Idris, Etteh and Useni’s corruption of – Olè gbé, Olè gbàá | Dailytrust

Idris, Etteh and Useni’s corruption of – Olè gbé, Olè gbàá

Ask any Nigerian police investigator, they can tell a thief from his face. Thieves once broke into our rented house in Oro Road, Ilorin; my landlady called the cops. The investigating detective ‘arrested’ a man who was just walking by as a suspect. He told my landlady that thieves often returned to the scene of their crime either to check out reactions or to offer fake empathy. The poor guy had to ‘bail’ himself from custody.

Ahmed Idris, chairman of ‘Gezawa Holdings’, Accountant-General of the Federation by default looks nothing like a crook. The man wears a cherubic face, not a narcissistic one. He is neither tall, gruffy nor menacing. The 61-year-old looks like a saint waiting for rapture with houses of worship attached to his buildings.

When he acquired Sokoto Hotels, Kano for N500 million, he demolished the house of sin and built a shopping mall on its ruins. We all know what happens in hotels and no paradise-minded mind beholds debauchery. When pious people travel, they take their personal homes with them to fulfill the scriptural injunction to flee all semblance of inducement.

Fortunately, Abdulrasheed Bawa, the debonair Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is not an ordinary detective. Of course, he has been reading all the petitions against Idris without calling a press conference. Initially, the young officer respected the 20-year age gap between him and his powerful suspect. So, he invited him for tea to talk about the allegations.

Idris must have felt slighted, because he refused to go. After probably going through other elders without success, Bawa finally pulled the suspect in. It shouldn’t be that difficult since Idris is of the same height as Nasir el-Rufai that Obasanjo described as being invisible behind a podium. After pulling his suspect in, the EFCC chairman issued a warning to those who might be tempted to think that he is a ‘small boy’.

The last straw for Idris was an N80 billion heist he is accused of perpetuating while still a public servant. It is all ironic, because Idris is not a public servant if you ask Chris Ngige. Well, that is what those who should know say. Public servants are supposed to retire at 60 or after spending 35 years in ‘service’. Idris’s broke both rules by presidential exemption. President Muhammadu Buhari, Mai Gaskiya (the honest one), found him worthy of eternal service if he so desires.

The second irony is that, when Idris was first appointed in 2015, he was to help clean the Aegean Stable left by his predecessor, Jonah Ogunniyi Otunla, not to outdo him. Otunla was accused of mismanaging N2.5 billion meant for security agencies at a time when Nigeria was supposed to be fighting multiple insurgencies. Buhari pulled Idris from the Ministry of Mines and Steel, a ministry that Nigerians aptly prefer to call the Ministry of Power to Steal.

Not long ago, SERAP, a civil society watchdog, accused Idris of the misappropriation of N106 billion with evidence. Of course, Idris is not accountable to SERAP, which out of frustration ran to the tortuous Nigerian court system. SERAP accuses the now suspended accountant-general of allocating millions to the auditing of agencies that were never carried out. It accused Idris of not probing the tenure of a certain big madam, Marilyn Amobi, as required by law.

SERAP wanted Alhaji Idris to come to court with evidence of how he made the money for building the Kano mall and other assets traced to close members of his family. Rather than answer these ‘rumours’, Idris appeared before the House of Representatives committee where he swore that the £4.2 million recovered from Saint James Ibori had been returned to the Delta State government. When a government official called him out; he recanted, and by the code of ethics of the ruling party; his initial perjury was forgiven.

The only fault of Alhaji Idris, the man of faith and investments, is that he laundered his illegitimate earnings into real estates in Lagos, Kano, Abuja and of course London, Buhari’s favourite medvacation spot. One question I would have loved to ask Alhaji Idris is why he ignored Enugu and Port Harcourt. Both cities are investment havens that pay dividends for ‘legitimate’ investments. Instead of bad-mouthing this man, Nigerians ought to praise the courage of this patriotic investor. He could have limited his investments to Kano alone or taken Nigeria’s money to Dubai like other patriots saving for rainy days.

Idris is not the only man trending in sleaze country. Patricia Etteh – remember her? Yes, she of the inflated House of Representatives contract saga is in the news again not for opening a salon or hair product as her training demands, but for alleged involvement in a N240 million solar electricity projects meant for poor Akwa Ibomites as if they ever needed anything after Godswill Akpabio made it a Nigerian Dubai.

Etteh was allegedly paid N47 million over the approved contract sum for the job that was not executed. Etteh is a veteran of investigations. Misogynists removed her as Speaker, House of Representatives for allegedly over-inflating a home renovation and official purchase of vehicle contract. That was in 2007 after only five months in office. She did lose her seat but has shamed her enemies as she has been released from interrogative detention.

Just when you think that sleaze is a new fad, a dinosaur pops up on the horizon. Jeremiah Timbut Useni, aka Jerry Boy, and recently addressed as Tim Shani has reportedly forfeited property worth £1.9 billion in faraway Jersey. Useni, a retired lieutenant general, ex-FCT minister, ex-senator and an unrepentant best friend of maximum dictator General Sani Abacha, appeared to have caught something good from his late friend. When Abacha was trending as the dictator who saved money in coded banks in anticipation of Nigeria’s rainy day, Jerry maintained a stoic military silence.

Jersey courts now swear he owned coded accounts under the fictitious name of Tim Shani. They have now seized the stash saying they did not believe the claims that the cash were gifts from friends and well-wishers. This is pure jealousy from people with no friends loyal and wealthy enough to stash cash abroad for them. May Useni live long to defeat his enemies.

James Onanefe Ibori, ex-governor of Delta State who was convicted of ‘fantastic corruption’ in the United Kingdom, returned home to the majestic splendour of a political wheeler-dealer. When it comes to fighting ‘kwarrupshan’, Nigerians know the deal – they get the distracting salacious headlines; satisfaction that the government is tackling the menace. We know the tragic parody of the famous Okafor theory – loot once recovered can always be re-looted.  The Yorubas have an axiom for this – Olè gbé, Olè gbàá!

We, the people quickly forget as the once corrupt recycle themselves into the fairy political Island of Integrity to be welcomed by Saint Ibori, Saint Nyame, Saint Dariye and Abdullahi Adamu, who chairs the Next Level leading the procession. We are their cheerleaders. You bet even Gandollar and Facrook Lawan would have special seats. Who says we won’t be all right?

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