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Okotie and the audacity of the cabal




THE reckless looting of Nigeria’s treasury by greedy politicians of fortune, whom Rev. Chris Okotie describes as the grex venallium (venal crowd), and their political ideology of political merchandising is mind-boggling. It staggers even the most depraved descriptions of avarice, and the magnitude of corruption discoveries that have emerged on Nigeria’s political landscape since the probes by President Muhammadu Buhari’s 9-month old government began. This Dasukigate scandal has raised the level of concern on the criminalities that transpire in the corridors of power across the country during President Goodluck Jonathan’s reign.

It is alarming how the bravado of embezzlement can be so blatantly executed, without recourse to the fear of apprehension or prosecution. These guys went about feeding fat on loot accumulated through the embezzlement of monies deceptively requested for the purpose of equipping the fight against an insurgency that was claiming innocent lives. So blinded, or even possessed were they by the delusive spirit of greed, that every modicum of reason or rationality failed them in their frenzied pursuit of blood money and a pretentious noveau riche lifestyle.

Rev. Okotie’s patriotic groans in The Guardian Newspaper of February 9, 2016, article titled;“Buhari’s battle against grex venallium”, aptly describes government response when he said; “The ongoing battle by President Buhari against this corrupt cabal, who have held this nation hostage for years leaves no one in doubt that it is no longer business as usual for politicians of fortune… it should be seen as a determined effort to right the wrongs of the bad leadership, which has been the bane of Nigeria’s development for decades… What is being done now, if carried to the logical conclusion, would free the country from the labyrinth of a deeply entrenched tribe of Machiavellian politicians whose sole purpose for seeking power is to loot our common patrimony”.

The fallacy of mass adulation from rented crowds and economic leeches by our self-acclaimed political stalwarts, seduces them into the illusion that they are above the law, and that allies of a kindred thieving clique will protect them from prosecution. They are hoodwinked by this delusionary state of utopia and political invincibility which mesmerizes them into speciously believing they can purchase immunity and that their connections in the corridors of power will shield them from the judicial consequence of their acts. But, the evil that men do does not only live after them, as Shakespeare wrote in his literary classic, Julius Ceaser, it hunts them while they live. That’s one good thing about the Buhari-led anti-corruption campaign.

Ironically also, Rev. Okotie made reference to a trend which became a major corruption component leading to the 2015 Presidential elections; an insidious trend of religion intermingling with politics and money, which he described as prayer welfare package. Okotie asked a pertinent question; “If Attahiru Bafarawa was the accredited agent of the Muslim prayers welfare package, who then collected on behalf of the multitudes of Christians? Who? Who is that Christian proboscis whose insidious suction availed himself of billions of naira on behalf of the followers of Christ? Who is that Judas? Maybe Judases? What about Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor’s one-plane airline becoming the surreptitious instrumentality for some covert military operations, involving over nine million dollars in South Africa? All sacred cows must become secularised.

“Government must ascertain the scope of pecuniary inducement that informed their political alignments in the 2015 elections… The Nigerian scenario is indicative of an aberration embedded in our political genes… What an irony, that those who should scrupulously guide the people are themselves poisoning the water from which the flock will drink…Corruption is a hydra-headed monstrosity that must be confronted by the gladiators of righteousness…”.

This toxic mix of religion, politics and money has been the bane of many nations which slid into ethnoreligious warfare. The present Boko Haram insurgent’s dilemma is borne from such negative paradigms and it must necessarily be nipped in the bud now, before it grows into a festering cancer in our nation.

Corruption may not be stealing as ex-President Jonathan, the self-proclaimed servant-leader, and man at the helm of affairs during the six-year feast of thievery would have us believe, but justice demands that he explains these thefts and the management of the crude oil windfall that came to Nigeria under his superintendence. That was at a time when its value reached its highest ever, and when the nation earned more than at any other time since crude was discovered in Oloibiri, not far from his Otuoke ancestral homeland decades ago.

Despite Jonathan’s flaunting our rebased economy, mediocrity of leadership took centre stage under his watch, and franchised corruption debilitated the nation, exacerbating poverty and insecurity. This fractured state of the nation was forged in the crucible of passivism and political apathy that flaccidly condemns aberrations with tired expressions of toothless chatter.

Corruption has roots buried in our political system that sustains its growth via cronyist activities amongst thieves which makes its decapitation difficult, and so, the opportunistic political cabal takes advantage of this national defect which is goaded on by ethnoreligious sentiments like the welfare package, that pull at the seams of our economic progress.

The necessity of a precipitous departure from our culture of permissive and crony styled governance has pitted President Buhari’s anti-graft campaign against a cabal whose tradition of wanton perfidy had almost run the nation aground. His commitment to democratic rule of law and record of combating corruption is unquestionable.

If Nigeria must continue as a viable entity; and it must, then taming the audacity of Nigeria’s corruption, its politics, hopeless rogue politicians and religious businessmen is an expedient matter of national urgency, and if there are men who can fight this bulwark, Buhari stands shoulders high on the list.

Mr. President, be assured that there are more for you than there are against you, men who don’t need the enticement of pecuniary inducement to support what is right: It’s our reasonable service to the fatherland, because we are the new breed of Nigerians of a different political ilk.

Akhigbe, a former FRESH Party gubernatorial candidate in Edo State, wrote from Benin via

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