GHOST workers not on seat! How can ghosts be on seat to help a citizen to submit a form with which to apply for a scholarship for a child wanting to study overseas? Ghost workers are dead workers being paid for being dead but not forgotten!
Fake drugs are drugs, which are not drugs but pretending to be so. Like ghost workers who are not on seat, fake drugs are not there to do any good. This is not sounding right. Of course ghost workers and fake drugs work for those who invest in ghost workers and fake drugs. To those few people who put their money in ghost workers and invest in container loads of fake drugs, their investments do good for them. They make money. They make good. Life is good to them and they are good to life. They fulfil their dreams of being big people in their communities. They give money to their churches and they are generally seen as successful people.
This then is the ambiguity of corruption. When people are diligent in the pursuit of corruption (bi nwon ti njafafa ninu aise deede) they are rewarded according to their expectations. To that extent, corruption benefits those who invest in it. It is just that because it is corruption, it does not benefit the greatest number of the greatest people. To benefit the greatest number of the greatest people is the aim of government in a democratic set up. When this aim is defeated is when we come out and say that corruption is not good enough. And because it is not good enough, we need to replace it with something that is better than corruption, something that would benefit the greater number of our people.
Recently, Niyi, Alaba’s god-father and mentor, was calculating how money has trickled down to people all over the country through the creation of states. Take the Western Region for example. Obafemi Awolowo had a cabinet of say ten ministers. Today, there are six states in the old western region. There is an average of ten commissioners per state.
There are special advisers per governor. There are senior special advisers per governor. Hundreds and hundreds of people benefitting from the real thing as well as its fakery – ghost workers and fake drugs. Hundreds and hundreds of families are doing fine. Right? Yes but millions and millions are not doing fine. This is why corruption is not good enough. Because corruption is good to some extent, it is good enough for some people. But it is not good enough and it must be stopped for the good of the greatest number of people.
Let’s continue with the limited goodness of ghost workers and fake drugs. Trouble wonders how we can count ghosts when we cannot count living souls. The minister in charge of money says that there are 23,000 ghost workers in the federal government civil service. How many ghost workers are there in the 36 civil services plus 1 for the federal capital of Abuja? Ten thousand each? And five thousand for Abuja? 41,000 plus 23,000 making 64,000 ghost workers in the country’s civil services! As Trouble’s Onitsha distant relative Chukwudey tells anyone who would listen to him: “If money small ‘e go finish. If money plenty ‘e go finish. If you dey spend money, money go finish.” Money has finished in the coffers of the federal government as well as the state governments.
Fake drugs kill. Human lives are lost when fake drugs are bought and taken for illnesses, which kill. Does it matter to those who benefit from fake drugs that they are living on the death of others? Those who lose relatives to fake drugs are likely to pray against those who benefit from fake drugs. The prayers for those who benefit from fake drugs and the prayers against them might cancel out. But ultimately those who live by evil die of evil in their turn.
But before that happens the evil they spread would have destroyed innocent lives. But no matter. Evil will destroy evil. Which is no reason for those who are dedicated to doing good should fold their arms and wait for the self-destruction of evil. By continuing to act on the side of good they hasten the days of evil.
Under such circumstances, the story emerges which can be entitled “A Gift Deserves a Gift in Return”. A judge is sitting over a case. The lawyer defending the accused gives the judge money to help him to bury his father and mourn his loss. The judge gives judgement favourable to the generous lawyer in the case that he is sitting over. Some bad people now turn round and say the witch roamed last night and the baby dies this morning, who does not know that it is the witch of last night that killed the baby this morning? Who does not understand that the judge gave judgement favourable to the generous lawyer to repay his kindness? And is it enough to condemn the giver and the giver?
Are we to re-define what gift should be exchanged for what gift? Should the judge not have waited until the lawyer lost a relative so that the judge can give money for money? What is corruption? How can we define it to ensure that Nigerians see that it is not a better alternative to a democratic distribution of our resources?
The way it is today in Nigeria, crime commits itself and the criminal not only goes free, he even sues the institution that dares to say that he or she is responsible for the crime we are talking about. And our senior lawyers insist that human rights are violated when a gift is called a bribe. As a result, the giver and the receiver should be left alone to roam freely in the country.
When those who swear to ensure the rule of law rule that there is no law against corruption, we have arrived at the post-government and post-state stage of our existence. Nigeria exists in the state where there is no state and no government and anything goes. And comes!
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