An interesting perspective
James Ibori loot Debate: Why the money should go back to Delta State
By Adeola Soetan
“Government” and “People” are not totally synonymous. Government is a subset of the people, people elect government, government does not elect the people and the people never surrender their sovereignity to government even after election. We should not continue to make the common mistake of seeing government and people as inseparable synonyms always.
Since the rogue government in Delta state did not conduct a referendum before telling and lying to the court that no Delta money was missing, its submission in court couldn’t be taken as representing the total voice of Deltan people but that of a rogue ruling clique with an expiry mandate.
Any recovered loot belongs to the people not government just like the budget of Delta belongs to the people not the people in government as they are mere trustees of the citizens.
So, the loot recovered belongs to the people and should be used for the betterment of Delta people.
Yes, there’s an informed fear that returning the loot to Delta State government may make the £4.2m Ibori loot to be re-looted or finds its way back to the pocket of Ibori who can be described as “Jagaban of Delta” having the state in his inner pocket despite his stinking high profile corruption and a jail term.
There’s also the issue of morality of returning the looted fund to a rogue state government that filed that no Delta money was missing. To my mind, this carries no much weight beyond indictment of duplicitous immorality/morality against the governor and the other ruling scoundrels whose loyalty is not to the people who elected them or to the state but to their criminal godfather whose political and economic interests must be defended by them at all cost even if the state bleeds to death.
If a man denies ownership of a pregnancy by his lady friend, that he has never slept with the lady before through an affidavit, he can’t on the basis of that denial be denied ownership of the child if the DNA test confirms he’s actually the father. He will only carry the moral burden and the public shame of such ignoble act of denial.
Can we then say that because Buhari said Abacha was not a corrupt “public thief”, that he as the president now has no right to collect Abacha loot and preside over its spending? No, but he has moral burden to carry for life for making such unthoughtful statement without circumspection.
The governing crooks in Delta have this moral burden and shame to live with for life. Any other argument is mere semantic or legal rigmarole which can’t deny Delta people the right of ownership of their money except there’s a technical detail on joint ventures ownership by both federal government and Delta state from which the fund was looted. That’s another issue entirely and until that’s revealed, the Ibori loot belongs to the people and government of Delta. Only the Deltans can democratically decide how the looted fund should be spent.
They can achieve this by popular mass movement, communal agitation and coming up with their scale of preference on projects and programmes they want implemented.
This is what participatory democracy by active citizens should be and Deltans including all social forces should show this example by “imposing” projects on their state government and be ready to monitor their implementation.
If they decide to be passive, the loot will be re-looted and they should blame themselves for that. EFCC, ICPC and other financial intelligence and projects monitoring organizations have a proactive role to play in this.
The “Malamian” advice on which Buhari regime acts that the Ibori loot recovered can be spent anyhow, anywhere on projects outside Delta by the federal government acting as the “Big Brother Nigeria” spender is stupid, morally corrupt and unconstitutional as it breaches the principles of federalism.
It can only be done in a military regime where the rule of law is the rule of force and the military head of state is the supreme spender that can allocate resources anyhow according to his whims and caprice without challenge.
I guess we are no longer in a military era. I hope I guess right.