EFCC – Watching PDP “Kill” Nigeria Slowly - by Idumange John

Source: huhuonline.com
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Nigeria is like a giant elephant, and the seven blind men of Hindustani are bound to perceive the country differently. Whereas some incurable optimists see the nation as capable of becoming the 20th greatest economy in the world, others believe that we cannot inch anywhere close to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) even as our homegrown economic development strategy is in serious jeopardy. Yet The faintly optimistic still hold the view that Nigeria can only make a quantum leap if we put in place basic infrastructure such as power, as no development can occur in the dark, certainly not with the NIGERSAT 1 that fell from its orbit after gulping a whopping N40 billion naira. Whereas the NIGERSAT 1 saga begs for investigation, the Local Organizing Committee of the just concluded under 17 football tournament has recorded another monumental fraud, which is being investigated. The Vice President is heading the team because of lack of confiden

The 49th independence anniversary of Nigeria provided another delicious opportunity to appraise the tortuous road we have traveled as a nation, and the democracy dividends the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has delivered to the people. The national reappraisal is necessary because at 49 years, a nation should be serious enough to correct to past mistakes and chart a new direction for the future. The Afrocentric ideological permutations that pointed at the slave trade, colonialism and imperialism as welcome excuses for our inertia are no longer attractive. Most Nigerians regard the past 10 years of democracy as years of anguish, waste and retrogression - an indication that PDP is winning the battle to permanently entrench poverty, stagnation and a “no grow” agenda in the polity. This scheme seems to be succeeding.

I was tempted to hold a quarrel with a writer who described Nigeria as a “Giant Cripple at 49, but I resisted the temptation because the writer might have been very modest. In the Beijing Olympics, able bodied Nigerians participated but they never won even a gold medal; only the physically challenged hauled about 4 gold medals - an indication that even cripples are more determined to win laurels for Nigeria than the physically fit. If cripples are so resolved to lift this nation to the pinnacle of greatness, why can't the people in public offices help to build the nation?

It also occurred to me that the “Cripple at 49 hypothesis” may not be wrong afterall. Now, all public institutions in Nigeria have been crippled by corruption and misgovernment. Education is comatose; the health sector is hellish, while road infrastructures are mournfully decrepit. Nigeria constitutes only a tiny 2% of the world population but constitutes 10% of the world's maternal and infant mortality. Government has given up on power supply, as generators constitute the main sources of power supply; public taps may remain dry forever. Housing schemes embarked upon by successive administrations have been deleted from our national development agenda. What a catastrophic plunge?

The Magnus Kpakol led National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) has served as a conduit pipe to service the pockets of the rich. Poverty has been aggravated and politics has taken over from development. The refineries that were hitherto working at full installed capacity are now mere museums. Proposed turn around maintenance is usually sabotaged by importers of petroleum products and generator moguls. Worst still, the progressive increase in the pump price of Petroleum Product has not translated to improved capacity utilization. All these are symptoms of a crippled economy.

When I took a gaze at the political class, I saw a confused congregation of “cripples”, some of them limping for survival. Most public office holders are either paranoid, narcissistic ensnared in their own megalomania. Those who are intelligent enough to understand how to deliver good governance are morally leprous. In Nigeria, the motivation for internal conflict as manifested in the micro-insurgency in the Niger Delta Region arose from the grievances associated with unequal distribution of wealth, economic exclusion, political marginalization social polarization and alienation.

In the banking sector – which is the dynamo that launches the economy to orbit, the 13-point agenda were abandoned by the former Central Bank Governor. The new CBN Governor like emperor Menelik has initiated far reaching reforms. From the Sanusi tsunami people have witnessed so far that the indefatigable Professor of Economics, who superintended over the apex bank has been reduced to a Lilliputian in the eyes of the Public, yet he is contesting the Governorship seat of Anambra State. Research conducted in 2008 by Transparency International showed that among 180 countries Nigeria ranked 121st position in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI). As CBN Governor Soludo paid blind eyes to this ugly index, but PDP is the winning Party and he might have been anointed to run for governorship in Anambra State.

This rating has worsened in 2009. The Transparency International reported in 2009 that Nigeria now ranks 130th out of 180 countries In terms of Corruption Perception Index (CPI), which is an indication that the anti-corruption war is waning. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seems to be losing the battle. If the battle is lost then Mrs Farida Waziri should throw in her resignation before she is dragged to the public domain for thorough scrutiny.

In fact PDP is winning. Governor Ikedi Ohakim of Imo State was propped up to upset Senator Ararume. Now he has joined the League of other decampees like Governor Isa Yuguda and their followers to the PDP. PDP is bent on destabilizing the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) Party and Professor Iwu would be the Man Friday to execute the assignment. Nigeria is the only nation clapping with one hand; while even monarchs can be murdered in broad day light near police check points.

PDP will succeed in inciting rebellion against itself if her leaders do not spread the dividends of democracy. For now, no matter how rickety the “civilian tyrants” mismanage the nation, military option is ruled out but the ruling class should know that the colony of the despondent, disillusioned and frustrated is mounting and the masses seem to be inching near the limits of human endurance. That is why Nigerians emigrate to China to populate Chinese prisons; the unlucky ones are summarily executed and cremated. In Libya, Nigerians are tortured daily, and a great many are kept in underground prisons to die slowly. Sadly, Ojo Maduekwe has no answer to these questions. Since we do not even know how many we are in Nigeria, how can we know the number of Nigerians that are killed in Libya, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Gabon, and other countries where Nigerians tend to stay as economic refugees.

The only reason we have not chorused “to your tents oh! Israel is the crude oil and gas deposited in the fertile womb of the creeks and Chicoco of the mangrove swamps of the Niger Delta. Under the guise of curbing militancy the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) has violated the sanctity of the creeks. The Federal Government through the multinational corporations suck up the resources of the Region but in the nearest future the inhabitants have had to contend with flood, tsunami, earthquake and other natural catastrophes. This is why every concerned Niger Deltan celebrating the current amnesty programme has more reasons to weep.

One area the President has achieved so much is in the area of Amnesty for “Militants”. The Presidency with his huge bureaucratic apparatus has subtly persuaded the Youths in the Niger Delta to surrender their guns even though the fundamental causes of the crisis have not been attended to some of the baptized militants hold the view that even though they have surrendered their arms, they will never surrender their conscience that the struggle has ended. This writer suggests very strongly that the “gun surrender thing” should be used to replace one of the seven-point agenda such as power supply. The hollowness of the Amnesty deal is that nothing has been done to assuage the fears of the baptized, born again, democratic militants about Poverty, unemployment, marginalization and other factors that prompted the mini-insurgency.

Electioneering campaigns would soon commence and the pre-occupation of political office holders would be to stockpile monies to pay ballot-box stuffers, INEC staff to edit and falsify results and returning officers to announce results in favour of PDP. The implication is that all development projects would be halted and the much-orchestrated seven-point agenda would be abandoned. The thrust and tone of Yar'Adua's Independence Day broadcast betrayed how helpless the Federal Government has failed to implement its promises. If it is true that the nation has been crippled by corruption and maladministration, Mr. President should now stop the sloganization of “rebranding” because image-making does not put bread on the tables of the masses.

We are all aware that telling lies under oath is perjury, which according to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a criminal offence. Mr. President under the Seventh Schedule (Page 158) of the Constitution (1999) swore to discharge his duties to the best of his ability faithfully … and always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well being and prosperity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria… in the circumstance, his political party PDP violates the solidarity of the nation by adopting a policy of divide et Impera. The billions of naira which accrued from crude oil have not been prudentially utilized to secure the wellbeing and prosperity of the nation. This is evident in government's inability to provide the basic necessities of life.

The President has lied under oath. By his action of commission or omission, the President has conspired with the State governors to impose severe hardship on Nigerians. If Mbakwe were alive to see how crippled the nation has become he would have called for a crop of benevolent military men to takeover. But that option is not viable any longer. The legislators in some States intimidate their Governors with impeachment and compel them to dole out stupendous sums of money without recourse to accountability. In such State, budgets are implemented by the rule of the thumb. Will Nigeria remain in its crippled state and for how long will the PDP kill the nation slowly? Is there no second option to this reign of impunity? Is the political class calling for a revolution? Or are they aware that the poverty and criminality pervading the land is their handiwork?

What is common knowledge is that in Nigeria we have “democrats” wearing the toga of Pol Pot of Indonesia, Pinochet of Chile, the sit-tight mentality of Eyadema and the kleptomania of Mobutu. From the National Assembly through the State Assemblies, the gavel is more dangerous that the sophisticated munitions surrendered by the “freedom fighters” in the Niger Delta Region. The gavel in the hands of our law makers is like a magic wand that can turn black into white and transform kleptocrats into saints. If the gavel is more dangerous than militancy, then the law makers also need Presidential Amnesty for breaching their oath of office.

The ruling PDP, with the symbol of umbrella is supposed to protect people from the scorching scourge of hunger, poverty and the excruciating pains of deprivation. But under this dispensation, the umbrella has exposed the masses to the ultra-violet rays of poverty, hunger, mass unemployment and their attendant disasters. Now, the monster of insecurity is so pervasive that even the revered palaces of traditional rulers and their attendant sacrality have been desecrated by the goons groomed by the PDP.

if the Prince Vincent Ogbulafor's programme of 60 years of uninterrupted PDP tyranny is allowed to endure, then most Nigerians would certainly question the basis for our unity. For now it's just enough to alert Nigerians that PDP has crippled the nation and legitimized laissez-faire. And if this trend continues, we can as well celebrate a requiem high mass for the Rule of Law, which Mr. President uses as a mantra to hypnotize the conscience of Nigerians that things are getting better.

In my home State - Bayelsa State, the Law Makers are dangerously rich, while the misery index of the masses is increasing at supersonic speed. When I analyzed the composition of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly in Bayelsa East Senatorial District, I cannot help but sympathize with Governor Sylva because the eight members from the Senatorial District were shared between the Vice President, Dr. Goodluck Johnathan and Chief Timi Alaibe under an undemocratic terminology called harmonization. The harmonization policy has compromised quality on the altar of loyalty and prebendalism. I now know why the law makers harass the Governor with threats of impeachment and then shake him down. They are the richest honourable men I have ever seen in my life time, and I am helpless because I cannot even address a Press Conference for fear of being kidnapped. Verily, Governor Timipre Sylva may not have real loyalists in the BSHA hence it may be difficult for him to manage the outrageous demands of the honourable men. Little wonder, most of them have used the ill-gotten wealth to build massive hotels and own choice property even at the sufferance of their legislative duties. For example, the famous multimillion Naira AYALLA HOTELS in Yenagoa is owned by just a serving law maker from my Senatorial District.

I also know that these law makers are too rich and expensive for the EFCC to probe. The logical conclusion is that using, the Bayelsa State House of Assembly as a microcosm of the macrocosm, the Corruption Perception Index can only increase in the foreseeable future.

The EFCC is watching the potential giant of Africa being reduced to a mere footnote. My humble suggestion is that if the EFCC cannot prosecute high profile corruption, government should privatize the crusade against official corruption. Perhaps, that is the only way I may be competent or conjure the bravura to question how the Law Makers in Bayelsa State are performing their oversight functions. It would also give me an insight into how they intimidate the executive arm of government to loot the commonwealth. We have a binary option: either to legalize corruption in Nigeria or privatize the fight against corruption for optimal results. Idumange John (MNIM, CBA)Is a University Lecturer & Activist

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