Since the inauguration of the current government, it has become clear that Nigeria has been under siege for decades, vacillating from one corrupt government to the other with leaders who either lack patriotic commitment for the collective interests of the country or came into office with a deliberate intention to heartlessly destroy the country.
It is still difficult to decipher how people placed in position of authority and responsibility to secure the country and her people could consider monies allocated for the battle against terrorism as their individual shares of our collective wealth.
What has come out of the ongoing investigations of stolen funds, not just the ones involving the immediate past National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, Rtd, is a fact that the country’s collective interests, including the interest of the government under whose watch these criminalities were pervasively carried out with unbridled impunity, matters less. Any responsible government should be interested in leaving verifiable legacies that adds value to human lives and society.
Being the first time Nigeria will transit from one political party to another, it is once again another opportunity Nigerians have to be inundated with revelations on how our resources were diverted to private vaults. Only military regimes, especially the one led by Major General Mohammadu Buhari, which terminated the profligate Shehu Shagari civilian government in December 1983, has been able to expose, recover, prosecute and appropriately jail politicians and public officers who railroaded public funds to personal accounts not just in Nigerian banks, but foreign banks especially in Europe and America.
The conducts of politicians and public officials under Shagari's watch predictably terminated the second republic. Obviously, governments that followed, with the exception of the Buhari-Idiagbon military junta, grew bigger in record as having deepened corruption, system manipulation and infrastructural decay much more than the Shagari government.
But what is specifically frightening, to say the least, is the cruel manner with which public officers wickedly stole public funds during the last administration headed by Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the first PhD holder to occupy the country’s apex position.
Before now, even those who proclaimed the Jonathan government as the most corrupt would never have believed that corruption was indeed as pervasive to the extent that human lives were of no concern. We were so audaciously robbed in manners worse than the common armed robbery which has taken over the place of productive employment in Nigeria. While the entire country was held captive under consistent threats of ruthlessly destabilising blasts, not just in the North East where terrorists held sway just as the administration kept offering consistent plastic reassurances of its military’s capability to smash the gang of armed urchins promoted to terrorists of global repute by government’s ineptitude, some heartless racketeers in top positions in the administration were busy funnelling funds meant to procure superior arms to their cronies’ accounts either for campaigns, spiritual consultations or other egocentric personal concerns, while ordinary citizens were consistently murdered in their thousands in several parts of the country, including the Federal Capital.
Indeed, nearly all the Local Government Areas of Borno State were seized and proclaimed a caliphate separate from the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a country whose President and Commander in Chief swore to protect its sovereignty.
It is morally nauseating that the Commander in Chief of the armed forces at that period was busy signing memos for the release of funds for arm purchases to his topmost security adviser without any knowledge that the funds found their way elsewhere. It is even an irresponsible excuse for any leader to deny knowledge of how funds as important as those meant to secure his country were dispensed.
To even think that any serving or former personnel of the World Bank would be involved in the monumental financial sleaze as it has obviously been revealed to have occurred under the watch of a former top staff of the bank, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who was outlandishly referred to as Coordinating Minister of the Economy under the Jonathan administration during which public funds were massively looted is a clear sludge on the bank, a bank that prides itself as an advocate of meticulous conduct.
Ngozi may have been putting shameless defence in public places, but she most certainly can’t clean herself off the mess the disappearance of public funds under her watch as Finance Minister. All the revelations so far, either by those already arrested and facing trials or reported cases in the media call her moral and professional worthiness to question. In decent climes, she disqualifies herself from further public service; but neither The World Bank nor any of its neo liberal appendages or collaborators would give up such an important agent of second slavery so easily even when they continue to proclaim the country as one of the world’s most corrupt.
The fraud committed under the watch of this Coordinating Minister is not just in financial quantum, but even in statistics as she proclaimed a dying economy as leading the African continent in progress even when the entire country know no difference between day and night as most hours of the 365 days a year were without public electricity with a population estimated at over 170 million without functioning manufacturing industries, despite several millions of unemployed graduates.
It is indeed beyond criminality that a country wobbling under collapsed infrastructures will have its financial resources in trillions of dollars in the private vaults of public officers whose responsibility was to revivify all sectors of the country back to operation to improve the quality of lives of the citizens.
The figures of monies stolen by public officers in Nigeria is absolutely earth-shaking, disheartening and an expose of the level of insanity of those who ruled this country to ruins.
And it is more tearfully painful that the perpetrators lack remorse as they shamelessly romance the judiciary as if it was their rights to steal, when indeed they should have been shot dead after recovering their loots.
That public funds can so easily be stolen in Nigeria is not just a blushing display of the dangers of a cancerous system that is murderously annihilating our people, tearing off our country and globally smashing our collective image but a clear exposition of the deepening level of our collective docility and felonious tolerance of bad governance. We, as a people must wake, shed off ethnic and primordial considerations and deal with bad governance and all its vestiges, otherwise we will watch our country go down in total abyss.
Yaqub is an Assistant Secretary at the headquarters of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Abuja