- Post 19 July 2012
- Last Updated on 19 July 2012
- By Prof Femi Ajayi
NIGERIANS sincerely appreciate the confession from Farouk Lawan that he accepted 'money' not 'bribe' from billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola. He can do better if he seizes to change the goal post along side the direction of the football, and tell the whole world what he has done with the money.
If actually $620,000.00 was involved in this scandal, Farouk has accepted the receipt of the $500,000.00; while Clerk of the committee, Boniface Emenalo is not denying receiving the $100,000.00 in two bundles of $50,000.00 each; definitely $20,000.00 is missing in transition between Otedola, Farouk, and Emenalo.
Farouk money, either taken, given, has gone through some dimensions that made Nigerian House of Representatives a laughing stock, with apology to the innocent ones among them. By the way, how can the fox guard and protect the chicken? Can roaches and rodents claim innocence in the room full of uncontrolled food items?
Why is Nigerian House of Representatives holding back an invitation to Olusegun Obasanjo to answer some questions on why he tagged the National Assembly as "an arm of government populated by rouges and armed robbers"? Nigerians are interested in learning more about the National Assembly tittle-tattle to clean up the remaining rogues and robbers.
Is Nigeria going to charge Otedola for given 'money' to Farouk, now that the vocabulary has changed? Nigerians are waiting for the Judiciary version of new advanced vocabulary on corruption on 'money' collected from Otedola, and not 'bribe'.
In addition to the colossal salaries and allowances of members of the National Assembly, more than what U.S. President earns, the greed for money is still chasing the National Assembly members as if it is a ticket for greatness. They are not bothered how much damage they are doing to the Nigeria image across the world.
Farouk Lawan claimed he reported the bribe attempt, not only to the house leadership and newspapers, but also to the Inspector General of Police as he never intended to take any bribe after he discovered that the deal has been leaked. At that point little did he realize that he was video-taped when he collected the money? It then turned into 'money' not 'bribe' was collected.
It is just like the squirrel climbed the top of iroko tree and the hunter is confused on what to do next.
In his groundwork to deceive Nigerians, Farouk earlier mentioned, that, in a situation where the Committee uncovered fraud of over N1 trillion, Nigerians were going to believe in his statement of denial that it should be expected that the powerful cabal behind the high scale corruption in the oil sector would not only fight back but would fight dirty. The dirty fight from the cabal is now landing him in trouble if he had not either initiated the 'Greek gift' from Otedola, or agreed to the offer of the 'damage compensation' to the ad-hoc Committee Chairperson. We would keep on twisting the bribe into, 'money', 'compensation', 'gift', or sadaka.
Farouk described one of the evidences as "a video footage displaying a caricature of my person allegedly having dealing with a marketer reminiscent of military era when dignitaries were invited to the Villa to watch video clip of phantom coup involving Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is already in circulation." Mr. Farouk will safe this country any further embarrassment by coming out clean and confess his sins asking God to forgive him for torturing the mind of well meaning Nigerians on this subject.
Farouk Muhammad Lawan, a four-term Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member of the Federal House of Representatives; born in July 1962; a graduate of Bayero University; first elected in 1999; representing the Bagwai/Shanono Federal constituency of Kano State; is a mournful disgrace in all ramifications. He had, at various times, headed the House Committees on Ethics, Finance, and Education. He was instrumental to the fall of the first Speaker, Salisu Buhari. He also featured prominently in the late 2007 corruption scandal that led to the resignation of another Speaker of the House, Patricia Etteh, when he led the so-called Integrity Group.
Farouk as a fourth-timer in the House of Representatives should have known better than anyone else that as an investigator, he holds the knife and the yam. We should ask, if not out of desperation for his assertive bid for the Kano Gubernatorial election in 2015, why did he go to the Otedola's house? If he wanted to expose him, he should have asked Otedola to come to his house or meet him at his own location?
After collecting the money from Otedola, why did he not deposit it with the police, as evidence; report the bribe to the House, and the media?
When Ibori offered Nuhu Ribadu, former EFCC Chairman, the sum of $25million, Ribadu called his people when he brought it to his office. After Ibori left, he immediately sent the money to the Central Bank in the presence of some of his men. Ribadu did not take it to his house, stuffed the money in his pocket or cap.
Ribadu did not go to Ibori's house, or into his jet, hotel or anywhere, Ibori brought it to the EFCC headquarters. Farouk goofed and he should stop lying to his teeth. He should produce the money. Regardless the number of make-ups he is making, he has already failed and Nigerians would continue to find his excuses as baseless as Nigerians are smarter than his mendacious teeth.
Who is being hoodwinked in this episode of 'money-taking' or 'bribe-giving' of Farouk dishonorable horse ride in the sandy desert? Farouk found himself on top of the tallest building in his milieu as a signal that he has captured the entire universe. That was not enough, he graduated to the market square stark naked after sharing his local drinks with 'lords of the flies' with his pants below his kneels. He has been acting like the big turkey concealing its head in the sand thinking that no one is watching. Brother tortoise would be asking when he would return from his shameful journey of denial, possibly until he is being disgraced.
Farouk should bury his head in shame and swallow his pride, if he has any, come out openly and ask for forgiveness. Nigerians are good people. He needs to come clean, confess, and produce the money. If he has spent it, he should tell the whole world what he did with it. He should tell the truth.
His 'bosom' friend at the House, the Chairman of the House Committee on Drugs/Narcotics and Financial Crimes, Mr. Adams Jagaba, whose Farouk claimed he handed the $620,000 bribe to, has threatened to go to court if Farouk continues to make false statements that he has the 'money' in his custody as an evidence against Otedola.
Since Hon. Adams Jagaba, has denied the receipt of the money and the letter from Farouk, enquiry mind wants to know where the money is, when the letter was written. According to Jagaba, Farouk claim and the attachment of $500,000.00, "is callously untrue." He first saw the letter on the pages of a newspaper and when he visited the Police Headquarters.
Farouk should stop the unnecessary excuses as not to divert the attention from the essence of the fuel subsidy probe as to why he did not raise the issue on the House floor on April 24, 2012. Perhaps Farouk might have spent the marked money, or distributed among his cohorts. Most of them would always get their share immediately, before any other action.
Nigerians are seriously interested in the correspondence between him and the Nigerian Police Force: the letter with reference number CR:3000/IGP.SEC/STF/FHQ/ABJ/
Nigerians want to see the $600,000 marked money from the State Security Service, (SSS), not the fresh money gotten from the Central Bank or from the Bureau de Change. The Police or any law enforcement agent cannot go further on this matter until the marked money is produced as evidence. Otedola might provide the video evidence, audio recordings, without the real evidence in question, no one can determine the allegation. Who knows what transpired in the video: Real money in US Dollars, Euros, Naira, or fake currencies from the out-of-space? Farouk must produce the marked money.
June 11, 2012, he confessed that he collected $500,000.00 bribe offered by Otedola. He took 'money' and no 'bribe' we agreed. He took the money to expose Otedola. No problem with that. He has repeatedly maintained that he got the bribe money to serve as evidence against Otedola. No wahala. Since he collected the money to implicate Otedola, he should release the money.
All being said and done, as to who collected the money, the question that needs to be answered by Farouk now, and what Nigerians are waiting for, is, for the 'money', not 'bribe', to resurface from where ever it is being kept. We might need to examine the throat of the Crocodile, if we can get the reptile from the pond, to remove the swallowed money from the system.
Farouk should stop playing on peoples' intelligence by twisting the story and take the country to another vocabulary level from Farouk Central Bank. Unfortunately, he misunderstood the big grammar from the former member of the House of Representative, Honorable Patrick Obahiagbon, the 1983 product of St John Bosco Grammar School, Obiaja, Edo State, under who Farouk learned his new vocabulary. Obahiagbon succeeded in bamboozling Farouk with his heavy grammar on the House floor as evidenced from the vocabulary of the collected 'Money' and not 'Bribe'.
A school of thought opined that if Nigeria fails to kill corruption, corruption will eventually kill the country. Unfortunately the bad eggs among the current National Assembly, especially at the House of Representatives are too desperate for money. Someone will be wondering why they are more interested in probes than their normal law making for the country.
Nigerians expectation from the current House of Representatives is to construct quality legislation and oversight functions. Sadly with the allegations, denials, agreements, twisting of words to qualify the inhuman acts, Nigerians are not convinced that they have the accurate individuals at the helm of affairs at the National Assembly.
Activities of some members of the HOR are impeding progress in the monstrosity that has bedeviled Nigeria progress as a nation for so long. When the head is rotten, what hope for the rest of the body? The fish rotten from the head, as it happened to Nduka Elemelu, so it has happened to Farouk Lawan. May God help Nigeria?
What type of legislation would come from the National Assembly as they continue showing their colors on a regular basis? Nigeria is sitting helplessly irredeemable on the bed of troubled, shark-infested waters.
Since Farouk decided to make the 'money' taking a laughing, matter, Nigerians are joining him to continue pushing his luck to the comedy club. The jokes on this episode are copious and our readers have joined him to say Farouk, as a verb, means to collect bribe and deny it, attributing evidence to video and doctoring. To Farouk is human as the National Assembly is populated with Faroukers. The desperate contractor became a Faroukee in order to win the business. The politician has a degree in Faroukology from the University of Corruption. Nigeria has been practicing faroukracy from independence. Faroukism is the political ideology of bribery, corruption, and cover ups. The results of the investigation appear really faroukish. Faroukiosis is a chronic disorder of bribery taking and denial. The lawmakers have carried on faroukistically.
Until the cankerworm of corruption is rooted out in Nigerian political psyche, through a justice system that works, the nation cannot make progress. Fraud exists in all nations; nonetheless, Nigeria case is pitiable because rogues and robbers have been emboldened to believe that they cannot be punished.
Nuhu Ribadu asks if Nigeria is really a "Maggot's Paradise"?
Farouk Muhammad Lawan, where is the money?
* Professor Femi Ajayi is Head, Political Science and Public Administration Department, Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State