PDP members say that only its rank has been targeted in the present war on corruption. This may be correct to the extent that only PDP members partook in the egregious crime of stealing tens of trillions of the nation's resources in the past 16 years. It may be true to the extent that the PDP has been solely in charge of the annual federal budgets and the much more un-budgeted resources of the country for the past 16 years and the pilfering of this huge amount. PDP members are huffing and puffing to stress that they are being selectively prosecuted for the crimes they exclusively committed and you wonder what is wrong in that. You need to see the torture on their faces as they try to express this reality. They are wondering, often aloud, why members of APC are not being arrested as their members in the present umbrage against the deadly virus of corruption, especially in the present shameful arms purchase scandal popularly known as Dasukigate. You cannot believe PDP as they marshal their points. What one cannot readily decipher is whether they are serious in their charges or whether they want whoever hears or reads them to take them serious.
Sho? Do you generalize corruption so as to strike even? Do you purposely balance up a war of such nature, just because you want to be seen as objective and because you want to appease all parties? Do you distribute a war on graft for its own sake? Do you look for those that ate yam far from the yam eaters themselves? I am confused understanding the tortured logic of PDP members. They are not convincing, in the least, when they make their arguments about the lopsidedness of the present war on corruption. Are they saying we should look for lost corn grains elsewhere than where hens domicile?
Come to think of it, for 16 whole years the country witnessed an unprecedented oil boom with rich receipts from oil, the sole mainstay of the country's fragile economy. For those 16 years, the heavens providentially rained manna through the unprecedented rise in oil prices and the nation, nay PDP chieftains, members and supporters, reaped bountifully from this natural endowments. For these 16 years, PDP was fortunate to control this providential endowment and the nation was unfortunate for this control. For 16 years, oil cash flowed and for 16 years, corruption, that killer virus that has held the country down, thrived and grew in geometrical proportion. For those 16 paradoxical years, the nation bled and decayed because the PDP and its governments deified and worshiped corruption and elevated it to the pantheon of a sacred god. They protected its unassailable suzerainty such that the last PDP president, Goidluck Jonathan, whose Byzantine reign marked the apogee of the reign of corruption in this country, strived so hard to defend its immunity. He told an awe-struck but helpless nation that stealing is not corruption in a manner that confers sacredness to corruption.
For the 16 years of PDP's reign, there was no challenger to its sovereignty and also its control of Nigeria's resources. It saw the oil windfall as manna from heaven with which God has blessed its members, supporters, courtiers and fawners. It dispensed patronage and favor to whoever flattered its corrupt whims. To survive, Nigerians learnt to fly the bandana of PDP as that became the easiest way to access illicit patronage. While this was going on, attention was paid to critical state sectors and infrastructures only in breach. The geese that lay the golden egg were allowed to die from hunger. A long dry season where we needed to save for the certain rainy season, was wasted away in unprecedented hedonism and corrupt consumerism, like the unrepentant Biblical sluggard. It was so noxious that virtually all critical sectors of our economy broke down irreparably. With easy money, the PDP governments, especially the last one, gave to the suffering populace, flowery fictitious report of unprecedented economic growth while it presided over a horrendous looting if the stare treasury.
That was the situation till change happened in March 2015 and the old, rusty corrupt order tumbled and crashed and a new order unfurled. A Pharaoh that knows no Joseph came on board and those that stole were called to account. To the PDP chieftains, members, enablers, beneficiaries and rally space fillers, it was sudden because they have invested so heavily on their power to manipulate the system to repeatedly renew PDP's artificial strength and commission. They never ever fathomed that March 28, 2015 would happen and that they would be shoved off the way they were shoved off on that historic day. What better way to show the PDP's reliance on its false invincibility than the lousy boast of one of its beneficiaries cum supporters, Frederick Fasheun before the March 28 election to the fact that they forced a shift in the election date from February 14 to March 28 when they realized that if the election were held on February 14, as earlier scheduled, Jonathan and PDP would have lost? He made this boast, assured that having successfully procured a shift in date, the PDP was sure to have its way in the March polls by all means possible but he was proved wrong.
But to the long suffering Nigerians, bent over under the yokes of corruption and bad governance, the ouster of PDP was neither sudden nor a surprising development. It was deliberate and it was executed seamlessly by a distraught, angry, abused but determined citizenry neighing for redemption from a corrupt and heartless leadership. Nigerians, in voting out PDP, knew and trusted the man they chose to restore the country from the corruption-wracked PDP era. They intentionally vested him with a deliberate mandate to kill the seemingly invincible cancer of corruption and restore the lost hope of a nation ripped asunder by the virus. So when the new Sheriff came on board on May 29, 2015, he had his mission well cut out by the expectant Nigerian citizenry and that is exactly what he is doing today by going after the same people that controlled Nigeria's enormous resources for the past 16 years especially in the past six years that preceded his coming when Nigeria recorded its highest ever revenue and witnessed a grand decay that writes the prologue for what Nigeria is undergoing today.
So I wonder how honestly PDP members and beneficiaries are desperately looking for company in its period of paying back for its sins when they stole alone, looted alone and enjoyed the vile fruits of corruption all by themselves. They stole the yams alone and ate them alone so why are they heckling for company at payback time? In the extant Dasukigate scandal, one would have expected the accused PDP chieftains who are shamefully reciting sordid and atrocious details of how they callously looted and shared among themselves money meant to fight insurgency, to name their collaborators in APC who partook in the macabre debauchery with them. One would have expected them to name members of APC, including decampees from PDP to APC who shared the loot with them and let's see whether the present anti corruption fight will spare them. The same is applicable to impending more elaborate probes that will certainly be unleashed on such extensive sectors as oil, customs, shipping, CBN, etc which formed the illicit cash pots that flowered the bizarre corruption we witnessed in this country for the past 16 years.
I think PDP and what remains of its supporters should work hard to name APC members who partook in their senseless plundering and challenge President Buhari's anti corruption war on them instead of engaging on silly, disoriented, confused, hare brained tactics of asking why any of PDP's nemesis are not being arrested for God-knows-what. I think PDP members will score more resounding points nailing any of the APC chieftains or any of President Buhari's men by raising an unputdiownable, leak-proof evidence that such persons partook in the plunder under review, which was an exclusive PDP larceny instead of raising baleful and often senseless blackmail that holds no hook to logic. PDP can score a great point and most certainly provoke action not by engaging in repetitive abusive hoaxes and listless name calling but by using the enormous capacity it had acquired for 16 years to advance credible evidences of corruption against any member of the APC and we shall see why such a person will not be taken in. So far, the best PDP has done has been cacophonic noises about selective application and of course infantile mud splattering that will never help its bad case.
Fact remains that it is silly to talk of liberalizing indictment for corruption just for its own sake or merely to score even. There is no such thing. You cannot begin to search for missing chickens amongst a herd of sheep when a den of hyenas is located nearby. Corruption is not a random act but a deliberate act committed by identifiable people on identifiable resources. Here, we are talking of a group of people that controlled the enormous wealth of a nation for 16 years now wanting the demand for them to pay for their sins liberalized to even the victims of their licentiousness. It does not happen that way as it would be foolish to expect that any probe of the period between May 2015 and May 2019 be focused on PDP members instead of APC members. It will never happen when we come to that bend.
Peter Claver Oparah
E-mail: [email protected]