(The music of King Robert Ebizimo plays softly in the background)
"Your Excellency sir, I'm not sure we can pull it off o"
"Pull what off, Oronto?"
"Why not? Didn't we ask Ringim to pay him a social visit and ask how much of his overall national cake he is willing to plea bargain if we let him keep the Peugeot contract proceeds and other preceding proceeds? Has Ringim reported back?"
"No, sir. Ringim is still at his place as we speak. But our US trip is getting closer and closer. Thus far, we have been able to prevail on the local media to concentrate on the Super Eagles. As usual, our allies in ThisDay have been very understanding. But we can't do anything about the enemy in New York. He's been headlining this matter everyday on his opposition website"
"The usual suspect in New York? He is still making trouble for us? Oronto, I thought I asked you to launch operation Kalahari desert and settle that boy?"
"Operation Kalahari desert failed sir. The man won't accept anything. And now he's been blasting this Bankole family affair story on his website. And you know the Americans take his website very seriously. The problem now is how you are going to meet President Obama and Hillary Clinton next week when they now know that our anti-corruption war does not reach people under the umbrella sir."
"Oronto, what exactly are you saying?"
"ErÔÇŽ emÔÇŽ sirÔÇŽ I'm saying that Mr. Speaker has become a liability and we desperately need to sort things out before you go to the US. There is, in fact, an opportunity if we make a show of appearing to move against the Speaker now."
"OkÔÇŽok, I hear you. Order Ringim out of the place and summon Farida here at once."
(Enter Mrs. Farida Waziri. She genuflects at the door and crawls on her knees all the way to the Maximum Ruler's throne)
"Your Excellency sir, your Excellency sir, congratulations once again on your glorious inauguration. The nation has never seen anything like this sir. Only your inauguration in 2015 will surpass this one sir. You and the Dame looked gorgeous sir. May the Almighty GodÔÇŽ"
"Ah, Farida, you are here. Oronto, ask one of the boys to bring a glass of Sapele water for madam EFCC."
"I'll pass your Excellency. Thank you sir."
"Are you sure? It's pretty good stuff. Ok, I am directed to tell you thatÔÇŽ sorry, I mean I have decided to revoke the PDP family affair soft landing guarantee I extended to Speaker Bankole. I am meeting with President Barack Obama next week as you know. Can you work on a scenario that would boost my anti-corruption credentials going into that meeting?"
"Certainly your Excellency sir. Anything you want sir. At the EFCC, we have several PDP family affair templates ready for operation at the pleasure of Mr. President. I can briefly itemize four of our working templates to you now sir. My media man, Mr. Femi Babafemi, will explain the finer details of each template to Mr. Oronto later so that you can select one sir."
"Fire on, Farida"
"Thank you, your Excellency. We could use the Tafa Balogun template, the Cecilia Ibru template, the Lucky Igbinedion template, or the Iyiola Omisore template. Any of these templates will lead to a high-profile, heavily mediatized arrest sir and that is precisely what you need to show the Americans that we are serious about fighting corruption."
"So, what happens if we go with the Tafa Balogun template?"
"Your Excellency, we arrest and handcuff the Speaker for photo-op. We bring him to the Villa in the dead of night and you extract promises from him. We find a friendly judge to try him expeditiously. He does jail time, six to ten months maximum, refunds small change to the government, and keeps a low profile after jail. I get a Mercedes Benz jeep for my effort."
"What about the Lucky Igbinedion template?"
"Your Excellency, same as above. But here, instead of jail time, our friendly judge will ask him to refund small change. He can get that easily from the boot of his car. No handcuff during the arrest. I get a Mercedes Benz jeep."
"And the Cecilia Ibru template?"
"Same as one and two sir. He will have to fall sick after his sentence sir. He can then do his jail time at Saint Nicholas or any hospital of his choice."
"I'm not sure I like any of these templates. What about the Omisore template?"
"You may like that one sir since it allows him to bounce back and work for you towards 2015. We jail him and while he is serving his sentence, the Villa will talk to Professor Jega. INEC will discover some retroactive irregularities in his ward in the election that he lost. INEC cancels the election and orders a re-run. Mr Bankole runs from prison and wins. You pardon him and he returns triumphantly to the House. You work with Speaker Tambuwal to make Mr. Bankole head of the House Committee on Constitutional Reform. As part of the deal, Mr. Bankole will naturally understand that four years is not enough for you and your Ministers to work for the Nigerian people sir. Tenure extension will be the main agenda of his constitutional reform work."
"A former Speaker retuning to the House as an ordinary committee chair?"
"Your Excellency, there will be public campaign before that to let Nigerians know that part of the new deal with you is that people who have served in higher office won't feel too big to serve Nigerians in a lower office when summoned to patriotic duty."
"I see. And what happens to the original winner of the election in Mr. Bankole's ward?"
"Sir, you could make him a Senior Special Adviser on Miscellaneous Affairs in the Presidency or give him the open High Commissioner slot in Kenya so long as he does not go to Nairobi with his wife. There is something in the water they drink there."
"Now you are talking, Farida! Now you are talking!"
"Your Excellency, what do you want us to recover from him? His harvest is substantial. Mr Bankole has been eating since 2007 sir"
"Oronto, you heard Farida. What do you suggest?"
"ErÔÇŽ your Excellency sir, if he plays ball and agrees to the Omisore script, I say we let him keep everything. We can get a judge that will ask him to refund the cost of photocopiers, fax machines, printers, and flatscreen television sets. That will be about two million naira plus some jail time."
"Good! Farida, you heard Oronto. Let's work with that."
"Ok, your Excellency. ErÔÇŽ I get a Mercedes Benz jeep and another plot of land in Abuja for that scenario sir."
"No problem, no problem, Farida. You are free to negotiate a non-greedy percentage of the man's harvest for yourself. Just make sure you launch this operation before I leave for the US"
"EmÔÇŽ Oga, maybe we should ask Madam Farida if the EFCC has a Bode George template. We haven't even considered thatÔÇŽ"
"Look, Oronto, we don't have time to consider more templates. Just work with Farida on this Omisore template and make it perfect. In fact, you should hop on a helicopter and go to Otta straightaway and brief Baba that we have decided to move against Speaker Bankole. Don't come back here without Baba's blessing for the operation o."
"Your Excellency, Baba's blessing will not come free o. You know Baba now."
"What do you think he will ask for?"
"An omoluabi percentage of the Speaker's total haul"
"Omoluabi sir. I learnt that code from my Yoroba friends."
"Ok, Oronto, promise him omoluabi percentage but get his damn blessing for the operation"
"Your Excellency, Baba must also have heard rumours that Speaker Bankole was not exactly unfriendly to the Kwara Senator and the Nollywood actress."
"Ah, your Excellency, you know Baba doesn't joke with that department. In addition to an omoluabi percentage of the Speaker's harvest, Baba may request to partake of the two yams just to teach the young Mr. Bankole that some yams are better reserved one's elders in this country."
"Well, we can't help him there. If Baba wants to eat more yams, tell him to phone Femi Fani-Kayode and Saminu Turaki. Last time I checked, they were his yam contractors or have they retired?"
"No sir. They are still active"
"Alright. Oya, go to Otta right away."
"Before Mr. Oronto leaves, maybe we should work on a draft of the press statement that Femi Babafemi will release to the public at the end Mr. Bankole's trial next year?"
"Ah, yes, Oronto, I thought you always carried around numerous drafts of these things? Read one to Farida and let's see if it's fine."
EFCC Press Statement
May 29, 2012
Fellow Nigerians, today, on the first year anniversary in office of our President, His Excellency Dr Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, the EFCC is pleased to announce a major milestone in His Excellency's war on corruption. After a protracted trial which took several dramatic twists and turns, we are pleased to announce that a Federal High Court Judge today found the former Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Mr. Dimeji Sabur Bankole, guilty of two hundred charges of misapplication of funds. These serious misdeamenours happened with the contract for fifty flatscreen television sets, fifty printers, fifty pencils, and fifty MTN recharge cards which the former Speaker illegally approved at inflated prices. Mr. Bankole was sentenced to six months in prison and asked to refund a total sum of one million, two hundred and fifty thousand naira to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Although Mr. Bankole immediately appealed the ruling on account of his poor health, we at the EFCC intend to follow the case to the full extent of the law. Now that justice has been done in yet another major corruption case, we want to assure Nigerians that in line with Mr. President's determination to stamp out corruption, move the country forward, and deliver the dividends of democracy to the Nigerian people, the EFCC will continue to pursue corrupt elements with dogged determination.
Head, Media and Publicity
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission