ACHILLEUS-CHUD UCHEGBU e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
It does appear to me that there is something between Governor Adams Oshiomhole and Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala that we all do not know. His fixation has become psychological. And when such fixations get to such psychological points, they become troubling for observers. As it is now, observers need to be worried.
The woman may no longer be safe. The staccato release of figures allegedly mismanaged, or misappropriated, by the former minister, is confusing. Unless Oshiobaba is telling us that he derives masturbatory pleasure working to pull the woman down. While he is at it, he forgets that evergreen line –who Jah bless, no man pulls down. Oshiomhole had made Okonjo- Iweala the subject of his every public discourse. He has become so fixated on her that he forgets that he is no longer a labor union leader but a state chief executive whose words and pronouncements must come with tact and fact. Reeling out incongruous figures says a lot about the accuser. For emphasis, Oshiomhole had variously dropped figures.
He kicked off with $30billion. Then, he came up with $20 billion. He later raised $2.1billion. While that was on, he dropped another figure of N720 billion. Just recently, he figured out another amount of $1 billion. Sadly, he has neither substantiated the allegation nor gone further to show proof. All he has successfully done was to drop the figures and kept Okonjo-Iweala ably diffusing. In all, Okonjo-Iweala has shown class and superiority over Oshiomhole. Her decision to go public with details of what each state governor received, on behalf of their states, from the Excess Crude Account, over four years must have hurt Oshiomhole badly. What Okonjo-Iweala failed to do however, was to also publish details of what each state had received from the SURE-P fund. That would have left some governors hiding. But let us not worry much about Oshiomhole.
It is his game today. Someday in the future, he will vacate office by fact of tenure lapse. Whoever takes over from him, hand-picked or elected, friend or foe, party member or opposition, bag carrier or not, will some way along the line make disclosures about management of Edo state revenue. Deo volente, we shall all be witnesses to history then as we are today of past governors who once accused their predecessors of massive corruption and plunder of the states. Governors who took over in 2007 complained of empty treasury.
Those who came in afterwards, also sang the same song. It’s a vicious cycle. Obasanjo’s administration accused Abachas’ of massive corruption. Yet, every inquiry into sale of public institutions under Obasanjo’s watch return a damning verdict. The Houser of Representatives, in an investigative inquiry, once asked Obasanjo to declare his interest in Aluminum Smelter Company, Imoh Abati such that he refused winner of the privatization bid from taking over, but handed it over to a reluctant Russian company.
It was same with the questionable sale of L’Meridien in Abuja and insurance firms to questionable characters. But like I said, that is part of the story of Nigeria. So, for Oshiomhole, the masturbatory fixation on Okonjo- Iweala will also come to pass. But while it lasts, it only presents the governor as one who is on a mission either to revenge a hurt or to pull down. Whichever one, only Oshiomhole knows where his path crossed with hers.
The ex-minister had insinuated that Oshiomhole has yet to forgive her for reversing the trend of secrecy that attains monthly allocations. According to Okonjo-Iweala, Oshiomhole is one of the governors who took offence at the religious publication of details of allocation to states. She may be right. She may also be wrong. But an issue of fact is that those publications did expose a lot. For the conscious, it told of what local governments legitimately earned from the federation account. It also exposed what governors illegitimately denied local councils using instrumentality of the joint account. This is where I laud the courage of Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state.
He has abolished the joint account system in a pragmatic demonstration of his resolve to push ahead with the development of Kaduna state. No governor before him had the courage to stop this rape on the people’s resource. Local government allocation belong to local governments and ought to be administered by elected local government chairmen and councilors as it is constitutionally mandated, just like state governors and their assemblies administer state allocations. However, in our expression of democracy, and understanding of power and freedom, our governors unilaterally suspend that section of the constitution that deals with independence of the third tier of government and abrogate to themselves the omnibus power to determine fate of local governments.
But by moving in a different direction, El-Rufai shows he is ready to push the frontiers of rural develop. It means that people of vision can also aspire to be council chairmen because they are sure council allocation would be made available to enable them translate their development visions into reality. I guess Oshiomhole, and the others, need to borrow a leaf from Kaduna. They are all of the same political party. But he won’t.
He, like others, will not because the powers of the emperor are alluring. None of them looks forward to losing such powers and the glamour that comes with it –the glamour of being the most powerful man in the state; the man before whom everyone who seeks political relevance must come before in humble obeisance.
I have a feeling that if our governors are able to see the connection between their usurpation of local government allocations, the operation of joint accounts and the non-development of the rural communities which ought to house a greater percentage of the population, and promote agricultural enterprise, they will probably think like El-Rufai and not dissipate energy like Oshiomhole does continually chasing shadows while neglecting the essentials of breaking the chains joint account puts on rural development in Edo stat