How times change

 How times change
By Reuben Abati

"I THOUGHT I saw Professor Babalola Borishade and Chief Femi Fani-Kayode smiling after their arraignment in court two days ago. I thought I saw a photograph in one of the papers showing them in a happy mood. And I wondered what could be funny about the aviation fund and their present circumstances?"

"You Nigerians have started again oh. So, if a man is arraigned before a court of law, he should start weeping? I don't care whether they wept or smiled, or laughed, I think the good thing is that they are having their day in court and will get a chance to defend themselves."

" I don't like the idea of public figures who are brought to court laughing as if the whole thing is a joke."

"There is no law that says a man cannot smile or laugh in a court of law. Ha. Excuse me."

"But at least somebody who has been charged to court should show some contrition"

"For what? In fact, it is better to laugh so you can send out a signal that you are not bothered and that this too shall pass."

"N5. 5 billion?"

"Look I don't want to waste time wondering whether somebody smiled or wept. That is not what is before the court. The court is meant for human beings and human beings, even on the death row, are free to behave like human beings. Have you forgotten that Ishola Oyenusi, the notorious armed robber cracked jokes even as he was being tied to the stakes? And for your information, an accused person is innocent until he is proven guilty. So don't go in the direction I suspect you are heading."

"Are you now a seer? You better go and start a church".

"When they brought your sister to the court the other day, did you not see her waving to the people? When that your brother who dressed like a woman was brought to court once, did he not wave to the people?"

"They make Nigeria look like a joke."

"There are actually people who think that it is. And that the probes in the Senate and the House of Representatives and the aggressiveness of the EFCC even under Mrs Farida Waziri all have certain political undertones. That is what some people think."

"No. I am more interested in the positive side of the probes. The fact that we are getting to know what happened under the Obasanjo administration is certainly a good development. So many myths have been laid to rest., and so many are still unravelling. Those who used to strut on the stage about a year and half ago are being shown to be men with feet of clay."

"But has anybody been brought to book? Has anyone been sanctioned? When the House of Reps decided to probe the power sector, we all ranted. But have you heard anything since then about that probe?"

"But we are hearing something about the probe of the transport sector and the aviation sector"

"What are you hearing?"

"How Nigerian money was squandered, looted, mismanaged, misapplied. Tax payers' money. Oil money. My people are suffering in the Niger Delta, some people just sit in Abuja and sign away all the money made from crude oil sales. "

"I see where you are coming from. You have the mentality of a kidnapper in the creeks."

"We must make the point loud and clear that certain kinds of behaviour are unacceptable in this country. And I think some progress is being made. Yes we criticized the House of Reps, but look at what the Senate is now doing, if you go there and you can't explain how you spent public funds, they just call the EFCC and hand you over immediately. Before you know it, you are already responding to charges in a court of law. I like that."

"Some lawmakers are protesting. They don't want anybody to be arrested within the premises of the National Assembly."

"The EFCC can arrest anybody anywhere."

"No. Not inside the parliament chamber, not inside a court of law. The EFCC must act decently and treat people with respect. And this is the point I am making. Can't you see that Mrs Farida Waziiri is trying to stage a drama of her own? She needs to prove to the critics, to those who think that without Nuhu Ribadu, the EFCC will die, that she is an action woman"

"I don't care whether she is showing off or not. If anybody has a case to answer that person should do so."

"You are not seeing the sub-text. There is a sub-text about power in the whole show. The new administration is sending some strong messages. The Obasanjo government is being discredited."

"Let the facts speak for themselves, please"

"Southerners are being advertised as bad leaders who cannot be trusted with public funds."

"I don't buy that conspiracy theory. If anybody has done anything that is against the laws of the land, let him or her stand up and offer explanations. This is not a North-South thing. And you better don't go about pursuing that line of thought"

"Nobody is clean. Both the National Assembly and the EFCC should watch out against the danger of being selective. It is very easy to repeat old mistakes."

"They have to start from somewhere."

"We said the same thing under the Obasanjo administration"

"Some of these things will be swept under the carpet later."

"I hope not. That is why we have the civil society. And the ball is right in the court of the judiciary".

"How times change"

"That is a clich�. Time is always changing"

"Yeye man. I am using the word as metaphor."

"Oxymoron"

"You make it sound like I am a moron, but I know what I know. The problem with you is that you don't like listening to other people's views. Look, when I saw Femi Fani-Kayode, the first thing that occurred to me was to think up what he would have said about three years ago, if someone else had been in this kind of situation"

"You know the guy is brilliant and he can talk. In fact I was expecting him to launch into his usual oratory in the courtroom"

"He is a lawyer. He knows he cannot do that. Otherwise he would be charged for contempt."

"But truly, how times change."

"President Yar'Adua is nobody's fool. We used to think that he is Baba's stooge, but he has effectively shown that he is in charge."

"I agree. But let him do something about power supply. I thought they said the emergency has now been declared. We have emergency but we do not have electricity. Meanwhile, new electricity tariffs have been introduced."

"But you are not paying the new tariffs. Government is subsidizing your electricity consumption"

"You mean they are subsidising darkness, and wasting public funds on services not rendered. I don't know why everybody thinks that Nigeria is a joke and that the people's feelings do not matter."

" I don't understand why you are getting worked up. The President told you clearly that nobody should expect any improvement in power supply until 2011. What else do you want? The man has been forthright enough."

"We take everything as a joke, even something as serious as the Niger Delta is treated as a joke."

"Not quite. The Niger Delta is on the President's seven-point agenda. It is the second subject on the list."

"Yeah. But look at the comedy of errors surrounding the appointment of Professor Ibrahim Gambari as the Chairman of the Steering Committee of the proposed Niger Delta Summit."

"I don't even see why they want to organise another summit. Since 1958, Nigerians have been talking about the Niger Delta. Niger Delta Workshop. Niger Delta Conference. Niger Delta Dialogue. Niger Delta Retreat. Now they want a Summit. What is the difference? We talk too much in this country but we lack the political will to act. We all know what is wrong with the Niger Delta and with Nigeria. Let the Yar'Adua administration address the Niger Delta Question. The answer lies in Resource Control. We are not even asking for 100 per cent. We are still willing to share part of the oil revenue with other Nigerians, but to tell us what we should take, and how we should behave within Nigeria, then you will have more kidnappings, more oil theft and greater chaos in the Delta region."

"I don't have anything against the Summit."

"A summit that will be organised by a Fulani man."

"Professor Gambari is just the Chairman of the Steering Committee, like a Secretary. The Summit will still have a Chairman."

"They will probably make a Yoruba man the Chairman. Is there nobody in the Niger Delta that can do it?"

"Professor Gambari is an eminent man."

"Nobody is doubting his credentials, But the people of the Niger Delta are saying they do not want a man who believes that Ken Saro Wiwa is "a common criminal" or who may be tempted to sympathise with the view that the oil in the Delta came from the North. Government should have consulted widely before naming Gambari as Chairman of the Steering Committee. Our people are protesting because they consider the attitude of the Federal Government arrogant. If anybody wants to dialogue with us, you would have to carry the people along."

"But what I hear is people saying we don't want Gambari. We don't want him. That is a man who went to make peace in Myanmar recently for the United Nations."

"We are talking about the Niger Delta. And I really don't understand why the Professor wants to be part of the Summit by force. And there are other issues. Who will set the agenda? What will be the mode of representation? What are the expected deliverables?.... I see you are laughing"

"What can anybody do? Nigeria makes me laugh"

"Look at the teachers' strike. The Nigerian Union of Teachers served enough notice. But the Federal Government simply ignored them. Now the school system has been paralysed."

'Yeah. The teachers have a good case, but someone should tell them not to carry out their threat of picketing and shutting down privately-owned schools. That will be a lawless thing to do. Teachers in private schools are not members of the National Union of Teachers, and their employers are different Why drag them into a war that does not concern them?"

"It is the inefficiency of the Nigerian system that drives people to desperate measures."

"Only within the bounds of reason, my brother".



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Re: How times change
Auspicious posted on 07-05-2008, 02:34:09 AM
How times change..

I remember a few days ago, looking at beautiful photos of life in Nigeria in the pre-independence years - how promising the country appeared to be and how brilliant young men and women left for foreign climes to become doctors, engineers, educated farmers etc.. Today, others have frustrated their patriotic dreams for Nigeria.

I remember, that only a few years back, pocket money for a boarding school student for a whole term in one of the federal unity schools was just 20 Naira. Today, that amount wouldn't even by you a bottle of Coke.

Obasanjo reigned in Nigeria as the \"Father of Modern Nigeria\". Today, he is better known as the \"Father of Latter-Day Corruption in Nigeria\".

I remember, that not too long ago, Ayodele Peter Fayose as Governor of Ekiti was the one appointed by Obasanjo to find him a \"successor\" - or to screen his likely successor, making Fayose's Governor's House a Mecca of sorts for a while. Today, he is very much like a Pariah.

I remember, that not too long ago, very few Nigerians outside of Katsina new who the fuuk Umaru Musa Yar'Adua was - until Obansanjo dragged the reluctant-looking candidate around the country, telling Nigeria, \"dis is my son, in whom I am well-pleased\". Today, he is President Yar'Adua.

I remember, that when Major-General Sanni Abacha 'miraculously' kicked the bucket, power supply was still relatively stable in most places in Nigeria. Today, in places like Ekiti, hardly do light-bulbs flicker on for 10 straight days.

I remember that only a year ago (\"or more, or more, or more\" - fela), Hillary Clinton and everyone who knew her was cock-sure that the democratic party nominee titles was hers and hers alone. Today, Barack Obama wears that cap and it fits so well.

The list goes on..

Such is life.

I am Auspicious.
Re: How times change
Dapxin posted on 07-05-2008, 04:35:10 AM
QUOTE:
How times change..

I remember a few days ago, looking at beautiful photos of life in Nigeria in the pre-independence years - how promising the country appeared to be and how brilliant young men and women left for foreign climes to become doctors, engineers, educated farmers etc.. Today, others have frustrated their patriotic dreams for Nigeria.

I remember, that only a few years back, pocket money for a boarding school student for a whole term in one of the federal unity schools was just 20 Naira. Today, that amount wouldn't even by you a bottle of Coke.

Obasanjo reigned in Nigeria as the \\"Father of Modern Nigeria\\". Today, he is better known as the \\"Father of Latter-Day Corruption in Nigeria\\".

I remember, that not too long ago, Ayodele Peter Fayose as Governor of Ekiti was the one appointed by Obasanjo to find him a \\"successor\\" - or to screen his likely successor, making Fayose's Governor's House a Mecca of sorts for a while. Today, he is very much like a Pariah.

I remember, that not too long ago, very few Nigerians outside of Katsina new who the fuuk Umaru Musa Yar'Adua was - until Obansanjo dragged the reluctant-looking candidate around the country, telling Nigeria, \\"dis is my son, in whom I am well-pleased\\". Today, he is President Yar'Adua.

I remember, that when Major-General Sanni Abacha 'miraculously' kicked the bucket, power supply was still relatively stable in most places in Nigeria. Today, in places like Ekiti, hardly do light-bulbs flicker on for 10 straight days.

I remember that only a year ago (\\"or more, or more, or more\\" - fela), Hillary Clinton and everyone who knew her was cock-sure that the democratic party nominee titles was hers and hers alone. Today, Barack Obama wears that cap and it fits so well.

The list goes on..

Such is life. Its most time unfair, brutal, and so haphazard....Its the frightening pace, that we live it, inch by inch, closing to our graves, that makes our needless, self-created pains, so heinous and incredibly hard to live with......

Still, its a credit how we, find the will to survive and hope, in the midst of all of these - life !

I am Auspicious.


completed !
Re: How times change
Truthsayer33 posted on 07-05-2008, 06:15:53 AM
And Rev King is still alive and laughing his socks off !
Re: How times change
Ozoodoo posted on 07-05-2008, 06:41:38 AM
"Professor Gambari is an eminent man."

"Nobody is doubting his credentials, But the people of the Niger Delta are saying they do not want a man who believes that Ken Saro Wiwa is "a common criminal" or who may be tempted to sympathise with the view that the oil in the Delta came from the North. Government should have consulted widely before naming Gambari as Chairman of the Steering Committee. Our people are protesting because they consider the attitude of the Federal Government arrogant. If anybody wants to dialogue with us, you would have to carry the people along."


Did the sh1t head (Gambari) really called Saro Wiwa "a common criminal"?
Re: How times change
Myne Whitman posted on 07-05-2008, 06:43:53 AM
In Nigeria, the more things seem to change, the more they remain the same...

QUOTE:
\"Nobody is clean. Both the National Assembly and the EFCC should watch out against the danger of being selective. It is very easy to repeat old mistakes.\"

\"They have to start from somewhere.\"

\"We said the same thing under the Obasanjo administration\"

\"Some of these things will be swept under the carpet later.\"

\"I hope not. That is why we have the civil society. And the ball is right in the court of the judiciary\".

\"How times change\"

\"That is a clich�. Time is always changing\"

\"Yeye man. I am using the word as metaphor.\"

\"Oxy*****\"

\"You make it sound like I am a *****, but I know what I know. The problem with you is that you don't like listening to other people's views. Look, when I saw Femi Fani-Kayode, the first thing that occurred to me was to think up what he would have said about three years ago, if someone else had been in this kind of situation\"
Re: How times change
K k kazinsky posted on 07-07-2008, 09:03:53 AM
I Bribed Borishade With N1bn - Austrian Contractor


By Simon Imobo-Tswam




• Fani-Kayode Is Clean
• Iyayi Got $3m



Mr George Eider, the Austrian managing director of Avsatel Ges MB, one of the contractors involved in the aviation sector arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) recently, has started singing. He has admitted that he shared bribes to top officials of the Obasanjo government.

He gave a whopping N1 billion bribe to Professor Babalola Borishade, the minister of aviation under whose tenure Nigeria witnessed three air crashes within one year, including one in which several school children died. Mr Roland Iyayi, the managing director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), received $3 million (approximately N360 million) bribe. He also mentioned several names who were part of the graft. This is the first major breakthrough of the EFCC under AIG (retd) Farida Waziri.

Public commentators have agreed that this is clearly the smoking gun that the Umaru Yar'Adua administration needed to show that it intends to be tough on corruption.

LEADERSHIP Sunday was also authoritatively informed by our sources that Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, another former minister arrested alongside Prof Borishade and Iyayi, is clean. Fani - Kayode was in fact the one who blew the whistle against the others in the first place.

Operatives of the EFCC had, on Monday last week, arrested two former ministers of Aviation - Dr. Babalola Borishade and Chief Femi Fani-Kayode - for their roles in the disbursement of the N19.5bn aviation intervention fund.

Also arrested was a former director-general of NAMA, Mr. Roland Iyayi.

The three men were picked up around 6.25pm on Monday after appearing before the Senate Committee on Aviation.

Borishade and Iyayi were driven out of the National Assembly premises in Abuja in a white Toyota bus marked ABUJA AU 329 YAB. Fani-Kayode, who wore a striped dark suit, was allowed by the operatives to ride in his black Range Rover marked LAGOS JH A20 AAA.

Fani-Kayode, who was also a former special assistant on public affairs to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, had before his appearance at the NASS and his subsequent arrest said that he would tell the world what he knew about the N19.5bn intervention fund.

The N19.5 billion was meant for intervention in the aviation industry, specifically for the renovation of four international airports in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano. The above offences are contrary to sections 97, 99, 314, 364 and 309 of the Penal Code.

The EFCC had, on June 23, arrested Mr. George Eider, the representative of Avsatel, an Austrian firm that won the tower projects' contracts for four airports.

Eider' s company M/S Avsatel was awarded the contract to install safe towers in four Nigerian airports including Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt and Abuja by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), a contract that was said to have been grossly inflated. Eider, an Austrian, had told the Senate committee probing the N19.5 billion aviation intervention fund that his company had discharged its duties in three of the airports with the exception of Kano.

He was arraigned before an Abuja magistrate court for misappropriation of N6 billion, abuse of office and forgery of government documents contrary to sections 309 and 364 of the Penal Code.

However, Borishade and Fani-Kayode had during their appearance before the committe disagreed over the disbursement of the N19.5bn.

While Borishade claimed that he did not authorise the withdrawal of any amount from the fund before he left office, Fani-Kayode said not all the money was made available to him.

Borishade had said: "The approval for the opening of the letter of credit for the Safe Tower Project was the only commitment authorised by me in respect of the intervention fund before I was redeployed on November 7, 2006. No withdrawal was made from this facility before I left."

Borishade also said he was aware that N2bn was released for the payment of the severance package of retired aviation workers.

He said the idea of collecting a loan from Zenith Bank to finance the rehabilitation of tower projects in four of the nation's airports at N6.5bn was not his but that of a former minister of finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Asked whether he was aware of a N45bn Bilateral Air Services Agreement Account, he answered in the affirmative but added that he did not access the sum after several memos.

The committee observed that a recent quotation from the NAMA indicated that the contract for the rehabilitation of the towers in the four airports could be executed with N1.03bn.

It then wondered why it was awarded for N6.5b in 2006.

Head of the Bureau for Public Procurement (Due Process), Mr. Emeka Eze, in his testimony said the bureau raised queries when it discovered that certain documentations concerning the contract were not done.

There seem, however, to be no respite yet for the two former aviation ministers, Prof. Babalola Borisade and Chief Femi Fani-Kayode. A magistrate court in Life Camp, Abuja, on Friday denied the two ex-ministers bail, ordering that they be remanded in the custody of the EFCC till Monday.

The former ministers and Iyayi were charged with conspiracy, breach of trust, breach of official trust, forgery and misappropriation of about N19.5 billion government fund.

>>>> MY COMMENT: If you think anyone will go to prison over this or be executed like they do in China, I think you must be drinking some heck of a kool-aid. It just ain't gonna happen in that dump of a country.Remember the so-called noise about $16billion/Obj and the power sector which made rounds few weeks ago? What became of the whole noise? Nothing.Not squat. Zilch!!!!Funny,ain't it?And on top of that African countries are at the G8 summit asking for more "aid". My question is this:Why don't these G8 countries spend some of that money on their own people instead of handing it to corrupt despots who then turn around and siphon it into oversea bank accounts? Is somebody benefiting from this run around or what? You be the judge my friends.
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