You won’t be mistaken if you call Nigeria the corruption capital of the world, a title that befits the most populous black nation on earth, it’s a square peg in a square hole, a match made in heaven.
It is almost impossible to mention an elected or appointed public office holder in Nigeria without associating them with one, two or more corruption cases, it seems they work in tandem; politicians & corruption, a perfect friendship.
The level of corruption in Nigeria is at a point where we don’t even acknowledge corrupt practices as one, it is now normal and so trivialized that even civil-servants at junior level get themselves involved in practices that are against the financial code of conduct knowing fully well that they’d get away with almost anything, after all, these illegal activities are carried out with supervision or endorsements from their senior colleagues.
It was this need to cleanup the system that birthed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission by president Olusegun Obasanjo.
Ironically, his lieutenant, Atiku Abubakar who was supposed to be the de facto ‘Chief enforcement Officer’ of the anti-corruption crusade became the one of the biggest unsolved cases of the commission as he was alleged to have diverted $16bn power fund.
In Obasanjo’s memoir ‘My Watch’, he fingered his Vice President as a very corrupt personality and accused him of stealing “enough money to feed 300m people for 400 years”.
Was this an exaggeration? That, we may have to wait to find out in the near future, but one thing is certain, Atiku stole A LOT of money during his time as the Vice-president of Nigeria.
Never in the history of Nigerian politics thru the different military regimes, has any President or Head-of-state, accused his vice or deputy of corruption, only Waziri Adamawa gets that honour, one which he adorns with pride as he has never really clarified the source of his massive wealth despite having never been a businessman.
Atiku started his career as a costums officer rising to the second highest position in the service as Deputy Director before retiring in 1989 after 20 years in the agency, going into politics immediately.
He claims to have started his business as a civil servant, a clear violation of the civil service code of conduct which forbids active civil-servants/government workers from doing any business other than farming.
Atiku has contested the presidency a record 5 times featuring in the ballot twice, 2007 and 2019. He has outspent every politician in Nigeria when it comes to election expenditure and he seems not to be affected by it as his packet is apparently too deep to run dry, but where did this money come from?
The United States Senate indicted Atiku in a $40m money laundering scheme between 2005 to 2012, with his then fourth wife, now ex-wife, Jennifer Douglas, a case that has kept Atiku away from the US soil to avoid arrest as he is yet to testify on his complicity in the crime. He was still serving as the vice-president of Nigeria when this scheme was initiated.
A political party spends north of 40bn for a presidential election and these funds are usually sourced by members of the party and in most cases, from the government purse, when the party is the incumbent.
However, it has been said that Atiku funds his elections from his personal purse and has never needed the financial support of party members, friends or business associates to finance his campaigns activities.
For someone who left government over 15 years ago to remain this consistent in extravagance, he must have cleaned out the coffers under his watch when he was in office. Obasanjo may be right afterall, Atiku could feed Nigerians for X years and remain unbothered, Waziri Adamawa remains in a league of his own.
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