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Dele Sobowale: But really, is this how to run a government?

One example of the many instances of robbing Nigerians to pay themselves involves spending N1.2bn out of the SWV to fund overseas trips of government officials to seek medical attention. Meanwhile, the Minister in her twitter reply to critics was talking about the gains of transformation trickling down too slowly to the masses.

Eventually, the CBN Governor was forced to correct himself. Only a mere $12bn was not sent in; not $49.8bn.


This has been a year of multiple scandals. Incredible as it might sound more revelations are coming next year because it will be the year before the election year.

Two, the Central Bank of Nigeria is also managed as a government within a government. Again, that was supported by our Presidents because it enabled them to conduct illegal financial operations when they wanted.

A responsible NASS should have been asking questions right from the first illegal expenditure – even if majority of them belong to the same political party as the President.

And since Obasanjo, in 1999 till today, Nigerians had been swindled by their own governments without remorse. Government here refers to the Executive and legislative branches of government.

Today, nasty is a word which can be used to describe a National Assembly, NASS, which waited from 2004 till the tail end of 2013 to inform of that we are being robbed by our Presidents and Ministers of Finance.

Anyone reading her latest book would think the author believes in fiscal rectitude. Little would they know that the former World Bank top manager is a core member of a cabal robbing the nation’s federal accounts without remorse.

She was also the author of the illegal Excess Crude Account.The accusation against them is simple: “after its examination of the Auditor General’s reports on the MDAs [Ministries, Departments and Agencies], the committee [on Public Accounts] discovered indiscriminate use of the vote [for emergencies] in funding government projects and programmes that should otherwise have been provided for in the annual budget, as such expenditure were never contingent in nature”.

Neither at Abuja, nor at the various states are the lawmakers told how much revenue governments are actually generating. Worse still the legislators don’t care. As long as they are allowed to lug home their own super loots.

Presumably, Nigerians are supposed to feel better that some individuals are fixing $12bn of their money which should be in the Central Bank and collecting interest on it. My rusty calculator tells me that $12bn comes to N1.92tn or about 33% of the 2014 budget.

He repaid the “compliment” by calling me “the most unpatriotic columnist in Nigeria” on account of my unrelenting attack on Abacha.


by Dele Sobowale

This post is published with permission from Abusidiqu.com


The management of Federal, as well as states funds, since 1999 had been one great swindle perpetrated by all the governments without exception. But, I had long  restricted myself to the Federal government because the unitary constitution handed to us by General Abdusalami Abubakar, on his way out of office, gave so much power to the Federal government.

With N1.2bn going to the privileged few at the top for travels alone, the benefits will never trickle down to the masses. Perhaps Dr Ngozi will explain on Twitter how N1.2bn spent on officials for overseas travel will trickle down to the poor masses.

Third and most importantly, fish rots from the head. Illegal expenditure approved by Presidents and implemented by Ministers of Finance invariably invites imitation by others in public service. When SWV fund is used to fly out the wife of an “Ogapatapata” who is in labour, then another “Ogapatapata” can line up for his wife to be flown out to treat an ingrown nail or “tommy-tuck”.

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

One of my favourite characters during the Abacha years was Alhaji Wada Nass, who, in my SUNDAY VANGUARD column FRANKLY SPEAKING, I nick-named Wada Nasty.

Next, the NNPC, which had remained as quiet as a ten years old corpse, raised its voice to disclaim having $49.8bn hidden away; what it had was a lot less. The NNPC statement was supported by the Federal Minister of Finance, the “Mrs Fix-it” of our national accounts.

Fixing that amount for just six months should yield more interest than anybody needs to live on for 200 years. Yet, it is being manipulated by a few at the NNPC, Ministry of Petroleum; perhaps Ministry of Finance and other places better left unmentioned. I don’t want to join the league of satanic letter writers.

The years under review included 2004 to 2012. The main characters during this shameful period include – the sanctimonious letter writer, Olusegun Obasanjo, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who was his Minister of Finance in 2004, Senator Nenadi, who took over from Okonjo-Iweala after she resigned; late President Yar’Adua and his Ministers of Finance; President Goodluck Jonathan and his former Minister of Finance, Babalola and, once again, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the returning Minister of Finance.

Obviously, all that loot would not be lying under somebody’s bed. It would be deposited with a bank which will say “Thank you” the right way to the top dogs in NNPC. I will return to that part of the swindle later. But, first we need to finish the story or the rigmarole that followed.

It is certain that if an objective audit is carried out in any government no President or governor will go unindicted.
If you think that statement is too rash then consider these – which became news at the tail end of this year instead of before – when the larceny was developing at the Federal level.

That is the Federal House of Representatives Committee using highfalutin language to describe a simple matter of stealing from Service Wide Vote, SWV, by the Presidents of Nigeria and their Ministers of Finance – including the current Minister who had engaged in these nefarious activities since she first came into government in 2003.

The Republicans in the US, had a majority when impeachment proceedings were started against late President Nixon because they know that the peoples’ interest is paramount – not allowing the President to get away with constitutional infractions in the name of party solidarity.

The National Assembly, which had allowed the Executive branch to cheat us, will suddenly become active – now that a shift in alliances had taken place.

That makes as much sense as closing the gate after all the cows have fled. Are we now supposed to go and wake late Umoru from the grave to come and answer questions about illegal expenditure under his watch?

First we were told, via a leaked letter from the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria to the President that $49.8bn revenue collected by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, remained bottled up long after it should have been sent to the Federation Account.


Obasanjo used the CBN to siphon funds which belonged to the Petroleum Development Trust Fund, PDTF, to undertake projects which fell outside the mandate of the Fund – like buying a Peugeot 607 for “a lady in distress”.

They shouldn’t fool us. They will not do it for our benefit but for theirs. The minute they patch up their differences, it will be business as usual. Even political swindles are deplorable.

Two important points to note in this particular episode include the following. One, the NNPC had been operating like a government within a government since 1999 and all the three Presidents of Nigeria had condoned that situation because all of them had exploited it for their own selfish interest at one time or another.

The Committee made the observation that “Most of the expenditure to which the SWV were deployed were routine in nature and did not qualify for emergency funding.” End of story.



And since Obasanjo, in 1999 till today, Nigerians had been swindled by their own governments without remorse. Government here refers to the Executive and legislative branches of government.

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