My wife spoke to me a few days ago. This was after I had received a suggestion as to an alternative way of combating corruption in Nigeria from a very good friend, a member of Champions For Nigeria who resides in the USA.
At the same time, coincidentally, several members of the organisation, which I also belong to, gave me their thoughts on this issue of official corruption in Nigeria. They were all concerned. This is in addition to feedback I get from other concerned Nigerians.
My wife was concerned that I am growing emergency grey hairs simply because I seem to be carrying Nigeriaâ€™s problems on my head. She seemed to think I am fighting a futile battle, which others greater and more influential than me had fought and had failed. I just had to reassure her that this is not the case. I had to convince her that on the long run, my, and other Nigerianâ€™s fight against corruption will not be in vain, and that there will always be light at the end of the tunnel, even if most of us do not live long enough to see it, at least our children and their children will benefit and see it. That was all I could say. Of course, she is always supportive of my socio-political stance.
My friend from the USA emailed me suggesting that perhaps we should take another look at the way corruption is being fought in Nigeria and this was incorporated into my own suggestions which was published as â€œManaging Corruption â€“ An Alternative Proactive Approach on different network as listed below ,
- Corruption Management â€“ An Alternative Proactive Approach ,Â Â -http://www.championsfornigeria.org
- Corruption Management â€“ An Alternative Proactive Approach Â Â Â -http://www.nigeriainamerica.com
- Corruption Management â€“ An Alternative Proactive ApproachÂ Â Â Â -http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com and
- Corruption Management â€“ An Alternative Proactive ApproachÂ Â Â Â -http://www.nigerianmuse.comÂ 18 February 2009) in which I advocated concentrating onÂ preventative rather than remedial measures.
Comrade Ephraim Adinlofu then wrote: â€œI remembered way back in the 70s,Â one or twoÂ WAEC English questions and essaysÂ had always been on ways of curbing corruptionÂ in Nigeria. Today, the issue is still the same: movement without motion. Corruption has eaten into the fabric of the Nigerian society. In fact the word “fabric”Â has become a clichÃ© because of its over usage in the Nigerian context. I think the fight has becomeÂ more daring and dangerous. The people’s consciousness to fight this curseÂ was aptly raised when Nuhu Ribadu, despite hisÂ little flaws, was there. And I am happy that Farida Waziri is equally doing it her own way, even though the momentum seemed to have slowed downÂ a bit.Â The point we must note is that there is no way anybody or organization will fight corruption withoutÂ its beneficiaries fighting back. But that shouldÂ not deter whoever and whatever organization that wants to continually take the bull on. My take is that we should use the students, the youths and General Yakubu Gowon. Gowon is the only epitome of example we could approach and use. He is the best example. Even Pat Utomi and Reuben Abati have testified to it in the numerous write ups; IBB, Ibori and Atiku are, to the best of my knowledge, not good examples to the youths. If IBB had not annulled the JUNEÂ 12, 1993 election, Nigerians would have forgiven himÂ on his policy of “settlement” and useÂ him as a goodÂ example, but he blew his chanceâ€.
While I was pondering on this issue, I came across a news item in Nigeria Today Online (Thursday, 5th march 2009) â€œA member of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Oluseyi Moses, says Â all the 26 lawmakers in the state are fraudulent and should immediately be arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Â Moses, who represents Sagamu 1 Constituency made the allegation on the floor of the House of Assembly, shortly after the suspension of two members of the assembly, stating further that he was ready to assist the anti-graft agency in exposing their (lawmakers) financial misdeeds. He further said money and the selfish interests of individual members were the causes of the on-going crisis in the Assembly, adding that what lawmakers earn as salaries is much more than what Ph D holders earn in the country, “Yet we still steal.” “I am calling on EFCC to arrest all of us,” he said. “I will cooperate with the organisation in exposing our financial mess. We should all be arrested. We are all thieves in this assembly. We are only fighting because of our selfish interest and pockets.” He added “I would open up and confess to EFCC. We should all be locked up. The bottom line of the fight is money. Virtually all of us have built mansions and have chains of cars on getting to office, and where do we get the money?”
I was aghast, but not surprised. I knew, and many Nigerians knew, that this is exactly what goes on in our country, federal, state or local government levels. I am of course not able to deduce the reason for Honourable Mosesâ€™ sudden contrite and motive. It could well be genuine guilty conscience and repentance; or it could be because of the sudden do or die war within Ogun State because things have fallen apart between the Governor, Gbenga Daniel and his House of Assembly. Â The Honourableâ€™s revelation is very illuminating and alarming and must be treated very seriously. What goes on in those thievesâ€™ dens called legislative houses are very unspeakable; against the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, against the spirit and ethics of a democratic society, a crime against the Nigerian people and is blatant and unchecked larceny.
A year ago, a member of the House of Representatives, confided to another friend of mine that if Nigerians knew how much money they, Representatives and Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, take home every month, which is not even their salaries, Nigerians might rise up against them, march on the National Assembly in Abuja and lynch them and burn the corrupt edifice to the ground. (I honestly wish this could happen, call me an anarchist). If you are the Chair of a committee in the National House of Assembly, youâ€™ve got it made. Ordinary members are not left out of the underhand deals, and they make considerable money too. It is well known in Abuja that any Federal Ministry, Government Department or Parastatal that wants to get its budget passed, must inflate the budget to cater for the demands of the committees overseeing them, or the budget will not get passed. The same underhand practice goes on in the State assemblies and local government meeting houses too.