Some experiences in life makes you happy, laugh or smile; while others make you forever sad. Ask my candid opinion, I dare say, piteously that leaders of United Kingdom (UK) or Britain are in serious image crisis. That UK patriot and convener of the “UK Matters Most,” (UKMM) group Activist James Moore has murdered royal or kingly sleep.
Moore led a clan of angry soul mates in peaceful protest to #10 Downing Street, Buckingham Palace, the imperial home of Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and the Westminster Parliament, London. And if media reports are credible enough, Moore’s group is provoked over the inaction of the British leadership hierarchy to initiate a probe of the nearly month-old allegation as serious of a bribe of $1 million to Consulate staff of the UK, Nigerian Embassy.
In a written letter UKMM submitted defiantly that the alleged action of consulate officials was a disgraceful assault on the dignity of the Crown, reputation or image of Great Britain. UKMM’s letter read in part; “ It is consequently desirable for the Prime Minister to kick-start the process of recalling the consulate officers at the British High Commission in Nigeria and to initiate an investigation as to why they allowed themselves to be involved in politics (Rivers State), and how the monies were shared between them.”
I understand, the alleged kickback was reportedly given to the British diplomats by a desperate Rivers State Gov. Nyesom Wike. The Governor sought reelection in the 2019 general elections in Nigeria. So, the bribe is allegedly to grease the palms of UK Election Observers in Nigeria to cause fabrication or manufacture of false and misleading information against the Nigerian Military in support of Wike’s wired politicking.
President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the deployment of soldiers during the general elections to provide back-up security to curb violent electoral frauds as well as enable a secured environment for free, fair and credible elections.
Moore and his members were piqued at the conspiratorial silence of the authorities in digging this allegation. It tells me or anyone else like the UKMM that the British High Commissioner in Nigeria, Ms. Catriona Laing has faltered in her responsibility of keeping an eagle eye on staff of the British High Commission office in Nigeria.
Or suggestively, she benefitted from the alleged graft, he reason for her sealed lips; if not, Laing would have instantly initiated official action to ascertain the veracity or otherwise of the disreputable allegation. I am alarmed that Laing prefers to be mute, running into weeks, in spite of the damaging allegation against the image and interests of her country.
But if the High Commissioner erred, or she even deliberately ignored it, what has happened to Britain’s high-tech monitoring devices of its offices across the globe? Why is the British PM, Mrs. Theresa May mum on this matter to the extent ordinary Britons on the streets of London knew and had to stage a protest?
To my mind, Moore’s group has not demanded too much from their leaders, by requesting action be initiated on the Consular officials, as they have tainted the country’s image, by unpatriotically misleading Britain about the involvement of the military in Nigeria’s elections. The group urged immediate action from the Prime Minister to get to the roots and truths of matter.
But the scenario of Britain’s foot-dragging over inquest into such a serious allegation of graft makes me pensive. It has left me pondering about the sanctimonious posture of Britain over corruption. I vividly remembered how yesterday, former British PM, David Cameron openly satirized Nigeria before our democratic leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, as “ fantastically corrupt” and the several other attempts to demean Nigeria.
An African aphorism warns us that “Faults are like hills. You climb yours and then see other people's faults. “Cameron audaciously berated President Buhari by uttering that “We’ve got some leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain… Nigeria and Afghanistan, possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world.”
I think, the odious remark portrays Britain as beyond this malaise which is a global problem; it signifies and beckons to Britain’s high moral pedestal on corruption or acts of graft. But I can’t see the spirit applied in this instance, rather Britain is shirking. But i have found solace in UK’s inaction in a Sierra Leonean proverb which says; “It is not changing into a lion that is hard; it is getting the tail of a lion.”
And I am more disturbed that events in Nigeria’s post 2019 general elections era lends strong credence to the allegation, which propelled the Moore group into protests. In fact the UK election observer group, which monitored the governorship and states assembly elections truly and underhandedly, indicted the Nigerian military.
In an official report titled: Re: UK Expresses Concern Over Military Involvement In Rivers Poll,” the UK Election observers claimed the Nigerian Military interfered with the electoral process in Rivers state . It disclosed that the illegal military action imposed additional obstacles on INEC staff in the course of performing their legitimate duties and caused the political crisis in the state.
But what is still baffling to me is that the Military were drafted all over Nigeria for the elections. But such a damning report only came from UK election observers in Rivers state. The Nigerian Army through its Acting Director of Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa relieved my anxiety by faulting the claims of the UK and described the report as baseless.
I am ashamed that Ms Catriona Laing is plotting to cover this alleged bribery scandal by Consulate officials which has already gone viral. My conviction is that her silence betrays her intention of sweeping under the carpet this allegation despite glaring and incontrovertible evidences.
I am emboldened to say, apart from circumstantial evidence, information which has so far leaked into public domain from the Rivers Government House have all pointed to the alleged crime. And added to it, my observation of the behavior of the Nigerian staff at the Consulate office while the scandal rage, unaddressed reminds me of a Swahili proverb which reveals that “A letter from the heart can be read on the face.”
And to my greatest consternation and curiousity, even the loquacious Gov. Wike has maintained a studious silence since the scandal broke out. Can Wike in all sincerity tell Nigerians and the world that he didn’t give any money ? Similarly, the British High Commission office has also sustained absolute silence; perhaps, in confirmation of the wisdom of a Nigerian adage which says; “If the vulture fails to hover at the end of a sacrifice, then you know that something happened in the land of spirits.”
I am now forced to burden myself with many rhetorical questions; Who is fooling who in this instance? Where is the flaunted moral pedigree of the United Kingdom, our former colonial masters, if it cannot investigate and discipline its own found guilty over alleged corruption?
I care less about politicians, especially, Wike’s supporters or anybody else who would spitefully term the scandal as fake news. But can there be smoke without fire? Is the British High Commission in Nigeria telling Nigerians or the rest of us that all their members of staff are saints that should be beatified and canonized?
Or that the political leader in Rivers state who gave the bribe to UK election observers has paid his way and become a saint because he has conscripted them to rubbish the Nigerian Military or Army? Another Nigerian proverb says; “A set of white teeth does not indicate a pure heart.”
I have every reason to pity Ms Catriona Laing. She does not know Gov. Wike. The Rivers Governor has travelled this path many times before since 2015. Wike believes in crude and violent politics. He is very free in using money to induce his targets for such hatchet jobs. Madam High Commissioner, you didn’t know Gov. Wike, but it appears you over romanced him for wrong reasons. Wike is like the proverbial Lucifer and those who know him, dines with him with a long spoon.
During the same elections, the Nigerian Army cried out at attempts by Wike to financially induce the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Jamil Sarham. When Sarham resisted Wike publicly smeared his name by accusing him of responsibility for the electoral violence and killings in the state. He proceeded to maliciously call on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute Major General Jamil Sarham for crimes against humanity.
And how did Wike overnight pulled out Mr. Akpo Bomba Yeeh, African Action Congress’s (AAC) running mate to the governorship candidate, Engr. Biokpomabo Awara into PDP, forcing him to dump the AAC for PDP? Reliable sources told me, Yeeh was kidnapped by Wike’s agents, who ferried him to Government House in Port Harcourt, “ where he was forced to resign/defect to the PDP and the sum of two hundred million naira, a SUV (car) and accommodation were given to him.”
Laing you may not get the full grasp of what I am saying or my expressed fears immediately; but Gov. Wike in the last few years has embarked on amazing state sponsored killings and forced disappearances of people with dissenting voices against him. But why are such issues scantily reported in the Nigerian media. Wike has recruited and trained armed militias who are killing recklessly, but the majority of the vibrant media in Nigeria I know are silent over the killings in Rivers state under Gov. Wike. So, those who transact illicit business with Gov. Wike must be mindful of his destructive antics.