Gates. The origin of the word ‘Gate’ as used in this article can be traced back to the Watergate Scandal that rocked the Nixon administration in the early 70s and is used to denote the existence of a far-reaching political scandal, unethical behaviour or a cover-up in or around the corridors of power.
In Nigeria my country of origin, our leaders are natural disasters. Every day, they descend to new levels of absurdity in their fuckery of our collective will such that it takes a lot to actually shock us.
Thus, when scandals occur, we pay little or no attention to them. Gates, on the other hand, are a different matter entirely given their ability to rouse our spirits and transcend the ethnoreligious divides within the country. In other words, If it is not a Gate, then it is not worthy of our time and attention as Nigerians as we cannot be bothered to waste our outrage on a non-issue
Prior to my lifetime, Gates such as DikkoGate where the Nigerian government bungled an attempt to kidnap a former Minister of Finance from the abroad to face prosecution in the Country are stuff of legend, and of the many Gates that have occurred in my lifetime, the following for me are standouts.
Farouk Lawan; also known as Mr. Integrity on the floor of the House, was tasked with the Chairmanship of the subsidy committee by the Jonathan administration to investigate how subsidy funds were disbursed. What followed next was like a Hollywood thriller. One of Nigeria’s richest men, Femi Otedola, Chairman of Zenon Oil, one of the companies under investigation alleged that Mr. Integrity demanded bribe in the sum of $620,000 pere from him. A sting operation was arranged by security forces, Mr. Integrity was caught on tape and audio receiving the bribe money thus putting an end to his storied career in the house. As for the alleged bribe money, we don’t know where it is as Mr. Integrity is still on trial 8 years after the incident and no headway has been made in the trial against him.
Nigeria’s Minister for Petroleum under Oga Jona, Madam Diezani is alleged to have drunk Nigeria’s treasury like “oyel” to a yet to be determined tune of Naira alongside Messrs Kola Aluko and Jide Omokere. When the time to pay for her alleged sins drew near, Mama, unfortunately (or fortunately) developed cancer in the abroad and is currently away on treatment and more importantly, away from the short arm of Nigerian Law.
Pensions boss Abdulrasheed Maina, in cahoots with his friends and family, in what was reported to be a well-coordinated scam, was alleged to have looted 17 billion out of the 24 billion Naira set aside to pay the pensions of patriotic, retired but not tired Nigerians. He was subsequently dismissed and prosecuted by the FG. But in a twist of events, a Court ordered his reinstatement and even gave him double promotion gan thereby rubberstamping his alleged misdeeds as worthy of emulation.
The DSS through the assistance of a “whistle-blower” discovered the sums of $43, 449, 947, £27,800 and N23, 218 in an apartment in Ikoyi alleged to belong to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). Although some people alleged that Parosident Muhamadu Buhari okayed the whole thing, no one as a matter of course, stepped forward to claim the money and same was forfeited to the Federal Government coffers upon the order of court.
Na ordinary 628 million Naira renovation Mama approve o when Mr. Integrity, No. 1 on this list blew the whistle and cried foullllll. She was impeached as Speaker on the matter, was eventually cleared by the House committee set up to look into it, but the damage had already been done, her name smeared and forever to be associated with the infamous Ettehgate.
Nigeria’s youngest Speaker of the House of representatives, Banky as we’ll call him was alleged to have extrajudicially enriched himself from the coffers of the Federal Republic. What followed was a classic Nigerian tale of “Ole Ji, Ole Gba” to which there was no ending.
Madam Oduah of the Bulletproof car fame. Mama is alleged to have spent N225 Million of Nigerian taxpayers’ money on Two BMW bulletproof cars simply because she could. The whereabouts of the said cars are indeterminate at the time of writing
Madam Kemi Kemo!!! Madam Kemi fell victim of Oluwole boys who helped her “runs” her NYSC exemption certificate. After an in-depth investigation by Premium Times (this is what they call investigative journalism in case you people are not aware), Madam was deemed not to possess the requisite certificate, resigned her position as Nigeria’s Minister for Finance, quietly left the country in the middle of the night for the UK in a bid to escape the long or in this case, the short arm of Nigerian law and put her tarnished reputation back together. Sigh. The things you get for serving your fatherland, right?
Nigeria’s shameless Minister for Communication. After investigations by Premium Times revealed that he did not serve his fatherland, instead of the alainironu to hang his head in shame, the, dognidoro came out on-air and said yes, he intentionally did not serve Nigeria as he had in his own words “fulfilled a higher calling by winning election into the Oyo state house of assembly” and so, he did not need to go for Service. The ode knew we had short memories in Nigeria and unlike Madam Kemi Kemo who took the high road, Adebayo has decided to die there and he remains a Minister of the federation till date.
Gandudollars!!!! As at the time of writing, 5 videos of His Excellency; the Governor of Kano State; Alhaji Umar Ganduje receiving kickbacks from contractors for the award of contracts in Kano State have surfaced online. It is as if Jafar Jafar, the publisher of the Daily Nigerian Newspaper and the brain behind the reveal knows that we have short memories in Nigeria. As soon as we are about to forget, the man releases another video to reinforce in our mind that we have a crook in government. In a twist of events, some citizens of Kano State could be seen carrying placards in defence and support of their hero… and as Elnathan said “The people of Kano State do not deserve satire” if they cannot see what is in front of their collective noses.
What Gates do you think should have made this list? Share in the comments below!
The article, 1001 gates of Nigerian Democracy, was written in 2018.