Federal Republic of Nigeria vs Federal Republic Of Corruption, By Sanusi Muhammad
IN the God-fearing days of Nigeria, corruption was not only an offence, but a sin and the corrupt cursed by family members and friends for the disgrace and shame brought. It was a time Nigerians were jealous and proud of their integrity and family reputations.
It was a time, the likes of Diezani Alli-son Madueke, Ahmed Idris, Olabode George, Olisa Metuh, Dalhatu Bafarawa, Sambo Dasuki, Joshua Dariye, Jolly Nyame, Sadiyya Umar Farouk, Betta Edu, Yusufu Maina Bukar, Tunji-Ojo, Bello Magaji, Peter Odili, Yusufu Sabi’u Tunde, Sama’ila Isa Funtua, Lucky Igbinedion, AbdulRasheed Bawa, AbdulHameed Aliyu, Godwin Emefiele, Halima Shehu, John Yusufu Yakubu, Orji Uzor Kalu, AbdulRasheed Maina and other rogues were not close to the corridor of power to pollute.
Their itchy-fingers were itching terribly but there was nothing to steal until they steadily crawled to the corridor of power when corruption became a way of life and an ‘accepted’ norm within several families.Honestly, one may not blame some of the shamelessly corrupt now standing trial for inflicting fatal injuries on our fragile economy while some deserve blame for fleecing our economy to sponsor the tall dreams of their husbands in politics while others believe in ostentatious living styles and show-off.
If not for madness, how can a normal person, a product of a wretched background that found his way to public service, ever brag when in sudden questionable wealth with a source shrouded in secrecy that can neither be made public, nor defended? Who is the fool to believe and respect such overnight status of opulence? Only fools respect such thieves and even run errands for the criminals in anticipation for a piece of the stolen pie.
A substantial part of the blame should go to our ailing system for facilitating the perpetuation of this evil culture of corruption and stealing. After all, the accused persons must have copied the crime from others who committed similar or different financial felonies and went scot free with some now on the corridors of power either as Governors, Ministers, Senators, Houses of Representatives and Assembly Members as well as in political appointments.In truth, Nigeria’s band of economic parasites and resource plunderers strongly believe that financial morality has no place in both private and public life. They see no sin in cheating and betrayal of public trust.
Their conscience is solidly built on the premise that looting is protected and pays in Nigeria. This is a destructive and satanic practice in which corrupt people are organically united and organized for a common goal of shameless floundering of public funds meant for national development and re-construction, and there is no effective mechanism to bringing it to a halt with the godfathers of corruption on the saddle of power. Since such is the prevailing phenomenon, then we are witnessing an emerging Corruption Republic posing a serious threat to the mainstream Federal Republic of Nigeria where we are battling the odds to survive for our dear lives.
To demonstrate the overwhelming potency of Corruption Republic, some of its ardent enthusiasts are known to have been rewarded with traditional titles like the embattled former Accountant-General of the Federation, the criminally-minded and shameless Ahmed Idris turbaned as Ajiyan Hausa by the Emir of Kano probably as a ‘reward’ for stealing over N109billion from Nigerians.
Curiously enough, has the Emir of Kano himself got anything to do with Hausa traditional title that he bestowed on a thief or is the Emir the custodian of Hausa culture and tradition to have ridiculed a respected Hausa traditional title unjustifiably? Going by history, Biram (Rano) not Kano is among the legendary seven Hausa states if I can remember the ancient history well.
But then, come what may, is the Kano monarch by ethnic origin Hausa or from the Fulani Dynasty? Why then was a hardened criminal now standing trial for stealing what belongs to Nigerians, who abused the trust reposed in him, who brought his family into ridicule and curse, be rewarded with a responsible traditional title from a long respected Emirate? Was the title offered for the highest bidder by the Emirate Council or the criminal was just selected for reward?
Haba Maimartaba!James Onanefe Ibori, another surviving thief who drained the resources of Delta State when he served as a governor, was shamelessly celebrated as a hero even after he was convicted by a Court in the United Kingdom for stealing funds meant for the development and progress of Nigerians in Delta State. He shamelessly returned to Nigeria as an ex-convict to a warm reception by the same people he cheated on oath. Joshua Dariye, former governor of Plateau State and his Taraba State comrade in trade, Reverend Jolly Nyame were convicted for stealing from Nigerians in their states but after a short while, state clemency was extended to them and released from the correctional centre to sin no more.
Not only that, we have seen paradoxical cases where corrupt public servants and thieves elevated to higher positions, apparently to continue the looting exercise. Is Nigeria not fast becoming a country of the worst Samaritans, while the best Samaritans have lost social values and relevance?Before the departure to the great beyond of the former governor of old Kaduna State, Comrade Balarabe Musa, he lamented that almost every Nigerian was corrupt.
From my understanding of his statement, he was looking at the social cancer beyond grand corruption mostly associated with government officials and their ray of fronts. To paraphrase his assertion, corruption has penetrated every facet of our lives. Even the EFCC cannot claim to be free from the virus of corruption (AbdulRasheed Bawa, the sacked EFCC chairman had proven that beyond any iota of doubt. He corruptly abused his oath of office by enriching himself through intimidation, threat, extortion of suspects and stealing proceeds of auction to the tune of over N500million which he was forced to refund while in detention).
Let’s imagine that from May 29, 2023 when Bola Ahmed Tinubu was ‘imposed’ by INEC and the Courts on Nigerians as their president and his subsequent appointment of aides and their resumption of office, his Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila has been accused of several corrupt practices that include, money for hand political appointments, connivance with ministers to steal public funds and now allegedly negotiating a soft landing for Sabi’u Yusufu Tunde, a former aide to erstwhile president Buhari. Tunde’s deal involves about $30billion scandal and over 66 properties acquired with sleaze funds. Tunde was a mobile phone recharge card vendor languishing in abject poverty with a bleak future starring at his face until Buhari brought him to the corridor of power for survival.
Today, we have a government touting Renewed Hope for Nigerians in the absence of any progressive blue-print for the country!Disturbed by the weight of the mess he found himself, and In order to confuse the gullible for an escape route, Gbajabiamila, confidently and as usual with the ‘accused’, submitted a complaint to the Department of State Security (DSS) calling for arrest of those petitioners trying hard to block his path. But, if he is that innocent of the flying allegations levied against him not seeking cover, instead of calling for the arrest of the petitioners why not a call for discreet investigation of those allegations to prove his innocence before arresting the petitioners? Why the arrest of ‘whistle blowers’?
Let him hurriedly deny those allegations with facts as a lawyer that he is not wanted in the United States for a crime he committed before jetting out in Rambo style to Nigeria than trying to misuse state power to silence the voice of the people. The voice of the people is the voice of God!Corruption in Nigeria is indeed, a rampaging endemic that has defied solution. We are, therefore, lacking the real solution to corruption because those to fight corruption are more corrupt than the corruption itself because they feed from what it offers.
Some years ago, the late political icon, Malam Aminu Kano was asked to proffer a result-oriented panacea to end corruption in Nigeria. His response sounded unrealistic at the surface level but beyond that, he sighted what was invisible to us. He opined that corruption could only be tackled effectively if present Nigerians are wiped out and replaced with fresh people!Many rated his opinion as a joke until now that is costing us in a bad way. We are now witnessing the reality of corruption becoming an incurable pandemic rendering us as casualties.
Corruption from my point of view is more deadly than death. This is my position to those who are genuinely affected by its pervasive rapidity. The Murtala Muhammed military administration of 1975-1976, tried to wipe out corruption from our shore. The effort caused him his life. Buhari as military Head of State (1983-1985), made a commendable effort to sanitize the system but, he was booted out by deeply-rooted agents of corruption within the military. Since then, governments have come and gone, with each pledging to fight corruption, but always ended up chasing the shadow instead of the real object and so the disease has persisted for associated insincerity.
Precious time is wasted on focusing on the symptoms instead of attacking the endemic. That is how we showcase hypocritical attribute in missing the target until all of us get consumed. Believe it or not, the dirty game of corruption will continue unabated to attract more dangerous players as long as the appropriate punishment (death) is not put in place. We shall produce more of Dipriye Alameiyisia, Peter Odili, Olabode George, Chimaroke Nnamani, Orji Uzor Kalu, Ahmed Idris, Sadiyya Umar Farouk, Betta Edu, Yusufu Maina Bukar etc. But, if we are ready for a fierce battle against corruption, we must fight the very ruinous system that preserves and promotes it.
This decadent system is the mother of corruption.It is our common enemy and the breeding ground for our under development and security challenges. It is the epitome of our moral decadence. It needs urgent cleansing to liberate Nigeria. Nigeria at 63 years of independence, the largest part of its face is corruption and nothing but complete corruption. Corruption has been standing tall and shaking the very foundation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The overall memo of the Federal Republic of Corruption is that the more Nigerians are corrupt, the more it wins and the Federal Republic of Nigeria falls apart both in vision and mission. Then there will only be growth without development in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. And our world will only be moving without changing. We will have future but it will be bleak and gloomy without glad fortunes.
As Nigerians are witnessing a dwindling state, the Federal Republic of Corruption is a buoyant state within the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is winning by recruiting more adherents while the Federal Republic of Nigeria is losing by brutalization of its economy and development. Federal Republic of Corruption has been growing from strength to strength whereas the Federal Republic of Nigeria is developmentally disintegrating with accompanying security challenges and unemployment.
Thus, the ubiquitous failure of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is the conspicuous gain of the Federal Republic of Corruption.Regime after regime, large scale corrupt practices are exposed, but the next thing is the media bombardment, followed by public outcry as renowned columnists renew their big and big grammar and improved styles to forward their contributions with deep lamentations.Calls for arrest and prosecution rent the air. This has become a boring routine to readers and listeners being agents of the thieves. But eventually, the epidemic persists despite general outcry and calls for prosecution etc. What happens next?
The ‘rotten’ story ends and not to be heard anymore. Like a well rehearsed drama play, the curtain is temporarily drawn until the next episode. It is quite unfortunate that the Federal Republic of Nigeria is still battling for survival from self-inflicted injuries. We are helpless as we witness the perpetual dislocation of our country through the frequent onslaught of the Federal Republic of Corruption. As it is now, the Federal Republic of Nigeria is very vulnerable, defenseless and hopeless.
The power of corruption is changing our fortunes to misfortunes. Our unity to disunity, our security to insecurity and our sincerity to insincerity spiced with pretence and deceit. It is inscribing a bad name for the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Our founding fathers loved us so dearly that they left a befitting legacy and reputation of spirit of nationalism. That spirit has today been substituted with the spirit of massive corruption and its insecurity associate.
Consequently, we are bequeathing to our unborn children a country that they will be ashamed of owing to our submission to corruption.Going by our blatant insincerity and partiality laced with ethno-religious sentiments, coupled with our political bankruptcy in dealing with corruption, one is afraid that the future of Nigeria belongs to the Federal Republic of Corruption under the guidance and protection of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Muhammad is a commentator on national issues.