A lot has been said about the Farouk Lawan-Femi Otedola bribery scandal in a country that has been filled with nothing but ills recently. Having read a lot of commentaries on the issue from several people with offices and titles who may well have a side, it is important to hear from thoughtful Nigerians’ point of view who has no sides on the matter.
The year started with the Federal Government’s announcement of increase in fuel pump price as a result of fuel subsidy removal. The illegal recipients of fuel subsidy for years needed to be fished out, as the government argued that it was necessary for it to stop paying subsidy when it was obvious it only ended up in some people’s pockets. There arose a need for a probe arranged by the Federal House of Representatives and a chair for the ad-hoc committee in charge of the probe. Some Nigerians were elated when news of who was the committee’s president hit the media. With so much respect the man has garnered over his 13 years as a legislator in Nigeria’s House of Representative, a lot of Nigerians believed he was the right man for the job and hopes soared high on what would be outcome of the probe.
As expected, Farouk Lawan delivered. We all saw the company names that came up with the amount they illegally collected as subsidy and were expected to refund.
Farouk Lawan’s committee made Nigerians happy, and his report was the cynosure of all eyes. I can remember how people shared it on every media possible. Despite the various national issues that were snuffing life out of our dear country, the report came as a respite and Nigerians were grateful for the progress made in at least one of our many issues.
Sadly, it turned out recently that Honourble Farouk Lawan had just been characterized by excessive piousness and moralistic fervor and was never an honourable man. No honourable man would take bribe!
He was one of the few respected Nigerians, at least by me, a role model to the youths, but like everyone of them has done, he has failed the younger generation.
Many young Nigerians have spoke of the wealth of Femi Otedola and has made him a role model, but what kind of role model gives bribe? Why did he offer Farouk Lawan bribe?…so that his company’s name will be cleared out of the subsidy probe report. There were over sixty companies in that report, why was he the only one who offered bribe? If others did, was the bribe rejected? Why hasn’t anybody else come out? Can you imagine the evil this used-to-be-respected Nigerian has been doing? He has literally been stealing from this country while we celebrate him as one of the richest men in the country.
We have to consider this issue critically and not allow our leaders toss us around. Farouk Lawan did his job whether he collected bribe or not. The report must be fully utilized and the people involved made to return all the money they’ve illegally collected. The only reason why Femi Otedola came out to talk was because Farouk Lawan did his job.
Speaking of Femi Otedola, isn’t it insane for you to come out and say you offered bribe? Was the involvement in fuel subsidy scam not enough to chew than to indict yourself in another scandal? Didn’t anyone tell him that offering bribe was a punishable offence under the law? I copied the following from a law publication. Maybe someone should show him in case he never heard of it.
“The law provides that any public official who corruptly receives any property
or benefit of any kind for himself or for any other person on account of
anything already done or to be done in the discharge of his official duties shall
be punishable with 7 years imprisonment.
The law further provides that any person who gives, confers, procures any
property or benefit of any kind to any public officer on account of any act or
omission, favour or disfavour to be done or shown by the public officer is
guilty of an offence and be liable to imprisonment of 7 years.”
If there was any truth in what I just quoted, Farouk Lawan and Femi Otedola should be facing a 7 year sentence each and should be cell mates in prison so as to settle their scores there. But, who are we fooling; are they even going to be tried? If they were sentenced, are they going to be put in real prisons?
They are both Nigerians we should be ashamed of. We can’t know the absolute truth in the matter especially if we consider the despicable things people do to get what they want. In situations like this, even confessions to me are not totally genuine, it’s just that a confession is a confession.
Farouk Lawan claimed he informed Adam Jagaba, Chairman, House committee on Drugs, Narcotics, and Financial crimes about the bribe which the latter utterly denied. Why would Lawan lie about something like that? He might have been stupid in handling the bribery issue before it came out in the open, but what if he was threatened? I read a commentary where the commentator said he never saw a gun pointed at Farouk Lawan’s head to say some things. Do they point guns at people’s heads in the open when they threaten them?
We can’t continue debating on issues we will never get all the facts on. They know what they did, and God knows. Let their conscience judge them. But before there dead conscience even have a chance of coming back to life to judge them, why don’t we use the law first? They both have committed crimes that are punishable under the law. Do we need investigations again when both parties involved admitted to giving and receiving bribe? They need to be charged to court as soon as possible, and prison is where they should end up, just like every other Nigerian who know they are culprits too in their little ways. Let the goat-thieves leave our already congested prisons and send people like Farouk Lawan and Femi Odetola in their stead.
It’s so easy to judge and condemn people, but the true test of any man’s character comes when he gets power, be it money power or political power. We all sit on our butts and judge these people everyday. Have you ever honestly asked yourself if you’d act differently in their shoes? Judge on you morons who are guilty of the same act in your little organizations. Nemesis awaits you! We would say nemesis have caught up with Femi and Farouk, but this is naija where everything goes. This may well be swept under the carpet like many other ones before it.
I fear so much for our country’s future, and you have every reason to be scared too. If you doubt me, ask your kids or younger ones if they think Nigeria has a future, Nigeria can be great again, or what they’d do were they in a high-ranking political post. You will be scared at how messy young hearts have become. We all need a heart purge!
Meanwhile, let Femi and Farouk go to jail, they deserve it.