Wednesday, May 14, 2014
ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER SENT TO PRISON, FOR CORRUPTION.
Icheoku says this is a hallmark of a functioning democratic country where everyone and anyone is under the law, irrespective of societal ranking, power, privilege, connection, authority or even wealth. Such a display of across the board application of the law, puts everyone on notice that no matter who you are, if you do the crime, you will do the time and therefore effectively checkmates people from behaving illegally. Icheoku says what an effective deterrent to have in any society that really calls itself functional. By this no respecter of person rule of law display, Israel has once again demonstrated the way forward in the fight against corruption. But conversely in Nigeria, the duo of Africa's most corrupt individuals, Ibrahim Babangida and Olusegun Obasanjo, for example, are still freely slouching in their ill gotten loot of state and parading themselves as statesmen; and you wonder what manner of a people inhabit the geography called Nigeria that celebrate such ignominy and ignoble men?
Icheoku hopes that someday, a king who does not know Joseph will rise up and call for the rendering of account in that country - a country that has enough tar over its image that it has the singular dishonor of being the black man's shame. Icheoku dreams that a Nigerian government that does not know corruption and which meaningfully frowns at corrupt practices will one day take the stage and hold people to account for their stewardship, regardless. But with this Jonathan, the fight against corruption has become a paradise lost; a promise broken, a hope mired in unfulfillment, an expectation dashed, a dream shattered and turned into a nightmare. Like his promised breath of fresh air that has since turned stale and putrid, the war against corruption has fizzled out, has become moribund and in its place is now a mega corruption industry that has festered and morphed into a monstrosity. Icheoku says Jonathan squandered much of the goodwill and positive tailwind that heralded his coming to power and now bemused Nigerians are asking themselves what happened, what did they bargain for while communally exhibiting a commensurate buyer's remorse? Icheoku says with Jonathan, it is much of the same and at best a lip service approach to tackling corruption. Imagine a government that is supposedly tackling corruption, conferred a national honor on someone as despicable as Sani Abacha, whose only achievement was his involvement in three military coups as an agent of destabilisation and who finally stole the country blind as its head of state? So Icheoku asks Jonathan, to please tell the bewildered world, particularly Nigerians, what paradigm was used in selecting such an honoree?
Ehud Olmert, 68 years old former Israeli Prime Minister and once Mayor of Jerusalem is gone to prison on account of his stewardship while in office - he was accused and convicted of taking bribe. Icheoku recalls that the then Prime Minister was forced him out of office by this bribery scandal, which led to his prosecution and finally culminated to this conviction. Ehud Olmert was sentenced to six years in prison and in addition, ordered to pay one million shekels ($290,000) in restitution. Ehud Olmert was found guilty of accepting bribes totalling 560,000-shekel ($161,000), while then Mayor of Jerusalem, to facilitate the city's Holyland residential project development. Icheoku notes that this is a "mere" $160,000 dollars compared to the $180million dollars Halliburton bribery scandal under Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo and co which has since been swept under the rug; and you asks yourself, in a country that has serious plans for its future or which is seriously fighting corruption?
Describing corruption as "a noxious and contagious affliction", the sentencing judge, Judge David Rozen, said "a public servant who accepts bribes is akin to a traitor who betrays the fatherland and such defendants deserve a severe punishment that will send a message that corruption is not welcome." Icheoku wonders why such judges as Judge David Rozen do not emerge in Nigeria where too many such "traitors" rather find succour in compromised judges and are often shielded from prosecution by powers that be? Continuing his berating of Ehud Olmert and co, Judge Rozen said "the defendants acted in a closed space, hidden from the public eyes; but the putrescence they produced did not stay confined to that space. Olmert took advantage of his position and accepted bribes. He reached the pinnacle of power as Prime Minister and from there he descended into the abyss of a criminal, now convicted of criminal offenses.
Making his feeling about Ehud Olmert's conviction known, President Shimon Peres, said "this is a legal process that takes place in democratic countries. I don't have a role in the legal system, and it is clean from personal influences." Icheoku regrets that such remarks are not seen uttered by Nigeria's presidents when their friends get entangled by the law. Instead, they not only butt into the judicial process but also personally influences its outcome, with threats to undo such judges that want to aspire to be Nigeria's Judge David Rozen. Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid added "it is an important day in which the legal system showed that no man is above the law" but in Nigeria, the well connected are rather sitting on the head of the law, farting and breathing down on it. The prosecutor, Yonatan Tadmor, surmised Ehud Olmert conviction as follows:- "the defendant is not a symbol, the fact that the defendant served in the highest position does not serve as immunity for him in the face of punishment as for all people. Rather it is and should be the opposite.” Icheoku laments that such is not the case in Nigeria where the attainment of certain positions ensures perpetual immunity from the law and prosecution. Recall also that this is not the first time an Israeli top official is sent away for infra-dignities of office - former President Moshe Katsav is still serving prison term for rape and other sexual offenses. Icheoku says how could corruption thrive in such an environment that holds its highest public official and office holders accountable; but you look at Nigeria and it is a polar opposite. Icheoku says if corruption is, in the words of Eliad Shraga, an attorney and corruption crusader, "a strategic existential threat to Israel," why not Nigeria? I am Icheoku and I approve this message.