THE COMING WAR AGAINST CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA
The all-out war against corruption in Nigeria will be officially declared on May 29, 2015. All the preliminary events before, are under way. The commander will be a retired army general Muhammadu Buhari who has re-enlisted. He will be assisted by Mr. Osibanjo, Mr. Tinubu, and Retired General Olusegun Obasanjo among others.
The war against corruption will be declared because all stake holders want it. They include foreign backers such as USA, UK, UN and other Western Countries. It is also the wish of millions of Nigerians. The war against corruption meets the definition of a just war by religious, human rights, United Nations and other world bodies. It can be said that even God wants this war waged. Nigeria could not move forward until this war is fought and won clearly.
In other to fight a war, it behooves the warriors to know the enemy and to minimize collateral damages. To annihilate the enemies the war should be taken to all its sectors for if one sector is allowed to escape, it could start a guerilla movement which might rise to another full blown war. Scoping out the war sectors is the challenge of the Commander-In-Chief's responsibilities. Once the sectors are defined, the CIC will appoint Division commanders. Here are some possible sectors of the war:
- Clerks in most LGA, State, and Federal Offices. These are the men and women who demand a few bucks from citizens before they can hand out any ordinary forms such as a passport form. They also require “something” to accept your tax payments to the government. These clerks make life much more difficult for ordinary citizens to live a normal life. They probably number in the millions.
- Teachers. Teachers are the custodians of our youth, the most important asset that Nigeria has. Yet these men and women exact bad influence on our kids and teach them corruption when they take money from them for lecture notes, for admissions to the institutions, to award earned and unearned grades, to provide housing in the dorms and for a myriad of services that are already covered by tuition fees. If corruption is ranked, this could be the worst kind because of its impact on the present and future of Nigeria. Teachers of all grades may number up to a million.
- Religious Leaders. Go to any church or mosque or wherever religious activity is taking place. You will see a reserved parking spot for the religious leader. The best vehicle on the lot is usually that of the religious leader. Some of them have their own jets to fly over the country and abroad. Their salaries on the books are mere pittance but their mansions, cars, girl/boy friends are hundred folds more than the salaries could provide. Their real wealth comes from corruption. They pickpocket their followers in a reverse way by robbing the poor to pay the rich. They demand payments for praying or rather what I call the modern day selling of indulgences. You rob the government or bank or extract ransom from the relatives of a kidnapped victim, and you may build a church with a fraction of the proceeds and your religious leader cleanses you of all your sins. Bad, bad, bad. Street corner preachers, pastors reverend gentlemen/women, from all denominations, sects, Christian and Muslim make up this group which might be as many as hundreds of thousands.
- Law enforcement officers. Driving from Enugu to Abuja a driver must have a lot of cash to distribute to police and other law enforcement officers; mounting legal and illegal road blocks. N20 here and N50 there. The cost in money and time is immeasurable. And God forbid that you are involved in a land dispute. They will camp out at your place extracting from both sides and never doing anything. Black mail, threats, incitement to riot, are some of the tools used to take more money from both parties/villages. They even take money to arrest and detain innocent people and then demand ransom from the victims' family. Ask Emeka Ugwuonye and those who had the bad luck to go inside a Nigerian concentration camp. And if you have murderers and robbers visit you at your home at night, you do not get any help until they leave.
- The judiciary. If your case ever makes it to trial, what the police left of your resources will now be taken by the court system. Magistrates, judges up to the Supreme Court and all the rest are involved. General Buhari, if he dares to go to this front would be accused of interfering with the judiciary. Election malpractice, stealing votes, professors' strikes, illegal dismissals of employees, etc. are all subject to the auction law of the highest bidder.
- Governors and Legislature. No less a person than the former Governor of the Central Bank had alleged that up to 25% of the country's money is spent on the up keep of about 500 legislators. They make more than even the president of USA and more than other parliamentarians all over the world. The country has separation of powers and GMB must violet the constitution to fight their earnings. If you ever become a state governor, your pay and other remunerations are for life. They loot while in government and while out of it. Mr. Tinubu could offer one or two ideas on how this is done.
- The executive. All but just a few of ministers have been accused of looting from the award of contracts, from purchasing procedures. Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo entered a pauper and emerged a billionaire. Atiku Abubarkar, could be another poster boy for this sector. Before them Abacha, IBB, etc., had their turns at the treasury. The current incumbent may have had his go too.
- The big “knowns.” We know that about $10 billion was recovered from Abacha's loot but we do not know where it went. We heard that $20 billion is missing from NNPC and its siblings. We have no idea about where it went. We know that contracts were awarded for building and rebuilding some of the destroyed roads in Eastern Nigeria but we know they were not built and we do not know where the money went. For upwards of 16 years Nigeria has been trying to build a second Niger bridge but the death trap is still there waiting to consume travelers. Enugu airport is now called “International.” Go look! Or if it is closer go look at Muritala Mohammed Airport in Lagos. Enugu-Onitsha road, Enugu PH road, even the tiny Ugwuoba-Akpugoeze-Inyi-Awlaw-Okigwe road contract is alleged to have been awarded and re-awarded a few times. It is dangerous to ply on it. You do so at your own risk. Where did the money go?
- The big “unknowns”. Oil and gas importation, Ajeokuta steel mill, internal revenue collections, oil subsidies, university allocations, civil service payments (often several months in arrears). Who has all this money? Where did private jet owners get the money to buy one or two jets? Why are soldiers fighting a war without weapons, even though we have a huge budget for security? What is the governors' security budgets used for?
- Etc., etc.
In this Buhari's war on corruption the only agreement is that it must be fought and that we must win it. Beyond that some hold that GMB should start with the past administration so long as it does not include the incoming administration members who may have stolen or been corrupt in the past. He must start with Yoruba looters but no Igbo or Hausa. He should not forget that the North had been in charge for the 45 of 60 years of independence. PDP bankrupted Nigeria but APC should not be part of the enemy. He should go after big looters and leave alone teachers and clerks. Security officers should be exempt or he would be asking for a coup. Danjuma and other past military looters should be forgiven or treated as saints but Ms. Allison Madueke must be probed. Hausa/Fulani ought to be spared because Muslims are saints but Christians should bear the brunt of the probe; oh no! the South are the big looters.
The first indicator of how this war will be fought is the appointments of sector commanders from clerks' to teachers' to the big “unknowns” and others listed above.
If I were Buhari, I will just try to build up agriculture, education, roads, and increase power and water supply and leave the war on corruption and the war on BH for now.
The choice is GMB's to make.
Written by Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba.