Over the weekend, news broke that Nigeria’s immediate former first lady, Dame Patience Jonathan approached a federal court and claimed ownership of $31.4 million illegally frozen by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC in Skye Bank.
My thoughts about it are simple, “a clear conscience fears no accusation”, pretty much sums it up.
Mrs. Jonathan’s husband has been getting N1 billion for feeding yearly for six years, another N500 million for two years as vice president. So, for eight years he was getting another N500 million for feeding as a Nigerian deputy governor and for the years he was governor of Bayelsa.
As president of Nigeria, her husband was getting N300 million for dressing per annum. The husband sitting allowance as president, acting president, vice president, deputy governor and governor runs into billions just as Buhari is getting over N300 million as sitting allowance this year.
These are allowances and perks of the office, excluding salaries and other emoluments.
Assuming Patience Jonathan invested her first N1 billion. If she invested in a company that wins good contracts, using a blind trust. A blind trust is what government official do. Essentially, it is an arrangement where people entrust their investments to other people to manage for them.
Then, you have to factor in that Mrs. Jonathan has not bought a single litre of petrol, diesel, repaired a car, paid a day’s rent, or a single domestic staff salary for the past 16 years. Her husband’s salary has been practically intact.
So, can you see why people would kill to become president? Why Buhari wouldn’t mind the country going up in flames to achieve his ambition of being president. You can see now why President Muhammadu Buhari cannot find work in the private sector, but keeps hovering around government agreeing to serve under a junior officer who was military head of state as chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund?
Don’t you think Bola Tinubu and Senator Buruji know that Nigerian politics pays better than drug pushing in the United States of America?
If you think Patience Jonathan accumulated too much wealth, tell President Muhammadu Buhari to cancel all the allowances accrued to his office.
In fact, it is time for Buhari to fulfill one of his campaign promises and PUBLICLY declare his assets and those of his wife, so you can see that anyone who has held public office in Nigeria is a multi-millionaire in US dollars.
When confronted about his children schooling in expensive universities in the United Kingdom while Nigerians struggle to buy forex to send their children abroad, President Buhari shrugged and told his interviewer, “I can afford it.” What does that tell you about the extent of wealth in the Buhari household?
Buhari has not worked a day in his life aside from government rackets.
Late President Yar’Adua declared $10 million assets and still he hid a whole mansion he owned in London, as a governor, not even as a president.
Kaduna’s governor Nasir El Rufai declared an asset base of N90 billion.
Let General Muhammadu Buhari declare his asset PUBLICLY and those of his wife. Then the conversation can begin.
Nigerian government is BIG BUSINESS. Period!
Those who accuse Dame Jonathan of stealing the money she owns have a chance now to go to the court, and as Amicus Curiae or some legal profundity, show where she stole the money from.
I can boldly tell you that the money is her savings. Just like Yar’Adua’s wife owns assets from her savings. Same with Aisha Buhari and Mrs. Abacha.
Nigerian politicians are overpaid and the system cannot afford them any longer.
So this is it – Until Muhammadu Buhari declares his assets publicly. Until every other former first lady’s (that includes Aisha Buhari) accounts are made public – nobody can estimate the range of possible wealth of an ex president. So no one can say, “How did she get the money?” There is simply no benchmark for comparison.
Let the EFCC follow the law and release Patience Jonathan’s money to her. It’s from her savings.
Ena Ofugara studied law in the University of Benin for some years before leaving Nigeria for the United States where he is studying while working. He has a passion for Nigeria. He has a clear bias for his people of the Niger Delta and he believes the Nigerian system – justice, social, economic – is rigged against his people. So he became a social and political commentator to highlight this injustice. Connect with him on Facebook.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.