Nigeria: A Country Under Thriving Corruption And Thieves, By Sanusi Muhammad

BY every available standard, Nigeria was a country President Buhari inherited in 2015 celebrating corruption and thieves of all hues, mediocrity and governance by deceit. As a country that was lousily established on fraud, one tries as much as possible to justify so many obnoxious smells of institutionalized fraud and corruption stinking to the high heavens in Nigeria.
The stench is threatening to get all choked-up, unless President Tinubu, and other committed Nigerians act fast to clear the mess before his exit and handover a fresh and focused country to his successor.

One needs to live in Nigeria to experience firsthand, the rot that is symbolic of the system; as a people, we should by now be tired of singing the same old song –bad roads, lack of clean water, a bizarre police force; insecurity, lack of power supply, collapsed education sector, charlatan religious groups, collapsed healthcare system, rising rate of unemployment, abject poverty etc.
Surprisingly, most Nigerians prefer to live in denial while succumbing to a sinful mind-frame that suggests we “leave everything to God”. Leave everything to which of the gods? Definitely not the God that created Adam and Eve Who never said we should be corrupt. The God I worship may differ from those gods that sycophants and the criminally-minded always refer to.
In Nigeria, there exists a god for the corrupt worshipped that differs from the Heavenly Father who supports righteousness and frowns at injustice.

No clearly identified corrupt person can convince me of having the fear of God or Allah in his mind. Most of them are unknowingly and knowingly worshipping Bacchus and other Idols while pretending as God fearing and sincere in actions!
We should be bold enough to address our dilapidated situation with the moral courage it requires-since the advent of “democracy” in 1999, Nigeria has been celebrating a system that throws up thieves in government and a massively corrupt civil service that perfects corrupt practices to flourish.

The system in force honors fraud and tricksters, morons in agbada and suits, petty and full time thieves, armed robbers, kidnappers, drugs barons, pen bandits/robbers that steal with the pen, Chicago and Toronto graduates, oil thieves, soldiers of fortune and many more similar buffoons living lavishly in a world of illusion.
How did we end up in this depressing and sorry situation as a country? With all the intelligent citizens and patriots Nigeria has, how on earth did a few half-educated and self-centred greedy and thieving gluttonous hitherto idling laggards turned overnight politicians mesmerized us into expressing only impotent rage and nothing more? Just like a defeated lot, Nigerians now take succor in listening and bowing to thieving politicians, pastors, prayer warriors and similar “traffickers in the word” who have perfected the art of “stealing while praying until something happens”.

Ours is now a very pretentious religious nation where citizens are daily enjoined to pray for a better tomorrow while those in government live ostentatiously on sleaze funds and perfect stealing of public funds directly or through abandoned government contracts awarded to proxy companies.
Nigeria is really a classic comedy show. Quite recently, we have been entertained with so many revelations emanating from the National Assembly. Probes were instituted and still being instituted with so many sordid details of how those entrusted with public funds engaged (and still do) perpetrating gargantuan fraud at our expense. The list is unaccountable just as the revelations are extremely shocking to imagine. But, is the National Assembly not more corrupt than those probed and indicted? It is a case of a pot calling a kettle black. Imagine a poorly educated member of the national assembly from one of the remotest parts of the world hitherto threatened by hunger and malnutrition and frightened by decent living while wandering in search of a parking space anywhere, now owns mansions and fleet of exotic automobiles for just been in the national assembly as an onlooker without contributing to debates or sponsorship bills and motions. How did he acquire the wealth if not from stealing and possible connivance with other criminals in the stealing industry?

While asking questions about how the government of former president Obasanjo wasted about $16billion for revamping the power sector, it was brilliantly established that those tasked with the job stole virtually all the money and left us in darkness.
Interestingly, the chairman of that probe panel, a certain representative Nduli Elumelu and many more were accused of stealing so much of public funds. He was arrested, charged to court, granted bail and nothing again is heard about that absurdity. That man was still a member of the Honorable House, collecting huge sums as salary, benefits and other mouth-watering incentives at public expense while wearing the toga of an indicted criminal.

Some former governors were arrested and hauled before Judges to account for how they mismanaged and diverted public funds into private vaults. As usual in this shameless country, almost all of them applied for bail under the guise of failing health as an escape route from justice. They were granted bail and nothing more is heard about their cases while we all rush to our prayer grounds to offer marathon prayer sessions for God’s intervention. But God’s intervention in what and for which reason and to whose the benefit? But come to think of it, the solicited prayer is to the benefit of the same rogues or who?
It is appalling and exceptionally shameful the level of corruption and madness that goes on in Nigeria. A certain Peter Odili, a medical doctor and former governor of Rivers State was accused of enriching himself fraudulently while in office, instead of being ashamed and filled with mortification, he ran to the temple of justice to obtain a PERPETUAL INJUNCTION barring anybody from calling him to account for his sins committed against the people of Rivers State and his God. As I was making this writing, Odili is parading Nigeria’s streets a free and proud ‘thief’ enjoying his loot.

James Ibori was not so lucky, thanks to the British legal system. The thief was discharged and acquitted of all the charges of illegal enrichment brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC in Nigeria by a charlatan fellow obnoxiously called Justice Marcel Awokulehin who set him free. To the Glory of God and mankind, Ibori, “……a thief in Government House” pleaded guilty to corruption and money laundering charges brought against him by the British Metropolitan Police.
In an effort to expose more cases of corruption, a probe panel of the 7th Senate established the monumental fraud that was playing out at the Pension Commission.

Many wept as they watched how those entrusted with the handling of pension funds of those that served Nigeria well were clearly exposed as stealing from the fund in billions. We all know what pensioners go through in this country just to access what is genuinely due to them. This is pure wickedness that deserves capital punishment.
Apart from heartless Dasukigate, Diezanigate, Idris Ahmed’s scandal in billions, we now have Buraitaigate to contend with as the latest discovery of high profile scandals. There are several others particularly in the national assembly yet to be exposed and prosecuted.
And the list of probes and corruption allegations goes on and on. What happened to that beautiful Pius Okigbo report believed to have indicted the criminal government of former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida? I make bold to say that former president Obasanjo ought to be “smelling rot” in jail if we are a serious country with a vibrant judiciary. Foreigners accused by their governments for bribing Nigerian officials were jailed while those criminal Nigerians that actually demanded and received the mind boggling bribes are strutting about as free and “respected” citizens with chieftaincy titles and national honors to add flavor.
In one possibly ‘forgotten’ revelation, Miss Arumma Otteh of the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission accused the once leadership of the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Markets of trying to vilify her because she refused to give the N44million bribe they demanded.

This was after a drama that clearly seemed to establish that SEC under her engaged in many sharp practices contrary to the laws. If one may ask, is there any specified time to end tales of fraud and corruption churned out by various probe panels in this sorry nation?
So, how do we as a people ensure that those found to have robbed us are made to face justice? When are we going to rise up as a people to put a stop to all the rot and mess that is daily cooked by those in positions of authority? At this point, I wish to make my displeasure known at the dysfunctional bodies called Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC). The two bodies, ordinarily ought to be the voice of the down-trodden but have suddenly become toothless bull dogs that bark, collect bones from the master’s table and go into a deep sleep.

The bodies are now useless and of no benefit to the people, so it seems. Well, it will be nice for President Tinubu as he has kick started his administration to raise his change agenda to glorious heights by building stronger and independent institutions to support his hatred for corruption and fraud if he has any. We have a police force that is notorious for shooting hapless citizens for not bribing “efficiently”, we have the EFCC that appears to take pride in jailing petty thieves while throwing up its arms in despair at the ease of big time crooks in and out of government to go scot free, we have a judiciary that is enmeshed in allegations of corruption and delivering justice to the highest bidder, we have religious groups that instead of serving as the moral backbone of the nation by chastising corrupt individuals, make a living by “praying” for them for a fee, we have a populace that jostles for pilgrimage in foreign countries to pray for “the success of the thieving leaders and a claimed better Nigeria”.

It is very important that Nigerians should strive to come together under whatever umbrella to demand for an end to this madness. Corruption is steadily killing us; why should we be paying for an expensive government that chooses to give us untenable excuses instead of steady power and water supplies? This is happening in the 21st century! Are we going to wait till the rumbles and fumes from our generators choke us to death before we start demanding that those that stole and stealing our common patrimony be made to pay restitution and go to jail? Nigerians are tired of being told to “wait for God’s time”, it is not God that directed anyone to steal our money and turn us into wretched paupers in our God given country. The sooner we come to terms with this and start fighting for our liberation as a people, the better for us all. And then, the Almighty God will bless Nigeria with sincere and God fearing leaders.

The only visible option at the disposal of shortchanged Nigerians in the near future is to unite and wage a bloody revolution to save their country from drifting beginning from the next general election. The laws are against such acts but are those custodians of the laws clean? Are they not part of the problem? This reminds me of the retired Dollar Judge who was at onetime ‘robbed’ of some dollar notes s in his Bauchi residence before his death. The criminal judge for fear of further exposure, covered the crime committed with secrecy and buried to save his already battered image. What a smart crook then in wig!
What of those agents of societal destruction that accessed power by fraud and violence now empowering their kith and kin with contracts and other incentives against laid down procedures and still, lay claim to transparency in their representing styles? Nigerians must unite to chase the thieves mistakenly in power from continuous accessibility to power. That is My Take!

Muhammad is a commentator on national issues