Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu once sat down for an interview with a newspaper reporter. The reporter, to break the ice, called the former Biafra secessionist leader, ‘’Chief’’. Ojukwu repulsed the honorific designation –as though it was a slur. Ojukwu admonished the journalist to stick with, ‘’Dim’’: ‘’Chief’’ sounded like ‘’Thief’’. Many thieves answered to the title of chief. And he, Ojukwu, would rather not be counted in.
Sambo Dasuki cued one’s mind to visualize a cult of proper thieves when he began to reveal how he abused the Office of the National Security Adviser as an ATM for enriching his cronies.
But as he delved into how he repurposed money meant for prosecuting the war on terror into a slush fund for ingratiating his network of political contacts, and he started to name his collaborators, and tell on people like ‘High Chief’ Alegho Raymond Dokpesi, the plot of the heist took shape: This was an orgy of High Thieves!
All the gory details have yet to be revealed. And when it is all ventilated, we would still be short of the whole truth. The High Thieves who perpetrated this wonder are too morally bankrupt to afford complete honesty.
Yet, it seems like we already know enough to extrapolate that the regime of looting Dasuki inaugurated as NSA to President Goodluck Jonathan is the vilest gang rape ever visited on the Nigerian people.
Dasuki did not merely enrich his friends at the expense of the Nigerian state. This is not an instance of kleptomaniacs kissing commonwealth gold. This was an evolutionary leap above the quotidian. This was a sack that, though far from being fully measured, exhausts you with its breathtaking, nauseating grandeur. It was a merciless scorched earth operation.
Nigerians are the first to proclaim that their country is a kleptocracy. The pro forma business of the rulers is stealing. And Nigerians rate the performance of a government official by how effectively he affects to be a less malevolent looter than his or her predecessor.
That said, the most pessimistic Nigerian can always be counted to grudgingly affirm that Nigerian rulers harbor an ember of patriotism. The High Thieves don’t steal like fools. The High Thieves practice sustainable stealing. It’s in their enlightened interest to steal with the mitigating consideration of the survival of Nigeria. The High Thieves would never conspire to loot Nigeria into extinction.
Dasuki tears the fabric of that naïve supposition into pieces!
Dasuki and his friends trivialized the money covenanted to defeating Boko Haram, a potent existential threat to the Nigerian state. They took the money released in the name of a desperate national security emergency and shared it among themselves.
Dasuki didn’t care that Boko Haram was seizing a large swathe of Nigerian territory and hoisting their flag and uploading videos of their triumph. Dasuki didn’t care that Nigerian soldiers were mutinying because they had no weapons to fight. Dasuki didn’t give a damn.
Dasuki demonstrably invalidated the myth that Nigeria is a mess because of impunity. He showed that the Nigerian condition was much worse than our distant view captured: Insanity had overrun impunity!
Dasuki was not a Thief. He was not a High Thief. He was The Most High Thief. He was a deity. The god Thieves and High Thieves worshipped. The god who allocated them bounties of grace, according to his pleasure!
Dasuki confessed that he personally paid Dokpesi, Chairman of DAAR Communications, 2.1 billion naira for adverts aired on African Independent Television and Raypower. It’s incredible! Because the preponderance of what Dokpesi’s channels ran was hate speech and malicious caricatures of Candidate Muhammadu Buhari.
It’s Dasuki’s unique opinion that the duty of managing national security obligated him to fund the character assassination of a Nigerian citizen!
Meanwhile, there was something called Goodluck Jonathan National Campaign Organization at the time. It comprised of a Directorate of Media & Publicity, which was headed by Femi Fani-Kayode.
It’s a curious surprise that neither Fani-Kayode nor any of the organization’s media managers paid the bills. It had to be Dasuki, a serving NSA, someone who had no place or role in the campaign structure!
Coincidentally, since state investigators nabbed Dasuki and nudged him to talk, Fani-Kayode has been screaming that his ‘’friend’’ and ‘’a good man’’ was being witch-hunted!
As time goes one, we would get to know whether Dasuki, the ‘’good man’’ excluded Fani-Kayode, his friend, from his prodigal generosity. Yes, we will get to confirm why, as soon as the elections ended, Fani-Kayode bought his girlfriend a brand new 2014 model Range Rover car!
Still on Dokpesi, it is a testimony of his managerial acumen that he personally and clandestinely collected the advert windfall himself. That kept the staff in Dokpesi’s employ, who are owed ten months salary, in blissful ignorance. They continued to toil with a clean heart. Hoping that payday will come someday. Unaware that a slave driver had pocketed their wages.
Curiously, Dokpesi said he was billed to travel abroad to see his doctors the day the EFCC invited him over for a chat. It fits the pattern. Whenever a High Thief is exposed, he falls sick, and becomes overwhelmed by the need to go on medical exile!
It must be that a scandal disorients their biological immunity. It wakes up latent diseases in their bone marrow. Or it infuses them with a strange plague. Or it develops in them instant capacity for feigning terminal sickness!
Dasuki himself has been campaigning that he has cancer. Not cancer of avarice. Cancer of a certain body organ. And he has been trying to whip up public sympathy. He has been insinuating that the Buhari administration wants to murder him by refusing to allow him go abroad for chemotherapy treatment.
The man who rerouted money meant to cater for soldiers in a life-and-death battle with terrorists to the bank accounts of his cronies wants to elongate his life. The retired colonel who literally disarmed Nigerian soldiers prizes his life dearly. The man who traded the lives of Nigerian troops and civilians for lucre wants to live to ripe full age.
Dasuki confessed that he furnished his former state governor, Attahiru Bafarawa, with 4.6 billion naira … for ‘spiritual purposes’. That’s a euphemism. In the raw sense, it’s a contract to hire marabouts to importune God for the re-election of President Jonathan.
I imagine that Dasuki, a muslim, ceded the christian leg of ‘spiritual purposes’ to a christian. I hope that we will soon see the face of the man who recruited pastors to pray down Jonathan’s victory from heaven. And we will confirm the identity of the mega pastors who reportedly received bribe to endorse Jonathan and market his candidature to their congregations.
On the whole, the conduct of this raid upon raid, over the campaign period, without any alarm going off, underscores how much stealing was a natural part of the government metabolism. The bouts of larceny happened and happened and happened and life progressed as if everything was well.
Goodluck Jonathan, the Commander-in-Chief under whose watch these financial hemorrhages occurred, pleads that he knows nothing of the looting spree. He says he did not authorize the traffic of ‘national security’ money into private pockets. That’s laughable for a plea of innocence.
Only a vegetating head of state would be impervious to the knowledge of the random motion of such volume of state money. Jonathan indicts himself for complicity when he claims that he was such an absent-minded president that he did not notice his top security aide was evacuating the treasury of the nation!
Jonathan had made the sentimental remark that ‘’my ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian’’. That sounds so hollow now. He averted his eyes while Dasuki wrought a war crime. Jonathan pretended to be in coma while Dasuki facilitated human deaths to achieve Jonathan’s re-election!
This scandal highlights our unfamiliarity with Nigerian government officials. We have always taken their humanity for granted. We had always assumed they were simply wicked. They are humans with numb conscience. Well, the High Thieves are much worse. They are beasts in human skin!
A couple of months ago, Al-Jazeera aired the humiliating story of Nigerian troops in the battle front. They were famished. They trained with casual dress on their back and bathroom slippers on their feet. They had no combat gear. They carried antiquated toys as answer to the sophisticated weapons of the insurgents!
This scandal introduces us to VIPs that carves up Nigeria’s defense budget into private spoils. VIPs that stole the nation. VIPs that made Nigeria an anti-citizen state. VIPs that feeds Nigerians to terrorists.
This fraud is apparently beyond restitution: If all the spoils are returned, the total won’t compensate for the incalculable humanitarian disaster. The fraud is also beyond justice: To sentence the High Thieves to life imprisonment or to send them to the gallows would be tantamount to an extreme indulgence in leniency.
So the question is: What do you do to these High Thieves?
Emmanuel Uchenna Ugwu