What Would I Do With Faka Jonathan’s Fortune?, By Ahmed Oluwasanjo

Seeing how deep these reckless political and administrative Aninis have sank Nigeria, if I have $70 million, I’ll consider constructing a prison to be located right at the confluence of River Niger and Benue at Lokoja. This, I intend to donate to the Nigerian government to jail only those who have looted our commonwealth.

For some weeks now, a series of reports in the media has revealed that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has traced a huge chunk of cash to the bank accounts of former Nigerian first lady, Patience Faka Jonathan.

First, it was reported that the sum of $30 million was traced to Mrs Jonathan’s Skye Bank accounts. Second, was a “Fresh $40 million found in bank accounts linked to former Nigerian First Lady Patience Jonathan”, Sahara Reporters reported. For now, the total estimate of monies reportedly traced to Mrs Jonathan’s Skye Bank accounts is about $70 million. Divergent views have raised queries on how Mrs Jonathan made such huge amounts and how much still exists in other banks. However, contrary to these views, I have been engrossed in thinking of what I could possibly do, if eventually I legitimately make such a fortune.

Get me right, I’m not desperate to make money in the way Mrs. Jonathan did. But since it is not a crime to think and dream big, I’m just trying to get my priorities right before my much anticipated financial breakthrough becomes a reality. The aphorism of “He who fails to plan, plans to fail” suffices here.

But I digress.

I know the very first thing some religious folks out there would suggest to me is that I pay my tithe if I make $70 million. That’s not a bad idea. I’m not against tithing, but please let’s forget the idea of tithing now. I would not take a tenth of such fortune to any worship centre – I mean any church or mosque, men or boys of God – while the poor, the IDPs, and the orphans are all around me, trying hard to eke out a living.

If this decision would turn me into a rebel in the congregation of the saints, I would rather get God’s direct address and personally take it to him. Besides, how better could one have given a tenth of such fortune to the all sufficient and invisible God, the one who owns the earth and its fullness, if not through taking care of the much vulnerable people who are created in his image and likeness?

Another thought that crosses my mind on what I could do with such fortune as a hustler, stems from these stories:

First, the story of the richest man in Africa, Aliko Dangote. I read that he started business with half a million naira loan obtained from an uncle. Today, Dangote Group of companies employs over 26,000 Nigerians, and according to Engineer Ahmed Mansur, Group Executive Director, Stakeholders Management and Corporate Communications, the Dangote Group projects to employ about 150,000 Nigerians by 2017

Second, the story of Vincent Adetoba, a year two student of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) who started his business with just N200 – not N2 million – and made his first million from the same business before graduating from OAU. According to Adetoba, his N200 worth business grew to employ six other persons to work with him as managers. Amazing, isn’t?

These stories resonate well with me. They give me a clue on what I could do with such a huge fortune. Looking beyond Dangote’s story, I feel that if Adetoba could grow a N200 business to earn his first million, and as well, create jobs for other people, I can rest assured that if I wisely invest the sum of $20 million of $70 million in the right business, I would have a much brighter future.

But I’m surprised that the idea of investing in business never crossed the mind of Mrs. Jonathan who kept such funds fallow in bank accounts. That Mrs. Jonathan has the sum of $70 million in one single bank makes one believe her claim that the monies were meant for her medical treatment. Of course, only a sick person would accumulate such and never reinvest it.

Mrs. Jonathan’s “primitive accumulation” gives insight into the magnitude of booty other wives of former presidents could have carted away without being investigated. By extension, it mirrors how the high and mighty rob us blind, and yet fail to invest back in the Nigerian economy. This, Major Kaduna Nzeogu captured in his January 15, 1996 coup speech as follows: “Our enemies are the political profiteers, the swindlers, the men in high and low places that seek bribes and demand ten percent; those that seek to keep the country divided permanently…”

Today, it’s so sad to see that our collective enemies have advanced from taking bribes and ten percent to looting and saving our commonwealth in bank accounts for their unborn generation. Nzeogwu should be crying in his grave, seeing how emboldened, brazen and reckless our enemies have become.

Seeing how deep these reckless political and administrative Aninis have sank Nigeria, if I have $70 million, I’ll consider constructing a prison to be located right at the confluence of River Niger and Benue at Lokoja. This, I intend to donate to the Nigerian government to jail only those who have looted our commonwealth.

Ahmed Oluwasanjo writes from Abuja.

PremiumTimes