“Follow the money” suggests a money trail or corruption scheme or financial transactions, bribery pay offs, and money laundering within high political office. Sometimes these things are well hidden and sometimes they can be traced.
Saraki’s long, long list of scandals, improprieties, and other brazen corrupt practices add a new entry: the $2 million bribe to the CCT Chairman Danladi Umar. The list of such heinous corrupt deals by Saraki is staggering. We all know how far and how deep his involvement in corruption scandals. We’ve also witnessed his perfection and sophistication in corruption binge frenzy in the private sector as well as in politics. Saraki’s addiction to corruption is like addiction to drugs. To suggest that Saraki only engage in simple avarice linked to power is to canonize Satan. Saraki is the most famous untouchable corrupt politician of our time.
Thanks to SaharaReporters, it’s no more secret that Saraki bought Umar for eye popping $2 million to avoid spending jail term in Kuje or Kirikiri maximum prison for 18-count charge falsification of assets. Since SaharaReporters broke the news about the $2 million purchase of Umar, neither Saraki nor Umar has denied the report. A confirmation of SaharaReporters story. Saraki is specialized in methodical bribery of judges. The size of bribe given to Umar indicates how much Saraki was willing to pay to buy off any judge who’s able to check his power and his invincibility.
With the hospitalization of President Buhari, vice-president Yemi Osinbajo finds himself in a strong position. Let’s take stock. Until now, Buhari never held an elective office. He ran for the presidency three times before he finally won. Fact is, Buhari has got to be political and must surround himself with politicians. Osinbajo was never elected into political office. He was Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Lagos State under Tinubu administration. Osinbajo may turn out to be the most important of the lot.
The two men – Buhari and Osinbajo – didn’t previously know one another, but became friends since they ran on APC presidential ticket. They are a study in opposites. Buhari is a military man. Osinbajo is a law professor. Buhari is a Muslim. Osinbajo is a Pastor. Buhari is older and slow. Osinbajo is younger and restless. However, both must now work together to fulfill their election campaign promises. Osinbajo is now in a position to reshape, recast, and even rewrite the history of Buhari administration by breaking protocols, and by making a radical departure from the past. And more importantly, by seizing the golden opportunity of his life to act decisively, boldly, courageously, wisely, and swiftly by preventing Saraki from getting away with murder.
At a time when Nigerians are not sure how soon Buhari will be back, an intriguing question presents itself: how much else will be devolved to Osinbajo? Might his duties including running the Nigerian government be total? Historically in Nigeria, the office of the vice-president has been largely a spectator one. Often a place where presidents have mothballed prominent rivals (remember OBJ and Atiku?). But given the economic meltdown and political crisis in the country, the right vice-president can play an influential role.
Now is the time for Osinbajo to step forward and investigate the $2 million bribe from Saraki to Umar. Now is the time for him to go on live television to address the nation on the miscarriage of justice that let Saraki walked out unscathed. Now is the time for Osinbajo to apologize to Nigerians for the injustice inflicted on us by a criminal and corrupt judicial system that let Saraki escaped justice. He should express our collective rage and disappointment about the verdict. Above all, he should promise the Nigerian people that he’ll follow the money that bought Umar to rule in favor of Saraki. In this wise, he should appoint a three-member panel of credible, respected, honest, and trusted Nigerians to investigate the Saraki-Umar gate and report back to the nation with seven days. Once the fact of the bribery that influenced Umar’s judgment has been established, both Saraki and Umar should be arrested immediately and face prosecution.
Because Saraki’s case is the litmus test for Buhari’s signature program – war on corruption – the retrial should be expedited without the usual phony delays, postponements, and adjournments that attended the first trial. Osinbajo is a law professor. I need not remind him that where the rule of law ends tyranny begins.
Who knows if perhaps Osinbajo is vice-president for just such a time as this?