Benue and Suswam’s vindication
One time Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Michael Kaase Aaondoakaa has written a petition he wrote to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against the immediate past governor of his home state - Benue, Gabriel Suswam. A fair disclaimer here is to point out that Suswam, unlike known associates of Aaondoakaa when he held sway, has indicated he has nothing against being investigated either by the incumbent Benue state government or the EFCC at the federal level provided the exercises are not driven by desire to witch hunt.
Perhaps, there is something behind Suswam’s confidence. His account of stewardship as the governor of Benue state for eight years has become like the smoke of a bushfire that flushes out bad eggs during a communal village hunt. Suswam’s debriefing at the EFCC flushed out Aaondoakaa out of his farm where he had gone on a deserving exile with a statement he put out which read, “As a lawyer, I do not believe that former Governor Gabriel Suswam would want to drag my name into this matter with the intent to destroy me for reasons best known to him.”
This statement immediately call to mind that the nation’s reaction to those inglorious acts only broke the snakes back without severing its head, the former Attorney General lost the exalted rank of SAN on account of sundry allegations of abuse of office and privileges, during his tenure as the nation’s chief law officer.
He was further indicted for questionably terminating 419 cases in court by issuing unjustified nolli prosequi to withdraw charges against the accused persons even in trials that had reached advanced stage and consequently blocking the anti-corruption crusade of the government he served.
Nigeria became a laughing stock internationally when the Federal Government was misled with fraudulent legal opinion on cases of money laundering involving the former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori. Ibori who is currently serving jail term in the United Kingdom as the judiciary of that country was not misled for one fraction of a second by the treachery of the former SAN, who had issued legal opinion to the late President Umaru Yar’Adua government suggesting that the EFCC cannot engage in mutual cooperation with the British Metropolitan Police on supply of evidence materials for the prosecution of money laundering suspects.
The commission under the watch of another was reduced to holding world news conferences to parade Yahoo boys while fat cat treasury looters sip expensive champagne with the then chief law officer.
For us in Delta state, we have questions. For instance we want to know why Aaondoakaa is eager to bring Suswam to book when he denied us having the same opportunity when he tried to free Ibori. Of course, he successfully made Ibori a free man in Nigeria had the UK authorities not tried and jailed him. A conviction in Nigeria would have at least allowed Delta state confisticate onshore assets as well as use the court ruling to initiate repatriation of the stolen funds. This is not to be.
Our neighbouring Edo state did not fare any better, a ludicrous plea bargaining had its former governor, Lucky Igbinedion paying a measly N3.5 million fine after admitting to stealing N2.9 billion. The precedence set by that outcome haunts the nation till date as career thieves get away with lighter than a slap on the wrist.
In the course of rendering account, the interest of Benue people would have also been served since the names of those the people should be asking questions are surfacing. The people of Delta, Edo and other states whose governors could not be properly investigated and tried under Aaondoakaa watch are thus left holding the slimy end of the stick. But if that were the case why would Suswam turn the table on him? Whatever the case is, for daring to come out, Aaondoakaa should be worried.
At a time when one time People Democratic Party (PDP) henchmen and chieftains are clinching juicy appointments in an All Progressives Congress (APC) government, everyone with a sinister past could be forgiven for hallucinating about the prospects of hitching a ride on the gravy train.
George Timothy Amuna, the President of Patriots Without Borders wrote in from Asaba, Delta State.