By Ibrahim Ola Balogun
It is outrightly unthinkable for a man who was brought up in a cultured society like ours to wish anyone ‘untimely’ death, no matter how strained the relationship has become. That is why the entire Nigerians put aside their differences and political affiliations, even at the pick of a very bitter political campaign that heralded the 2015 presidential election and scolded Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State for wishing the then General, now President Muhammadu Buhari dead.
Therefore, the recent discordant news about the state of health of our immediate past Minister of Petroleum Resources should delight no one despite many emerging information revealing her as a privileged citizen who almost single-handedly run down our economy and as an individual who was part of the team that wickedly bled the country to stupor. No, right thinking Nigerian should descend so low to wish Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke dead just as it is considered reprehensible to pray or wish one’s enemy not to get well.
It is for this same reason that I put my weight behind the appeal of Alison-Madueke’s family to Nigerians, especially her critics, to let their daughter be. As humans, we should not only be bothered, we must appreciate the precarious situation and therefore sympathise and empathise with them over an undisclosed ailment of Diezani in a London hospital.
Alison-Madueke’s family has stated thus: “It is such an emotional time for us all as she is quite fragile and we are careful to keep her away from all the gossip and falsehoods being attributed to her in the media. We expect the media to respect the family’s feelings at this trying time.”
Madam Diezani and her family must nevertheless appreciate the good nature and ideal nurture of an average Nigerian family who though could not afford the luxury of treating their son or daughter in a foreign hospital, but refused to be overwhelmed by envy, and displaying uncommon concern by asking for the where-about of one of the big five of the last administration.
Mrs Alison-Madueke, please get well quick. I beseech you to follow your doctor’s advice religiously. Please do not make use of phones as recommended by them to avoid risk of infection which may be harmful to you. It is heartening to hear from your family that you are responding well to treatment. We are quite delighted to hear that you are responding rapidly to the intense treatment being administered to you.
Be assured that I, along with millions of Nigerian that are living below poverty line (one-dollar-a-day) are on the same page with your family members, for your death does no one any good at the auspicious time because you still have a destiny to fulfill back home.
Not to worry, everything shall soon be okay for millions of Nigerian children that are denied schooling, in the overall interest of millions of citizens of this country who were denied access to portable water, health care services, electric power supply, suitable accommodation and other basic necessities of life, out your ‘earthquaking’ corruption, copious stealing and humongous money laundering, we wish you quickest recovery, so the money could be repatriated on time. They are all truly praying for you.
Madam Diezani, even as you recover, the truth must be told. I urge you to ignore some of your family members and close associates, who probably have benefitted from your riches and who may be deceiving you. They possibly may be asking you to dispel what Nigerians are saying about you by tagging them as gossipers and falsehood peddlers. If you care to know, discussion about embezzlement of the billions of dollars of public funds under that last administration is rife at home. 2.3 trillion oil subsidy scam swept under the carpet under your watch is again rearing its ugly head. As if that is not enough, the revelation of US officials (dropped by Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole) that a Jonathan ex-minister engaged in ‘earthquaking’ corruption of no less than $6 billion dollars is sickening enough. Also dominant are discussions about hard-to-believe bombshell by President Muhammadu Buhari that some very close associates of former President Goodluck Jonathan were engaged in the sales of about one million barrel of oil per day during his tenure!
With the revelation that NNPC has been indicted for oil pilferage and non-remittance of sundry oil revenue, we cannot but wish you well soon.
Madam, do you know why Nigeria cannot wish you dead now, in spite the fact that they know we shall all eventually leave this world one day? Remember the House of Representatives Committee on Finance headed by Hon. Abdulmumin Jubrin uncovered, under your watch as a Minister, N321 billion revenue shortfall to the Federation Account by NNPC and its subsidiary companies. Within the same year, former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, alleged that NNPC failed to remit the sum of $20 billion to the Federation Account, as provided for in the Nigerian constitution. So you just have to get well soon for the sake of millions of unemployed Nigerians who are interested in knowing how about 400,000 barrels of crude were lost daily to oil thieves excluding N105 billion loss of refined petroleum products revenue within the short period of your stay in office.
My dear former most glamorous minister, it may interest you to know that Senate President, Bukola Saraki has recently described the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation as the engine room of corruption and that President Buhari has maintained that corruption in NNPC is epic.
According to Governor Adams Oshiomole of Edo State (who is part of the 4-man probe committee into the unremitted NNPC fund) investigations revealed that NNPC made N8.1 trillion between 2012 and 2015, but paid N4.3 trillion to the Federal Government and withheld N3.8 trillion which the management of the corporation has yet accounted for. Please, get well soon to exonerate yourself so the nation could trace the trillions.
Madam, in November 2013 after a report was published by Swiss Non-governmental advocacy organization – Erklärung von Bern – allegations of heavy fraud surfaced, placing the NNPC under suspicion of siphoning $6.8 billion in crude oil revenues. Madam, since then, a lot of foreigners have come to regard an average Nigerian as corrupt. So, for the sake of the integrity of Nigerian citizens (of which you are also one) at home and abroad, may you get well soon so we can hear your own side of the story
We fervently hope your doctors discharge you soon, hale and hearty, because we in need you in Nigeria more than they do over there!
Ibrahim Ola Balogun
Policy Analyst and Social Commentator