When President Olusegun Obasanjo’s third term project fell like a pack of cards on the floor of the Senate around 2007, the former president, in a feat of virulent anger, was said to have asked the Senators and House of Representatives members he had allegedly heavily bribed to return the loot. South- west royal fathers may be next in line to be handed similar treatment.
Some Senators allegedly got N50 million each to facilitate the project. But no money was known to have been returned.
Fast forward to 2015, ahead of the just-concluded presidential poll, President Jonathan and his spin doctors knew the South-west was critical in the equation if the president would win re-election. The votes from the South-west, the second largest voting bloc after the North-west, was badly needed to counter the block votes his challenger, General Muhammadu Buhari, was expected to garner from the North-west as he did in 2011.
So President Jonathan virtually moved the seat of government back to Lagos in the weeks preceding the poll. He was holding court from Dodan Barracks, meeting traditional rulers, prominent seasoned politicians from the South-west and leaders of O’odua Peoples Congress.
Some of the traditional rulers assured the president of the votes of Yoruba; some put him in the centre, surrounded him and prayed for him while some others dressed him in traditional regalia.
In return, there were allegations that the president greased their palms. Newspapers were awash with reports about heavy dole out of dollars, America’s currency, to the royal fathers. After the poll and when the results of the election emerged, there was little evidence that the dollars had worked! Now, will the royal fathers be asked to return the bails of money they allegedly collected? Big question!