To be honest, I’ve not shown much interest in the ongoing nauseating bribery (sting and counter-sting) soap opera of the diesel-oil magnate, Femi Otedola, and the federal lawmaker Farouk Lawan.
Right from when the first din broke into the public domain and I realised that money had changed hands about a whole month earlier I had turned off completely from what I saw as a bloody time wasting entertainment of the public, and at public expense! I turned off even whilst still secretly wishing to be proved wrong by Nigeria – at least for once.
But one can’t but draw attention to what the whole sordid saga portends for the country and for future generations of Nigerians especially as the actors in the drama continue to foul the air more and more, egged on by a coterie of hangers-on, aides, and colleagues in crime.
What saddens me the most about the whole mess is that the perpetrators are all relatively young folks, of the younger generation to mine; a generation on who so much hope had rested – like ‘Dimeji Bankole the former Speaker of the same House as Lawan, all in their 30s, 40s or early 50s.
Were this totally belly-wrenching deed (Farouk/Otedola-gate) to be in saner climes like Europe or America, rather than still strutting around in the National Assembly or the public as Lawan is doing, he should have buried his head in shame, awaiting the inevitable – a long time behind bars!
And as far as this ‘peculiar mess’ goes, one is reminded of its “ancient” precursor of the Dabo/Tarka (Godwin Adzuana Dabo vs Joseph Tarka) infamy in General Gowon time of the 70s where the accuser (who subsequently gained notoriety as “professional character assassinator”) is of no cleaner pedigree than the accused, resulting in spectacular mudslinging in the battle of mutual destruction. The accusation and counter accusation gave birth to the lingo of the time: “If you Dabo me, I will Tarka you”. Now we have on our hands: “If you Lawan me, I will Otedola you”!
I fear that this Farouk-gate would go away eventually the way every other corruption scandal has gone, from Halliburton to Siemens, from the Power scam to the Pensions scam and many others.
I fear that nothing would come out of it; Farouk Lawan would probably go scot-free, he may even remain a member of that hollow (hallowed?) House and be reelected to his 5th term.
I fear that nothing would happen to Femi Otedola. He would keep at his game, visible around the corridors of power, dominant in the economy doing his oil business with concessions that makes him the billions.
Though Farouk Lawan, after spectacular summersaults, owned up to having collected $620,000 from Femi Otedola (to sting him or be stung), the money has gone into thin air and may never be recovered either in its original form or any form! It may have been shared or it may be hidden inside a cave in Farouk’s Kano. Either way, if Farouk realizes there’s no escaping the hand of justice in the matter, he may consider the money (though only a fraction of what he agreed with Otedola) as his “severance pay” from the National Assembly and bear the pain of the moment (and possible temporary incarceration) to await a future free of worry about the next meal!
With the soap opera going on, the water of the subsidy scam is already sufficiently muddied and our focus sufficiently distracted.
Farouk/Otedola-gate is the shame of a nation that has lost all sense of shame. With the Farouk/Otedola-gate Nigeria faces her stiffest anti-corruption test yet, the acid test on her seriousness to put behind bars the evil and the corrupt no matter how highly placed.