Between decamping and governance

By Azibola Omekwe,

The other day Dele Agekameh continued the hype of Atiku’s decamping from the APC to the PDP. It is clear it has generated a spirit that has possessed Nigeria in recent times.

The hullabaloo is buzzing, akin to Nigeria having successfully won the World Cup, or the Nigerian economy having overtaken that of the USA and China.

More to that, it is being believed to be a criminal thing since words like “political prostitution” were used to describe this lawful and basic right of a public figure who has been a champion in the public service, business and politics.

In a country where it is believed that most public office holders have skeletons in their cupboard, Atiku has thrown a challenge to the whole world for anyone who has evidence of any thievery by him to come forward with it.

The truth is that there are enemies of Nigerians who do not want him to be president come 2019. And they believe that the surest way to stop him is to tar him with corruption. But none has come forward to the challenge.

This is the most delicate open declaration by someone who has been in a Nigerian cash agency like the Customs Service and has been a Vice President for eight years. The person he is likely to contest against, in an apparent challenge to Atiku, dared him to go to the United States as if that country is more concerned about corruption in Nigeria than he who claimed he was going to arrest corrupted people and jail them.

But as at now, this purported austere president of ours who has led us in evidence against Atiku’s decamping is being linked to one of the best built residential estates in Nigeria.

Surprisingly, the press missed that. If I may ask, how can Atiku’s decamping raise dust more than an exuberant first family?

 The most shocking of all is how the media has decided to oblige the present APC-led regime by being diverted to talk about Atiku decamping. Why do we have to cast aspersion on what is lawful? We urge the media to rather look at Atiku’s character of sacrifice for democracy. What about his journey from grass to grace? Can the youth learn and hope in such a model? What is his position on restructuring and devolution of power? Why is he not intimidated by such a new national phase? We believe those are the things that should engage us. Why criminalise a lawful act?

Truth be told, this provides us with a choice come 2019. Should we undermine the opportunity of choice to talk about a lawful action which most politicians including the president are guilty of? If we enact a law that all Nigerian politicians who ever decamped be banned from politics, we might require a microscope to sift through those who never did.

Since the advent of democracy, the Nigeria media has shown itself to be the best guardian of Democracy. They had severally mobilized Nigerians to oppose obnoxious government actions. A classic example was the role they played on the occasion of bedridden late Yar’Adua. A major newspaper based in the north in collaboration with Obasanjo told Yar’Adua to give way for the necessary things to be done. Obasanjo said exactly what Nigerians wanted. That was the deadly blow that quashed the stalemate. Barrage of opinions ensued. And then death came calling and Nigeria moved forward. The rest is history.

In virtually every sector in the country, the Nigeria media has performed creditably. On Goodluck Jonathan, they preferred a Buhari replacement thereby throwing decorum overboard. Admittedly, while many worked behind the scenes for Buhari, a handful were objective, which automatically did not work in favour of Goodluck Jonathan. The ones who wanted GEJ out went on unsolicited whistle-blowing of everything he touched. It was a hysterical blitzkrieg. Some papers did what they did under the guise of for ‘God and Country’, and for ‘trust’ while a handful of them desperately wanted Jonathan.

Buhari won. High Chief Raymond Dokpesi spoke about the written and unwritten reasons GEJ lost that election. They are obvious. Perhaps for national expediency and the tragedy that has continually haunted Nigeria, nobody would be bold enough to come out to put it in black and white. In fact, it was better we let it be and face the restructuring we want.

 Coincidentally when Buhari came to power, executives of some popular media houses got appointed to ‘juicy’ positions. They are Nigerians. It is their right. They had been very critical of governance throughout the days of PDP. But we are lucky those that criticised the government came to power. Nigerians have never seen worse poverty like today. Bomb blasts have considerably been reduced with a great takeover by cattle herdsmen. There is increased insecurity on our roads. Nigerians are generally afraid to travel. Surprisingly, the media has gone to sleep on a general note. They are silent over practically everything that has gone wrong: joblessness, runaway unemployment, inflation and insecurity. They probably have decided to ‘siddon and look’ before they react.

 But how come they are now agitated about Atiku’s decamping when no doom statistics roused them? When foreign debt has attained a frightening position? Are they sold by the ‘righteousness’ of Buhari? How does righteous and austere living substitute for good governance? How can we trust austere character more than Nigeria’s future? Is it true that soon there will be an increase in pump price of petrol? Lest we forget, a section of the media, political parties and civil society had insisted there must not be increase in price of petrol during Goodluck Jonathan’s regime. But this administration doubled the price of petrol and wants to do so again. However, because ‘our mumu never do’, we saw nothing wrong with it. There is no need for a strike again because some people have crossed the bridge and are no longer sorrowful. They are however on guard against anyone who decamps and leaves their party for another to challenge them. They are sure of our gullibility to remind us of how staying in one party is morally right. But then they would have us forget that the political party they started with has gone into extinction. The government of the day has performed so creditably that some columnists have decided to partner with it to make sure Nigerians remain in the government party – apologies to Dele Agekameh. In fact, those who provided a platform to tell late Yar’Adua to resign are now commissioning already-made railway and dry port with no tangible start-up facilities in the face of poverty. That Nigeria would soon produce the highest population of the poor in 2018; what percentage would the north take under Buhari? All eyes on Atiku’s decamping rather, says the media.

Recently, Rotimi Amaechi accused Goodluck Jonathan of squandering the Excess Crude Account. Everybody was stupefied for this crass falsehood. In fact, the fight to squander the ECA as propounded by Amaechi was his journey to stardom then in opposition circles. We have not forgotten how Amaechi and his co-travellers rushed to court and defeated the government to bring the ECA for sharing. The future did not matter at all. But few weeks ago, he had the temerity to tell Nigerians that he fought to protect the ECA. Sadly, Atiku’s decamping noise completely dwarfs that part. The government machinery redirected our attention to a mere moral bias that is even lawful instead of reprimanding Amaechi for peddling falsehood. The media did not find it fit to rebuke the government for Rotimi Amaechi’s action. Our children, future leaders, have been taught one lesson: if you are feeding fat, nothing matters again. This terrible silence by a section of the media has sown a seed and raised falsehood to statecraft. But can it be admitted that this government has degenerated to this extent? We were told he is a man of integrity. In short, he is on the verge of rewarding Amaechi with re-appointment as a campaign DG. Telling lies apparently is going to be the thrust of this government.

But let it be clear, this government is not really against decamping even if it happens a million times. What made Atiku’s decamping distasteful is that he decamped from APC to a party that would unseat them. Just steal all the money you can, you could even be the most sought after guy in the EFCC. But all you need is to decamp to APC then walk majestically; the chief host of the party would be at the gate welcoming you with a lot of hype and razzmatazz. Then the EFCC will eventually understand. Then the money you stole will have gone forever. Even the media does not see such commando decamping as anything. Truth is, they have crossed the bridge and feel no more sorry. 

 Nigerians, remember nobody knew who reinstated Abdulrasheed Maina. By the utterances of his lawyer, it shows the man is in the good books of the government and the last has not been heard about him. The latest frivolous application of the Attorney General of the Federation before the Federal High Court shows the silhouette position of the government in Maina’s case. Nigerians have moved on despite Buhari’s henchmen knowing and protecting him. The Nigeria media and civil society that kept vigil in Abacha’s regime have been kowtowed. Emboldened by Nigerians pliability, the in-thing in town is that the dead and zombies are now on our pay roll! That is upping the stakes. Since some are preoccupied with Atiku’s decamping, ghost workers now hold sway. And if you complain too much, they will tell you it was a mistake.

Atiku has decamped from the APC to the PDP. We know. But how does that surpass the inaccurate lies that have characterised the fuel crisis since December last year? For the sake of hapless Nigerians, Atiku needed to decamp. Some are decamping to save their loot while he decamped for good governance that he is obsessed with. He can decamp for the sake of the Nigerian state. Remember, even a section of the media and the civil society have decamped from vigilance.

 

Hon. Omekwe is a former member of Bayelsa State House of Assembly.

All lives are equal, but a cow’s is more equal than others – Soyinka

In this piece titled ‘Impunity rides again’, Nobel Laureate Prof. WOLE SOYINKA, condemns the herdsmen killings in Benue State. He posits that history is repeating itself again, while picking holes in the Federal Government’s reaction to the massacre.

 

It is happening all over again. History is repeating itself and, alas, within such an agonisingly short span of time. How often must we warn against the enervating lure of appeasement in face of aggression and will to dominate!? I do not hesitate to draw attention to Volume III of my INTERVENTION Series, and to the chapter on The Unappeasable Price of Appeasement. There is little to add, but it does appear that even the tragically fulfilled warnings of the past leave no impression on leadership, not even when identical signs of impending cardiac arrest loom over the nation. Boko Haram was still at that stage of putative probes, when cries of alarm emerged. Then the fashion ideologues of society deployed their distancing turns of phrase to rationalise what were so obviously discernable as an agenda of ruthless fundamentalism and internal domination. Boko Haram was a product of social inequities, they preached – one even chortled: We stand for justice, so we are all Boko Haram!  We warned that – yes indeed – the inequities of society were indeed part of the story, but why do you close your eyes against other, and more critical malfunctions of the human mind, such as theocratic lunacy? Now it is happening again. The nation is being smothered in Vaseline when the diagnosis is so clearly – cancer!

We have been here before – now, ‘before’ is back with a vengeance. President Goodluck Jonathan refused to accept that marauders had carried off the nation’s daughters; President Muhammed Buhari and his government – including his Inspector-General of Police – in near identical denial, appear to believe that killer herdsmen who strike again and again at will from one corner of the nation to the other, are merely hot-tempered citizens whose scraps occasionally degenerate into “communal clashes” – I believe I have summarised him accurately. The marauders are naughty children who can be admonished, paternalistically, into good neighbourly conduct. Sometimes of course, the killers were also said be non-Nigerians after all. The contradictions are mind-boggling.

First the active policy of appeasement, then the language of endorsement. El Rufai, Governor of Kaduna state, proudly announced that, on assuming office, he had raised a peace committee and successfully traced the herdsmen to locations outside Nigerian borders. He then made payments to them from state coffers to cure them of their homicidal urge which, according to these herdsmen, were reprisals for some ancient history and the loss of cattle through rustling. The public was up in arms against this astonishing revelation. I could only call to mind a statement by the same El Rufai after a prior election which led to a rampage in parts of the nation, and cost even the lives of National Youth Service corpers. They were hunted down by aggrieved mobs and even states had to organize rescue missions for their  citizens. Countering protests that the nation owed a special duty of protection to her youth, especially those who are co-opted to serve the nation in any capacity, El Rufai’s comment then was: No life is more important than another. Today, that statement needs to be adjusted, to read perhaps – apologies to George Orwell: “All lives are equal, but a cow’s is more equal than others.”

This seems to be the government view, one that, overtly or by implication, is being amplified through act and pronouncement, through clamorous absence, by this administration. It appears to have infected even my good friend and highly capable Minister, Audu Ogbeh, however insidiously. What else does one make of his statements in an interview where he generously lays the blame for ongoing killings everywhere but at the feet of the actual perpetrators!  His words, as reported by The Nation Newspaper:

“The inability of the government to pay attention to herdsmen and cow farming, unlike other developed countries, contributed to the killings.”

The Minister continued: “Over the years, we have not done much to look seriously into the issue of livestock development in the country….we may have done enough for the rice farmer, the cassava farmer, the maize farmer, the cocoa farmer, but we haven’t done enough for herdsmen, and that inability and omission on our part is resulting in the crisis we are witnessing today.”

No, no, not so, Audu! It is true that I called upon the government a week ago to stop passing the buck over the petroleum situation. I assure you however that I never intended that a reverse policy should lead to exonerating – or appearing to exonerate – mass killers, rapists and economic saboteurs – saboteurs, since their conduct subverts the efforts of others to economically secure their own existence, drives other producers off their land in fear and terror. This promises the same plague of starvation that afflicts zones of conflict all over this continent where liberally sown landmines prevent farmers from venturing near their prime source, the farm, often their only source of livelihood, and has created a whole population of amputees. At least, those victims in Angola, Mozambique and other former war theatres, mostly lived to tell the tale. These herdsmen, arrogant and unconscionable, have adopted a scorched-earth policy, so that those other producers – the cassava, cocoa, sorghum, rice etc farmers are brutally expelled from farm and dwelling.

Government neglect? You may not have intended it, but you made it sound like the full story. I applaud the plans of your ministry, I am in a position to know that much thought – and practical steps – have gone into long term plans for bringing about the creation of ‘ranches’, ‘colonies’ – whatever the name – including the special cultivation of fodder for animal feed and so on and on. However, the present national outrage is over impunity. It rejects the right of any set of people, for whatever reason, to take arms against their fellow men and women, to acknowledge their exploits in boastful and justifying accents and, in effect, promise more of the same as long as their terms and demands are not met. In plain language, they have declared war against the nation, and their weapon is undiluted terror. Why have they been permitted to become a menace to the rest of us? That is the issue!

Permit me to remind you that, early in 2016, an even more hideous massacre was perpetrated by this same Murder Incorporated – that is, a numerical climax to what had been a series across a number of Middle Belt and neighbouring states, with Benue taking the brunt of the butchery. A peace meeting was called, attended by the state government and security agencies of the nation, including the Inspector General of Police. This group attended – according to reports – with AK47s and other weapons of mass intimidation visible under their garments. They were neither disarmed nor turned back. They freely admitted the killings but justified them by claims that they had lost their cattle to the host community. It is important to emphasize that none of their spokesmen referred to any government neglect, such as refusal to pay subsidy for their cows or failure to accord them the same facilities that had been extended to cassava or millet farmers. Such are the monstrous beginnings of the culture of impunity. We are reaping, yet again, the consequences of such tolerance of the intolerable. Yes, there indeed the government is culpable, definitely guilty of “looking the other way”. Indeed, it must be held complicit.

This question is now current, and justified:  just when is terror? I am not aware that IPOB came anywhere close to this homicidal propensity and will to dominance before it was declared a terrorist organisation. The international community rightly refused to go along with such an absurdity. For the avoidance of doubt, let me state right here, and yet again, that IPOB leadership is its own worst enemy. It repels public empathy, indeed, I suspect that it deliberately cultivates an obnoxious image, especially among its internet mouthers who make rational discourse impossible. However, as we pointed out at the time, the conduct of that movement, even at its most extreme, could by no means be reckoned as terrorism. By contrast, how do we categorize Myeti? How do we assess a mental state that cannot distinguish between a stolen cow – which is always recoverable – and human life, which is not. Villages have been depopulated far wider than those outside their operational zones can conceive. They swoop on sleeping settlements, kill and strut. They glory in their seeming supremacy. Cocoa farmers do not kill when there is a cocoa blight. Rice farmers, cassava and tomato farmers do not burn. The herdsmen cynically dredge up decades-old affronts – they did at the 2016  Benue “peace meeting” to justify the killings of innocents in the present – These crimes are treated like the norm. Once again, the nation is being massaged by specious rationalisations while the rampage intensifies and the spread spirals out of control. When we open the dailies tomorrow morning, there is certain to have been a new body count, to be followed by the arrogant justification of the Myeti Allah.

The warnings pile up, the distress signals have turned into a prolonged howl of despair and rage. The answer is not to be found in pietistic appeals to victims to avoid ‘hate language’ and divisive attributions. The sustained, killing monologue of the herdsmen is what is at issue. It must be curbed, decisively and without further evasiveness.

Yes, Jonathan only saw ‘ghosts’ when Boko Haram was already excising swathes of territory from the nation space and abducting school pupils. The ghosts of Jonathan seem poised to haunt the tenure of Mohammed Buhari.

Buhari at 75: Why God kept him alive

By Femi Adesina,

Let me begin by telling a story. On June 1, 2015, the day I resumed work as adviser on media to President Muhammadu Buhari, he had admonished me: “Adesina, always tell me the truth. That is what I want from you. In this type of position I have found myself, it is very easy not to be told the truth.

People will just tell you what they think you want to hear. But from you, I want the truth. As a General, I may argue, but please argue with me. Tell me the truth always.”

Based on that blank cheque I’d been given, I went to the residence one evening last year to see the President. That was the time there was deafening talk of hunger from different parts of the country. I wanted to be sure that the talk was not being filtered from the President.

Of course, I know him as somebody who reads newspapers religiously, and wherever we are in the face of the world, he asks for media highlights from Nigeria. So, he would not be unaware of what Nigerians were going through. But I still wanted to raise it with him.

“Mr President, there is hunger in the land, and people are complaining. I know government is doing its best, but I just want you to be aware,” I said.

Mr President responded: “I know, I know. I am aware of what people are going through. I have people in my own constituency back home, and I know the messages they send to me. But it is a passing phase. Our country was vandalized, and we found ourselves in this problem. But now that we are here, we will do our best. We will bring change to this country, and we are already seeing it in agriculture. This period of hunger will pass.”

It was prophetic. The season of hunger will pass, and is indeed passing. Anyone that is honest will admit that things are looking up in Nigeria. The ravening clouds shall no longer be victorious. They shall not long possess the sky.

I went away with one conviction from that night’s meeting: the poor matter very much to this President. He is not the type that people would tell they had no bread to eat, and he would tell them to eat cake instead. This is a friend of the talakawas, a man who loves ordinary people, and who wants their station in life to be improved. And those people know it. That is why they gravitate towards him, and repose so much confidence in him. He is their hero. Our hero.

President Buhari turns 75 years today. But some six months back, how many could confidently say this day would come for the ramrod straight man from Daura? How many believed the President would come out of the severe medical challenge that had confronted him? It all began as a routine vacation cum medical check up in January, and few days after, the rumour mill was on overdrive.

The challenge lasted till August, before the President returned home finally, and since then, he has been looking better by the day. Each time you now see him, there is a fresher glow, and you cannot but give glory to God on his behalf.

But why was President Buhari kept alive, so much so that he is turning 75 today? Why did he pass through the sea of infirmity, and he was not swept away? Why did he pass through inferno, and the fire did not kindle against him? Big question. I don’t have the answer, but I can hazard some guesses, based on divine principles.

Rigobert Song. Remember him? Song was the Cameroonian defender who played many years for the Indomitable Lions. He appeared at eight African Nations Cup tournaments, five as captain, and stood between Nigeria and victory many times. He became an idol, venerated by his countrymen and women. He retired to become a coach.

Then late last year, Song was not on song again on the soccer pitch. He had a near death experience on October 20. He went down with brain aneurysm, and was in coma for two days. Doctors battled to save his life, and he was eventually evacuated to France.

While the travails lasted, the social media was abuzz with news of Song’s passage. As someone who had followed his career over the years, I felt very sad. But this is the season of fake news. Song was not dead, he miraculously rallied back. He narrated his experience, which I found instructive, considering what our President also passed through:

“I did not know what was happening to me…I did not even know I was fighting between life and death…All these people, they put God in trouble. Because everyone in this situation, they were praying-this is what I keep in my mind-God would have been in trouble. Everyone was praying, asking, ‘God, please don’t do that, don’t take Rigobert.’ I say thank you everybody for making me come back.”

What song was Song singing? One of thanksgiving. Cameroonians who loved him bombarded God with prayers, ‘Please, don’t take Rigobert now.’ And God heard. He showed mercy.

That is the same reason President Buhari is alive today. Nigerians bombarded Heaven with prayers. With supplications, intercessions, pleas for mercy. Muslims prayed in mosques. Christians prayed in churches. President Alpha Conde of Guinea declared 24 hours prayer for his Nigerian counterpart. Prayers were going on everywhere, both at home, and in the Diaspora. I can imagine God telling Himself: ‘I must answer these prayers. These petitions are too many. I must answer.’

And God had mercy, a fact attested to by President Buhari himself. He said his return was a miracle, which only God could have done.

Why did God keep our President alive? The Holy Books answer:

“Blessed is he that considers the poor;

God will deliver him in the day of evil.

God will preserve him, and keep him alive,

And he will be blessed upon the earth;

And deliver him not unto the will of his enemies,

And raise him up from sickness.” (Psalm 41:1-3).

And this one in Surah At-Tawbah 9:128:

“There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer, for he is concerned over you and to the believers he is kind and merciful.”

President Buhari is concerned about Nigerians, particularly the helpless, the ordinary people, and he has dedicated his life to serving them. And when he was near unto death, those ordinary people besieged Heaven with prayers. That Christian hymn says “dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.” And God truly answered.

There is power in goodwill, we have seen it work. It worked for Rigobert Song, and it has worked for our President. Have a heart for men, particularly for the poor, the lowly, and the downtrodden. And see God rise on your behalf.

Consider Tabitha (Dorcas in Greek), who lived at Joppa. She was full of good works, always doing good, and helping the poor. One day, she took ill, and died. Peter, one of the apostles of Jesus, was invited. He came, prayed, and said: “Tabitha, arise!” And the woman came back to life. That is what is possible, when you have a heart for the poor.

In his New Year message last year, President Buhari told the country: “Living in the State House has not alienated me from your daily sufferings. These challenges are only temporary, we are working to make things better.”

When news came a couple of months ago that Nigeria had exited from recession, what did the President say? “Until coming out of recession translates into meaningful improvement in peoples’ lives, our work cannot be said to be done.”

In another broadcast, the President had stated: “All my adult life, I have always earned a salary and I know what it is like when your salary is simply not enough.”

That is the man we follow, and serve. Millions would today follow him into battle blindfolded. Millions upon millions would vote him again and again, if he throws his hat into the ring. Happy birthday, Mr President. You have shown us how to care for the lowly and the poor, how to bear them in our hearts at all times, and how such pleases God, and brings mercy our way. Thank you for coming this way, thank you for offering yourself for service.

here Adesina is Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Give Nigerians development not poverty in empowerment disguise

By Abdulwaheed Usamah,

At rear of a tricycle, there was this sticker that caught my attention as I was driving out of Lagos University Teaching University (LUTH) at Idi-Araba just the other day, even though things seems alright to its rider as I stare on.

This article is not about criticizing or condemning political parties or attacking personalities but just to call power handlers and youths, who wail about corruption in public but smile whenever they receive their shares from national cake, to order, since whistle for another election race has been blown.

The sticker in picture, that form this piece,  has APC’s logo, an evidence that it is from the party, but the inscription that the advanced moving bicycle was gifted out as part of empowerment program, made me worried if Nigeria could ever witness proper development instead of poverty in politicians’ gestures disguise.

To me, a common Nigeria, just as President Muhammadu Buhari and his VP, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, sea of political offices’ holders and as well as states’ governors before their inaugurations into offices in 2015, If this is what APC call change prior to election,  it is far behind our expectation, and it is beginning of poverty.

I’m too certain that if the government could secure adequate power supply for the masses among other infrastructures that could help development in Nigeria, that innocent hustling with that tricycle would be more innovative and reason more beyond that gift that has blindfolded his future.

I learnt recently that about 3 million jobs were lost since inception of this administration, and there is no reason to disagree with that reports as evidence is there to tell and prove beyond reasonable doubt what the government is capable of doing.

Undoubtedly, President Buhari is doing his best but Nigerians should not forget that little is strength of a man in lions’ den, and it is a fact for faith to also fail him where journey seems endless.

Baffling the most is that governmental people travel abroad, to cities where they cannot cast glance off superb development that glare at them every steps they take while oversea, but still, they commit crime of letting such sights’ memories leave only in those places, making impossible replication of such achievement, that of which none of our Nigerian elites could cross its huddle.

I want to believe that the #nottooyoungtorun bill, which has bee moving from floor to offices of lawmakers inAbuja, is a scam, and an imagination that cannot fly in this present day where young people are even the politicians’ baggage carriers and lobbyists across corridors of powers.

Another election is around the corner, social media ‘influencers’, most of which are youth, are already sharpening their blades, anticipating for who among the politicians to work for, comes 2018.

Unsurprisingly, Future Award was held just over the weekend in Lagos, it would not surprise politic spectators, politicians filling the entire venue, even if it was not said, it is obvious that those would be seeking for offices they are at it again, with tricks of romancing gullible youth whom they believe their only problem are fortunes, and know no dignity.

Is Khilnani’s fraud case bigger than Lagos?

http://www.sharon-zarabi.com/web/a-sample-of-a-research-proposal/ a sample of a research proposal  By Abdulwaheed Usamah, 

The last may not have been heard of the case of Mr Deepak Khilnani, the British Chartered Accountant of Indian descent, who is accused of stealing over US$8.8 Million from his Nigerian partners. This is because it appears that Lagos State might lose its prime position as an investment destination as investors are believed to now be placing high premium on the willingness of a state judiciary to protect them against fraud similar to the one for which Mr Khilnani was being tried until the state Attoney-General abruptly withdrew the case midway.

Business experts believe that this review by the investment community, coming in the wake of the sudden withdrawal of the case against Mr Khilnani midway, is more than mere coincidence.

It will be recalled that allegation of fraud leveled against Mr Khilnani by his Nigerian partners at Green Fuels Limited, was exhaustively investigated by the Nigeria Police in 2013/14, which included a forensic audit by KPMG.

The then Lagos State Director of Prosecution, Mrs Alaba Alakija, in May 2015, duly commenced criminal prosecution of the case before Justice AtinukeIpaye in Court 10 of the Ikeja Division.

But despite being served with the summons, and regardless the court ruling that both he and his co-accused, Dr SushilChandra, had cases to answer in her court, Mr Khilnani, who reports have it actutally jumped bail at Zone 2 HQ in 2014, never once appeared in court.

Throughout, Mr Khilnani’s counsel, Lagos lawyer, Chris Okunowo, is known to have taken vigorous, often unusual steps to save his client from prosecution. These included personally standing bail for Mr Khilnani after he was first arrested in 2013 at MMA airport by crack detectives from Lagos Zone 2 HQ; then in 2015 by petitioning the Inspector General of Police in Abuja to review and possibly reverse the conclusion of the original police investigation carried out in Lagos.

A further effort was when Chris Okunowo’s Chambers filed a no jurisdiction, no case objection on behalf of the defence, regarding which Justice Ipaye on June 2016, ruled in favour of the prosecution and must answer the charges.

It was thus no wonder that after these repeated efforts to frustrate progress of the court case and, given the continued failure of the two accused men to appear in her court for arraignment, that in April-2017, based on the application of the prosecuting DPP, Justice Ipaye issued a Bench Warrant for the arrest of both Mr Khilnani and Dr Chandra.

But what did take judiciary watchers and legal experts by surprise was when the same DPP that had applied for and obtained the bench warrants then made a complete U-turn, and in June-2017 applied for Nolle Prosequi which, amidst widespread protests from human rights lawyers and staff of Green Fuels alike, Justice Ipaye ruled that she was constitutionally constrained to grant, and duly granted

This then appeared to have cast the case against the two foreigners into a judicial limbo of sorts. That is until a group of concerned lawyers under the aegis of The Incorporated Trustees of Laws and Rights Awareness Initiative (TITLRAI) sued the Lagos State Attorney General for wrongful application of the power of Nolle Prosequi .

In their case, which comes up for hearing on 12-Jan-2018 before Justice A M Lawal, TITLRAI prayed for the court to order the Lagos State AG to resume prosecution of the fraud case against Mr Khilnani and Dr Chandra.

No doubt, resuming the case against Khilnani and Chandra would go a long way to restoring the confidence of foreign investors and the Nigerian public in the Lagos State Judiciary, an institution which,following the incisive reforms instituted by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo SAN while he was A-G in the state, saw the Lagos State judiciary rise up to become the envy of other Nigerian States.

Only time will tell which way the wind will blow; for Khilnani, who having been convicted of fraud in London in 1996, now stands to escape justice in Nigeria. Or Nigerians who clamour for justice against acts of corruption that kill job creating and poverty alleviating investments.

Dear I Go Dye, you are right, but we can fix Nigeria together

get link By Atiku Abubakar 
Dear I Go Dye,

I read your post on Instagram. It was hard to miss it because it was on every major news website. I would like to say that you were mostly right. The questions you raised in your post are similar to the ones I have been asked by other young people on social media, so I am replying this not just to you as a person, but to all young Nigerians who have asked similar questions.

Firstly, you are right. The Nigerian youth have often been taken for granted, and almost every leader in our history has taken young people for granted. But it’s important to point how this started – for people like me who saw Independence; our leadership was mostly driven by young people. Then came the coups, and the civil war, and then more coups. Nigeria ended up with a long period of military dictatorship for many decades, in which time; those young leaders aged, but still remained leaders. Fela, Gani, Enahoro, and Beko were young leaders, yet remained leaders until their demise. That was because of the stagnation brought on by decades of political instability.

By the time we got to 1999, the young people of the day had not been prepared for leadership, because there was no leadership or apprenticeship process under dictatorships. This is one of the reasons the age of leaders has continued to rise. That was because of the leadership stagnation brought on by decades of political instability. Imagine a school that did not graduate any students for 5 years, by the time the top class finally graduates, you will have a backlog of undergraduates.

Our young people are not to blame; we need to remedy this national failure. Last week, there were local government elections in Akwa Ibom State, with over 60% of the seats won by young people, less than 35 years old. That’s how progress can be made. Young people need to participate from the grassroots, all the way across board. Appointments are good, but getting elected is even better. I also understand the issues around funding elections which keep women and young people out, and I will address this in an article I am publishing soon.

I do understand your frustration on the issue, however. I tell people my age that to understand young Nigerians, we need to understand the difference between Nigerian and Naija. Naija embodies the hopes and dreams of young Nigerians, the country they love and long to go home to when they are abroad. Naija is the country that brings them pride in music, film, comedy, fashion, and technology. It is the country of Wiz Kid, Asa, David O, Tuface, the Olympic bobsled team, Iwobi and Don Jazzy Again.

Nigeria on the other hand, is the country of their parents, the country where leaders are constantly failing them, of Boko Haram, of herdsmen violence, of recessions and joblessness. Our young people need us to make our country live up to the aspirations of Naija by fixing the problems associated with Nigeria.

I think it’s important to address the accusation about my tenure as Vice President, that I did nothing for young people. Firstly, as VP, I can only be judged on the responsibilities I was given. A VP obviously is not the driver of government. For example, you can’t blame Prof Osinbajo for all that is going on with the current government. He can only do what he’s allowed to do.

But let me speak about what you can judge me by, my assigned responsibilities. As VP, I assembled what is arguably the best Economic Team ever in Nigeria. It was made up of young, world class professionals, who came home to work. Some of those professionals are now political leaders, governors and world leaders in their own right.

 If you ask what our first task was, coming into government in 1999, it was to bring stability to the economy after decades of military rule. For example, between 1999 and 2003, oil prices then were hovering between $16 and $28 yet we managed to pay up salary arrears from decades back, clear up our national debts and built up foreign reserves. Our GDP grew at the fastest rate we’ve seen since the return to democracy.
You mentioned that I never brought young people into leadership, but my record speaks differently. I have a proven record of bringing young, unknown professionals into service. Many of the professionals and ministers I brought in were in their 30s and early 40s. Some of those young leaders have become governors in their states. I went to the World Bank and met a bright lady, convinced her to come back home, and she became a star in our government. To show you we had effective leadership, the same lady could not replicate her exploits under a different government.

I was also in charge of privatization and I have witnesses that I never interfered with the process. I never bought anything belonging to the government. I was quite wealthy before coming into government, with declared assets worth millions of dollars in 1999 (which was put in a trust when I became VP); so it was understandable that many of the wealthy Nigerian business people who participated in the privatization programme were my friends. Did I use my influence to get them better deals? No. As the then DG of BPE testified under oath, I never used my position to interfere with his work.

My legacy as Vice President, I would say is the banking consolidation process, for which I gave political backing for. Many big people were putting a lot of political pressure to not change the status quo, but we knew that if that consolidation was not done, Nigeria could not grow. Because of that banking consolidation, Nigerian banks don’t fail anymore the way they used to.

I oversaw the telecoms revolution, which is why young people like you, I Go Dye, now have a flourishing career. Under our tenure, we witnessed a large repatriation of Nigerians back to Nigeria, driven by the hope of the recovering economy. It is sad that many of those young people are heading back abroad now – this is to show you that leadership matters.

I know many of these have been forgotten because it was a long time ago, and successive administrations did not follow up on the progress we made. But that is also not to say we were blameless. I was largely frozen out in the second term of our tenure, and I regret that we had that disagreement with my boss. Some say I was disloyal, but I looked at the events in Zimbabwe recently, and it gives me confidence that I did the right thing fighting the attempts to elongate the presidential tenure beyond eight years. If I did not win that fight, do you think we would be having a discussion on young people getting into leadership today?

Intels. I want to address this because you mentioned it. It was the Shagari government that started the Onne Port and later abandoned it. In summary, my business partner and I saw an opportunity to build Nigeria’s oil industry using world class infrastructure, but driven by Nigerians. The company went out and took loans to build the facilities, but as we went on, more opportunities opened up, which allowed us access to even more capital. The ended up borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars, mostly from Europe, to build the port, singlehandedly charting the course of Nigeria’s oil industry.

 Honestly, I did not ever think we would be that successful, which was why I kept my day job, when we started it. It was just what you would call a side hustle, I held shares but was not actively involved in running it, but it grew so big, and I had to quit my government job to focus on the business. Today, every oil major uses the facilities we built. The government only became clients after the oil companies. Our company has expanded to several countries in Africa. Even the FG has seen that that company is the most competent logistics company in Africa, which is why it gives Intels the most complex operations to manage.

But Intels as a corporate citizen is loved in the locations it operates. That’s because we invest in scholarships, hire young people from the community and train them to become world class technicians. As CSR, we have gone into partnership with the NFF to train young Nigerian footballers, and provide support for the local league. We are loved by the youth in our local communities.

 In my home state of Adamawa for example, I’ve created over 50,000 direct jobs and 250,000 indirect ones. We are the largest private employers of labour in the state only second to the state government. It’s not a lot, but it does help reduce unemployment. Who do you think are holding those jobs? Yes, young people.
 I Go Dye, I’m not a messiah. I do not promise Eldorado or $1 = N1. But I always ask to look at the economic progress we made under my leadership and what I am doing in private business and judge me by those. People say I became rich in government. It’s a lie. I had millions of dollars in assets declared in 1999. My businesses (my shares of which were held in a Blind Trust while I was in government) continued to grow since then. I was able to personally bankroll the PDP back then, so surely I was not poor. But I understand it is politics. So it’s normal to be called names. But how come in all these years, none of my opponents has found any evidence to indict me?

The people who are afraid of me changing the status quo they enjoy will always try to frighten young people about me.

Some people believe youth empowerment is giving handouts to young people instead of building a strong economy. They are wrong. They want to give handouts so they can control young people. But how long can we continue like that? Our country is borrowing to pay salaries, yet we are still holding on to outdated models just so we can control young people for elections.

The success of young Nigerian entrepreneurs in IT & technology, retail, music, and arts shows that given the chance, they can run anything. My job is to be a bridge, which supports our young people achieve these ideals. I will never say only I can do this. I can’t do it alone. I need your support, I Go Dye, so help our economy grow, to ensure that within 10 years, our young people can take over completely.

In summary, I Go Dye, I am not a person who says what he cannot do or show proof. I am giving you an invitation to sit down and ask me any questions you may have. I would also like to take you around, show you some of the businesses I have built, and let you speak to the young people who run those places. It is good to try to convince you that I can do better by our young people, but it is even better to show you. Send me a direct message on Twitter, and we will take it from there

A frolic on the Red Sea

Buy Chief Architect Premier X8 By Femi Adesina

It was a gust of chilly wind that said Akwaaba (welcome, in Ghanaian language) to me in the Jordanian city of Aqaba, that night of December 1, 2017. We had flown for about five hours from Abuja, as President Muhammadu Buhari was to attend a summit on combating terrorism in West Africa, convened by King Abdullah II of Jordan.

The presidential plane touched down at King Hussein International Airport at 8.15 p.m local time (7.15 p.m Nigerian time) and a cold embrace was what Aqaba offered. It was winter, and the city gripped you in a forceful bear hug that was icy cold. Nobody taught me before I made a dash for the vehicle that was to take me into the city.

I had checked the weather condition online before we left Nigeria. I was told 11 degrees cold. I was ready, but nearly not ready enough. That cold hug was more like six degrees. Incidentally, that turned out to be the only very cold evening, till we left Jordan three days later.

Three state governors-those of Osun, Kogi, Niger- had accompanied the President on the trip. I was in the same car with Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State. Did the protocol people know that this was my own very governor, or it was mere coincidence? Well, we had a good conversation as we rode into the city.

The governor talked about the historical significance of Aqaba, how some ceasefire had been negotiated in the city in the past, how it is the economic nerve centre of Jordan, how the country has no petroleum or many other mineral resources but was quite prosperous, and above all, how Jordan was an oasis of peace in a region characterised by almost perpetual turmoil.

I was intrigued, and decided to write a travelogue after the trip.

So, this piece you are reading, was inspired by my discussion with Gov Aregbesola of the State of Osun, during the 15 minutes ride from the airport to the Intercontinental Resort, Aqaba.

Presidential trips are normally busy, very, very busy, as you have to keep Nigerians back home and those in the Diaspora updated on the activities of their President. But this trip was peculiar, in that it was about security, and not everything needed be reported. There was, therefore, some time for leisure. I used it. Wouldn’t you?

My room at the hotel overlooked the Red Sea. You only needed to draw your curtains (which I did on Saturday morning) and you were confronted by the majesty of the sea, with the waters shimmering in the early morning sun. The poet, John Keats, had written about feasting one’s eyes on the glory of the sea.

“O ye that have your eyeballs vext and tir’d,
Feast them upon the wideness of the sea.
O ye whose Ears are dinned with uproar rude,
Or fed too much with cloying melody-
Sit ye near some old Cavern’s mouth and brood,
Until ye start as if the Sea Nymphs quired.”

And that was what I did. I feasted my eyes on the wideness of the sea. It was blue, expansive, as far as the eyes could see.

Blue? But this one was supposed to be red. Well, in 2011, I had visited Israel, and while heading for the Taba border to cross into Egypt, for an expedition to Mount Sinai, I had passed by the Red Sea. It was blue, and I had taken our tour guide to task. This was how I conveyed the explanation in a piece published in Daily Sun on December 2, 2011:

“But is that sea really red? Not actually. Why is it then called the Red Sea? The water is actually bluish, as in any other sea, but the surrounding mountains are brown in colour, something like the hue that is called ox blood. So, in the afternoon hours, when the sun is at its peak, the mountains cast a reflection on the waters. The incandescence turns the waters almost red….So, what better name for the sea? The Red Sea.”

Since there was some time on our hands, before the bilateral meeting between President Buhari and King Abdullah II, on Saturday, I called some of the media people on the trip: Abiodun Oladunjoye, a deputy director in the Media Department of State House, Ismaila Chafe of News Agency of Nigeria, Rashidat Yusuf of Mitv, and her camera man, Kelvin Okeke. “Let’s go tour the city!” They were game.

We trooped into a bus, accompanied by a guide named Mustapha Abughalion. For the next hour, we were footloose in Aqaba, seeing many points of interest.

First port of call was the bank of the Red Sea. Aqaba is a desert city. In fact, it is said that it experiences rainfall only about twice or thrice a year, but God has compensated with the Red Sea, which brings some moistness to the atmosphere.

And the sea is the source of commerce for the country. Different holiday resorts dot the long coastline, and these are patronized by people from all over the world. In 2010 alone, it is on record that Jordan received over 8 million visitors. Aqaba was also named the Arab Tourism City for 2011.

There is also the Port of Aqaba, which is the only one in Jordan. It was rated as Best Container Terminal in Middle East by Lloyd’s List in 2006, and we saw brisk business going on there.

Jordan is located on the tip of the Red Sea, between Asia, Europe and Africa. Aqaba is in southernmost Jordan, with a population of about 200,000 people. Another major city and capital of the country, Amman, has about 4 million people.

In a country of about 9 million, Jordanians are five million, while the rest is made of people from Palestine, Syria and Iraq, most of whom came as refugees. Jordan is quite hospitable.

Aqaba is neat, squeaky clean. Street sweepers are seen on duty, picking even the tiniest specks. The traffic is very sane, with disciplined drivers. No stress.

A city called Petra is a World Heritage Site. Other tourist attractions, about 100,000 nationwide, include the Dead Sea, near Amman, the River Jordan itself, where Jesus was baptized, in fact, Jordan has been custodian over some holy sites in Jerusalem since 1924.

The two main world religions, Christianity and Islam, have venerated sites in Jordan. Al-Maghtais is believed to be the site where Jesus was baptized in the River Jordan, while Mount Nebo, Madaba and Machaerus, are also in the country. Moab, Ammon, and Edom, in biblical times, were located in today’s Jordan.

Archaeologists have found what is believed to be the site of the world’s oldest church in the country. It dates back to 3rd Century AD, slightly older than the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Both date back to 4th Century AD.

Though Jordan is about 98% Muslims, there is an indigenous Christian minority, about 5,000 of whom live in Aqaba. The city has several churches, and one Christian school, Rosary Sisters School.

Among holy Islamic sites in Jordan are shrines of Prophet Muhammed’s companions (Peace be upon him) like Abd Allah ibn Rawahah, Zayd ibn Harithah, and Muadh ibn Jabal.

Aqaba is about 20 minutes away from Saudi Arabia, and we drove till we were five kilometres away, before turning. One could see the longing in Rashidat Yusuf’s eyes. She would have given anything to be able to get into Saudi, and perhaps, do a quick Umrah. Some other time, Hajiya.

Surrounded by tumultuous countries, bordered directly by Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Iraq and Syria, how come Jordan is so safe? Apart from the November 9, 2005 bombing of three hotels in Amman by Al-Qaeda, killing 60 people and injuring 115, there have been no incidents. Internal security is quite high, and Jordan has good relationship with the West. It also has a peace treaty with Israel. King Abdullah II is known as a man of peace.

Health care in Jordan is world class. In fact, medical tourism yielded over 1 billion dollars in 2010. Jordan is rated top in the region, and 5th world overall.

I had some options in my spare time on the third day. I could go scuba-diving, or take a cruise on the Red Sea. Scuba-diving? I shouldn’t be like the cricket that got so well fed, and burst its own tummy. Any form of diving was ruled out. You go diving so faraway from home, and mischief happens to you, the wailing wailers would have a field day, laughing till they fainted.

With Oladunjoye and Chafe, we paid for a cruise in a glass boat on the Red Sea. Why is it called glass boat? The bottom is made of glass, so you could look at the seabed. One could see all sorts of creatures in the sea, the flora and fauna.

We saw different species of fishes, water snakes, sea turtle, sea weed, wreckage of boats, and so many other things. Under the sea is a treasure trove.

The boat was captained by a teenage boy named Yahaya. I could feel my heart moving into my mouth as we got into the middle of nowhere. Coward! Yes, I agree. I have sailed on the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, and many other seas.

But I am still a coward where water is concerned. Chinua Achebe wrote that we often stand in the house of a coward, to point at the ruins of the house of a brave man. I agree. Yahaya obviously saw the fear in my eyes, and he gestured that I should not panic.

I chuckled as I remembered my wife. If she could see me, she would have exclaimed: “This man, is this what I sent you to Jordan to do?” But she didn’t know until I was back from the voyage. Men and their escapades!

Human beings can fear, instead of exercising faith. It is natural. In the middle of the deep, I began to scare myself. What if a mighty wave came, and submerged the boat? What if the engine suddenly stalled? What if fire broke out? What if the boat ran out of petrol? What if… Get thee behind me, Satan!

The only fright we had was when we met a military gunboat on patrol. It was at top speed. The waves it created made our boat bob up and down, and it was an uneasy experience. It subsided after some time.

To appreciate the glory of God, take time to go out on the sea. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament His handiwork, says the Good Book. In another place, it says “they that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the Lord, and His wonder in the deep.” Every man needs that experience.

There were big seafaring vessels we met. Only God knows what part of the world they were coming from, with all sorts of names. Chakra. Costa Mediterranea. Shark’s Bay. And many others.

After about an hour, when we sighted our hotel right by the seashore, it was pure relief. The sail had been good, I’ll recommend it to anyone who has the heart for it. It sure has therapeutic value. But was I glad to step on solid ground again? All other ground is sinking sand.

This was terra firma. Water was terra incognita. I’ll rather have my feet planted on solid ground at any time.

Adesina is Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari

The tail…Hard work pays

follow site By Pof. Yemi Osinbajo

While I was teaching at the University of Lagos, as a young lecturer, in the department of Public Law in the Faculty of Law, there were 3 typists in the department.

The chief typist, senior typist, and the junior typist. Because in those days before laptops and personal computers, typists in universities had to do a lot of work and they were very important because you always needed to type all your materials.

When there was work to do, what l discovered was that the chief typist would disappear. He works only till 4 pm. The senior typist would be nowhere to be found.

But a gentleman called Adereni the junior typist, who only had his school certificate, was remarkably hardworking. Sometimes I would drop him off at his home at 1am.

Years after I was working as an adviser to the then Attorney-General of the Federation Hon. Bola Ajibola, who later became a judge of the World Court. While in the court at The Hague, in the Netherlands, one day he called me and asked if I could recommend a good secretary who is hard working and could do long judgments.

I had three options, chief typist, senior or this junior typist, but the junior typist at a time had only school certificate, he didn’t have any other qualification but l choose him.

He got to the Hague, and typically worked hard and diligently. Every judge in the court wanted him to work with them.

He later moved his family over to the Hague and got degrees and made a good living for himself.

One day he remembered me and actually sent me a car

Thoughtless aggression on Tithing

By Lekan Fatodu

Undoubtedly, I am yet to understand the rationale of people campaigning against tithe payers and the payment itself, the practice of which could be traced back to historical acceptance of biblical right.

Those who are not paying and will never pay tithes are those very agitated and bitter that those who have chosen to pay and will continue to pay tithes based on their personal choice, conviction and beliefs are exercising that free will.

Contrary to that warped assumption and conclusion, the poor are not the biggest tithe payers in churches in Nigeria.The richest churches in Nigeria are not made of poor congregation and are not also domiciled in poor neighbourhoods.

In fact most of the worshipers in the mega and financially-formidable churches in Nigeria are among the most successful, educated, gifted and influential among us. Go and check again. So they are not the poor.

And these people, according to their regular testimonies, have seen the biblical concept of increase and multiplication which is said to be parts of the gains of tithe-payment work tremendously in their finances, businesses, services and other significant endeavors.

So no matter how long one cries against tithing, these people will not stop paying tithes.

I wonder how ranting of those against the tithes payment would suddenly change or move against a scriptural principle which a massive number of educated, enlightened and mature people have professed to have been tested, proven and adopted as the source of their continuing prosperity and well-being. Never!

Or do they think that their cries against tithing will stop an oil mogul from dropping his tithe at the City of David in Oniru or an accomplished banker from giving his at Olive Tree in Banana Island?

Despite miles yet to be covered in dissuading the masses from accepting “stomach infrastructure” in exchange for their choice of candidates at elections which will bring about an all-inclusive infrastructural development, the anti-tithe are busy crying over the convictions of an enlightened group on tithing.

Even the poor who pay in some churches believe the increase in their petty trades is as a result of their voluntary compliance to the tithe payment. It could be seen that those on other side of tithing got a more spirited campaign to launch against tithe payment and may God help them.

That said, if the ostentatious lifestyles of many of the pastors of these mega churches are a major concern for those against biblical right with their little impact on the lives of the poor in the society, that’s fair enough.

In that case, leading a strategic campaign on the role of faith leaders in eradication of poverty and national development would surely be well appreciated.

And by extension, conducting a rigorous research on the big donors and tithe-payers in churches against their tax payments to government will help to expose the insensitivity, hypocrisy and impropriety of some of the rich.

Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun just stated that over 800,000 companies have never paid tax in Nigeria. But don’t be surprised to discover that some of the owners of these companies are amongst the huge tithe-payers in many of these mega churches.

Fatodu is a London based Journalist.

Continuation…How banks aid money laundering

By Jan D. Weir

Too Big to Fail Doesn’t And Shouldn’t Apply To Individuals

Despite that HSBC sanitized billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels (among others), Al-Qaeda and had violated a host of important laws including the Trading with the Enemy Act; and the Senate evidence was clear, simple and well researched.

But there would be no criminal prosecutions for anyone at the bank.

Lanny Breuer, Assistant Attorney General, came to their rescue with a civil fine of $1.9 billion on the bank — which as one analyst noted is about five weeks of income for HSBC.

Breuer invoked “too big to fail” and repeated that, if he were to charge HSBC and it was convicted, the bank would lose its license. Such a large withdrawal of banking services would damage the U.S. economy.

This I agree with. There is no need to charge a bank criminally. Taxpayers have already paid for this fraud. Why should they continue to pay with the loss of jobs and with the health of their economy.

Breuer also cited the “too big to fail” doctrine’s first corollary in defense of his sweetheart deal. It was a “compliance nightmare” for HSBC. It has so many branches and offices throughout the world, the senior management of the bank couldn’t be expected to know what was going on.

It is true that it would be highly unlikely to find an evidence chain up to the CEO. Even Al Capone was smart enough to make sure the FBI could not trace orders to wipe out victims up to him. Bank executives and CEOs ought to be able to match Capone’s cunning.

But someone knew. There could not have been so many illegal transactions in so many areas without the cooperation or willful blindness of many, many managers who were getting big commissions on the profits and whose job it was to supervise.

But if we apply Breuer’s logic to the mob, we’d have to accept that if we can’t prove the Godfather ordered the murders, we can’t charge the hit men.

If the department managers were fined to the extent or all their visible assets (we will never discover their offshore holdings) as they should be, there would be a lot fewer bankers assisting criminals with international financial transactions. Taking a greedy person’s entire net worth hurts them more than sending them to a taxpayer-funded club Fed prison for a few years.

A Clean Getaway

As an act of sincere contrition, HSBC replaced its CEO. The new CEO, Stuart Gulliver, humbly apologized and promised that the bank would not do it again. HSBC shares rose $0.06 after the announcement and Gulliver got a $3 million bonus at the end of his first year in charge.

The former CEO, the Reverend Stephen Green — yes, a banker in holy orders — was rewarded with a peerage. He is now Baron Green of Hurstpierpoint; and with a cabinet position as Minister of Trade.

As part of the sweetheart slap on the wrist deal, HSBC agreed to have a monitor oversee new management’s promises to be good boys and stop facilitating terrorist organizations. The monitor’s report was supposed to remain confidential, but in 2015, a lawyer for a class action group got it unsealed.

The monitor saw obstruction at every turn. Bloomberg News summarized it this way.

“Overall, his report says, managers from the unit battled auditors with what one compliance officer characterized as a four-part strategy — Discredit, Deny, Deflect and Delay.”

HSBC declined to comment on the monitor’s report, saying only that it was supposed to remain secret. What happened to all that evidence gathered by the Senate report? It gathers dust somewhere in a basement storage room.

The Breuer case is the perfect paradigm of the revolving door effect between Washington and Wall Street that gives bankers their immunity. He rose to stardom in the AG’s office, went to the white color defense firm of Covington and Burling and defended wealthy executives — and banks of course — against the AG’s office, then became the head of the criminal division of the AG’s office that is to prosecute these same persons, then returned to his partnership at Covington and Burling to once again represent the banks and executives to whom he had given such sweetheart deals.

In his recent book about the AG’s office, The Chickenshit Club, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jesse Eisenger dedicates a chapter to the Breuer tale. It tells in stark accuracy a side of the practice of law that lawyers generally only understand after a decade of experience. However, like so many books on the failure of our present government systems, it leaves the reader with the impression that it’s all so corrupt that nothing can be done.

Millions of voters became so disgusted with both of the political parties in the last election that they supported an outsider simply because he was not one of the established politicians. Despite his immature and embarrassing behavior, he can still do no wrong in their eyes because is not one of the despised establishment.

A primary cause of this loathing arose from the failure of government to prosecute banks and bankers, allowing them to continue to gorge on obscene profits while ordinary citizens lost their homes. While it’s true that once a president appoints someone to be the AG or the head of the AG criminal division, neither he nor Congress have much say in deciding whom to prosecute, voters don’t care about that distinction.

I’ve used Breuer as an example, but the fault is not his. The practice of shuffling from Wall Street to Washington to Wall Street has been so long standing that it has earned the term “revolving door.” Yet Congress has done nothing to stop it. No politician has made it part of their platform. It is in one of the categories that Ben Franklin identified: Everyone talks about it, but no one does anything about it.

Thus, it is imperative that the next president understand this cause of the alienation of voters and that there is a remedy. Our leader will need to appreciate how bankers get control of the AG’s office and put in place a policy to prevent that influence.

The solution is obvious. Never put a senior person in the AG’s office in the position of a conflict between the duty to their office and their bank account. How many of us would aggressively pursue bankers, if we knew that when we retired from the AG’s office, we would lose the opportunity of walking back into a law partnership with a million-dollar per year income?

To prevent further banker-friendly AGs, promotion should only be from within the AG or other government law departments. There are lots of very, very competent lawyers in these positions who are more loyal to their country than their pay check and would be a better fit and better qualified for these positions.

As a second safeguard, on appointment, we should require the senior members of the AG’s department to pledge that they will not take a job with a private law firm or as a lobbyist for five years after leaving the position. There are plenty of other jobs for them: teaching at a university, appointment as a judge, the diplomatic core, think tanks, and so on.

As a result of the treatment of banks like HSBC and Wachovia, the bankers got a couple of clear messages. If you’re not going to jail for washing the blood off drug money, you’re not going to jail period.

Weir is a trial lawyer, teach business law at the University of Toronto, co author of The Critical Concepts of Canadian Business Law.