Japheth Omojuwa: Fuel Subsidy Scam- Jonathan’s foreplay with corruption (YNaija FrontPage)

 The corruption still runs deep and to claim president Jonathan is cleaning it up is worth as much a lie as to say his transformation agenda has been anything other than transformation in corruption – from billions to trillions.

The President of Tanzania sacked six high profile ministers in his cabinet because they were the most criticised in the Controller and Auditor General’s annual report. Mind that these ministers had not been indicted by the highest lawmaking body of the country à la Nigeria but by another department of government.

 Nigeria’s indicted ministers and public officers in the fuel subsidy probe report are still living large despite being accused by the people of Nigeria over charges of corruption. When I say the people of Nigeria, I mean that in at least two senses; they have been indicted in the court of public opinion which unfortunately is subjective but they have also been indicted by the representatives of the people in a process that guaranteed a fair hearing. The Farouk Lawan subsidy probe report has been praised as the best report to come out of the House of Representatives in terms of its way and manner of operations and delivery by many who do not need corrupt people to feed them before they eat. The report is objective enough and those indicted have been objectively passed guilty. Guess who has been defending these thieving lots? The presidency itself!

As a president, there are things you should never be found saying no matter how hard pressed you are to say them. This is why to hear the mind of the president on certain issues you know he’d be hard pressed to speak his true mind about, just listen to his aides. Aides are not stupid, when they speak as though they are stupid, it is because they’d rather sound stupid than have the president sound stupid. Here is a defense put up for President Jonathan by one his aides, Ahmed Gulak, a political adviser to the president.

 “Mr. President is even the one that is saying no more stealing with the subsidy regime and that it must stop. How can he then turn around and sit on something that will help him sanitise the sector?”

He is of course wrong. The president never said, “No more stealing.” The president said the cost of subsidy was too much for government to bear and so he would be forced to remove the subsidy. There was no talk of the need to clean the petrol importation process; there was no talk of making the process run more efficiently. What the government was essentially going to do was to transfer the cost of corruption as administered by the ministry of petroleum and its various allies directly to the people of Nigeria. That partial subsidy, that still costs us over N888 billion for 2012, shows the corruption is still there. Full subsidy in previous years never ever cost us that much.

Corruption still runs deep, and to claim president Jonathan is cleaning it up is worth as much a lie as to say his transformation agenda has been anything other than transformation in corruption – from billions to trillions. The president has got no hand whatsoever in the revelations that we now see. He was part of the mess. Corruption is not just about stealing public money, corruption is also looking the other way when the act of stealing is being done. If the president did not look away while those trillions were being stolen, he then would claim he was not aware all the while. Not being aware of that scale of public looting that amounts to about 50 per cent of our national revenue in 2011 only means one thing in itself; that the president is not fit to be in office. Any CEO whose company loses half of its revenue to looting by his hired staff is most likely to get sacked along with them by a responsible board whether or not he partook in the stealing.

Now that the deed has been executed, the best way to know what role the president played is how he has acted since the release of the report. Through his many aides, he has said the report targeted some people and should have had others like Ahmed Gulak said above. He has also said the culprits will not be tried based on the report. He said this through the mouth of his Minister for Justice Mohammed Bello Adoke. Going by this foreplay, Nigerians have their work cut out if they want to get justice from the subsidy probe report. Replacing thieving ministers is not justice.

This is @omojuwa

Editor’s note: Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

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