Dear President Buhari, just in case you have forgotten, the chameleon changes its color to match the earth; the earth does not change colors to match the chameleon. But two weeks ago, you, the earth, changed colors, again, to match the chameleon, corrupt senator Goje. After you tactically back Lawan and “forced” Goje to rescind his bid for the Senate President, his multi-billion corruption charges were transferred to the sinkhole ofAttorney GeneralMalami, where the corruption cases of protected politician are buried.
Mr. President, I am worried about your legacy as a corruption crusader. A couple of years from now, the story of your anti-corruption crusade will be summarized thus; “while President Buhari, the rhinoceros, was dancing with the corrupt monkeys, Tinubu, Ganduje, Orji Uzor Kalu, Gbajabiamila, Goje, and chasing the big corrupt sharks Dasuki, Saraki, Metuh, Diezani Alison-Madueke, the poor masses were crippled by endemic corruption in the polity”.
Mr. President, from the crude and corrupt Nigerian police that can kill over 50 Naira “egunje” through the civil servants that demand “lubrication of their palms” before they can move a file to the customs officials at our borders that escort banned goods into the country, the endemic corruption in the Nigerian system keeps hurting and slowly bankrupting the poor.
Mr. President, a bird that flies off the ground and lands on an anthill is still on the ground. Despite all the gra-gra in the fight against corruption by your administration, you are still on the ground. All the high-profile corruption cases your administration has been chasing only succeed in leaving the ground only to land on an anthill of corrupt elements in APC.
Mr. President, for you to get to the mountain top in the fight against corruption in Nigeria, therefore, you must climb down. You must climb down from the artificial mountain of only chasing political opponents that embezzled billions, to the real valley where poor Nigerians are crippled by corruption. You must climb down from the anthill of EFCC-induced prosecution to the level ground of crippling-everyday-corruption.
Mr. President, if you truly understand the meaning of corruption, you should be taking radical steps to address the everyday corruption that is bringing pains and sorrows to Nigerians. How do you feel, Mr. President, when you hear stories of members of the Nigerian Police Force, extorting money from motorists on illegal roadblock across Nigeria? How do you feel when you hear that our borders are still as porous as NNPC’s account?
It is true Mr. President that your administration recovered properties worth billions of Naira; it is true that several courts have ordered for the final forfeiture of billions of unexplained deposits in several banks and that a lot of the corrupt politicians returned billions. I commend your administration for that. But, Mr. President, that is not enough.
You see, Mr. President, you cannot tell a hungry child that you gave him food yesterday. All these billions do not change the fact that the clerk is still demanding five thousand Naira from a poor teacher that is trying to obtain an affidavit at the Magistrate's Court in Kabba.
Mr. President, for your presumed success in the anti-corruption crusade to make sense for me and my Okada colleagues at Upper Iweka, Onitsha, we should be free to engage in our legitimate business without fear of the gun-wielding policemen.
Mr. President, for us to rejoice at the news of the temporal forfeiture of millions of Dollars belonging to Patience Jonathan and her phony companies, we need to take that hard earned 200 Naira home to our families instead of being forced to hand it to the police or lose our lives.
Dear President Buhari, as a tree cannot stand without roots, your fight against corruption is rootless and meaningless if bus drivers and motorists are constantly being harassed for fifty Naira by the police.Mr. President, if you do not see these acts of illegal extorting from motorist as a form of corruption and corrupt practice, then, he needs a re-orientation on the meaning of corruption.
Mr. President, remember the Ugandan Proverb; the one nearest to the enemy is the real leader. To be the real leader of the masses when it comes to corruption, you must take your fight to every police check-point, every border crossing, every passport office, every local government office, every tax office, etc. That’s how you can bring yourself closer to our corrupt enemies of poor Nigerians.
Mr. President, corruption is an incubator of banditry, terrorism, human trafficking, kidnappings, and other issues far beyond corruption itself. Has it ever crossed your mind, Mr. President that the banditry we are currently witnessing from your home state Katsina to Kaduna through Zamfara is a by-product of corruption?
Mr. President, there is no limit to the extent to which corruption, once it is unleashed, can undermine the stability of a nation and organized society. In Nigeria, corruption is intertwined with survival in all spheres of life. Unable to survive in the face of endemic corruption, separate centers of power are emerging to rival the power of the government.
Mr. President, here is a message to you, from us, as you start your second term, no matter how many arrests you made, no matter how many you charge to court, no matter how many millions of Dollars you recover from Patience Jonathan, a conviction is what counts. The Failure of your administration in prosecuting Dasuki, Uzor Kalu, Olisa Metuh, Sule Lamido, Nyako and the rest have emboldened current governors and corrupt government officials.
Mr. President, one foot isn’t enough to walk with. Your fight against corruption can best be described as hopping around on one broken foot. Mr. President, you need to purge the system and stop making a mockery of your promise to fight corruption. It is beginning to sound like a cunning contexture of dark arts and faithless promises.
Finally, Mr. President, Nigerians are waiting for you at the valley, the dark-deep valley where corrupt public servants are dealing with us. Climb down from the artificial mountain top of anticorruption, Mr. President, and meet us there. That’s the only way you can get to the top.
You can email Churchill at [email protected] follow him on Twitter @churchillnnobi