Tuesday, 23 Apr 2019

The Trial of General Bako *By Saheed Animashaun

The Trial of General Bako
*By Saheed Animashaun

Negeru, General Bako’s country of birth, is a “small” geographical enclave blessed with abundant resources. Quite paradoxically, Negeru is a grossly underdeveloped country in spite of these humongous endowments. Up until 18 years ago, Negeru had been largely ruled by men in Khaki, one of them being Gen. Bako. Since then Negeru has been governed by a succession of men in Agbada (Babariga or “Etibo Woko” aka “Senator”)

Gen. Bako is like a folklore. He is widely regarded as a man of integrity; a dogged, honest and an incorruptible man. This is why he has near cult-like support in many parts of Negeru, especially the Northern part. He also never gives up. This is reflected by the fact that after losing on three occasions, the race to govern a post-khaki Negeru, he ran a fourth time and achieved something never done before; he defeated an incumbent.

He is also regarded by many as a Messiah, who out of his magnanimity sacrificed his old age and health, to help in taking Negeru out of its seemingly bottomless pit of underdevelopment.

Gen. Bako has been in charge of Negeru for more than two years and to the shock of many, he has transformed from being an enemy of corruption into being a “Condoner” of corruption.

Under his watch and within the confines of his famed body language, there has been a lot of controversies and substantial allegations of corruption against his close associates. The unfortunate trend developing is that allegations against close associates take forever to investigate. Elder Bachalo, a close ally of Gen. Bako was accused of diverting funds meant for displaced persons from the war ravaged North Eastern region of Negeru. Elder Bachalo, aka Grasscutter, was alleged to have been awarded a government contract (which is against the law) to remove grass, at a greatly inflated cost.

These allegations were investigated by the “Legislooters” and it was visible to the blind and audible to the deaf, that at the minimum, Elder Bachalo had a case to answer. In a remarkable turn of events, Gen. Bako wrote a letter clearing Elder Bachalo to the “Legislooters”.

After much cry, Gen. Bako commissioned a committee led by his Lieutenant to investigate the allegations; one wonders what the job of the anti-corruption agency is! If only Elder Bachalo had been a member of opposition, he would have been picked up the moment the allegation went public. In fact, his houses would have been raided by some gentlemen by midnight, and probably sealed.

The committee led by Gen. Bako submitted its report some months ago, but it inexplicably took more months before Gen. Bako fired Elder Bachalo despite suspending him few months earlier. In all, it took about 9 months from when Elder Bachalo was accused of corruption to when he was fired!

The anti-corruption agency recently claimed to have set up a crack team to investigate the charges against Elder Bachalo and drive his prosecution in court. One can only imagine what they’ve been doing for the past 6 months! Apparently, Elder Bachalo only became touchable when Gen. Bako showed him the door! The jury is out to see how long it would take for him to be prosecuted.

The unbelievable part is that Gen. Bako’s supporters, some of them who take him as a demi-god, have advanced a thousand and one flimsy reasons to support the delay in firing Elder Bachalo; excuses they would never have given his predecessor, Dr. Lucky.

The next big test for Gen. Bako is how he handles the case of Prince Manana.

Prince Manana was reintegrated into the civil service years after he was removed unceremoniously some years ago.

He has been wanted by the anti-corruption agency since then; but he’s inexplicably been shielded by an outfit of gentlemen led by a close ally and relative of Gen. Bako.

The reintegration of Prince Manana was done ‘codedly’ with the intention of avoiding public glare. Unfortunately for the orchestrators, it leaked, and everything that has happened since then has been nothing short of a seasonal movie. There are only 3 possibilities;

1. Gen. Bako knew about it all the way and was instrumental to his reinstatement

2. Gen. Bako knew about it midway, but out of either ill advice or aloofness, he ignored

3. Gen. Bako was completely out of the loop

The 2nd is most probable. It remains to be seen the depth of investigation that would be carried out and whether the parties that championed the shameful reinstatement of Prince Manana would be fired (and prosecuted if necessary). It also remains to be seen which of the two agencies under Gen. Bako would succeed- the one looking for Prince Manana or the one shielding him!

These two cases highlighted in detail are just two of the several corruption related controversies that have occurred under the watch of Gen. Bako. Others are the preferential recruitment carried out in Negeru’s Central Bank, tax agency, immigration, and other MDAs.

Gen. Bako has partially failed his Elder Bachalo test; It remains to be seen whether he would pass the Prince Manana and many other tests.

Gen. Bako has just few months left to justify the hope citizens of Negeru placed in him more than 2 years ago. Tick says the clock!

© Ani_gene 2017

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