Be­tween APC and Diezani

Daily Trust - - VIEWS -

The Pro­gres­sive Congress (APC) has taken it upon it­self to ag­gres­sively de­mand for the res­ig­na­tion of the most con­tro­ver­sial woman in the federal govern­ment, Min­is­ter of Petroleum Re­sources, Mrs Diezani AlisonMadueke. At pre­sum­ably great ex­pense, APC pays for full page ad­verts in na­tional news­pa­pers out­lin­ing their rea­sons why the min­is­ter should re­sign. The first thought that comes to mind is why on earth they would want to waste all that money? No Nige­rian min­is­ter has ever been known to “re­sign hon­ourably” no mat­ter what ad­verse cir­cum­stances they find them­selves in. Fur­ther­more from all in­di­ca­tions the sit­u­a­tion isn’t about to change. The re­cent im­mi­gra­tion em­ploy­ment fi­asco il­lus­trated that even where the most cor­rupt, de­spi­ca­bly wicked, ex­ploita­tive and con­demnable be­hav­iour by a min­is­ter is ex­posed he will nei­ther re­sign hon­ourably, nor be sacked in dis­grace. The APC’s advertisement signed by its In­terim Na­tional Pub­lic­ity Sec­re­tary, Al­haji Lai Mo­hammed, is a weak pre­sen­ta­tion of the rea­sons why Diezani must go. Ac­cord­ing to Mo­hammed, it’s all about a “miss­ing” 20 bil­lion US dol­lars and what could pur­port­edly have been done with the money. There is no men­tion of the fact that our oil in­dus­try is in a com­plete mess, petrol queues have be­come com­mon once again, kerosene is scarce, gas is over­priced or that cor­rup­tion and fraud in the in­dus­try continues un­abated. Diezani has held three sig­nif­i­cant portfolios in the Federal Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil. She has at var­i­ous times been trans­port min­is­ter, min­is­ter of mines and steel, and petroleum min­is­ter. Dur­ing her ten­ure in these min­istries she has achieved noth­ing of sig­nif­i­cance in dis­charge of of­fi­cial func­tions. As the first woman to hold the post of Petroleum Re­sources min­is­ter, she is not with­out con­tro­versy. In 2008 she was sub­jected to a Se­nate

All probe af­ter it emerged that as trans­port min­is­ter she had paid 30.9 bil­lion naira to con­trac­tors dur­ing the Christ­mas break be­tween 26th and 31st of De­cem­ber! She was also in­dicted by the Se­nate for the al­leged trans­fer of 1.2 bil­lion naira into the pri­vate ac­count of a toll com­pany with­out due process and in breach of con­ces­sion agree­ment. While those in the oil in­dus­try al­lege that she is cor­rupt and in­com­pe­tent, the pres­i­dent continues to keep her in of­fice. All ef­forts to ei­ther re­move Diezani or as­sign her to a less vi­tal or lu­cra­tive port­fo­lio have fallen on deaf ears be­cause un­der her the NNPC has be­come the ATM ma­chine which fi­nances govern­ment’s ex­cesses. The APC ad­vert didn’t point out that Diezani has failed woe­fully to stop the rot in the in­dus­try. Un­der her watch party agents, fam­ily mem­bers, po­lit­i­cal as­so­ciates and PDP cronies have en­riched them­selves through fraud­u­lent sub­sidy claims and other sharp prac­tices. In De­cem­ber 2010 a KPMG foren­sic re­port on NNPC com­mis­sioned by the Federal Govern­ment de­tailed vi­o­la­tions of reg­u­la­tions, il­le­gal de­duc­tion of funds and the fail­ure to ac­count for sev­eral bil­lions of naira. Ev­ery re­port on our petroleum in­dus­try with­out ex­cep­tion states that un­der Diezani the NNPC is out of con­trol, ac­count­able to no one, and di­rectly re­spon­si­ble for ow­ing bil­lions of dol­lars to sup­pli­ers and hun­dreds of bil­lions of naira to the na­tion. How­ever to be fair to her, as Petroleum Min­is­ter she is yet to be ac­cused of an act of com­mis­sion. Her fail­ure is all about acts of omis­sion and an in­abil­ity to re­struc­ture the in­dus­try in such a man­ner that Nige­ri­ans may reap the ben­e­fits of their main nat­u­ral as­set. Strong people make things hap­pen and weak people let things hap­pen. She has let things go wrong. All the fuss about her life­style and spend­ing bil­lions hir­ing pri­vate jets is be­lated. It shouldn’t re­ally come as a sur­prise to any­one. Our po­lit­i­cal class has only a su­per­fi­cial be­lief in democ­racy and the equal­ity of cit­i­zens. They be­lieve in it only to the ex­tent to which it serves their self­ish pur­poses. Rather than try to im­prove the liv­ing con­di­tions of the pop­u­lace, their ma­jor pre-oc­cu­pa­tion is per­sonal en­rich­ment and self-ag­gran­dize­ment. Most top politi­cians and po­lit­i­cal ap­pointees fly char­ter. The lo­cal wing of the Abuja air­port has been re­served for pri­vate jets which ac­cord­ing to re­ports num­ber around 45. Diezani be­longs to the class of Nige­ri­ans renowned for fre­quent over­seas travel, med­i­cal tourism, pur­chase of lux­ury goods and ac­com­mo­da­tion, over­seas school­ing for their chil­dren, and lav­ish overindul­gent multi-mil­lion naira cel­e­bra­tions of wed­dings, buri­als and an­niver­saries. Her son lives a life of ex­cess and com­plete de­bauch­ery in Amer­ica with pri­vate jet travel, lux­ury ship va­ca­tions, and con­stant par­ty­ing. The leg­endary Amer­i­can busi­ness mogul Don­ald Trump once said that one of the key prob­lems to­day is that pol­i­tics is such a dis­grace that good people don’t go into govern­ment. Back to the su­per­fi­cial APC ad­vert. There is no ex­pla­na­tion as to whether the $8.7 al­legedly spent on kerosene sub­sidy is part of the al­legedly miss­ing $20 bil­lion. There is nowhere where the Min­is­ter is al­leged to have ben­e­fit­ted from the al­leged miss­ing funds. It is fal­la­cious to ar­gue that un­der PDP the miss­ing money would have been other­wise spent pro­duc­tively as a good pro­por­tion of it is more likely to have gone miss­ing through other con­duit chan­nels! Does the 50 year pay­ment for 160,000 teach­ers’ fac­tor in any salary in­crease? What is the wis­dom in pay­ing a mea­gre 5,000 per month to 50 mil­lion people for one year? What hap­pens af­ter that? That Diezani must be re­placed is self-ev­i­dent. That re­plac­ing her will not solve the prob­lems of the oil in­dus­try is also self-ev­i­dent. Al­though we must fo­cus on the prac­tices in the in­dus­try and not the Min­is­ter, the sit­u­a­tion can­not be al­lowed to con­tinue. It is bet­ter to light a can­dle than to curse the dark­ness. With the un­re­lent­ing of­fi­cial APC up­roar against her stew­ard­ship of the oil in­dus­try Diezani would do well to set an ex­am­ple by re­sign­ing be­fore the wind of change sweeps her out. Other­wise she should be aware that a per­son who is tram­pled by an ele­phant is some­one who is both blind and deaf.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.