President Jonathan And The Fight Against Corruption…What A Charade!

By Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

To one degree or another, there is corruption and corrupt practices in every country of the world. That’s to say that there is not a single corruption-free society anywhere on the face of the earth.

However, most countries – especially those with strong and viable institutions, a heightened sense of law and order, and a national culture that frowns on and penalizes offenders – the degree and pervasiveness of corruption is very low, but not so in Nigeria. What we have are the unusual strains of corruption: the type of corruption that is worse than the most lethal form of cancer. 

 

Like incurable cancers and cankerous sore, corruption and corrupt practices are eating deep into our collective moral fibres. The cost of corruption can also be seen in other aspects of our national life. 

 

We know, for instance, that these negative practices increases transaction cost; discourages foreign direct investment; reduces the overall growth of the formal economy; helps to weaken our public and institutions; encourages the informality of the political and economic system, and helps to personalize the rule of law. 

 

We know, too, that corruption and corrupt practices negatively impact the cultural and social space, and encourage indolence, nepotism and an uneven playing field.  One of the saddest aspects of the Nigerian reality is that less than one percent of the truly corrupt are ever brought to justice. And in cases where they have been prosecuted, the penalties are usually mere slap on the wrist: less than one percent of those prosecuted will ever be jailed. 

 

The fact is that high-end criminals rarely ever go to jail in Nigeria. Only the petty thieves get hanged or get burnt alive. 

 

In 2007 for instance, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) stated that it was investigating, and may even prosecute the likes of Chimaroke Nnamani, Orji Kalu, Saminu Turaki, Boni Haruna, Abdullahi Adamu, Peter Odili, and Ahmed Tinubu. Nothing happened.

 

Today, these and several other accused are safely ensconced in Abuja and elsewhere. And just after the 2011 elections, the former speaker of the National Assembly, Dimeji Bankole, joined this ignoble list. In spite of all the brouhaha about his alleged shady deals, he continues to roam the country - wining and dining with the elite.

 

But of course, that the elites usually never suffer the consequences of grand theft and impious criminality is not new in the history of Nigeria.  For instance, does anyone remember what happened to the money and the properties that were seized by the government of General Murtala Mohammed? 

 

Does anyone remember what happed to the men and women who were arrested, probed and sentenced to prison? Where are they now? As far as one can tell, many of them returned to the good grace of the populace and successive governments: they went on to bag chieftaincy titles, Nigerian national honors, honorary doctoral degree, etc. Nothing bad ever happens to criminal bigwigs in Nigeria. 

 

To show that criminal bigwigs rarely suffer hash punishment, all we need to do is take a critical look at what has been going on since President Goodluck Jonathan came to power.  Fist, we know that members of the elite don’t think much of him and his presidency. He is neither feared, loved, nor respected. 

 

Second, we know that many criminals and criminally minded politician believe they can commit whatever offence catches their fancy and without repercussion. Just recently, the EFCC accused three former governors – Gbenga Daniel of Ogun State, Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo, and Aliyu Akwe Doma of Nasarawa – of misappropriating and/or of stealing millions of dollars from the public treasury. Their posture, as shown in the media, was of men who seem certain of their freedom. They looked and acted as if they knew for a fact that the case would be dismissed by the court, or forgotten by the public. At the very least, they seem sure that the Jonathan administration would not come after them. 

 

The Goodluck Jonathan’s administration -- an administration that promised to be different, to be progressive and progress oriented, to be accountable, to fight corruption, and to give Nigerians a new lease on life – now appears impotent.  But of course, Nigerians should have known that this government was not going to be any different from any government in the last thirty or so years.

 

This was a President who came into office with a modicum of public support and goodwill. Frankly, this writer also believed we have a Harry Truman. Across the world, Jonathan also received a healthy dose of support and political capitals. 

 

Yet, in less than one year, he showed that good governance is not his forte. The level of waste, of corruption, of theft, of maladministration, and of malfeasance is beginning to rival, if not surpass, that of his benefactor, Olusegun Obasanjo. This is the world we now find ourselves in: a government and a presidency gone awry.

 

In fact, the more you steal and mismanage, the better off you are. What’s the difference between the aforementioned and the notorious Oyenusi and Anini? While the political and economic class (high-end robbers) robbed with pens and legislative fiat, Oyenusi and Anini robbed with guns and or the threat of deadly force. In fact, the elites are more dangerous than the armed robbers.

 

The use and or threat of force may cause an individual harm; the use of political office to steal and mismanage causes egregious damage to a country and abridges her prospects and possibilities. In the end therefore, political thieves are more harmful to a nation’s psyche. They do more damage to Nigeria. Since armed robbers are executed by firing squad, there is no reason why political thieves should not be hanged high and dry. They ought to be hanged in the public square. 

 

To right the wrongs associated with Nigeria -- and to discourage immediate and future crimes, and if Nigeria is to survive and thrive as a nation -- she must embark on unusual remedies. If Rawlingnization of the system is needed, fine; if the Idiagbon-Buhari method is what will set the country on the right path, I am all for it. 

 

Not even the China approach should be taken off the table. These three methods call for the impartial probing of assets and investment portfolios, the forfeiture of assets that were dubiously acquired, and the prosecution of the accused. Those found guilty should be sent to jail for a very long time. Their punishment should not be less than those meted to armed robbers.  In addition to the aforesuggested, the judiciary and all aspects of our public institutions should be strengthened.

 

Why do we execute armed robbers? Why do we execute those who commit murder? Why do we execute those who commit treason against the state? Simple: we do so because their actions are heinous, are against our collective health, and are against our national security interest. 

 

An armed robber steals $50.00 and we execute him or send him to twenty years in prison; but when a politician steals $5,000,000.00 or $10,000,000.00 we turn blind eyes to his crime. Where is the justice?  

 

As drastic as some of the proposed measures may sound, they are entirely necessary if Nigeria is to free itself from the abyss. They are necessary if Nigeria wants a shot at glory. They are crucial if we care about our welfare and about the type of society we want to bestow future generations. 

 

Sabella Abidde

 

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@IFYGUY-democracy4ever

I do not oppose any individual or government rather I have issues with policies and corruption,When any administration is doing the right things,I will hail,but when BANKOLE,A SUSPECTED THIEF GOES ABOUT BUYING THE SPEAKERS RESIDENCE,OUR NATIONAL HERITAGE, AND WE HEAR NOTHING FROM THE ONES WE ELECTED TO PROTECT OUR INTREST,I WILL WAIL,SCREAM AND SHOUT,WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE A DEMOCRATIC NATION,THE ONLY WAY A LEADER CAN COMMAND RESPECT IS BY PROTECTING THE INTRESTS OF THE ELECTORATE AND CITIZENRY.
The suffering is just unbearable,if one falls sick in Nigeria,death is quick,no health delivery,but the politicians travel when afflicted with a slight headache,dilapidated schools,no roads, no agriculture,we cannot refine oil,we keep importing petrol,to make matters worse our foriegn reserves keep depleting at an astronomical rate.As for corruption,it must be zero tolerance,not fraudulent plea-bargains and bails after the sluggish and half-hearted trials.

@IFYGUY-Democracy 4eve: Your stupidity is legendary !

@IFYGUY-Democracy 4eve
u get more stupid at every opportunity u are given.
As per the enormous support u claim the Clueless one is having, the response on this forum alone would let you know a lot of those mugus who voted "Jonathan but not PDP" are now regretting voting a man who has no identifiable achievement in 8 years as a deputy gov or gov. If he has, please identify them here. As per your imaginary "recent upsurge in the fight against corruption". Can you give us an update on Bankole, Siemens and Haliburton trial ? How can a corrupt man prosecute another corrupt man ? How difficult is it for a President to declare his assets as dictated in the constitution? He declared N800mn(though he was a lecturer b4 being a dep. gov)in 2007 when he was forced by Yaradua to do so .. how difficult for a PhD holder to add what he had embezzled in 4 years to that figure he declared in 2007 ? Anti-corruption my ass!!!

@Osita Dioka and Tundemash...

@Osita...when and how did you get your statistics of 'vast majority of Nigerians would rather kick him'? The fact is that president Jonathan has enormous support and overwhelming goodwill. This was evident from the last elections. It appears you'r running short of ideas in defence of your DIE HARD opposition to the govt of the day.
@Tundemash...,it is ironic that you wish 'Nigeria would one day rise and be a nation we are all proud of' whereas all you do on this site is destroy the country. You have consistently portrayed yourself as an incurable CYNIC and SKEPTIC who views every govt actions and inactions from the negative perspective. Perhaps you do not wish the country to rise under president Jonathan. Your IMMATURITY was even more glaring as you left issues to instead attack and abuse personalities. Every right thinking person will applaud the recent upsurge in the fight against corruption and SUPPORT THE CALL FOR SEPARATE ANTICORRUPTION COURTS FOR SPEEDY TRIAL.

@IFYGUY-Democracy 4ever and Deri: Thanks!!

You guys' excellent commentary says it all. I have nothing to add and lack the patience to engage rude ignorant fellow countrymen. The piece is totally out of context, lacks logic and potrays the writer as someone completely out of touch with current realities in our dear country. Every reasonable Nigerian commends the EFCC for bringing the thieving Governors to Court.

Re: @IFYGUY-democracy4ever

@Osita DIOKA

A great thinker once said "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

Deri's problem is ignorance and lack of identity while IFYGUY-democracy4ever is just simply stupid; never ever have i read anything sensible from him. He thinks and write like an average party thug !!! Both of them have same solutions to every issue raised; ethnicity and religion.

One day hopefully, Nigeria would rise and be a nation we are all proud of and nonentities like Deri and IFYGUY-democracy4ever will be confined to oblivion where they rightly belong.

@IFYGUY-democracy4ever

Mental slavery cannot be better defined,"you will sink with him",you wrote but the fact remains that a vast majority of Nigerians will rather kick him and his party out and rescue the ship from sinking.The difference between a patriot and a sycophant is this,the patriot is LOYAL TO NIGERIA,while the sycophant and ass licker is LOYAL TO THIER MASTER OR PAYMASTER AS THE CASE MAYBE.The shamelessness potrayed by YOU and DERI is quite phenomenal,both of you are very predictable,you have lost all sense of decency and have also thrown moralty overboard.
The question of corruption is so glaring that if both of you had an iota of patriotism left in your twisted hearts,your compromised positions would at least shift a little but from the look of things,you will be like the Igbo proverbial "foolish fly which flew into the grave with the corpse".

@Sabella: You need to write an addendum apologising for your act

Sabella, let's get one thing clear, Jonathan is not and cannot fight corruption. Corruption got him there in the first place and you don't expect him to remove the ladder on which he supports; the guy smells and breathes corruption.

Secondly I expected you to apologise to the few of us after you confessed in your article that you were one of the mugus who voted "Jonathan but not PDP". You allowed ethnicity and religion to becloud your sense of reasoning and now you are now regretting with this your article.

"I'd rather be ruled by a wise Turk than a foolish Christian.
—Martin Luther King"

Ain't you shamed now that you share same ideology with the likes of Deri and that illiterate IFY4DEMOCRACY. We still await your apology on this moron you and others have unleashed on the nation.

fiscal federalism now-we go wit our tivs,u stay wit yr saints!

Can a contry founded on corrupt ideas, be able to fight corruption? During the 1954 Const confab that, we said each of the regions will become self acounting from 1st Oct 1954. Every revenue was to be shared on the basis of derivation. Then from 100% in 1954, it was reduced to just 1% b/c of oil. After series of fights, it finally came to 13%. If that is not stealing by trick or at best the highest level of corruption, then tell me what it is? And u say u want to fight corruption? We steal b/c there is too much oil money flowing from the creeks, into Abuja. At the centre of the anti-coruuption crusade, lies the way the Alams, Iboris and Ibrus were bundled into jail. While saintly thieves like Odili, Tinubu, Orji Kalu and the Jubril Aminus, inluding the Ribadus, use the media to beatify their thieveries. Go after Tinubu and he will tell u GEJ wants to assassinate him. But not when the Akalas, Daniels and Bode George are being prosecuted do u hear their holy voices.

sabella has said it all,we

sabella has said it all,we need to change from this evil and devilish way of living and lay good foundation to the next generation of nigerians.Our leaders are blind folded when it comes to Discipline and rule of law,they fail to understand that no nation is this planet earth will succeed without( discipline and rule of law)Our leaders should ask themselves( WHAT LEGACIES ARE WE LAYING FOR OUR CHILDREN,CHILDREN AND THE ENTITY CALLED NIGERIA.

@Sabella

Dear Sabella, all the things you articulated in your straigth forward & direct remarks are concepts that all Nigerians should discern already. If a person is moral, they will see it one way, and if they are not, the odds are that they will see that same conduct in a diametrically different perspective. This is why I bring up the topic of ancestors, because ultimately, it is what or who we are. i dont think one can convince a person who tribal or ethnocentric in their religious beliefs, about the importance of morality in a society. People like this, must be compelled by the FORCE of Law to adhere to moral standards. This is accomplished when an upright government is stood up, that INSISTS on Justice, Equity, and the Rule of Law. Not just in the upright government's enforcement of the Law, but by the manner in which that government conducts itself to demonstrate that IT(the government) is also under that same Law.

The rant of a Sadist 2

@Sabella..,you'll agree with me that your hero(BUHARI) ended up squandering a once in a life time opportunity and he was easily removed by a counter coup. He initiated a process he was not man enough to conclude,truncated a thriving democracy and lead us into 17yrs of darkness and wandering in wilderness. Imagine how much we would have improved if we had sustained democracy from 1979 till date. In fact in civilised societies characters like Buhari should be incarcerated for life because most of the hardship we endure today are as a result of his truncating our fledging democracy. Obviously his style was a failure and has continued to fail him. Let me state categorically for the benefit of those who always taunt those of us who support president Jonathan that I HAVE ON REGRET WHATSOEVER FOR SUPPORTING GOODLUCK Jonathan. I love all his policies and actions and many of us will SINK AND SWIM WITH HIM irrespective of what all you HATERS think or write. So @ SABELLA and Co,try other tricks

The rant of a Sadist

@Sabella...,when will you stop crying over spilt milk? The presidential election has been won and lost. Bad for you that your 'hero'(BUHARI) lost but that is democracy,a game of numbers where minority have their say but majority have their way. All through your rant you did not hide the grave injuries you sustained from the crushing defeat. My friend get over it. Who told you our president is 'neither feared,loved nor respected'? Of course i do not expect persons like you to love him but many of us love him and as the country's number 1 man he must be respected. Only Anonymous persons like you will claim not to respect the commander in chief. You may not like his style but that's the style that elevated him all the way from deputy governor to presidency. Certainly if you were in his shoes you wouldn't change a winning style. The same style that defeated your 'hero'. By the way your hero had an opportunity to rule this country for about 2yrs but he ended up wasting our time

The rant of a Sadist!

@Sabella...,when will you stop crying over spilt milk? The presidential election has been won and lost. Bad for you that your 'hero'(BUHARI) lost but that is democracy,a game of numbers where minority have their say but majority have their way. All through your rant you did not hide the grave injuries you sustained from the crushing defeat. My friend get over it. Who told you our president is 'neither feared,loved nor respected'? Of course i do not expect persons like you to love him but many of us love him and as the country's number 1 man he must be respected. Only Anonymous persons like you will claim not to respect the commander in chief. You may not like his style but that's the style that elevated him all the way from deputy governor to presidency. Certainly if you were in his shoes you wouldn't change a winning style. The same style that defeated your 'hero'. By the way your hero had an opportunity to rule this country for about 2yrs but he ended up wasting our time

THIS ADMINISTRATION IS NOT WILLING NOR ABLE TO FIGHT CORRUPTION.

Fist of all, to declare war on corruption,we need a leadership devoid of corruption,we need an administration with the willpower and mental strenght to overcome the temptations from the greater majority corrupt political elite.Nigeria boasts of a President who has blantantly refused to declare his assets publicly,Yar'adua(his soul rest in peace) did exactly what was expected of him although his party the PDP is black Africa's most corrupt political party.It will amount to political suicide for any member of the PDP to wage war on corruption,the periodic soap operas of the EFCC and members of the PDP is there for all to see,at the end of the day everything ends in bonkom,no convictions as the plundering intensifies and the suffering masses look on bewildered and helpless all they do is bewail the situation and hope that one day our messiah-Rawlings will come and sort out the wicked thieves.MOST NIGERIANS AGREE THAT A DRASTIC SOLUTION IS WHAT WE NEED.