Daughter of former President Olusegun Obasanjo has been hitting the headline these days for all the wrong reasons. Thrilling the audience to her talents in a rare display of her acting prowess ├í la James Bond, Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello taught aspiring and serving politicians alike how to skillfully beat the gun in a race against time. As the first known politician of her time, she perfected the feat of been in two places at the same time. She successfully showed the world how she, as a serving Commissioner in a western state, could be present in Nigeria serving her state in her officially ordained function as Commissioner and be somewhere else in another continent signing a contract as a business partner all at the same time. A few days ago however, Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello came up again with a new trick in her magic box of inexhaustible talents. This time, as a hitherto undiscovered athlete of Olympian qualities! Iyabo is a high jumper!
Moving to escape anti-corruption operatives at her heels, the Senator was said to have outwitted her Tormentors by bolting through the backdoor and scaling a security fence. Obviously running for her life, as she was reportedly claimed to have said in a subsequent Radio interview!
This unfolding Hollywood drama with the beleaguered senator as the main actor cannot help but remind one of the infamous "Downpressor man" of Peter Tosh's fame. Where will the Senator run when the sea will be boiling and the rocks will be melting when she seeks a place to hide from the sun?
Being the child of a retired leader in any country of the world is usually a trait of mixed blessing. It may open doors that would rather have been inaccessible in a reverse condition or shut those same doors before one's very eyes. This has been true of Nigeria and will remain true in years to come.
Concerning ex-President Obasanjo though, it's a story of one paradox chasing the other. An oxymoron of sort depicting a taste of bitter-sweetness!
As a State Commissioner installed in circumstances that may and should be opened to questions amid the powerful status of her family's position in the society, it becomes almost irrelevant to probe if Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello had the necessary qualification to hold the office she held. It is almost irrelevant that she may not have been the first child of an ex-leader to acquire prominence in a thrust of greatness. What is relevant however, becomes the truth of her exposure to the corridors of power as an active participant. It is on record that crimes have been alleged in the active ploy to have Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello keep her family dreams alive and invigorate the Obasanjo legacy in the hall of public legislation. Political opponents were said to have been cowed, intimidated and scared to death.
This was all the sunny side of life. As time proceeds however, the contents of this sunny side of Iyabo's life are beginning to trickle into public domain bit-by-bit.
Much like her father, no single case has been established till date against the Senator of having stolen money from the public coffers. Circumstantial evidences indicate criminal commitments in the energy expended on an Austrian project. Smells of nepotism and opportunism could be perceived. The health scandal of accepting money from the Ministry of Health while serving as Chairperson of a parliamentary committee with legislative oversight functions over the same Ministry smells of a breach of parliamentary rules. With the same parliament coming out emphatically to issue Mrs. Obasanjo-Bello a clean bill of health however, it is becoming more and more difficult to comprehend the problems of the young Senator.
What is she afraid of? What skeleton does Iyabo have in her closet?
Much like her father ex-President Obasanjo against whom leads are creeping up lately, of possible acts of corruption during his eight-year tenure as President and against whom no single act of stealing public money has yet been established, a sense of exasperation and anxiety cannot be mistaken in the personal disposition of the Senator.
It will be recalled that recent revelations have unearthed a can of worms that plagued the government of President Olusegun Obasanjo. A government that is so far basking in the image of utter incompetence, suspected collaboration with greedy and plundering contractors, but yet unproven to have stolen money outright from government coffers. The immediate past government has been proven in the court of public opinion to have awarded and paid for contracts that were never executed. Many questions abound if this was deliberate or borne out of incompetence. While a deliberate act in this case will definitely translate into plundering the state coffers by proxies, failure to have verified what was being paid for by way of contract, would be tantamount to criminal and unforgivable incompetence. Whichever way it goes, many questions are begging to be answered. Until President Obasanjo finally takes a stand on all of this and clear the air, final judgment will always remain a matter of hypothetical crucifixion. In all however, exasperation and anxiety over accountability and public explanation dominates the air on the part of the major actors. The camp of the ex-President seems to fear public testimony to clear the air much like Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello.
Where does the fear of public hearing and accountability derive? Why would a clear conscience be scared to death of laying the facts bare? Notorious Lucky Igbinedion surrendered voluntarily with a heap of evidences against him. Today, he bears the benefit of the doubt until the prosecution is able to prove the case against him beyond reasonable doubt.
If Iyabo-Obasanjo-Bello accepted N10 million from the Ministry of Health to spend on a useful retreat for members of her committee, why can this not be explained to the EFCC? If the acceptance of the money turns out to be in breach of parliamentary standing order, this will be the business of the National Assembly and not tantamount to any financial crime to be the business of the EFCC. If the National Assembly itself has proclaimed the Senator innocent and not in breach of any standing order, to say the least of any criminal law, then why for crying out loud, is Iyabo on the run?
One fact is clear though: more than being a blessing, the name Obasanjo seems to be coming back to haunt the former President's favorite child.
While the world chose to crucify the EFCC and the AIG Nuhu Ribadu in the days of kill-and-bury, it is becoming clear that the dossier on Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello opened by Nuhu Ribadu while investigations against the former President's daughter were launched, is unfortunately not being continued by the same brave young man we pray may come back soon.
There are times indeed, in which Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello would look back at the days of her father and be thankful for her blessings. After all, she was a State Commissioner and wielded power when fame and fortune counted most. But the days, in which the EFCC was founded by her father is definitely not one of those days she will look back to with pleasure and fun.