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Buhari’s sadness over corruption fishing corruption

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President Buhari

It is hard to overstate how the All Progressives Congress (APC) manifesto and campaign slogan ‘change’ charged the political atmosphere in 2015 elections. For sheer breath of ambition, the country has seen nothing like it not even at the height of independence agitations by our founding fathers. In truth, however, there was plenty of evidence that many Nigerians were hungry for a change then. In no small measure, the APC politicians tried to arouse the people’s consciousness and cause them to irk about their ignorance and suffering amid plenty. The APC under the influence of being genuine nation builder promised almost everything they could think of and spoke as if they were magicians just to clinch power. The masses’ emotions were further spiked to the rooftop with statements such as the ones credited to the former governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Fashola on electricity that, “a serious government will fix power problems in six months and the only way to have stable power is to vote out the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)”. Sadly, on electricity today, every Nigerian has their tales of woe and the rest is left for history to judge.

Also, President Muhammadu Buhari used his unique selling point as a man of integrity in a statement credited to him in the United Kingdom. In February 2015 he said, “…let me give you an instance, presently, there are more than six aircraft in the presidential fleet. What do you call that? Billions of naira is budgeted every year for the maintenance of these aircraft not to talk of operational cost and other expenses….we intend for instance to bring back our National carrier, the Nigeria Airways. We shall do this by bringing all the aircraft in the presidential fleet into the Nigerian airways and within a year increase the fleet to about 20”. It is ironic that Nigerians are not only wondering why lots of these promises remain elusive but that the ruling APC government still attributes its failures to past administrations. Many Nigerians are currently feeling very uncomfortable with the change we now experience. This is because, what the APC fought against is manifesting on daily basis under the watch of President Buhari administration.

In the last couple of weeks, public attention has been drawn to the spectacles of corruption cases in the country. This has shown that moral values are fast diminishing among the people. As it were, integrity, honesty and dedication to duty have collapsed in the society and particularly so among politicians and political office holders. The menace of corruption in Nigeria, especially in terms of the threat it poses to the country’s development is beyond explanation. Last week, a disappointed President Buhari spoke against the backdrop of the ongoing investigations of the affairs of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) expressing regrets that some public officials put in positions of trust had abused the confidence reposed in them. Therefore, President Buhari emplaced the special investigative panel on EFCC to ensure the probe of all cases while he vowed to get to the roots of the problem that is undermining the development of the Niger Delta in spite of enormous national resources dedicated to it annually.

It is important to remind ourselves that, politics in Nigeria has become a breeding industry for corruption and it is growing fast by the day. It is not an overstatement to say that in most countries eyes, Nigeria inspires either awe or disdain. This is because politicians display themselves before the masses in behemoth nature over everything and they have corruptly gobbled up every public institution in the country. Their monstrous proportion has recently caused some foreign students on scholarship under the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to live a beggarly life abroad.

And back home, the 13 per cent oil revenue derivation meant for improving the lives of the people in the Niger Delta region hardly reflect with the state of infrastructure in the region. One can only imagine the amount of suffering ordinary Nigerians are facing daily in the country. As it were, corruption has been largely responsible for the seeming collapse of every institution in the country.

It is disheartening to note that corruption is not only systemic, it has become institutionalised that no aspect of societal life is spared. At inception, the Buhari administration seemed ready to fight corruption no matter whose ox is gored. Regrettably, at the moment, the ruling government can be referred to as a toothless bulldog that lacks the political will and action to pursue its objectives. For a government that was founded on the wings of radical change with a burning desire to purge the nation of bandits, terrorism, and corruption among others within the shortest possible time according to their pledge.

Yet, after over five years in office, the ruling government continues to give flimsy excuses for its woeful failure. One is not surprised because the blatant disregard of constitutional checks and balances continue to scuttle the chances of the ruling government to move in any meaningful direction that will create an atmosphere of discipline in public institutions and the society at large. Public offices are now seen as avenues for self enrichment, rather than service. The private sector is not even spared of the phenomenon. Currently, the National Assembly members are considering how to rejig the electricity privitasation contracts that gave birth to the Dicos and Gencos because of some unpleasant conditions that are associated with corruption. Of course, if they succeed in doing that, it will give the nation a bad image of a country that does not hounour its contract agreement and will equally make the country a destination that foreign investors will avoid like plague.

The need for the Buhari government to scrutinise the books of the previous governments and to checkmate his administration’s transactions is a move in the right direction. However, the point must be emphasised that anti-corruption war is to get justice not vengeance. Again, given the limited time at his disposal, will President Buhari be able to embark on this heinous task of probing past and present administrations? Anyway, from past experience corruption probe usually produced a smoking gun that may hardly consume anybody because almost every politician, past or present governments have soiled their fingers and are therefore misdemeanors collaborators.

However, in order not to create any suspicion of political witch-hunting, the probe process must be transparent and the public must be duly informed about the proceedings. Therefore, President Buhari should not waiver on his stand against the cankerworm called corruption. This will go a long way to make the Buhari administration regain some of its lost glory. All told, that will also create an atmosphere of discipline in the society and to a large extent purge the people of the phenomenon called corruption in the country.


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