Buhari’s way for­ward and his legacy (I)

Daily Trust - - OPINION - By Sabo I. So­dangi

If I were PMB, I would worry about my legacy fifty or hun­dred years from now and not just the next elec­tion as most or­di­nary lead­ers do for PMB is no or­di­nary leader and that is why most Nige­ri­ans voted for him.

So what does he want Nige­ria to be in the next fifty or hun­dred years from now? In short what is his vi­sion for Nige­ria? Does he want Nige­ria to be in­dus­tri­alised pro­duc­ing most of what it con­sumes, solv­ing its se­cu­rity prob­lems with­out re­sort­ing to beg­ging any na­tion to as­sist, solv­ing its en­ergy and fuel prob­lems with­out re­sort­ing to im­por­ta­tion, en­sur­ing full em­ploy­ment for its cit­i­zens, turn­ing the ma­jor­ity of Nige­ri­ans into mid­dle-class that can af­ford de­cent lives, good but af­ford­able health and ed­u­ca­tion for the ma­jor­ity of its or­di­nary cit­i­zens, etc. etc.

To achieve that, what does he need to do now? These are big is­sues and this is the time to start tack­ling them. And he, more than any­body else in Nige­ria today, has the golden op­por­tu­nity to do so. Of course he alone can­not achieve such feat. But then he is not alone. The whole coun­try is be­hind him re­quir­ing only his guid­ance, his in­cor­rupt­ible lead­er­ship.

This guid­ance can be re­duced into his phi­los­o­phy or ide­ol­ogy which has sev­eral pil­lars; dis­ci­pline, in­tegrity, trans­parency, ac­count­abil­ity, lead­er­ship by ex­am­ple and the fear of God among oth­ers. This ide­ol­ogy is what he needs to sell to or­di­nary Nige­ri­ans so that they will stand by him through thick and thin to pre­vent any in­di­vid­ual or group from hi­jack­ing his ef­forts. It is the back­ing of the masses more than any­one else that can make his ide­ol­ogy en­dure. Once this ide­ol­ogy per­me­ates down the masses, they will lay down their lives to sup­port it and en­sure that the changes he brings will out­live him many years to come. `

The first step in the ef­fort to sell his ide­ol­ogy to the masses is to en­sure that all the peo­ple around him, the peo­ple he ap­points and the peo­ple elected at var­i­ous lev­els and arms of gov­ern­ment he has to work with share this ide­ol­ogy. It is easy to know and judge if any agent of gov­ern­ment shares this ide­ol­ogy by his/her ac­tions and ut­ter­ances. Un­less they share this phi­los­o­phy they should have no place in gov­ern­ment. One of the sim­plest ways to judge is that such an agent pub­licly de­clares his/her as­sets prefer­ably be­fore or soon af­ter as­sum­ing duty and ev­ery year for the du­ra­tion of his/her ten­ure. This way we are sure that the agent is not in gov­ern­ment to en­rich him­self/her­self. In this pe­riod of change, only those that truly want to of­fer self­less ser­vice should be en­gaged in gov­ern­ment.

The big­gest cause of cor­rup­tion is money pol­i­tics and the quick­est way to abol­ish it is the strict en­force­ment of the as­sets dec­la­ra­tion pol­icy. As it is now, most of the elected of­fi­cials in all lev­els and arms of gov­ern­ment got where they are through money pol­i­tics. We need to weed out those who are still planning and hop­ing to ‘re­coup their in­vest­ment’ through du­bi­ous means and would do all they can to avoid hav­ing to de­clare their as­sets pub­licly as wit­nessed re­cently in the Cus­toms Depart­ment.

In or­der to strictly en­force the as­sets dec­la­ra­tion pol­icy as out­lined above, there is the ur­gent need to strengthen the CCB and its sis­ter or­gan­i­sa­tion, the CCT. This re­quires them to be fully oper­a­tional at all lev­els right down to all Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment wards. For now we can con­cen­trate on ex­tend­ing them down to states and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment lev­els. This is a gar­gan­tuan task and may take time and money to ac­com­plish but it will be very nec­es­sary if we are to even­tu­ally abol­ish money pol­i­tics.

Other agen­cies that need to be strength­ened and ex­tended down the po­lit­i­cal and ad­min­is­tra­tive units of gov­ern­ment are EFCC, ICPC, NOA, Rev­enue Mo­bil­i­sa­tion and Fis­cal Com­mis­sion (RMFC), The Of­fice of Au­di­tor­Gen­eral, Fed­eral Road Safety Com­mis­sion, DPR, NSDC, etc. These agen­cies should be manned as much as pos­si­ble by pa­tri­otic, in­cor­rupt­ible and self­less Nige­ri­ans.

One way to re­place money pol­i­tics is for Gov­ern­ment to en­cour­age the set­ting up of Po­lit­i­cal Ac­tion Com­mit­tees (PACs) by public-spir­ited in­di­vid­u­als and groups na­tion­wide that would iden­tify and en­cour­age pa­tri­otic in­di­vid­u­als to join ac­tive pol­i­tics and run for po­lit­i­cal of­fice. There may be the need for a law to be en­acted by the Na­tional Assem­bly guid­ing the for­ma­tion and oper­a­tion of such PACs.

In the pur­suit of change, it is nec­es­sary to fight the oxy­gen with­out which cor­rup­tion can­not ex­ist and that is im­punity. If PMB can con­cen­trate on fight­ing im­punity and achieve zero im­punity, the fight against cor­rup­tion would have been largely won. And it is eas­ier to fight im­punity than to fight cor­rup­tion it­self for all that is re­quired is to en­sure that all law break­ers are brought to book. Right now there are cur­rently two cases that all change-lov­ing Nige­ri­ans are keenly watch­ing: Sen­a­tor Saraki’s case at the CCT and the on-go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions on and even­tual prose­cu­tion in court of Ret. Colonel Sambo Da­suki’s role in the botchedup weapons’ pro­cure­ment in the dy­ing days of Jonathan ad­min­is­tra­tion. If PMB’s ad­min­is­tra­tion or gov­ern­ment al­lows any of these two cases to be bun­gled then we should for­get about change and any hope of turn­ing Nige­ria into the Giant of Africa that it should have been a long time ago.

As sug­gested by some so­cial com­men­ta­tors one way of fight­ing cor­rup­tion is the es­tab­lish­ment of a Truth Com­mis­sion as ex­em­pli­fied by a sim­i­larly named body in South Africa set up by Pres­i­dent Nel­son Man­dela in the postapartheid era to deal with the crim­i­nal acts com­mit­ted against the black peo­ples by all pre­vi­ous su­prem­a­cist gov­ern­ments and its agents in that coun­try. All those who com­mit­ted racial abuses against both blacks and whites were par­doned pro­vided they gave full dis­clo­sures on such abuses and asked for par­don. The pro­posed Truth Com­mis­sion in Nige­ria is to re­ceive ad­mis­sion of theft of funds or other as­sets pro­vided the cul­prits fully dis­close the de­tails of such thefts and re­turn to gov­ern­ment the stolen money or as­sets. In re­turn, gov­ern­ment will is­sue to such cul­prits full par­don and will be saved from be­ing im­pris­oned. Fail­ure to make such dis­clo­sure, any­one caught will be made to face the full le­gal con­se­quences in­clud­ing con­fis­ca­tion of as­sets and ap­pro­pri­ate jail terms.

Now that GMB has be­come PMB and his cab­i­net has been formed, what next? This is the sub­ject of next pa­per.

Engr. S. I. So­dangi saboiso­dangi@ya­hoo.com

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