When Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was made Minister of Finance by General Obasanjo in his second stint as a ‘Military Head of State’, I was quite impressed. Back then, I was a bit naïve and everything from Overseas especially from the World Bank was very good.
Mrs Iweala made her mark; she did many good things. One of these was publishing the amount of money received by every state from the Federation Account. This was a good and transparent thing to do. She was also very instrumental to the significant reduction of Nigeria’s debt although there are strong rumors that a few untoward things happened as part of that reduction.
She left that government eventually when General Obasanjo moved her to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In her own defence, it is entirely possible that she was moved out of the key Ministry of Finance role because Presidential Election Primaries and the elections proper were fast approaching, and President Obasanjo did not want an English speaking professor around when election money had to be manufactured.
Obasanjo himself later cast aspersions on her professional capability by insinuating that Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala’s achievements in office was down solely to his leadership.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala wasn’t done with Nigeria. She was brought back shortly after the 2011 elections in a much more grander capacity. She was effectively number one on economic affairs as many presidential observers claim that the late but little lamented Nigerian President Jonathan was quite servile towards her.
Fast-forward to May 2015 and the average Nigerian became familiar with what many in privileged circles already knew. Apparently there was an ATM at Aso Rock that dispensed dollars and had no pin number. Also on the orders of Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, trucks drove into the Central Bank of Nigeria and emerged with millions of dollars and billions of naira. That was Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala’s legacy. No backbone; Cowardice and lack of a gut to call time on the pillage that was going on under her nose. A revolting stealing of the collective wealth of Nigerians that was going on right under her nostrils. A stench she herself referred to in her recently launched book.
Thanks to the revelations, we now know that Aunty World Bank had feet of clay. The intellectual toga she wore was made of deceptive material. She departed with her reputation in shambles. Perhaps her decision to keep quiet was down to the lessons she learnt during the Obasanjo years.
In Four years as a returning minister, she would have looked at the books and noticed how $16 billion disappeared ostensibly in the chase for some elusive power projects and she would have salved her seared conscience that Nigerians won’t miss this few billions she was handing over to Dasuki. Forgetting that she was condemning thousands of Nigerian military men to their untimely death. Why get fired twice?
When Kemi Adeosun was appointed as Minister of Finance, the slaves to Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala’s faux reputation went to town on the new Minister. It didn’t matter that Mrs. Iweala’s position had now been carved into two possibly three roles.
It didn’t matter that Kemi Adeosun had been a very competent Finance Commissioner of Ogun State for four years, that she had worked for one of the Top Consulting Firms in London as a Senior Manager or that she had worked in the Nigerian Finance Private Sector as a CEO for a few years. All Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala’s fan boys and fan girls latched onto was Mrs. Adeosun’s accent.
Mrs. Adeosun has not once claimed to have the same pedigree as Mrs. Iweala but time has revealed that she is a much better Minister of Finance than Mrs. Iweala was and will ever be. 100%. There are no more trucks driving out of Central Bank of Nigeria loaded to the brim with Nigeria’s money. That era has gone.
Regrettably Mrs Adeosun is caught in a National Youth Service Exemption Certificate forgery scandal. She has said nothing and her principal has also said nothing. The NYSC Administration have not said much but many believed the media revelations are correct.
Has she forged her exemption certification? I don’t know and I might never know. Frankly you can tell I am not interested. She is entitled to exemption but reportedly has a fake certificate.
If indeed she has a fake certificate, is she guilty of a crime of forgery? As a layman, I am assuming that a court will have to find that she participated in the forgery and or knew the certificate to be forged. Knowing how the privileged do these things in Nigeria, I doubt Mrs. Adeosun knew the origin of that certificate.
We are where we are. The NYSC claim to be doing their own investigation but they have not advised time scales. I want to believe the Presidency is also doing its own investigations.
While we await the outcome of these investigations, I want to share some wisdom with supporters of Mrs. Adeosun and President Buhari.
IT IS NOT YOUR PLACE TO CARRY A MEGAPHONE FOR THE MRS ADEOSUN MUST TALK BRIGADE.
She has a boss and if she has been told to keep schtum. She will do so.
To all supporters of President Buhari, don’t let anybody blackmail you with “you didn’t say anything when ‘bla bla bla’ “. You are not holding anybody’s mouth and the impression others will have of you should not dictate what you say or not say.
A few words is enough for those who want to hear.
Baba Grumpy works in financial services in the United Kingdom. He blogs mostly about football at http://babagrumpy.blogspot.co.uk. His Twitter handle is @BabaGrumpy