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Panama Papers: Time for Bukola Saraki to resign as Senate President, says Nigerian-American Leadership Council

By News Express on 14/04/2016

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Per revelations from Nigeria’s Premium Times amid other global media reports, per the Mosseck Fonseca papers, we are appalled by this rising saga, involving top-ranking Nigerian officials, among other persons in the evolving Panama papers. 

It is noteworthy that this Council was just adjusting to the humongous task of assisting in restoring Nigeria’s long-lost glory, as long as the work is complemented with a vibrant anti-corruption agenda.  However, what we now see are more damaging goods from some of Nigeria’s current leaders, specifically Nigeria’s 3rd ranking politician, and a man a few heartbeats away to the Nigerian presidency, Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki.

As The World Watches

We and the rest of the world are aware that Dr. Saraki is embroiled in a messy corruption matter in court already, amid the attendant political scandal and other ripples.  Based on the evidence tendered and admitted in court so far, we believe the public prosecutor in Nigeria has a very compelling case on behalf of the Nigerian people in this matter. However, that Dr. Saraki wants to hang in there by the threads, and hope for a political solution, is already an exercise in futility, because this is a “justiciable” matter.

We are also in full support of the African Union (AU) panel on illicit financial flows, and the call for firm and comprehensive action against the world’s tax havens, in their 2015 resolution on illicit financial flows from the continent. We intend to work closely with former South African president Thabo Mbeki, per his assertion that: “The staggering amount of illicit practices and the large number of global actors exposed by the Panama Papers demonstrate that Governments of Africa and the rest of the world cannot avoid firm action against the Tax Havens/Financial Secrecy Jurisdictions,”

Other “Politically Exposed Persons (PEP’s)” in Nigeria, including former Senate President David Mark also have damning evidence about them at Mosseck Fonseca.  As a Council with legal as well as public policy experts, we see Dr. Saraki’s feeble efforts to exonerate himself, by asserting that the noted assets belong to his wife, in-spite of mounting evidence to the contrary, as mere holding onto straws in a fast moving wave. 

Also, other PEP’s, including David Mark’s gullible attempts to exonerate himself from ownership of the identified assets, in-spite of rising “real evidence” of his culpability, suggests that these men have been taking Nigerians for developing toddlers, who do not have sufficient common sense. Available records from our researchers also show a vast Golf Course owned by David Mark in the Republic of Ireland, even while Mark held various public offices in Nigeria, including as President of the Senate, among other off-shore assets. 

Our researchers have also informed us that there are more damning evidences coming from the Panama files, pertaining to other Public and not so public personalities in Nigeria.

NAL Council’s Recent Official Trip to Nigeria

Senior officials of this Council, were in Nigeria recently, and are yet to conclude filing their reports on Nigeria.  However, the reports already portray some serious challenges, pursuant to the government’s anti-corruption efforts.  As an example, our officials observed serious wastage by public officials in Nigeria, including army officials whose official cars include S550 Mercedes Benz cars that cost in excess of $100,000 USD, among other wastage. The above observations are happening right under the nose of the current government. For the records, comparable officials in the richest country in the world, the United States, operate official vehicles that cost the treasury about $25,000-$35,000 USD.

The wastage would not be so obvious, if there was not such a dearth of 21st century infrastructure in Nigeria, including unreliable internet connectivity and electricity.  Suffice it to say that Nigeria is operating at less than its optimal level, because of the dearth of modern infrastructure. 

Specifically, it is extremely difficult to live in Nigeria and file timely reports online, to public or private organisations outside Nigeria. The reason is because the internet and its backbone of reliable electricity, is in short supply in Nigeria, and extremely expensive where available.  We bring this up because the monies that have been misappropriated by these officials are sufficient to provide first grade infrastructure, including reliable electricity, internet services, and operational refineries in Nigeria.

How Better Infrastructure Would Have Helped Nigeria’s Economy

Corruption and misappropriation of public resources have hurt Nigeria’s economy badly.  If there is reliable connectivity in Nigeria, businesses in Nigeria could deliver certain services to English-speaking countries around the world in real-time, including services to US, European, and Asian companies, as is the case with India.  Several US companies have stationed their call-centres in India because of reliable connectivity infrastructure. 

Nigeria, as an English speaking country, of highly intelligent young people, with lighter English-speaking accents, would have been such a great hub for US and other English speaking service companies, which require English language skills; only if there was sufficient connectivity infrastructure.  We also have observed that young Nigerians are sharper and more rounded than young Indians.

A Time to Resign

Again, we hereby call on the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, to spare the Republic of Nigeria of further embarrassment and resign. It is wise for Dr. Saraki to resign and utilise his energy, time, and considerable intelligence to resolve his legal matters in court at this time. 

Nigeria has so many challenges on its hands right now, and Saraki’s self-imposed problems should not be one of them; attempting to hold onto power, and delay Nigeria’s efforts to rebound, should stoke the wrath of the 180 million people Nigeria has to contend with right now. 

Saraki’s resignation should signal that other public officials should also retrace their steps or get out of the public arena completely. Only persons demonstrating sufficient patriotism and not self-interest should hold such high offices in the land.  Dr. Saraki may very well redeem himself in the future, and he may or may not return to high public office, but this is not the time.  The right thing right now is to resign.

•Being text of a statement issued by the Nigerian-American Leadership Council, Washington, DC, USA and made available to News Express by e-mail. Photo shows Bukola Saraki.

Source News Express

Posted 14/04/2016 2:35:08 PM

 

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