Continued from last week…….
It was against this overwhelming arc of radical uncertainties that the retired partners of KPMG subsumed discussions over their unpaid gratuity and pension (which was to have been vigorously debated at the United Nations General Assembly that was held in New York from 18 September – 5 October 2018 but for the last-minute appeal from Mr. António Guterres the Secretary-General of the United Nations that the matter should be deferred till next year). Mr. Guterres used to be the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (2005–2015), hence he has been particularly concerned that former KPMG partners do not join the queue of refugees!!
When we learnt that President Buhari would not be personally present to declare the ICAN Conference open, we protested by forsaking the Independence Day Banquet at the Villa, Aso Rock.
Instead, we took it upon ourselves to assess the erosion of the clout and might of Chartered Accountants in the national landscape, particularly in the economic/financial sector.
In previous governments, Chartered Accountants dominated key positions such as:
- Minister of Finance
- Governor of the Central Bank
- Minister of Planning and Budget
- Auditor-General of the Federation
- Accountant-General of the Federation
- Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service
Not so anymore. The current Auditor-General of the Federation, Mr. Anthony Mkpe Ayine is the only Chartered Accountant amongst the list of those holding those positions. To further compound matters, Governors who are Chartered accountants – Alhaji (Dr.)Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, FCA (Gombe State); Otunba Ibikunle Amosun, FCA (Ogun State);Mr. Willie Obiano, FCA (Anambra State)and Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, FCA (Lagos State) had not shown up.
Even a private audience with President Buhari by the retired partners of KPMG was not confirmed.
Also, unlike in previous years, the President, Alhaji Razak AdelekeJaiyeola and members of ICAN would not be hosted in the Villa by President Muhammadu Buhari. It took almost three weeks before President Buhari received the ICAN delegation at the villa on 19th October, 2018.
Without mincing words, it was indeed strange that considering that almost five thousand chartered accountants were in Abuja for the conference, the President could not be persuaded that it was an excellent opportunity to launch a charm offensive and woo the votes of not only the delegates and spousesbut also the vast network of Chartered Accountants (and their dependants) all over the country at a time when the next presidential election is only a few months away.
There is rage everywhere. News media have been streaming the complaint of Mrs. Aisha Buhari, (Wife of the President and First Lady of Nigeria):
“It is disheartening to note that some aspirants used their hard-earned money to purchase nomination forms, got screened, cleared and campaigned vigorously yet found their names missing on Election Day. These formswere bought at exorbitant prices.
All Progressive Congress [APC] being a party whose cardinal principle is change and headed by a comrade/activist [Adams Oshiomole] whose main concern is for the common man, yet such impunity could take place under his watch.”
Ironically, there appears to be an international dimension to our angst and frustration.
On CNN an elated Sarah Campbell of the New Democratic Party of Ontario was jubilating over the legalisation of cannabis (Indian Hemp) as a recreational drug in Canada.
It turns out that by sheer co-incidence there has been a spike in the flood of Nigerians who have decided to emigrate to Canada!! One of the brand new and young presidential candidates,Omoyele Sowore has disclosed on CNN that when he becomes President of Nigeria he will not only legalise marijuana, he will declare it as Nigeria’s number one export earner which will rapidly surpass crude oil.
Amongst the fleeing brethren are doctors, engineers, professors/lecturers, chartered accountants (including retired partners of KPMG)
They appear to have concluded that Nigeria is a slow-moving disaster and that the deluge of bamboozling by politicians and hoodwinking by their cohorts are just driving the country to breaking point and there is nothing the retired partners of KPMG, (who are still awaiting their gratuity and pension) can do about it. they cannot even get to meet their old pal President Muhammadu Buhari.
Such a meeting would have served as an excellent platform to remind the President that we are of the same age (seventy-five years) and he is our Ambassador Extraordinary and plenipotentiary armed with our Letter of Credence to the succeeding generation and a special message: “There is nothing to be gained by setting the country on fire.”
Here we are on home turf but the politicians are holding the entire nation to ransom with their subversive inertia. We are not here to pursue lucrative government contracts or ask for favours/waivers. It is our love of our country and our fervent patriotism that are the driving forces behind the zeal to encourage those in position of power and authority to press the reset button instead of tormenting the nation while Boko haram and other terrorists/insurgents hold sway with ruthless kidnapping, callous beheading, vicious armed robbery and bestial rape as their weapons of choice.
For almost fifty years, we have watched the massive plunder of our nation’s treasury and commonwealth through barefaced brigandage and reckless impunity. What we are now witnessing is a profound shift in strategy – from brazen exploitation to indifference. The tactics are obvious – just ignore them and thereby ensure that poverty, hunger, ignorance inflict sufficient damage to render the victims both hopeless and homeless.
Bashorun J. K. Randle