Corruption must not fight back
Every Nigerian wanted corruption, public enemy number one, killed and when Muhammadu Buhari returned on May 29, 2015 and said he was going to smash it with a sledgehammer, Nigerians were joyous. That declaration alone was taken for good governance.
And so far, nothing else outside the war on corruption, has counted for Buhari. But the war is not like the type between America and Iraq, where the former did all the pummeling and the latter all the absorption. Corruption is said to have capacity to fight back and the fight to stop corruption from fighting back has become as fierce as the main battle itself.
Any speech or action that calls attention to the unconventionality of Buhari’s battle plan is described as corruption fighting back. For instance, if in the course of the battle the President unleashed secret police on serving judges in the middle of the night and people observed the action did not follow due process, it would be interpreted as corruption fighting back. A respected Senior Advocate of Nigeria called Prof. Itse Sagay would even be the first to say so. If it is observed too that a man fighting corruption should not eat with sinners it will be called corruption trying to fight back.
Like Midas in Roman mythology, Buhari has a mysterious touch that upgrades every low substance he touches to gold. If he touches a Maina for instance, the man alleged to have harvested for himself billions of pensioners’ money, Maina is automatically cleansed and rewarded with reinstatement, promotion and reimbursement of salary arrears. If Buhari touches Baru, the latter’s alleged award of $25 billion contract without due process, becomes national service.
If a man uses N250 million to cut grass in a desert, he becomes an award-winning worker if Buhari touches him. It seems President Buhari’s holiness is much stronger than that of the Pope and by mere association, filthy men and women can be made holy by the arising energy. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi and Kayode John Fayemi former governors of Rivers and Ekiti States are close to Buhari. That proximity has converted their indictment at different times by judicial commissions of inquiry in the two states to commendation for them to continue till the end as Honourable Ministers.
Another ex-governor called Timipreye Sylva who also stands within the holy ambience of Buhari is reaping bountifully. Before he became governor in 2007, the highest public office Mr. Sylva had held was a two-year stint as a member, Rivers State House of Assembly in the ill-fated Babangida engineered Third Republic. He was in limbo until about 2003 when he embarked on a rehabilitation voyage as Special Assistant to former Petroleum Minister, Dr. Edmund Daukoru, now the Amanayebo of Nembe Kingdom.
Mr. Sylva does not have any known robust business history. He was Governor of Bayelsa State for only four years at the end of which he became rich enough to allegedly own 48 houses in different locations in Nigeria. The annual salary of a governor is about N12 million per annum according to statistics by the Revenue, Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC). If an average cost of each of the 48 houses is most conservatively put at N25 million, it will take N1.2 billion and 100 years (given that his entire annual salary is invested in the projects) for Mr. Sylva to float those 48 houses.
I wouldn’t know how the review was done but in the end of it all, it was discovered that Mr. Sylva had worked hard enough in four years to legitimately earn money to build his 48 houses, which had been wrongfully confiscated by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC). Charges of fraudulent enrichment against him were dropped and the houses returned to him, perhaps with an apology for the embarrassment that the overzealous EFCC had caused him.
Another man called Usman Yusuf who was found guilty of harvesting big where he did not sow in the Ministry of Health, precisely at the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), had managed to escape into the holy ambience of President Buhari and his sins which were as red as scarlet became as white as snow. His sins were forgiven him and directed by his holiness to return to work as Executive Secretary of the NHIS and sin no more.
This is why I will advise Femi Fani-Kayode and the people on the other side, who have been struggling since May 29, 2015 to prove their innocence against charges of corruption to simply summon courage and cross the thin line that separates hell from heaven in Buhari’s Nigeria and become dwellers of heaven. Even if they do not wish to stand close to Buhari on holy grounds as others, they should forgo the umbrella for the broom so that they also can sweep their alleged sins under the mat.
For instance, in the expanded list of treasury looters released by Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Information Minister, all APC members, including persons who changed from PDP to APC less than three years ago, were found to be very holy. I actually searched to no avail for Lai Mohammed’s name on the list. Remember this issue between him and the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission, soon after he became minister where it was alleged he had used some subterfuge to compel the commission to pick up one huge bill running into millions pertaining to some trade mission to China. I guess that one escaped EFCC radar because it had not been consummated; or was resolved amicably outside public purview at the APC family.
What I am saying now is also what the PDP has been saying since the list was released. The PDP people were even more surprised that nobody among past and present public operators in Lagos State, where lack of openness in public finances has remained a big issue made the list. And as usual, the list is being Modakekely (deriving from the resistance of the Modakekes against Ifes) defended such that any objection to its subjective content is described as corruption fighting back.
More seriously, how did we get here? Way back in Secondary School, when I read George Orwell’s allegory, where a certain Comrade Napoleon does no wrong, I didn’t contemplate for once that the setting of Animal Farm, which was based on the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia could be replicated here in Nigeria of 2018. In all things since 2015, Comrade Buhari, like the Orwellian Comrade Napoleon, has been right always. And there is a Squealer (the Farm’s minister of propaganda) in the form of Lai Mohammed in Nigeria, who is always on hand to explain every oddity as the new path to national prosperity.
Even the European slave barons had allowed their Black Slaves larger intellectual latitude than the APC is prepared to grant Nigerians with its bigotry. It is as if the 180 million Nigerians have been mentally castrated and have no memory or projection of anything. Sorry, it is my own way of explaining the APC’s position that only the PDP is corrupt and that the monies it, APC, used to prosecute the 2015 presidential election all came from clean sources.
Yet, if we dare say it couldn’t have happened that way, we would be called corruption fighting back. That is why we have accepted to be absolutely quiet on what it cost the nation to treat President Buhari in London for close to 200 days and his son Yusuf for 65 days in Germany. What I can say for now is that soon and very soon, the APC will come out with a position that the money for the medicals for father and son came from clean private sources.
And at the appointed time, Professor Yemi Osinbajo will be asked to break the news to Nigerians, after which Lai Mohammed will follow to reinforce the claim. APC is lucky to have a Professor as in-house orator. What else should they ask for?