Reception for Obasanjo-Bello

Casmir Igbokwe

Published Sunday, June 1 2008

 

Many people seem to be courting Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello at the moment. Penultimate week, her estranged husband, Akeem Bello, visited and prayed with her at Maitama Police Station, Abuja. She was in brief detention there. Also, some of her colleagues in the Senate were delighted to see her again after about three weeks of evading arrest by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. To crown it all, members of Ward 11 of Abeokuta North Local Government Area of Ogun State held a reception for her in Abeokuta.

 

According to media reports, the reception was to celebrate the air of freedom the woman breathed again after the face-off with the EFCC. Hundreds of her supporters reportedly thronged the streets of Abeokuta, drumming, dancing and singing the praises of the Senator. There were banners welcoming the beloved bride of the Owus at strategic locations in town. Prior to this reception, members of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ward 11 had gone to Abuja to show solidarity during her appearance in court. Obasanjo-Bello, who expressed gratitude to her people, assured them that she was not a thief.

 

Recall that the woman was embroiled in the controversy surrounding the sharing of the N300m unspent budget of the Ministry of Health. President Umar Yar’Adua had directed all ministries and government agencies to return all unspent 2007 budget to the treasury. Instead of complying with this directive, the Ministry of Health allegedly decided to share the money. The House of Representatives Committee on Health and its counterpart in the Senate got N10m each. But while the Reps returned their own share, the Senators under the headship of Obasanjo-Bello, allegedly used their own for a capacity-building trip to Ghana. The EFCC had since prosecuted the former Minister of Health, Prof. Adenike Grange, and some others. Obasanjo-Bello’s eventual arraignment happens to be one of the major highlights of the incident. There are other scandals allegedly hanging around the neck of this woman. It is left for the courts to either convict her or declare her innocent.

 

But rather than await the verdict of the courts, some individuals are falling over themselves to humour her. It’s just like some party stalwarts, friends and indigenes of Bayelsa State who humoured and warmly received the former Governor of the state, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, who was convicted for looting the treasury of his state.

 

At the root of this kind of perfidy is poverty. For instance, the PDP Vice-Chairman for Obasanjo-Bello’s ward, Alhaji Akanni Oyeleye, wanted to go to Abuja to show solidarity with the Senator. As he reportedly put it, “I even got to Lagos until I was told that the transport fare was N5, 000. So, I backed out of the trip and we continued to pray at home.” Oyeleye turned a prayer warrior at home because he could not afford N5, 000 transport cost to Abuja. And to compensate people like him, Obasanjo-Bello donated N100, 000 to support the empowerment programme organised by an official of Abeokuta North Local Government.

 

We always blame our leaders for Nigeria’s woes. But it is the followers who are stoking the fire of corruption for them. If you are in government and you fail to steal from the public till, your own people will be the first to condemn you and call you a buffoon. This is partly why the war against corruption has yielded little dividend. Until we begin to ostracise looters; until we stop worshipping ill-gotten wealth; and until the government begins a campaign to make people change their wrong values, we may never move forward as a people.

 

Re: Hunger, anger and strategic food security

 

Casmir,

You are extremely too frank and humourous, else you won’t contemplate selling of wives. Can’t husbands be sold too? I Love your write-up.

Mrs Sola Sobande

08056633341

 

Casmir,

Your article on strategic food security is indeed a true Nigerian reflection of current global food crisis. In fact, it has exposed the weakness of our system as it relates to food strategy. It is laughable that the Fed Govt is just reacting to this. It shows the myopic nature of govt policies…

Barth Az. Okonkwo

08033019205

 

Casmir,

Those at the villa are too egocentric to think about food security. Casmir, you deserve a national honour, MON, for your write-ups.

Akinleye Adepitan,

UNAAB.

08075576801

 

Casmir,

Your write-up on food security should be another challenge for a focused and serious government with genuine concerns for its citizens. Unfortunately, what we have at the moment is a government that lacks vision, with a lot of confusion. I doubt if they will address the food crisis issue correctly…

Lai Adeyemi, Lagos.

08058988580

 

Casmir,

I read your article on strategic food security. As an agricultural economist and extensionist, I totally agree with your “permanent solution to boost local production”. Keep up the good job.

Essien Antia-Obong.

Calabar. (08055622455)

 

Casmir,

My suggestion is that government should invest in farm communities that will employ the army of unemployed Nigerians trading in traffic, touting and doing 419 activities. The farms should provide simple accommodation and a guarantee of three meals/day for the workers. Government after establishing the farms and working capital should divest from ownership by converting the capital to shares that will be sold principally to the workers through loans payable over five-10 years deducted from salaries. This way we will ensure good management and realise the objective of providing food for Nigerians.

Gbola Oshodi

08023133398

 

Casmir,

You are a fearless writer. Keep it up. But I believe the solution to the problems is to stand against these crooks by every means, even if it involves lives. That is if we are ready to die (poverty is a curse/disease).

Pastor Sunday A.

Ilorin (08035759592)

 

Casmir

Hard for me to choose who is the best between you and Ishiekwene. But I am in no doubt that you are a simply great stuff.

Barrister Jerry Llimezekhe.

08033311290

 

Casmir,

I buy THE PUNCH on Sundays only to read your column. I have not seen any columnist that chooses words like you so much that my elementary school children make sense out of your write-ups. Believe it, you write for every Nigerian…

Taiwo Akande

Ibadan (08055684174)

 

Casmir,

I am a Catholic. Anytime we are asked to recite the prayer for Nigeria in distress, I do so with a passion, most especially the part where we say, “Spare this nation (Nigeria) from chaos, anarchy and doom.” I believe that Nigeria needs this prayer for it not to end up a failed state.

Olumide Soyemi

Shomolu (08034977903)

    

               

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1 Comment »

  1. 1

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