Rescuing  The Nation From The So-called ‘’entrenched interest’’


“Our enemies are the political profiteers, the swindlers, the man in   high and low places that seek bribes and demands  ten  per cent; those   that seek to keep the country divided permanently so that they can   remain in office as ministers or reap at least; the tribalists , the   nepotists , those that make the country  look big for nothing before   international circles ; those that have corrupted the society and put   the Nigerian political calendar back by their words and deeds”-

The above statement was credited to the mastermind of the first ever   military coup in Nigeria Major Patrick Chukwuma   Kaduna Nzeogwu on Jan   15, 1966. Major Nzeogwu   had expressed consternation then on the state   of the nation due to the sabotaging attitude of some privileged few who   hold the entire nation in the gulag .

Sadly however seventy years after,   the situation is not any better !   Just recently, the man in charge of the nation affairs , President   Muhammadu   Buhari while on a weeklong visit to the Kingdom of Saudi   Arabia and Qatar to push for the stability of oil price in the   international market , which had nosedived in recent time equally made a   frustrating statement that attested to the fact that some sets of people   are just holding the entire nation into ransom.

Apparently miffed by the issues surrounding the discrepancies said to be   found in the 2016 appropriation bill , the number one citizen threatened   fire and brimstone when he vowed that all those who may be found   culpable in the issue of budget padding shall be made to face the music   . He further submitted that he had been holding public office in the   past and he has not heard of incidence of ''Budget padding'',   describing such act as embarrassing .

'' Entrenched according to the dictionary meaning means to place   someone or something in a very strong position that cannot easily be   changed . The reality is that , there are some cabals who have   constituted themselves into what is now referred to as entrenched   interest and are at the controlling height of the nation's economy ,   swindling the pendulum as they deemed fit .

From all indications, the budget padding fiasco can easily be traced to   the entrenched interest who had been feeding fat on the nation in the   past and are yet to admit that the game is finally up, hence they have   decided to perpetuate their heinous crime, which is somehow generating   ripples . The entrenched interest pervades every part of our   national   lives . They are in the civil service; they permeates the political   circle; the judiciary; security agencies and what have you  ?

President Muhammadu   Buhari had   while speaking on Al- Jazeera during   his recent visit to Qatar  also alleged that there are saboteurs in his   government expressing doubts about the loyalty of some key members of   his administration.   According to President Buhari , it would be wrong   to assume that government officials ,especially those who his government   inherited from the Peoples Democratic Party will be 100 per cent loyal   to his government . Owing by the impulse of this statement, it is   obvious that the present government did has an herculean task to perform   in cleaning the augean stable and there is need for decisive move to   root out these elements .

Is it not obvious that  the entrenched interest are  the same set of   people at work when the Minister of  Finance, Kemi   Adeosun who had   earlier  set a deadline of June , 2016 for Ghost workers to be history   disclosed that the government  has  just discovered a fresh 23, 846   ghost workers thus saving Nigeria approximately N2.293 billion naira   monthly ?. According to the Minister, some   elements within the   government circle had been illegally collecting the huge amount of money   involved before the discovery.

Also reacting on the impulse of the Treasury Single Account (TSA)  and   how it had saved the nation a lot of fortunes  during a meeting with   Nigerian residents  while in London for the Supporting Syria and the   Region Conference, President Buhari said : '' First NNPC, the cow   that was giving the milk had  more than 45 accounts, Ministry of defense   ,that is the Military , army , Navy and the Air force had over 70   accounts , Tell me which account we can trace in these several accounts   . So , we enforced TSA . We said there must be TSA . And by the end of   December , coming to January this year we mopped up more than 2,2   trillion which they would  have used through bureaucratic system to   raise vouchers and sign cheques so that they don't go to the next   budget''

The most nauseating part of the issue was the disclosure by the   President that , were that measures not taken , the money would have   been shared by some unscrupulous elements by December , 31st , since   usually they do not allow such monies to enter the following year's   budget  . What a revelation ?

Also, recently , there have been issues surrounding the round tripping   in the foreign exchange market, which has been responsible for the free   fall of the naira against the dollar . The skyrocketing effect of such   act on the economy can better be imagined than felt as virtually the   price of every other goods in the market , including a sachet of pure   water has hit the roof top .  A former ally of President Good luck   Jonathan had however alleged that some forces were behind the round   tripping and he may be forced to name those behind it  . The final   bombshell however came from the Central Bank of Nigeria which also   alleged that some money bags in the country who are keeping a whooping   sum of  $ 20 billion idle in domiciliary account were indeed behind the   naira misadventure .

President Buhari while speaking on this development had also said   '' We found out , when I say we , I mean this present federal   government that some of the Directors  in the central bank own the   bureau de change businesses , So, when foreign exchange comes , they   take it and give  government the change. So, we stopped the federal   government giving bureau de change foreign exchange . The President   however said what he had just revealed is just a tip of the iceberg .

When the President said what he had just revealed is a tip of the   iceberg , he may be right after all as it is a known fact that   corruption permeates every sphere of our national lives . He has also   expressed the frustration that corruption is fighting back . This is not   far –fetched as those who hold the nation by the gulag are men in   corridors of power who feed fats on the nation and would not in any way   wants the system to be transformed . They are the enemies of the change   mantra and they are determined to stop at nothing but to upturn the   on-going transformation process.

It is against this backdrop that it should be noted that the war against   corruption should not be limited to past   political office holders thus,   intense searchlights should be beamed on government agencies and   parastatals , especially where it is discovered that a lot of under-hand   dealings are on-going . The federal government for instance has promised   to bring the perpetrators of budget padding as well as those behind the   ghost workers syndrome into book This   should go beyond mere expression   of interest. There is need for whole scale investigation to be   instituted into the matter with a view to bringing perpetrators to book. Also, recently, the President alleged that there are some elements in   the judiciary that are sabotaging the fight against corruption. In this   stead, the President Buhari   should stop at nothing but to  also take a   decisive step to consider over-hauling of the judiciary. The fight   against   corruption   cannot be judiciously prosecuted without an upright   judicial arm . There were some revelations involving some highly placed   members of the Bar influencing judgement for their clients through the   bribing of judges . All these issues should be seriously investigated   and those found culpable should be giving the booths if we are desirous   of having an upright judicial system that will not make mockery of the   anti –corruption fight . All those   through their actions and deeds   are trying to put the Nigerian political and economic calendar back   should be brought to book.

Written by Waheed   Ogun jobi , a   Public Affairs Analyst.

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