Frenemies on the prowl
Again, Nigeria is at another threshold of its history. It is celebrating its fifty-fifth anniversary as a sovereign state. Needless to say, Nigeria’s heroes past have labored to keep the country together in a way that it should be measuring up to others in the comity of nations but at 55 Nigeria is just rising from a deep, long and embarrassing slumber.
Nevertheless, we must congratulate her for remaining one, against the odds. However, there are disturbing signals from Nigeria’s inner recesses which fundamentally have to do with its trust and justice. Justice is a concept that we cannot touch, see, hear, smell or taste. But when there is justice, we often feel it. When there is injustice we all suffer it. Every time the courts strike a blow at corruption we enjoy a sense of relief. But make no mistake about it, each time corruption is accosted it strikes back with a vengeance. Pioneer EFCC boss, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu who once fought corruption to a standstill in the country and declared that when you fight corruption, corruption fights you back will forever live with its bitter taste.
When his words came to pass with corruption fighting him, the anti-corruption czar had to run out of the country to escape the cold claws of evil. It is a miracle today that he lives to tell his tale. Things remained that way for a while until now that President Muhammadu Buhari resumes the fight against corruption again. As a nation, we should find great comfort in the idea of the corrupt paying for their wrongdoings.
But do we? It is disheartening that many people in high places support corruption and describe those fighting it as wizards, engaging in witch hunts. We have every reason to cheer on the fight against corruption in Nigeria which for President Muhammadu Buhari, is a key focus. We have evidence to prove that in the just dispatched administration of Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, corruption had blocked the country’s progress towards high-income nation status. Our people became largely impoverished.
Youth employment was only for those who wore a bowler hat. Economic emancipation was for a chosen few. It also did not happen through hard work and perseverance but through stealing which the president himself described as not corruption. So is it a surprise today that 83 senators are ganging up to thwart the war against corruption that the Buhari set out to pursue vigorously? Don’t get me wrong. These senators may claim that they are entitled to their opinions. They may also insist that they have the right to associate with whosoever they wish and desire but they shouldn’t forget that without the express mandate of the people they represent their feet might never have seen the paved streets of Abuja. In fact, it is my candid opinion that short of being described as an endorsement of corruption, the vote of confidence, which is taking place for the second time in as many months is uncalled for. In actual sense, it has further damaged the credibility of the senate, which since the commencement of this democracy has been operating at variance with the wishes and aspirations of the Nigerian people. They are therefore Nigeria’s frenemies. Corruption erodes public confidence in the ability of government and other key institutions in maintaining a levelplaying field for all, and could dissuade ordinary people from contributing their quota to the development of the country. Corruption discourages greater participation in the national economy, and therefore has an adverse effect on Nigeria’s talent pool. There has always been this growing concern that corruption is siphoning resources away from the land. In the last couple of years, small enterprises were simply vanishing from Nigeria just as entrepreneurial skills were becoming scarce and unattractive. Because of the monumental over arch of the claws of corruption, young Nigerians had abandoned all avenues for the acquisition of valuable skills to sit at drinking joints and deliberate the abilities of those who have stolen the national patrimony dry and how they were able to dip their hands in the tills. Industry became extinct. Graft became distinct. The youths became confused and the nation became comprehensively destroyed. This is a scourge that afflicts us all, and everybody has a part to play in the efforts to curb it.
While always, we turn to the enforcement agencies and the judiciary to get affirmation that the rule of law is working well and that nobody is above the law, these distinguished senators who lent credence to the obstruction of justice in the hallowed red chamber have shown without remorse that Nigeria can very well expire, for all they care. What is it that Nigeria’s senators are missing here? The fight against corruption demands integrity, courage and stamina. It is a long, tough campaign. Small or big, every victory means something. It reinforces our belief in doing the rights things and pushes us forward. But with an interloper group like
Nigeria’s 83 “yes men” from the red chamber, it is nigh to question who needs enemies? Methinks if this momentum is allowed to flourish, this might well be an anniversary that Nigerians will not forget in a long time. Happy Independence Anniversary, poor country.