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NIGERIA FOR SALE: The Insult Of Babangida/Odili And Saraki Presidential Ambitions

In the opening paragraph of my article, Really Must Be Really Scared

written in June 2009(
) I wrote normal"">“I am scared for
myself, my family, my people (all Nigerians), Nigeria itself. Please don’t get me
wrong, I am not going to let Nigeria
kill me. I am just sad and scared because idiots are getting away with murder,
literarily. I am scared because I might die outside Nigeria, with my family scattered
all over the world, not wanting to have anything to do with their fatherland.
Lord, am I scared?”

It is the morning of 14 September 2010, and I am still as scared as ever about events in our country, Nigeria. I woke up to disturbing
(at least for me, because in Nigeria,
such sentiments depend on which side of the fence you are or which side your
bread is buttered) news, namely:

font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:Arial;color:black"">1. color:black"">Former military ruler, Ibrahim Babangida, is in advanced talks
with Peter Odili, former Governor of Rivers State, as he closes in on a running
mate for the 2011 Presidential Elections, and secondly,

color:black"">2. Kwara State Governor,
Bukola Saraki, on Monday informed President Goodluck Jonathan and
Vice-President Namadi Sambo of his desire to contest the presidential primaries
of the Peoples Democratic Party.

These two pieces of news sent me into a depression. Of course it has been in the news a long time that Babangida wants to contest to come an
pick up what he forgot in Aso Rock, the depressing news (and incidentally,
became good news, after settling down a bit and letting my brains work and get
the better of me) is that of Odili being considered for his running mate.

Odilii was said to have been recommended by no less a person than the irrepressible Arial;color:black"">Raymond Dokpesi, chairman of DAAR Communications, and
director general of Mr. Babangida's presidential campaign. The two men (Odili
and Dokpesi) had reputedly beneficial business dealings which, in our dear
country, translate into stealing state funds, bribery, embezzlement and other
fraudulent uses of state funds. Also, Dokpesi was the director general of Odili's
campaign when he tried to run for president in 2007. At the time, Odili was
alleged to have invested N400 million of funds taken from the Rivers State
treasury, into Dokpesi's company. The EFCC, under Farida Waziri, quizzed Mr.
Dokpesi over the money, but no charges were ever brought against this sacred
Nigerian cow.

Odili, a medical doctor by training, was governor of Rivers State from 1999 to 2007, completing two terms. His tenure was marred by human rights
violations, insecurity, violence and widespread fraud. He was the alleged
“godfather” of some of the now notorious Niger Delta militants, who he used as
political thugs to rig and win elections or do his other nefarious bidding and
then dumped them, causing them to act on their own because their source of
funding had been withdrawn by their Godfather.

During his governorship, Rivers State was, in theory, one
of the wealthiest states in the country owing to its enormous oil revenue, but
Mr. Odili instituted relatively few improvements. Instead, the former governor
is on record for acquiring a South Africa-based hospital, and two Brazilian

In November 2006, Peter Odili announced that he would run for president in the 2007 election under the ruling PDP. However, a day before the PDP's presidential
primaries, Odili stepped down from the contest, paving the way for fellow
governor, Umaru Yar'Adua, to emerge as the party's flag bearer. Reports say Mr.
Odili (who was initially, President Obasanjo’s choice for President) was forced
out of that contest when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
led by Nuhu Ribadu, barged into then
President Obasanjo’s office and slapped
down thick files containing reports implicating Odili in fraud, mismanagement
of state funds, money laundering, and abuse of office. Obasanjo had to call
Odili and told him to look at the files and asked him politely to step down. It
was also said that Odili was made to return over 30 billion Naira he was
alleged to have stolen or he would go to prison. I heard that on the eve of the
PDP primaries, Odili had booked every hotel room in Abuja. It was said that he salted away over
250 billion Naira during his tenure as Governor of Rivers State. I will believe
that, if you dont.

Odili filed a suit challenging the powers of the EFCC to probe his administration. The court, in his home state of Rivers, granted him an indefinite injunction stopping any
investigations into his finances, describing it as a breach of his civil
rights. (Only in Nigeria)

Till today, Odili is still walking round in Abuja a free man, looking up his ill-gotten investments in South
Africa, probably flying in his jets just around Nigeria on ego-trips but barely going to Port Harcourt because he
has been declared persona non grata by his people. He could only sneak in under
the cover of darkness without the usual fanfare and then sneak back out the
following morning or lay low until darkness comes again.

So my take on this? Please forgive my bias, but as a CORE anti-Babangida’s return to Aso Rock, this is indeed positive
news. At the beginning of this article, I said I was depressed by the news; but
as I write this article and let my brain wake up from the lethargy generated by
this news. I also recollect Abraham Lincoln’s wordsnormal"">:
Arial;color:#333333""> “A statesman is he who
thinks in the future generations, and a politician is he who thinks in the
upcoming elections
” Odili and IBB are
both politicians, corrupt ones at that and they cannot think in the future. It
is impossible. The bank balance of these two rogues is probably enough to
provide uninterrupted power supply in Nigeria; two treasury looters
united by ambition. As thick as thieves, they say. Of course they have every
right as Nigerians to contest for any position they so desire, but the good
news is that, their coming together is going to do more damage to their ambition.
Babangida apologists, who have always challenged Nigerians to bring out any
evidence of Babangida’s corruption and other allegations, are even now
squirming in their seats at his choice of running mate, who was easily and
unquestionably one of the biggest treasury-looter in Nigeria under the tenure of

Again, Nigerians need not fear an IBB/Odili ticket; they have had it before they even started. Their combination has confirmed the fears of
Nigerians that they are going there to loot again. Also, we should rejoice that
Babangida has again played into Obasanjo’s hands, who it was who terminated his
Presidential ambition in 2007 when he (Obasanjo) sent a plane all the way from
Abuja to Minna and presented him some hard evidence which compelled him to
withdraw from the Presidential race, saving face by saying the late President
Yar ‘Adua was his “brother”.

Problem is they have money and if we let them get there, Nigeria’s treasury will be emptied in no time, there will be genocide. color:#333333"">We will be taken back to the 70's when there was no visible
infrastructure, and by time they finish with us, or the treasury, we will be
grateful for the few ones we have now. I am not crying “wolf” here. Look at my
previous articles on several issues.

A digression: On an interview on the highly condescending Alistair Soyode’s show on BEN Tv, there was one of of IBB’s apologists, in his fifties. How did he
defend Babangida’s qualification to come back and be President of Nigeria? This
man said IBB qualifies to be Nigeria’s
next President because he (IBB) married a woman from the East and speaks the 3
major languages in Nigeria...what
does one say about such thinking?

Now, Dr Bukola Saraki, incidentally another trained medical doctor (like Peter Odili), who was never known to have
practised his medical profession anywhere before. He simply went straight to his
father’s (another medical doctor who hardly practiced medicine to fulfil the
Hippocratic Oath of doing good for
mankind) then- thriving banking business immediately he came out of university
entering the bank first as a director and later the vice chairman, second only
to his father. That bank, Societe Generale (SGBN), collapsed some years ago,
and along with it went the money of innocent depositors. But it was not an
ordinary collapse, because the Directors of the bank, that is, the Sarakis’
personal fortune went up shortly after the collapse. Obviously, the depositors’
money went into the Sarakis’ pockets.

According to SaharaReporters normal"">“It was that their family owned bank - Societe General Bank of Nigeria (SGBN) - whose fortunes had been on the downturn since 1995 while the personal
fortunes of the Saraki's, particularly, Bukola was on the rise, had gone
completely under. According to a copy of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB)
Assets Declaration forms obtained by Saharareporters - filed and signed by Bukola Saraki on
every page- Bukola's personal fortunes only sky-rocketed while depositors lost
huge investments in the SGBN which eventually went out of business in 2003
shortly after the Sarakis won the controversial elections into the senate and
governorship seat in April 2003 and were sworn-in as the Governor of Kwara
State and Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria respectively”.

Yet despite this obvious lack of business acumen and poor financial or fiscal management, the younger Saraki went into politics and was elected, or rather, selected as the Governor
of Kwara 1999. Of course it was the visible hands of his powerful
father, who had, and still has a very strong grip on Kwara politics. He had
been dictating who will be the Governor of Kwara State for the past 20 years or
so, if not more.

But the news of his interest in becoming the next president of Nigeria is my concern here. According to Olurotimi Adeola in Transparency For Nigeria ( ) “What is he (Bukola Saraki) bringing to the
presidency that he couldn’t showcase in Kwara where he has spent the last seven
years administering? Or maybe he believes his father who is the great political
oracle of Kwara state have extended his sphere of influence to the entire
country this time around. It’s an open secret, that Dr. Olusola Saraki, the
father of Governor Bukola has manacled the people of Kwara state politically in
the last three decades. He alone determines the ‘soul’ of the state; in spite
of this, one cannot point at any tangible benefits to the malnourished masses
of that state in his over thirty years of control. Governor Bukola Saraki is a
beneficiary of his father’s conquered political sphere no doubt; without the
elder Saraki, Governor Bukola would never have won a councillorship seat in his
state. Little wonder his sister Senator Gbemisola too is gunning to replace him……What
would be Bukola Saraki’s leadership credentials if he finally enter the race
for presidency? Is he going to show us, how he has created employment
opportunities in Kwara and prove that most Kwarans are now gainfully employed
as a result of his pragmatic stewardship in the last seven years? Is he going
to showcase to Nigerians, how lives and properties are now so secured and safe
in Kwara State, and that all residents go to bed
with their two eyes closed? Or present to Nigerians, a Kwara State where water
supply and electricity run for twenty four hours without interruption;
where public hospitals are well equipped and manned by qualified and
satisfied staff; where public schools meet required standards; where there are
good network of roads, good public transport, standard markets etc; and finally
a grateful and appreciative citizenry? If these are not the credentials Bukola
Saraki is bringing to the race for president, then he has no business seeking
the presidency of Nigeria”.

According to some reports, Bukola Saraki bought 15 luxurious cars including a Ferrari, all of which were worth N240 million between 1997-2003, a period described as most critical in the life of the SGBN while he
was the Executive Vice Chairman of the SBGN. (I saw that Ferrari in Ilorin – Imagine driving
a Ferrari on Nigerian roads, madness) I
also heard that the Sarakis physically went into the vaults of the bank and
carted away every penny they could find to finance the 2003 elections that gave
them double victory in Kwara
State as well as another
victory of constitutional immunity from prosecution by the relevant agencies of

My advice is that now is the time for depositors and investors who were cheated of their life savings by the Saraki dynasty to take necessary and appropriate legal actions to retrieve
their investments with accrued interests. The resulting bad publicity and
outcry should be enough to put a permanent stop to this inordinate ambition by
a so-called aristocratic dynasty to foist themselves on Nigerians and continue
the treasury (and indeed, bank vault) looting they started in their state.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that Bukola Saraki is above the laws of the land. Obasanjo refused to commit himself to a probe of how SGBN failed, because Saraki Senior himself was
bigger than Obasanjo, and Obasanjo dared not probe him and his family. Saraki
is now one of the most powerful Governors in Nigeria. Incidentally, he’s hardly
in his home state of Kwara. He’s always swaggering around in Abuja
and ruling Kwara State as an absentee landlord. He has
got a lot of people in government – via political appointments, civil service,
Foreign Service, police, immigration, henchmen and hatchet men, etc - who are
very loyal to him.

The politics of powerful connections and father/family towering influences should be exorcised forthwith in Nigeria

Please let us not allow Babangida/Odili and Bukola Saraki to even get their names on the ballot paper, and if they do, LET US REJECT THEM OUTRIGHT.

This is the time to sensitise the Nigerian electorate to the risks in electing Babangida-Odili to even act as road-diggers or dog-catchers for Nigeria. Open
your eyes; use your ears and use your brains!

This is the more reason why we need to embark on
public enlightenment and education campaigns to ensure that the voters know
ent candidates with track records this
time around, not just opportunists, charlatans, pretenders, the corrupt and the
corrupters and people who think ruling Nigeria is their birthright.

The TRUTH has to be said always.font-family:Arial"">

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