Last week, members of the National Assembly led by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara gathered at Abuja to launch the book of Senator Dino Melaye on the "Antidotes of Corruption."
The author and his guests chose the occasion to condemn the Buhari administration for fighting corruption in Nigeria. In his speech at the ceremony, Senator Saraki condemned government anti-graft bodies for exposing corruption by naming and shaming corrupt people. To confirm that corruption is seriously fighting back with audacious alacrity both Saraki and Dogara bought copies of the book for the sum of N23.4 million for distribution to the 469 members of the national assembly.
Nigerians should not be surprised that corruption is fighting back through the national assembly. The Senate President and 12 other senators are on trial for corruption while about 20 others are being investigated for corruption by various anti-graft agencies. The author of the book, Senator Melaye is being investigated by the Code of Conduct Bureau for illegally maintaining a bank account in the United States and for corrupt enrichment. Speaker Dogara and all principal officers of the house of representatives are being probed for corruption for budget padding. To crown it all Nigeria's Queen of Corruption, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, the Special Guest of Honour attended the event. In her brief speech at the ceremony, she cursed those who have asked her to explain the source of the $15 million found in her bank account.
To confer credibility on the public presentation of the book the former President of Ghana, Mr. Jerry Rawlings was invited as the Guest Speaker. Thinking that the book was written by a genuine anti-corruption crusader the popular Ghanaian leader had accepted the invitation. But when he confirmed that the occasion was programmed to ridicule the anti-corruption policy of the Buhari administration which he has repeatedly identified with, he informed Senator Melaye that he should count him out of the show of shame. We thank President Rawlings for distancing himself from the gathering of corrupt legislators and their comrades-in-corruption.
I am not opposed to the purchase of Senator Melaye's book. But what should be questioned is the illegal decision to use public funds not appropriated, to pay for the books. Since there was no provision in the 2016 budget for the purchase of the book the EFCC should investigate the source of the money paid for the books. Before the investigation, Senator Saraki and Speaker Dogara should disclose to the Nigerian people under which item of the budget these books were paid for.
But in view of the audacity of corruption, our anti-graft agencies should speed up the investigation and prosecution of all the suspects of the national assembly. Enough of the deliberate delay of the trial of the senate president by the Code of Conduct Tribunal. Otherwise, corruption would have succeeded in fighting back to our collective shame.