If Nigeria doesn’t kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria – President Mohammadu Buhari
It is now expedient that at this stage of our economic life, we start to raise questions about not just how we got here but also how we can get out of where we currently are and I really do not care what side of the divide anybody belongs to right now, We have to NOW start saying things not just as they appear but as they really are.
I was at the newspaper stand yesterday morning in Lagos and I witnessed a deliberate attempt by grassroots spin-masters as they bamboozled the people who gathered with tales of how Nigeria should be glad that we are currently suffering under this administration despite the good intentions of Mr President. I have always known that the instruments and tools of propaganda are present everywhere, Right now, I am convinced we need such instruments for the benefit of the masses who are currently at the mercies of these spin-masters.
As I once concluded in an article where I itemized 10 reasons why Buhari’s anti-corruption drive will fail, It would be a shame and for a very long time, a part of our history that a Buhari came, not once but twice, first as a military ruler and second as a democratic president to fight corruption and he was ‘beaten’ blue and black by corruption. From all indications, and from the mouth of Mr President himself, he has been defeated again by corruption in that fight, throwing us into an economic recession in the process and all of us are the victims.
“Looters hired militants to blow pipelines – Buhari” – That was the headlines from Mr President’s meeting with professionals in the diaspora last week; A defeatist, pitiable, uninspiring statement, lacking solutions and exuding on all sides a call for help in the shape of alms. Those who are not tired of hearing Mr President’s speeches of heaping blames on a category of persons he and his anti-corruption forces cannot touch are the ones I hail in this moment of recession although they are also the ones quick to point out the many investigative processes of the toothless, barking EFCC as consolation to the hunger that is ravaging the entire country. As you read this, Bayelsa’s Timipre Sylva has recovered up to 48 houses that was seized by EFCC by the previous administration. Who is fooling who?
Like I said in the opening paragraph of this rant, there are two sides of an answer to this question and both answers imply a failed Buhari no matter how one looks at it and I will explain this before students of Buharinomics pounce on me in defence of their master ( whatever happened to Elnathan’s Father White series?)
Answer No 1. Corruption got us here
Answer No 2: Corruption is why we are still here
Let’s start by channelling President Buhari’s meeting to those in the diaspora. He met an empty treasury, he became president when oil prices crashed, those who were the former occupants of Aso Villa didn’t save for rainy day and after all of this, they hired militants to bomb oil facilities so that the production of crude oil reduced to the barest minimum. All these excuses to narrate why corruption was so strong enough in the field of battle to have dealt Nigeria a deadly blow that she can no longer rise.
One would think these excuses are justifiable when you take an objective look at it but it was this same President that said some people were 97% and some were 5% even though all of the oil rigs were in places controlled by the 5%. It was this same President who only a few days after becoming president said that amnesty was going to end that December for the same militants who now found their old jobs back from those who had acquired enough loot to hire them to now bomb the refineries and pipelines they are now busy bombing, it was this same president that went AWOL travelling the entire continent for months without a cabinet who he called noisemakers while his pawns defended his stance with comparisons with the US President, Barack Obama’s early days in the white house.
It was this same president that led the nonsensical movement that kept defending the naira with a foreign reserve that was not available because he had to be convinced, It was him that hosted the freaking President of the IMF who was told that we as a country were not sick and didn’t need IMF as a doctor, it was him that oversaw a budget process that didn’t start until January when lawmakers resumed and got prolonged with different episodes of incomprehensible scandals till this moment, it was this same president that gave the go ahead for spurious investigations into members outside a privileged circle considered corrupt who up till now have not had any meaningful headway at the detriment of focusing on an economy that was waiting to be saved at the edge of the recession cliff, it was this same president that used his political machinery to ensure hardship for Nigerian masses with an increase in the price of the one single determinant product in the country.
The reply to those who raised concerns about all these things mentioned at the time was that Baba was fighting corruption. As at now, the only case that is being pursued is that against the former First Lady who is even yet to be invited for questioning and not one major anti-corruption case has been concluded while the likes of Mr Speaker goes on superintending in the chambers over a stinking class of legislooters who do not deserve the label of “lawmakers”. Meanwhile millions of people are no longer without jobs joining tens of millions of other people who didn’t even have in the first place.
From the unfortunate #ChangeBeginsWithMe campaign that gulped N3.4 billion naira up to the current call for the sale of national assets as championed only by those who have the wherewithal to acquire them, this administration has shown that it has no intentions of tackling the issues head on. Truth is there is no better time to acquire assets than during a recession and for those who have savings or let’s be pragmatic, for those who have loots stacked up somewhere or monies acquired through monopolies and are on the right side, now is the time to put it into some patriotic use.
It is now even more evident more than any time in our history as a nation that those who occupy the echelons of our governments do not spare a thought for a second into the future and what current decisions mean for the generation to come and until we understand that our problems as a country is hinged on a political elite class and not a political party, we would be here for a long time to come.
Governing a country at such a time as this is no small feat, it requires more than good intentions or popular support. From all indications, this is the only asset this APC administration has and unless we are ready to wait for the next three years or so before we begin the journey towards recovery, NOW is the time to start considering real alternatives to this unfortunate and ineffable status quo as even on the realm of corruption, this administration does not have what it takes to win it in the battle field.
In any case and from my side of the table, corruption is not just winning, it is starving us and we need competent people who can do the fighting not just those who have good intentions and can only talk about it.
Jude ‘Feranmi is the National Youth Leader of the KOWA PARTY
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