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StandPoint

Wrist-Slapping Rogues for Votes:
Bode George Goes Home Free


February 28, 2011
Convicted rogue, Bode George is out of prison and there was so much pomp and pageantry you would think another Nelson Mandela had been freed from Robben Island. Bode George's release from prison was recorded live on television, he was resplendent in rich robes, and men, women, and children came out in aso ebi regalia to welcome home a convict. There was singing, dancing and nonstop jubilation. There was even a church thanksgiving service. We understand that former president Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan made themselves available to receive and presumably congratulate him on his illustrious graduation from prison. A nation's leadership doesn't sink lower than this.

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For those who may have forgotten, Mr. Bode George, a revered chieftain of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) was convicted in October 2009 on 47 counts of illegal award of contracts worth N84 billion while he was chairman of the NPA. He was sentenced to two years imprisonment without an option of fine - the latest in a pattern selective wrist-slapping for the corrupt elite such as Tafa Balogun, Lucky Igbinedion and Cecilia Ibru. Bode George is said to have lived the life of a prince in "jail" and he may have forgotten how and why he was in jail in the first place.

The PDP owes the Nigerian people an explanation and an apology for their odious and disgraceful behavior. In one fell swoop, they have exceeded the excesses of the First Republic a thousand times. Soon, Nigeria may well be the first nation on earth where honesty and hard work are illegal and criminal. Already, those noble traits earn anyone foolish enough to practice them the opprobrium and ridicule of fellow Nigerians. Our so-called leaders practice all of the evil traits that we tell children to disavow: Corruption, stealing, state-sanctioned murder, nepotism, laziness, and criminal neglect of institutions that were set up to take care of our people and our nation. This is just not right; it is inexcusable. Things are getting to a head and we are, to say the least, appalled.

What is even more frightening is an emerging trend of early release of rogues to garner votes. Recently, Senator Teslim Folarin was similarly sprung from prison in order to help our rulers garner votes in the PDP primaries. Now Bode George is being welcomed with pomp in order to help get votes in April elections. We shudder to think what would happen if the government of the day manages to "extradite" Mr. James Ibori from justice abroad. That celebration would be something.

What just happened is a travesty and President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP ought to be ashamed of what they have turned our nation into.


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