Senator Philips Tanimu Aduda, who represents the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was in London recently. As usual with many Nigerian politicians, he stayed at the Hilton Hotel in Paddington.
The hotel is quite handy for Nigerian politicians with a lot of looted public funds to spare because just to the left of reception is the Steam Bar club, always heaving on Friday nights with some of London’s finest young ladies, who are not averse to a fool keen to part with his money.
Aduda shared a table with a couple of friends and asked one of them what he wanted to drink. They guy said champagne was his favourite tipple and the senator ordered 10 bottles of Cristal Champagne going for £500 a pop. As the order was being delivered with fanfare from the staff, the guy said he didn’t want Cristal and preferred to drink what he was used to and told the senator there was no point ordering 10 bottles at a time. To the disappointment of bar staff, they were told to bring just two bottles of cheaper plonk.
Aduda drank a heady mix of champagne, Hennessy and Red Bull filled up in a pint glass and his tongue loosened as the booze flowed. He claimed he could make anyone he wanted a millionaire and gave an example of how this could be done.
The lawmaker, who was in the House of Representatives from 2003 before winning his senate seat in 2011, regaled his drinking buddies about how he served in the power committee when then president Olusegun Obasanjo reportedly spent $16bn on power projects. The committee was meant to provide oversight functions on project delivery and had a 2bn naira ($5.5m) budget for inspections. Aduda said they never bothered visiting any projects and he could pick a friend who would claim to be a “consultant” and then claim they have visited the sites on behalf of the committee for a “consultancy” fee of several million naira.
18 years since civilian rule returned to Nigeria and several billion dollars later, there has been no improvement in Nigeria’s pathetic electricity supply. But some well connected people have become millionaires.