Wikileaks recently released to 234NEXT a “set of cables” currently causing waves in Nigerian political circles. The current speaker of the house of representative apparently understood the nature and magnitude of the corruption in Nigeria’s electoral and public system. In a meeting with the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Robin R. Sanders, Mr. Bankole chose to bare his soul to a foreign ambassador and be completely candid with her more than he has ever done with his employers; the Nigerian people.
The speaker expressed his disdain for the EFCC and its head, calling the organization one that is “not worth a penny”. He also claimed that he had evidence of Farida Waziri’s corruption. When pressed about the EFCC’s recent claims that the speaker had mismanaged House funds, Mr. Bankole replied that Waziri had wanted to make her husband the deputy speaker of the House and had managed to bargain for the position. She evidently needed to remove the current leadership in the House of Assembly to make way for her husband’s rise to power. All this is quite fascinating and simply sad. If these claims are true, and the speaker had this information, why then didn’t he release it at the time? Did he not swear an oath to protect and serve the Nigerian people? The speaker has just confessed to complicity in corruption, which is corruption as well. It is criminal for the holder of one of the highest offices in the country to be aware of the EFCC’s chairwoman’s apparent corruption and to remain silent. Sitting on the evidence that might have helped EFCC perform its duties better is wrong and criminal.
The speaker also claimed to have known that the judiciary had been bribed to validate the 2007 Yar Adua/Jonathan election and apparently this sort of thing happened regularly. The cables quoted him saying that the bribes were sourced through James Ibori via Delta state coffers and distributed by the former attorney general, Michael Aondoakaa to high judges of the Supreme Court. If these allegations are true, it calls to question the recent gains made by the Action Congress of Nigeria in various western states of Nigeria. High profile Nigerian judges delivered these gains to the party. One cannot help but wonder if these were actual wins for the ACN or ifthey too had learnt how to bribe judges? This is murky waters and I cannot express the complete disappointment this brings. It seems again and again that the Nigerian people keep losing.
Again, if the speaker was aware of all these and had the evidence that will prove and ultimately stop such corruption, why would he choose to go to a foreign ambassador first with the evidence? Why would he shirk his responsibility to those who employ him?
The speaker has denied the reports, claiming that he was misquoted. However, it is unlikely that Ms. Sanders had a personal vendetta against him and as such decided to privately frame him in a secret document.
The speaker failed to see himself as part of the problem. Complicity is just as bad as the crime. Sitting on evidence of corruption by such a high level official cannot be tolerated. If the likes of Mr. Bankole refuse to do what is brave, prudent and good, then who will. If the people we call to make sound judgments on our behalf sit on evidence of corruption and refuse to communicate truthfully to those who they serve, they must be eliminated. How is it possible the Speaker of the House would be aware that the corruption tsarina is corrupt and say nothing to his constituents? How can he have evidence of this very crime and others and keep it hidden. Is it too much to ask that if any public official knows that the entire judiciary is corrupt and can prove this fact that he do so publicly?