Buhari is right on corruption
“Yoruba are the enemies of Yoruba,’’ said Chief Anthony Enahoro on the hallowed floor of the House of Representatives, Lagos, at the onset of the Action Group crises in May, 1962. The same can be said today of the Ndigbo: “Ndigbo are the enemies of Ndigbo,” by their actions and utterances. On October 10, 2017. The Guardian published a news-story, titled: “Corruption not our main problem, Igbo leaders tell Federal Government.”
This writer disagrees with the Igbo leaders. There is no atom of logic in the statement. If corruption is not our main problem, what else is our main problem? This is one of the occasions when Igbo leaders shoot themselves in the feet. The Igbo Leaders of Thought (ILT), under the leadership of Prof. Ben Nwabueze, said that corruption was not Nigeria’s primary problem, calling on the Federal Government to address other critical problems. The Igbo leaders attributed rising agitation in the country for Biafra, Niger Delta and “Oduduwa Republics” to the failure of past and present administrations to resolve the national questions, stressing that restructuring and setting up peace and reconciliation commission were the way to go. Prof. Ben Nwabueze is merely drawing red herrings across the trail. It is unfortunate.
There are political and economic explanations on corruption. Prof. John Black of Oxford and Exeter universities, explained: “Corruption is the use of bribery to influence politicians, civil servant and other officials. It can be in cash or in kind. They may be bribed to neglect their duties to an advantage. Corruption can be used to influence election, or to get laws changed.” Corruption is extremely bad for social efficiency. It undermines public confidence. Many countries condemn the phenomenon.
In his own explanation, Assistant Professor Federico Varese of Williams College, USA said: ‘‘Corruption obtains when an official transfers a benefit to an individual who may or may not be entitled to the benefit, in exchange for illegal payment. Corruption is an illegal exchange.” The phenomenon of corruption breeds inefficiency. It generates further corruption to lead a country to down fall. In a country where corruption pervades, it becomes extreme; every one indulges in bribes, to lose integrity. To the corrupt minds, nothing succeeds without corruption. It is the prelude to the downfall of the society, as it balks economic development and stunts social growths, because educational and democracy remain at the lowest ebb and at the backburner, thus, creating newly wealthy few-nouveaurich. On the whole, a corrupt society is dehumanised in every stratum. So, what are the Igbo leaders making us to understand? It is debilitating to the foundation of a nation. By tackling corruption, President Muhammadu Buhari must be commended, supported and not to be condemned as the Igbo leaders do. In the history of this nation, no Head of State or Government has done it.
This writer is not entirely against the Ndigbo. They are industrious, intelligent and resilient. To be able to fit into the society after the 1967 to 1970 Civil War is a manifestation of these sterling qualities. In practical terms, Ndigbo are manufacturers, particularly the Black-smiths of Awka, Okigwi in Imo state. I doff my hat for them. Be that as it may, they are inward-looking, meaning that they are not interested in other people, but in themselves. Hence, the appellation “I Before Others.”
All things considered, it appears that whenever the Igbo are not in the saddle of power, whoever may be in power, the Igbo people are not pleased. They become disenchanted and intolerant; contriving every plan to run down that person of other race. If not, how can some people conclude that corruption is not our main problem? It is basic to our problems. There are numerous intimidating instances of cases of corruption. Suffice it to main mention only two of them. On October 12, 2017, a Federal High Court, Lagos, ordered the permanent forfeiture of 56 houses situated in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja, valued at $21,982,224 (about N3.3 billion) allegedly linked to a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, to the Federal Government. In many parts of this country, some towns or village equal to this figure, pretty indicating that the former Minister possessed a town or village as her estate. Is this not strange in a country where many workers are unpaid for several months? Prof. Ben Nwabueze’s Igbo Leaders of Thought (ILT) is telling Federal Government that ‘‘Corruption is not our main problem.’’
Further, ex-Head of State, General Sani Abacha, squirrelled a princely sum of $321 million to Switzerland. On November 1, this year, the Federal Government authorized the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to endorse an agreement between Nigeria and Switzerland to facilitate the repatriation of the huge loot at the global forum on Asset recovery in the USA. Compare this with the situation in which 149 stranded Nigerians were returned from Libya after their failed pursuit of Golden Fleece. These unfortunate Nigerians were in search of survival, which is a mirage. Still, Prof. Nwabueze and his kinsmen in Igbo land do not recognize corruption as the country’s main problem. It is very shameful and ridiculous for a foremost lawyer to be enmeshed in this unwholesome controversy.
There is the need to go down memory lane to enlighten the youth. In the First Republic, the Northern People Congress (NPC) coalesced with the National Council of Nigeria and Cameroon (NCNC) to rule the country from Independence to January 15, 1966. The Prime Minister was Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, whilst the Governor-General (later, the President) was Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. In the Opposition was Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s Action Group (AG). In the political setting, Yoruba race remained contented and did not demand for ‘’Oduduwa Republic’’. Today, why must Prof. Nwabueze connect the Yoruba with Ndigbo’s clamour for Biafra? This is why Ayo Adebanjo and the other Yoruba compatriots must be wary of Igbo’s antics and tactics of luring the Yoruba into the unholy demands.
Strange to relate, the older generations of Ndigbo, particularly those who witnessed the Civil War, were insincere with their young ones. Immediately after the war, the elders began to feed the young ones with the garbage of falsehood about the Civil War to poison their innocent minds against other tribes in the country. Pamphlets of such falsehood were printed for distribution to the youth. Certainly, those who are clamouring for Biafra are victims of such falsehood. They might have grown up to nurse animosity against Nigeria and Nigerians. This writer is authoritative on this, because of his possession of a copy, until about ten years ago when it was torn into shreds as it was considered worthless. Indeed, such publication was unfortunate, but it is necessary to intimate young Ndigbo of it for their enlightening.
On restructure and true federalism, was it not the Ndigbo who, in league with General J.T.U. Aguiyi Ironsi, introduced Decree 34 of 1966 unitary system after January 15, 1966? Ndigbo themselves impaired true Federalism, believing that unitary system help benefit them to rule the country in fulfillment of their ambitious mantra- ‘‘Igbo domination of Nigeria is a question of time.’’
On the separate “Republic of Biafra,” if the original apostle, Lieutenant-Colonel Odumegwu-Ojukwu, could regret his agitation and struggle for it later in his life, that it was a trace of youthful exuberance, who is Nnamdi Kanu, unborn yet during the Civil War? All these demands are diversionary and bogus. Buhari is right on corruption and must be supported.
Oshisada, a veteran journalist, wrote from Ikorodu, Lagos.
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