The Guardian
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You don’t throw away dirty water for as long as you haven’t got any clean


This statement is credited to Konrad Adenauer who was Chancellor of West Germany from its foundation in 1949 to 1963. He made the statement in relation to the people who surrounded him as Chancellor and were in charge of making a success of his chancellorship.

Many of them were people who had “participated in the ruin of their country, Germany.”

Can a Nigerian President give the same statement if accused today of depending on those who have looted the resources of this country to help him run the affairs of the country?

In the matter of corruption are we already at the irredeemable level as determined by Machiavelli quoted in a recent essay by James Holmes? Machiavelli is said to conclude “that no man can live long enough to tame a state that has had bad habits for a long time”.

What does a young Nigerian politician do when he contemplates his political future under a godfather who has fought to keep out of court his corruption cases for over a decade or two?

Does he or she have a future in a politics dominated by 70 year olds, 80 year olds insisting on running again and again? From where cometh the clean spring water to replace the dirty water?

Dr. Hans Josef Maria Globke was in charge of national security as well as other matters in the government of Chancellor Adenauer. Globke worked for the Prussian government before Hitler.

For Hitler he drafted the Nuremberg Law revoking the German citizenship of Jews, and for purposes of identification, required them to insert the word Sara or Israel into their names. Non-Jews who were married to Jews were ordered to get rid of their spouses.

Serving under Adolf Eichmann in the Nazi Office of Jewish Affairs Dr. Globke drafted a new law for the protection of German Blood and German Honour, which sounded the signal for the Holocaust.

All this time Dr. Globke “re-insured himself with right wing anti-Nazi resistance groups, so much so that he was earmarked for high office should plotters succeed in getting rid of Hitler.” They did not.

After the war, he eluded half-hearted Allied attempts to prosecute him. Chancellor Adenauer was determined to have him on his side. The British did not stand in his way.

In 1951 Dr. Globke drafted a legislation for his and his former and present Nazi colleagues, civil servants of the Hitler regime whose careers had been curtailed by circumstances beyond their control.

Henceforth these people would receive full restitution of such pay, back-pay and pension rights as they would have enjoyed if the Second World War hadn’t taken place, or if Germany had won it.

In a word, they would be entitled to whatever promotion, would have come their way had their careers proceeded without the inconvenience of Allied victory. The effect was immediate. The old Nazi guard clung to plump jobs. A younger, less tarnished generation was consigned to life with little prospects.

Imagine that civilian order could be restored in 1999 when Nigeria returned to civilian administration and the army bowed out of government in shame and little to claim as achievement of 30 years misrule, imagine if it could be decreed that all those who lost their jobs, who were unfairly dismissed and penalised for no particular causes, must return and resume their positions. It was not possible. It was impossible because we never returned to a proper civilian administration.

The man who became president was an ex general of the Nigerian army as well as a former military dictator. Since then another ex general and former military dictator has become president. The National Assembly as well as the state assemblies are full of members who are former military officers.

The three most often referred to, as the managers of Nigeria Inc are Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalaam Abubakar all ex generals of the Nigerian army, all former military presidents of Nigeria. That is how much Nigeria has returned to civilian rule!

Unlike Germany having to make do with former servers of Nazism, the corrupt in government today are not all from the military establishment. And in some cases brothers are replacing brothers while sons-in-law are sponsored to replace governors. These are signs that corruption continues.
And that the dirty water will not be poured away.

Sometimes some people wonder why so much energy is spent on this matter of corruption. The reason for concern is that corruption destroys potential. And as we all seem to know potential has a shelf life.

And while it is impossible to put expiry date on a country’s potential, it is obvious in the case of Nigeria that our potential is no longer relevant to anything.

There was a time when you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing of Nigeria’s potential. Ali Mazrui predicted Nigeria would catch up with western countries in less than twenty years.

Thereafter Nigerian soldier politicians predicted that by 1990, by year 2000 and by year whatever figures Nigeria would be better. And Nigeria is still not better. Nowadays nobody bothers to predict any more.

If better dey come ‘e don meet accident for road. The police claim that no accident has been reported concerning any one or any thing named ‘Better.’

Along with the expiration of potential is the fact that the younger ones who should be the clean water are on their way out of the country. They are on their way to South Africa and Europe through Niger and the Sahara with a short spell in Libya as slaves.

They are on the move on foot and in dugout boats and wretched agbegilodo type vehicles! No wonder many of them perish on the way, in the desert, at sea buried by strangers in unknown places.

It must be painful to those who looked at the baby Nigeria and predicted the great heights it would ascend and obstacles it would over come to see it today wallow in the dirty water it cannot throw away. We are in tears.

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