Let me begin by registering my deep approval of the energy of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to hunt down General Muhammadu Buhari’s academic credentials.
Some Nigerians feel that this is malicious, that the chase avoids the issues involved in next week’s presidential election.
I disagree: the certificate question is a character issue, and a constitutional issue. Therefore it is an electoral issue. In my view, the PDP is doing Nigeria a favour because it is talking about a fundamental question. A candidate has to be evaluated for office, constitutionally and practically.
The beauty of the process is that it also explains and justifies close attention to the elected as a public servant rather than the lord of the manor.
In the past, this was not always so clear. Anyone asking to see the West African School Certificate of a leader who claims a Ph.D but sounds intellectually malnourished was abused.
To that end, then, I thank the PDP. It is trying to win an election it knows that should it lose, would replace its heaven with considerable hell. Everyone is now open to questioning.
If you are like me, however, you wonder about hundreds of questions that, along the way, are often left unanswered in Nigeria’s public life. As we prepare for a new era this month, I would like to ask a few. These are in no particular order, and are by no means exhaustive.
What happened to the $5.424 billion loan sought by the federal government through the Senate in 2010 for “various projects”? In April of that year, the government asked the Upper House for its consent to that intent.
The Senate approved $915 million, but on August 10, 2010, the government held out its hat again for the balance of $4.427.91 billion. President Goodluck Jonathan explained that he had directed the Finance Minister to ensure the funds would be judiciously utilized.
In a letter to the Senate on August 15 urging rejection of the request, the widely-known lawyer, Femi Falana, recalled that the Excess Crude Account had been whittled down to $460 million from the $20 billion left by the Olusegun Obasanjo Administration in May 2007, but had not explained what it accomplished with the lion share of the fund allocated to it.
What happened to Nigeria’s series of ceasefire arrangements with Boko Haram?
What happened to the June 26, 2012 request to President Jonathan by SERAP asking for his assets declaration details between May 2007 and May 2012?
What happened to the Presidential Mid-Term Report of 2012, in which President Jonathan said, among others, that his government would have accomplished up to 10,000MW of power supply by December 2013?
What happened to the August 2010 declaration by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, that the sum $5 billion earned from liquefied natural gas in the previous 10 years had not been recorded in the Federation Account?
What happened to the comprehensive audit of the financial transactions of all government ministries and agencies since 2007 that President Jonathan ordered on 14 July 2011 as he “re-launched the war against corruption”?
What happened to the report of the Committee on Aviation of the House of Representatives which in March 2010 began a probe of the award of the N64 billion ($96,970 per metre) Second Abuja Airport Runway contract which had somehow been approved by the Federal Executive Council?
What happened to the promise made by President Jonathan to Nigerians in Addis Ababa in February 2011 that he would work towards ensuring Nigerians in the Diaspora are able to vote in 2015?
What happened to the September 2010 KPMG report which unveiled monumental fraud and malfeasance at the NIgerian National Petroleum Corporation?
What happened to the $1 billion agreement signed between Nigeria and the European Union in November 2009 to combat corruption and promote peace in the Niger Delta that the European Commission through helping Nigeria tackle challenges in governance, trade and peace between 2009 and 2013?
What happened to the Sep 26, 2010 demand by the National Conscience Party (NCP) for the investigation of the grand corruption in the operation and management of the Federation Account, citing the diversion and looting of several trillions of Naira from the account?
What happened to the famous 2014 Forensic Audit Report on the missing $20 billion Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation promised by President Jonathan and Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala?
What happened to the 2012 Fuel Subsidy probe report of the House of Representatives, and the federal government’s promise to prosecute those who were indicted?
What happened to the $458m hidden in bank accounts in Britain, Jersey and France by former Head of State Sani Abacha that the United States announced in February 2014 it had frozen?
What happened to the wealth President Jonathan promised in his 2011 electoral campaign he would create? At his Media Chat on November 18, 2012, the President denied he had promised to eliminate poverty, asserting he had only said he would “create wealth”.
What happened to the $227 million (N37 billion) Nigeria received from Liechtenstein on June 25, 2014, from the Abacha file? President Goodluck Jonathan announced at the time he would set up an inter-ministerial committee “to ensure the proper utilization of the funds”.
What happened to the electoral promises and subsequent vows of performance given by President Jonathan before and after the 2011 elections? On November 11, 2014, Jonathan said in Abuja as he flagged-off his second-term campaign that he had fulfilled all the promises he made to Nigerians in 2011.
What happened to the implementation of the reports of the various presidential panels set up between 2010 and 2014?
What happened to the Freedom of Information request filed by the African Centre for Media & Information Literacy in July 2011 requesting access to the 2007 assets declaration of President Jonathan as well as the two presumed declarations in May 2011?
What happened to the September 26 FOI request by SERAP of the Accountant General of the Federation to disclose details of the spending of recovered stolen public assets since the return of civil rule in 1999?
What happened to the statisticians of NOIPolls in Abuja who in December 2014 announced President Jonathan’s job approval rating to be “60% … consistent with the 60% job approval rating recorded in October,” but then in January 2015 said its survey for December 2014 revealed a “5 in 10 (55%)” approval it described as a “a 5-points decline from November 2014” instead of 10?
What happened to the $1.2 million President Jonathan lavished on US public relations firm Levick in June 2014 to help him re-work his government’s image over Chibok’s abducted schoolgirls; did Levick get $1.2m for one opinion piece in the Washington Post?
What happened to the Chibok girls?
What happened to the reports of the security agencies and the National Human Rights Commission President Jonathan directed to be carried out on December 23, 2013 over the allegations contained in President Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter to President Jonathan. The allegations included a political watch list of 1000 persons, and the training of snipers apparently to kill them.