This is the problem with power. It makes people mad. A man of wisdom once said that: 'No man is so wise and so good to be given absolute power'. It is because of the corrosive and corruptive influence of power that Baron Dr Montesqui warned people and nations everywhere to beware. Mobutu Seseseko Ngbendu Wa Ba Zanga, the dictator of the Democratic Republic of Congo, did not heed the warning.The butcher of the Central African Republic, Jean Bedel Bokassa, did not listen. Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada laughed at the warning. What of Hitler, Louis XIV, Slobodan Milosevch and so many others who allowed themselves to be seduced by raw, naked, untrammelled power? The end for these people was always inevitable. They are always eventually destroyed by greater powers, mobilised as a counter weight to theirs. If not in this realm, certainly in the next.Their strenght would become their weakness and they would succumb to that inevitable, oft repeated statement that nothing lasts for ever.
But every once in a while, people (they are so rare) have tended to rise above this notorious human weakness and foible in other to place power in its proper perspective. Nelson Mandela had the whole of South Africa on its knees begging him for a second term. He declined. Goodluck Jonathan had the country's security apparacti at his disposal as the hawks surrounding him told him to damn the consequences and ensure his continuity in power regardless of how the election went. His answer was: 'My election is not worth the drop of a single Nigerian blood.' The Nwalimu, Julius Nyerere simply gave way when it was time to step down as Tanzania's president.
But it is not always about politics and the exercise of political power. At one time or other, everybody has had one form of power over others, either as a teacher in charge of a class, a class prefect, an older brother or sister in charge of their younger ones, a clergyman in a church, a supervisor in an office, parents in a household etc, etc. How have we been able to use the powers we have over others whenever we had the opportunities to be in charge? Did we abuse such powers to oppress others or did we use it to exult the human person, to show that the best use of power is for good?
Undoubtedly, Ibrahim Magu of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is one of the most powerful men in Nigeria. He has the power to lock up even army generals both serving and retired and has actually locked them up a few times. He has had former governors, ministers, MDs of banks and very powerful people grovel before him, pleading for mercy and understanding. These are people that have been accused of abuse of power in the exercise of their duties and responsibilities. Magu's job then in a way, is to catch, investigate, and prosecute those who abuse their powers especially in the area of financial malpractices. In other words, Magu hates thieves. He looks for them and catches them. He is a catcher of thieves. Once in a while we are held transfixed as we are regaled with the incredible feat of the EFCC, how many thieves they have caught, how many cars siezed and the monies recovered running into billions of Naira.
But it appears that Malami, the supervisory boss of Magu and Attorney General and Minister of Justice is not impressed. He has been shouting that Magu has itchy fingers. In other words, that he takes things that are not his. Let me put it more crudely. He says that Magu is a thief. Magu? The thief catcher? A thief? Wonders will never end. Magu's crimes according to Malami is that if Magu recover 100 Naira, he will declare 70 Naira and pocket 30 Naira. Meanwhile the story from the other side is that Malami who is in charge of prosecution is putting obstacles in the way of prosecution. They say that he has become a master of nulle prosequi, that he doesn't like certain people being prosecuted because they are his people.
Where is the truth? What does it look like? It surely looks bad, that in an 'anti corruption' government the two most important people with the responsibility to fight corruption are accusing each other of corruption.
Now Magu, the man who ran after thieves is on the run while Malami is in pursuit. The hunter has become the hunted. But if there is one thing that has become clear to the discerning, it is that tomorrow is pregnant. Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring. As Malami races in hot pursuit of Magu, there is every likelyhood that tomorrow he himself might be on the run with somebody else in hot pursuit. All this because somebody abused his powers.
Now the hunter has become the hunted.
And they say that they are fighting corruption.
An avalanche of tears for Nigeria!