Buhari, Corruption and Party Loyalty
“Corruption is worse than prostitution. The latter might endanger the morals of an individual, the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country”
The fight for justice against corruption is never easy. It never has been and will never be. It exacts a toll on our self, our families, our friends, and especially our children. In the end, I believe………, the price we pay is well worth holding on to our dignity.”
Frank Serpiro , American Actor
The war on corruption is the greatest source of excitement to Nigerians at this moment. Nigerians have come to the conclusion that this war has to be waged if this country must survive and take its place in the dignified comity of nations. Nigerians believe that this war on corruption is very necessary if there is any hope for Nigeria to live up to its promise to its citizens. In fact, some believe that if the war on corruption could be successfully waged in a fair, balanced and equitable manner, it might reduce the strong ethnic loyalties preeminent among most Nigerians, and buoy a sense of genuine patriotism to Nigeria.
Though, I do not subscribe to this school of thought – that it might reduce the strong ethnic loyalties among most Nigerians - I am willing to entertain it, at the level of fantasy. But I am unwilling to think of it as a probability. Regardless, I am of the view that whatever that would help make Nigerians sincerely committed to building the country is worth the effort and support of all and sundry. For someone like me, who believes that Nigeria has the higher probability of being Balkanized, this war on corruption would determine whether Nigeria could and would be saved.
“If you look at great human civilizations……… you will see that most do not fail simply due to external threats but because of internal weakness, corruption, or a failure to manifest the values and ideals they espouse.”
Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey
Nigeria has stopped breathing. It has been bludgeoned for the last 55 years. This war on corruption is the last cardiopulmonary resuscitation for Nigeria as a country. Hopefully, it would be able to gasp for breath, come back alive and be able to have stable breathing process, be strong enough and rise up to the tasks of being a meaningful country. It is essential that this happened. For anyone who has any iota of belief in this country as an entity; anyone that believes that this country has the potential to be excellent and viable; for anyone that believes that Nigeria is really worth it for all its challenges, this is the time to stand up and be counted.
“Money and corruption are ruling the land, crooked politicians betray the working man, pocketing the profits and treating us like sheep, and we’re tired of hearing promises that we know they’ll never keep.”
This is why President Mohammadu Buhari has a very great decision to make. He has to make up his mind. Does he want to be just another politician who became the president of Nigeria? Or does he want to be a statesman and truly build a new Nigeria that history would ascribe to him? Does he have the courage to be courageous? Is he willing and able to jettison the corrupt elements that brought him to power and face them down? Is he willing and able to really rock the boat and shake up the system? Does he have the courage and competence to change the course of Nigeria from perdition to paradise? Does he have the courage to call the bluff of the enemies of the country who have been holding the country hostage for all these decades?
Would President Buhari reward corrupt members of his party, All Progressives Congress (APC) as members of his cabinet? Would he prefer “political correctness” over the viability of this country? Would President Buhari betray the war on corruption and have looters in his cabinet to govern this country in the name of party loyalty and “political correctness”? Would he be selective in this war against corruption? Would President Buhari be able to call the bluff of looter - governors who bought jets from their meager allocation to their states? Would he be impeded in his moral judgment on behalf of Nigeria because he believes he owe such a governor something because he was allowed to fly around in such a jet during his election campaign?
Would President Buhari have enough courage to face down any accused member of APC and ask them to step back or step aside from his government? Would he have the courage to prosecute some of, if not all of his friends? Would the war of corruption be waged against the members of the opposition alone? Does President Buhari take the integrity of this war on corruption very seriously? Does he care how this war on corruption is perceived beyond his immediate circles? Does he really care about the success of this war on corruption by exuding enough determination to be fair, balanced and equitable? Is President Buhari really up to the task of waging this war against corruption in terms of the needed courage to see it through?
If one may ask the President, in view and in lieu of the variety of allegations flying around former Governors Rotimi Amaechi, Babatunde Fashola, Rochas Okorocha, Kayode Fayemi, Rabiu Kwankwanso and the rest of them, would any of these find a place in the Government of Change? If any of these governors find a place in President Buhari’s cabinet, would the CHANGE the people voted for still remain uncompromised? If any of these governors find any place in the cabinet or the periphery of this government, would President Buhari still be able to claim to be engaged in any serious war against corruption? Should Nigerians still believe in President Buhari as a man of integrity if he has alleged crooks in his cabinet?
Would President Buhari have the audacity to search all the nooks and crannies of this country for honest, dedicated, committed and capable Nigerians to help him pilot this country closer to its potentials? Or would he succumb to the pressure of the looters of our commonwealth within his party? Would the president be more loyal to his party than to the country? How many alleged crooks would be part and parcel of this administration simply because they are party members?
“Fighting corruption is not just good governance. It’s self – defense. It’s patriotism.”
Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States
As we speak right now, Senator Bukola Saraki remains an embarrassment to this administration. He remains a poignant sore in the heart of the CHANGE Nigerians are seeking. By all definitions, Senator Saraki is an undesirable politician who has dug a hole on the balustrade of the Nigerian political mansion. He represents the reeking pit in the pith of the pedestal of Nigerian politics. President Buhari has not been able to do anything about him up till this moment. Senator Saraki as the President of Nigerian Senate is the number one reason why people began to doubt the sincerity of President Buhari’s war on corruption.
“When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer ‘Present’ or ‘Not Guilty’.” - President Theodore Roosevelt
President Buhari has succeeded in dividing Nigerians with his response to the emergence of Senator Saraki as the President of the Senate. He told Nigerians that he did not want to intervene in the affairs of the Nigerian Congress. He also promised to work with whoever emerged as the leaders of the Congress. To this end, President Buhari had insisted that he had no hand in Senator Saraki’s emergence. But the circumstances of Saraki’s emergence do not bear this out. President Buhari’s quiet acquiescence to Saraki’s emergence is also deafening. So, Nigerians are not unanimous about their expectations of President Buhari in regard to the headache that Senator Saraki represents as Senate President and the embarrassment he represents to Nigeria locally and internationally, especially as an alleged certified bank robber.
Would President Buhari deliberately undermine his own war against corruption by appointing corrupt faithfuls into his cabinet? Would President Buhari create further doubts about his sincerity in regard to this war against corruption by appointing alleged crooks into his cabinet just for political correctness or party loyalty? Would the Amaechis of this world, the Fasholas of this world, the Okorochas of this world, the Fayemis of this world be the faces of the CHANGE that Nigerians demanded with their vote? Would President Buhari remain faithful to Nigeria and Nigerians? Time will tell.
“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.”
- John F. Kennedy, in his Inaugural Address January 20, 1961
Please follow me on Twitter: @OyeyemiRemi