Ibori and the dangers of the Single-story

By Sunny Igboanugo on 08/02/2017

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon

Views: 1430


Major General Muhammadu Buhari, as he then was, would have pulled off one of the most ambitious security operations in modern world history, if he had succeeded in forcibly bringing back the late Alhaji Umaru Dikko from London in 1984.

Minister of Transport in the Alhaji Shehu Shagari government, which was overthrown by Buhari, on December 31, 1983, Dikko, was on the list of the most wanted, not only for the level of alleged corruption attributed to him, but his lacerating comments against the new military regime, from his London base, on exile.

In the attempt to get him by all means, the then government in Lagos, had engaged the dreaded Israeli MOSSAD, to do the job. The operation had almost succeeded. After the fugitive was captured in his house in London, he was driven to the airport and put in a crate, to be uploaded in a waiting aircraft, enroute Lagos, when the British security came calling and eventually botched the operation. 

To have equally succeeded in scuttling that attempt, which would have been a very big blow to the British system, is also a measure of the efficiency of its security outfit.

Now, it is this same seemingly airtight system that defied one of the most organised and efficient security services in the world that the late Diepreye Alameiyeseigha, was said to have beaten in 2005, by merely dressing as a woman. Isn’t that a laugh?


Image result for IBORI IN OGHARA


Obviously, only few appeared interested in the more credible and believable version, which had it that it was actually the British authorities that put the former Governor-General of the Ijaw nation, as he was then known, in a plane and sent him home, because they did not want to be part of the political mess, of then President Olusegun Obasanjo.

In the same manner, fewer yet, seem prepared to touch the argument that far from the issue of corruption, which was being fronted, Alamieyeseigha, was made a scapegoat, because he failed to drop the agitation for Resource Control he was pursuing alongside his then Delta State counterpart, James Ibori when asked to do so by the same Obasanjo. Many prefereed the salacious corruption version, Obasanjo, using some well-tailored machinery, promoted.

That is the power of the single-story, which Nigerian-born novelist, Chimamanda Adichie, had captured so adroitly.

In many ways, this phenomenon has come to define the Nigerian society in a very profound way. Some tendencies in the country, have to a large extent, entrapped the entire nation in a sort of intricate one-line web, which only they can manipulate or untangle, thus, making the rest of the country eitther victims or prisoners. They determine who to prey on and who to spare; who is a devil and who is a saint.

The case of Ibori, is one of the most recent examples. The former Governor, has just returned to Nigeria from the UK, where he was in jail for almost five years on account of his conviction for money laundering. Steeped very deep in the single-story peculiarity, his, underscores the contradiction of the Nigerian society itself, where the privileged is canonised for the same reason another is crucified, simply on account of the divide he or she belongs.

It was quite interesting reading in some media platforms, online and traditional, even on his return to the country on Saturday, February 4, that he was actually deported by Britain. Not even its sheer incredulity, could stay the hands of the purveyors of this new angle to dish out such misinformation in order to feed the horde of hungry leaches they had propped up around the Ibori story.

In fact, that a particular section of the media, would actually go to the length of introducing this rather wicked angle, just to keep the fire burning, underscores the humongous war Ibori has been waging for more than a decade now and the forces therein.

Right from the ex-convict saga, which went through the highest legal scrutiny before it was eventually dismissed, to the $15million alleged attempt to bribe Nuhu Ribadu, former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the 170-count charge Asaba trial and even to the London conviction, there is more than enough evidence to suggest that Ibori was and probably still is up against some very powerful forces with very deadly agendas. What is more? The corruption angle they trumpet, is a mere story, but not THE STORY.

In fact, at a point, it was as if corruption would suddenly disappear from Nigerian if Ibori went to jail. Today, his name has been replaced by many others including those who took credit for sending him to jail, who themselves have been bespattered with the same paintbrush of infamy.

Surprisingly, new revelations are coming up to suggest the type of battle the Odidigbodigbo faced. Unlike the big political toes, he reportedly stepped on in Nigerid it is only now that the foreign components are being revealed. How many people were aware of the role of the Department for International Development (DfID) played in the entire saga and why? Who knew that behind the benign disposition of "helping Africa and Nigeria eradicate corruption," mantra, the British aid agency, indeed, was actually acting out of a seething anger, because it had an axe to grind with the former governor for outsmarting it in the bid for the purchase of the defunct V-Mobile shares in 2003 and for this reason, the MAIN reason for actually going for his jugular.

Who knew that the agency actually made a deal with then Nigerian government to collect a whopping $25million from the proceeds of Ibori's properties that were to be confiscated in London, before a kobo could be returned to Nigeria? Talk of altruisim and help! But, all are coming out now, even as the former governor is preparing to challenge his conviction on appeal. 

A few days ago, a direct allegation emerged also of how SaharaReporters, published by self-styled citizen reporter, Omoyele Sowore, was paid a whopping $450,000 from the slush fund earmarked for the Ibori Project by the DfID. Yet, this angle, which came from Mr. Lambertus de Boer, one of the lawyers earlier jailed in one of the cases to which Ibori was linked, has never been mentioned as the driving force behind the rabid desire to nail Ibori by both the medium and its owner. As at today, $450,000 is about N200million. Who would have ever thought that such amount, no matter in what beautiful tag the DfID, couched it before it was paid out, is actually sitting in the bank account of SaharaReportes, whilst Nigerians are being fed with a different yarn of citizen advocacy? That is the tragedy of the single-story.  

To be sure, hear De Boer: “In the heat of the Ibori trial in 2011, an online publication (Sahara Reporters) received $450,000 from DfID through a proxy, Omidyar Network, to support their work over a period of three years (the Ibori trial was billed to have finished by then).”

Yet, this is the same outfit, after the report that Ibori was under house arrest in London with a microchip implanted in his ankle to prevent him from escaping, refused to fly, is now telling the whole world that the ex-governor was deported.

The obvious danger here is that Nigerians seem to have lost the ability to examine issues and interrogate what they are being fed as facts. Unfortunately, it is not only in the Ibori case. 

Need anyone be reminded that it was through such a single-liner that Nigerians were made to gobble the toxic cocktail that it was okay for a Goodluck Jonathan to dismantle the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), zoning arrangement, only to swallow another noxious pill that a Buhari with a NEPA bill or bread label was better than the same Jonathan, whom they swore, was the best thing to happen to mankind since the discovery of isi-ewu and palmwine, a pill which is now killing them slowly?

Even now, many, many obviously so fed, find it difficult to come to terms with the fact that Ibori’s kin are celebrating his return, because they have been told it is not right to "celebrate a thief."

Yet, they forget that the white man that introduced the prison culture, sees it as a rehabilitation place, where errant members of the society are reformed and returned to the same society. In all cases, their governments go through a lot of troubles to ensure these set of people are not discriminated against, in order not to set them off once again.

Whilst their wish that he should stay in the British jail in perpetuity and even die there, seem no longer possible, a subtle campaign has been activated to ensure he tests the Nigerian version of prison for the same offence, because some people simply cannot bring themselves to the reality of seeing him a free man. Then you ask, why? The answer obviously is ensconced in the bowels the single narrative that he is the beginning and end of corruption.

Was he a President, as to say he pocketed the money of the whole country? No. Was he a minister? No. He was, but a state governor. Even by official figures, the money he was alleged to have stolen is far less than is standing against the names of some of his contemporaries, who have conviniently re-wormed themselves back into the society, with their cases forgotten. Yet, he remains a metephor for corruption.  

Sad enough, it is only Nigerians that celebrate their citizens being jailed abroad. Otherwise, how many Americans or Britons are in Nigerian jail, even with all the atrocities they commit in illegal sale of oil, gunrunning and other dastardly activities? Will America or Britain even allow even the commonest among them be sent to Nigeria to be tried for whatever crime, without finding a loophole to save them, not to talk about a high government official? Find out what America did to save the neck of Dick Cheney, when his name was mentioned in the Hallibourten scandal in Nigeria. Did anybody hear a word again after an initial mention? That's how they roll with their citizens.

Yet, as Ibori, a former governor is returning, Senator Kashimu Buruji is being packaged to be sent to the US for the Ibori treatment, obviously, more for stepping on toes, than the reason being advertised publicly. Tell that Nigerian who is asked to step aside from a queue at a foreign entry point to stop wondering or searching.

It is simple: That citizen that you are rejoicing over his travails while standing before a judge or being clamped into a British or American jail, represents you. Only one thing stops you from appreciating that fact – the single story.



Source Whirlwindnews.com

Posted on February, 8 2017

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon

You may also like...
Abba Kyari: He loved Buhari so much that...

Uche, uchu, na egwu chukwu: Chidoka’s battle-cry for...

The change We need

Tambuwal for President! Why not?

NPFL: Forward, backward

Igbo want freedom to be proud, productive Nigerians...

In Ozubulu, Osinbajo has shown leadership

Uyo electricity distribution company office sealed off

Winter Olympics and Dalung's double standard on Sports...
Latest Ohaneze-Ojukwu war: A battle that ended with one word! Abba Kyari: He loved Buhari so much that he hated Nigerians Wike, Ake and the sad story of the Nigerian journalist President Buhari: Fighting Ndigbo is fighting God, a futile way you cant win Open letter to Hope Uzodinma Ban: Dilemma of a soccer loving Nation NFF logjam: A cause with a curse Tambuwal for President! Why not? In search of salvation for Glasshouse Messed up Messi, reigning Ronaldo


Most Read Igbo want freedom to be proud, productive Nigerians *A reply to Buhari's What do Igbo want? (13,274 views) NASS example: If this is the Buhari magic… (3,581 views) Rio: Athletes’ agony after Buhari’s one year in office (3,400 views) Saraki: Haven’t we been on this road before? (2,782 views) Metuh and the tragedy of impunity (2,717 views) Mbaka: Before the tanks roll out on Biafra (2,648 views) Why Buhari should not dodge the debates (2,625 views) EFCC: Now, may we never have another Ribadu (2,558 views) Can Nigeria afford to ignore Uba at this time? (2,546 views) Fashola is not a saint, he is a Nigerian metaphor (2,518 views)


Columns Crux and Thrust (18) Musings of a Common Man (3) People and Politics (27) Strictly Energy Matters (1) The Jury (2)


CBN banner advert

Chelsea Outdoor

Veleta banner

FRSC Officials vs Woman Driver on highway



Newsletters Subscribe to Whirl Wind News newsletters today and get breaking news and updates delivered to your mailbox!

Sign up