever and shall be brought to book according to the laws.
Anthony Kola-Olusanya is a teacher and citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.