Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Diezani Alison-Madueke’s plea for mercy

Finally, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, Nigeria’s Petroleum Resources minister until six months ago, seeks to be understood by Nigerians. The former highflying minister, one of the most influential in the Goodluck Jonathan administration, seems to be begging Nigerians for forgiveness, or at least for some slack in their criticism (or is it hatred of her guts?). Of course, Madueke did not actually ask Nigerians to forgive her. Those are not her exact words, but the intention is quite clear in the series of conversations she has had in the last couple of weeks with celebrity journalist, Dele Momodu. She seems to have come to a belated realisation of that Achebean warning to all misguided leaders that nobody wins a war against their own people.
Nigerians have in the last several months been treated to salacious tales of the former minister’s attempt to escape the law, even when there was no pending indictment against her or before her actual arrest in the United Kingdom. But the story out there was that she had been faking ill-health, specifically a life-threatening battle with cancer of the breast. This was after all attempts by her, the rumour mill had it, to have an audience with President Muhammadu Buhari were allegedly rebuffed by the then president-elect. Jonathan was hardly out of office before Madueke bade the government goodbye, leaving for the United Kingdom. She was suddenly away from the public gaze. For a woman who appeared to relish the spotlight, her absence was immediately obvious. Shortly after would the cancer rumour surface. Nobody had any proof of this or further news of her until she was suddenly flung back into the spotlight by news of her arrest in the UK. Aggrieved Nigerians felt vindicated that they had been proven right about their long held view that Mrs. Alison-Madueke had corruptly enriched herself during her time in office. This while hundreds of millions of her country people suffered abjectly as a direct consequence of the looting unleashed on the Nigerian treasury by she and her ilk. Although a public officer she lived and conducted herself like royalty on Nigeria’s bill. She travelled by chartered flight with family members, Nigerians heard. A lot was said of and about her but she appeared to scorn the rabble rousing she must have taken complaints and allegations against her for. She simply had no time for Nigerians, not even to ‘set the record straight’ as some of her colleagues in the public eye would say.

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