Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
Still On Obasanjo's Questionable Crisis Managing Capacity
November 9, 2006
Every day that passes, the Nigerian President Gen Olusegun Obasanjo gives the impression that he has become more desperate to silence all voices of reason that can muster enough courage and patriotism to discuss the sordid state of affairs in governance of the country under his administration.
The unfolding money laundering and currency racketeering scandal involving the Special Assistant to the President on Domestic Affairs, Mr Nnamdi Emmanuel Uba (aka Andy) is supposed to be a thing of shame or rather disgrace to President Obasanjo that he would have ordered a home-style probe or re-probe by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Rather, the President is trying to intimidate Nigerians who could aptly be described as well-meaning both at home and in Diaspora. These are Nigerians who push for genuine accountability and transparency in the running of the affairs of the nation especially by a government that prides itself on its anti-corruption achievements.
Obviously, the issue of money laundering and currency racketeering by the President’s aide is a matter of public concern and the Sahara Reporters was only fulfilling its duties of accurately informing the public by carrying the U.S secret service investigation report and the court ruling as news without interpretation or insinuations.
From the first to the last word, there was no place the Sahara Reporters’ publication made any malicious allegations against President Obasanjo either in his personal capacity or in his official capacity not even against Mr Uba. Sahara Reporters merely exercised their right under the "Free Press Clause” guaranteed by the First Amendment under both the U.S and international laws to present the story word- for -word as revealed in both the court ruling and the secret service investigation report.
President Obasanjo and his crop of hire litigants should be duly informed that Sahara Reporters is an independent media outfit and not a branch NTA or www.nigeriahouse.com. It has a duty to inform and educate the general public about the activities of public officers and to ensure that those who are entrusted with the responsibility of government do so with sincerity of purpose and in an atmosphere devoid of intimidation and hypocrisy. And with all intent and purpose Sahara Reporters performed that obligation creditably well in the professional manner the facts of the Andy Uba scandal were presented even with a full word-to-word text of the investigation report. Their only offence in this case was that they exposed the President’s aide and maybe the President himself.
President Obasanjo should be told, if he is not aware yet that While he has the full right to defend his integrity and interests, he should not fail to realize or at least, take cognizance of the fact that he is a public officer (and not an ordinary one for that matter) whose actions and/or inactions would continue to attract public interest especially as Mr President seems to be doing “very well” in his self-styled anti-corruption crusade.
Except the President and his aides exercise caution in the handling of the scandal, he may be exposing both himself, Uba and even our national symbol- the presidential jet that was duly established to have been running currency racketeering or rather money laundering services for the Presidency and all its domestic staff including “house boys”, women and girl friends.
The American authourities do things differently from the way Nigerian or rather Obasanjo’s government has been going on since 1999. Though the crime was committed in 2003 in New York, so long as the issue has been thoroughly investigated and judgment given in a law court, the Nigeria’s presidential jet 001 which was used may still be impounded "over illegal importation of bulk cash into the US the next time it lands on any territory where US law has jurisdiction". If the President is in doubt, he should find out from U.S secret service agencies particularly the FBI why his aide Andy Uba is being placed under surveillance for money laundering and advance fee fraud whenever he steps into the U.S.
President Obasanjo and his aide should be challenged to publicly prove that the facts of the allegation as presented by the Sahara Reporters on their site were “calculated falsehood” engineered to smear his person or his office. Otherwise, the President should look for better damage limitation or repairs option to address this scandal that has chopped- off a very big chunk from whatever integrity and credibility he has left in his government’s anti-corruption campaign.
What would the President say from the latest revelation from the US Federal District court in Portland, Oregon that the case involving his “house boy” Andy Uba and his fiancée, Loretta Mabinton had been "settled out of court" with the US federal authorities. The money laundering case which was finally adjudicated upon by Judge Marsh of the US District Court in Portland, Oregon with case No: 05-1939-MA was closed on September 27 2006 with a "final out of court settlement" with the US government after Andy Uba and Loretta Mabinton agreed to forfeit $26,000 to the US government.
The current kill-everybody approach in handling the Presidential jet money laundering scandal could best be described as the worst damage limitation method. The President and Andy Uba’s open-eye would only worsen their case because they are even broadcasting the scandal far beyond the imagination of the good-intentioned and professionally minded journalists of the Sahara Reporters organization. More so, Sahara Reporters has promised to run full text of facts of the case including the out of court settlement terms which were not included in the original story.
SENIOR FYNEFACE WRITES FROM PORT HARCOURT
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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.