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Groaning Under PDP’s Kleptocracy

January 23, 2010

A fortnight ago, precisely when President Yar’Adua has been AWOL for 50 days in Jeddah,  I received an e-e-mail from a friend - a Professor of Pedagogy in one of the popular University of New Delhi, India. The message was pungent and brief but it encapsulates a conundrum that kept me ruminating on the state of the nations – the state of our roads, the battered economy, the cascading gale of corruption in high places; the Kafkaesque nightmare that has laid siege of the political class and debauchery.

A fortnight ago, precisely when President Yar’Adua has been AWOL for 50 days in Jeddah,  I received an e-e-mail from a friend - a Professor of Pedagogy in one of the popular University of New Delhi, India. The message was pungent and brief but it encapsulates a conundrum that kept me ruminating on the state of the nations – the state of our roads, the battered economy, the cascading gale of corruption in high places; the Kafkaesque nightmare that has laid siege of the political class and debauchery.
The Indian Professor asked me if the Nigerian leadership was ensnared in another anomie after the nation had overcome the legitimacy crisis of flawed elections.

I was perturbed because, in my conjecture,  the Professor  might have read a lot about Nigeria had read a lot about Nigerian on the internet, given India’s prolific ICT profile. I had a strong feeling that he might possibly have been familiar with the queues at the petrol stations, the sundry cases of politically motivated assassinations, the incessant strikes of University teachers prompted by poor working conditions, the double-digit inflation harassing the masses and the poorly equipped and the unemployable graduates churned out of our schools. There are very huge volumes of reports on the parlous state of the Nigerian economy: the privatization of national assets, corruption of government officers and the bribery scandals that rocked the presidency especially the PTDF and Pentascope saga. I was in a fix, and I could not have painted a better picture of the harsh realities in Nigeria when am convinced that everything had gone berserk. Besides the hitherto hidden facts have been opened up by the hurricane of globalization.

As I also thought deeply, on the meaning of the term anomie, amidst the penumbrae of thoughts that bombarded me I was jolted to the realization that rather than equip our hospitals, we resort to prayers anytime we are confronted with the slightest ailment. We have a band of IMF economic miracle men  leading teams, which otherwise would have been led by technocrats. These miracle workers believe in rule of law and Vision 20; 2020 even when power supply has comprehensively eluded the nation. I suddenly realized that the band of economic fifth columnists and economic opportunists have succeeded in vaccinating President Yar’Adua with this obfuscating mantra bandied about by the harbingers of Breton wood. I asked myself, is Nigeria really trapped in a quagmire of anomie? I asked again, how can Nigeria’s economy be mired in anomie and stagnation when we have been implementing a reform agenda for the past ten years? Why are our refineries not working and why is the sixth greatest oil producing country resorting to the importation of petrol when billions of naira is yearly voted for Turn Around Maintenance?

In trying to unravel the mysteries surrounding the Kafkaesque nightmare of stagnation bedeviling our economy, I was compelled to dissect the Nigerian economy and establish its nexus with the anomie question – which to me is one of misrule and self-imposed despondency. The development of any economy depends on the available stock of brain power that can manipulate economic processes. Manpower production is a function of investment in education. But contrary to the sane advice of UNESCO that developing countries should invest a minimum of 26% of the budget on education, Nigeria’s attitude to educational investment is to say the least unserious.

The economic reform agenda initiated by the Obasanjo administration deserves a mention here. With the aid of the Pro-IMF miracle workers, the administration suffocated the banking sector under the guise of re-capitalization. Whereas the price of crude oil soared to the ceiling, the wages of public servants remained stagnant; and while the public good concept of education was discredited, the PDP political hawks privatized all the national assets and used the proceeds to buy-up the refineries build private Universities and corporatized the common wealth. Inflation has been double-digit for seven years running. As the poverty index worsened unemployment soared, the colony of the disillusioned expanded exponentially. We are indeed a nation trapped in anomie. The so called economic reforms are just a re-statement of the same incrementalist development paradigm that does not fill the lacuna created by the frog-leap hypothesis.


There is no doubt that Nigeria is a potentially great nation, but Nigeria cannot be truly great if the confused mass of humanity especially the notoriously, self-aggrandizing leadership celebrate indiscipline in the land. Nigeria cannot be great without good roads, without a conducive investment climate. No country can be great without power supply.  Indeed our great country Nigeria cannot be great without entrenching transparency and accountability at the corridors of those who are entrusted with public funds. Nigeria cannot be great by recruiting prayer warriors and miracle workers who administer ecclesiastical doxologies in State Houses. The simple reason Nigeria is not great is that the value flux in the society is skewed in favour of primitive accumulation of the few at the expense of the people.

This rating has worsened in 2009.  The Transparency International reported in 2009 that Nigeria now ranks 130th out of 180 countries In terms of Corruption Perception Index (CPI), which is an indication that the anti-corruption war is waning. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seems to be losing the battle. If the battle is lost then Mrs Farida Waziri should throw in her resignation before she is dragged to the public domain for thorough scrutiny. It is heartwarming that the EFCC Czarina has promised to crush the legs of corrupt people but how can she accomplish this herculean task when the same ban of crooks who demonize politics are dictate who to arrest and who not to prosecute. Let Obasanjo, Odili, Atiku, Tony Anineh and other high profile ‘corruptocrats’ be purged and brought to trial before Nigerians run out of patience.

Nigeria is on the thoroughfare of one Party system. Prince Vincent Ogbulafor may be right that PDP will rule for the next 60 years. In fact PDP is winning. Governor Ikedi Ohakim of Imo State was propped  up to upset Senator Ararume. Now he has joined the League of other decampees like Governor Isa Yuguda and their followers to the PDP. PDP is bent on destabilizing the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) Party and Professor Iwu would be the Man Friday to execute the assignment. Nigeria is the only nation clapping with one hand; while even monarchs can be murdered in broad day light near police check points.

Today, the huge resources spent in maintaining the Joint Task Force and other conventional security outfits would have been enough to establish a couple of factories to mop-up the legion of unemployed youths who are daily recruited into the youth restive factory. Considering the activities of the JTF and the militants, there seems to be an orgy of competitive brutality and bestiality. While most Niger Delta people are happy about the strategies for curbing the activities of militancy, there should be discrimination between the militants and law-abiding citizens so that good people.

The anomie also invaded the hallowed chambers of Nigeria’s apex law-making House. The National Assembly is supposed to be a house of honourable men and women whose most admirable credentials are integrity, transparency and accountability; and above all the protection of the electorate through the making of laws for the good governance of the state. But alas’ the hallowed chambers have been so desecrated that only dishonourable people will gyrate after some relevance. Allegations of financial impropriety and non-adherence to due process has been rifein the House of Representatives, the N51billion foreign trip scandal, that was after Hon. Speaker Patricia Olubumi Etteh was forced to resign after abbreviating the handkerchief waving Dr. Safana of the PDP.  The PDP seems determined to foist illegality and kleptocracy on the Nigerian body politic, even when the imbroglio has claimed its first victim. When the political leaders of a nation engage in acts that brazenly desecrate the rule of law, then society is trapped in anomie.

Whereas our law makers have sacrificed their higher calling for personal aggrandizement and traded their integrity for cheap pecuniary gains, the “all-mighty” PDP and its leadership have undermined the moral fabric of society. The inglorious past administration also sought to push through the punitive economic reforms by brute force rather than appeal to the conscience of Nigerians. The PDP has become a state within a state. The palace coup that toppled Chief Tony Anineh and his eventual replacement with the odd acronym OBJ as Chairman of Board of Trustees of the PDP is another brazen demonstration of democratic tyranny and the audacity of the PDP leadership to introduce what is akin to militocratic tyranny and raw party authoritarianism.

But what is the mystique in PDP? In April 2007, PDP conducted elections that fell below the minimum standards recognized by the world. Here and the only credible passport paraded by PDP members is that they belong to a cabal that is akin to the Masonic order, where they have vowed to injure the psyche of every Nigerian. This rhetorical hysteria has created an aura of invulnerability, in a fast putrefying political system. Amidst the gale of criticism, Maurice Iwu, the hatchet man still endures as the PDP zealot under the mask of INEC Chairman. He will stay in power forever. Nigerian groan under PDP’s kleptocracy.

PDP will succeed in inciting rebellion against itself if her leaders do not spread the dividends of democracy. For now, no matter how rickety the “civilian tyrants” mismanage the nation, military option is ruled out but the ruling class should know that the colony of the despondent, disillusioned and frustrated is mounting and the masses seem to be inching near the limits of human endurance. That is why Nigerians emigrate to China to populate Chinese prisons; the unlucky ones are summarily executed and cremated. In Libya, Nigerians are tortured daily, and a great many are kept in underground prisons to die slowly. Sadly, Ojo Maduekwe has no answer to these questions. Since we do not even know how many we are in Nigeria, how can we know the number of Nigerians that are killed in Libya, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Gabon, and other countries where Nigerians tend to stay as economic refugees.

But what can Nigeria do when in every fortnight, thousands of people are butchered in Jos, Bauchi and other parts of Northern Nigeria under the guise of religious crisis?. Who will give account or answer questions on whether Nigeria is a state sponsor of terrorism or not when the President of the country has been declared missing in Jeddah. We are all aware that telling lies under oath is perjury, which according to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a criminal offence. Mr. President under the Seventh Schedule (Page 158) of the Constitution (1999) swore to discharge his duties to the best of his ability faithfully … and always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well being and prosperity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria… in the circumstance, his political party PDP violates the solidarity of the nation by adopting a policy of divide et Impera. The billions of naira which accrued from crude oil have not been prudentially utilized to secure the wellbeing and prosperity of the nation. This is evident in government’s inability to provide the basic necessities of life. Now, Mr. President is the worst violator the constitution, but the Chief Law Officer of this geographical expression  is obsessed with two traits, swinging allegiance like a chameleon changes its colour and doublespeak.

Obasanjo has lied to Nigerians once more that Yar’Adua was in good health at the time he assumed office. Obasanjo knew the State of health of the President. He has though Yar’Adua would collapse and die during those rigorous PDP campaigns so as to elongate his tenure, having failed to bribe his way through the National Assembly. Politics in Nigeria is assuming a worrisome dimension where even the elders lie, swindle and demonize politics. During the campaigns, Obasanjo turned himself into a medical Doctor and awarded Yar’Adua a clean bill of health. Now, PDP is politicking with the health of Mr. President and twisting the constitution to serve their own megalomania.

Politics has also made a wild incursion into the judiciary, where most judges make vacuous pronouncements and leave the public to either imagine or get their brains worked-up on how to demystify such nebulous constitutional interpretations. The high wire politics in the judiciary has contributed to the slippery nature of democracy and a reason why there is so much shilly-shally about the swearing-in of the Vice President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as President. All these are worsened by the lack of internal democracy in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party- which has become a dog-eat-dog Party, where everybody is inclined to swing the pendulum of power to his advantage. The Ibori’s, Sarakis, the Yuguda’s and their co-travelers are now using the lacuna at Aso Rock to lay siege of the spoils of office.

In Nigeria, our penchant for politics is so sickening that we are all ‘prisoners’ to PDP’s kleptocracy. We play politics with power supply, the amnesty programme, education, health and governance. The Niger Delta imbroglio may endure as long as we play politics with the amnesty programme. When the amnesty programme was initiated, there was a glimmer of hope that the initiator will follow the programme through. But since President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua went to Jeddah for a permanent visit, nothing seems to be happening.

There are now signs that militancy is about to rear its ugly head. We politick with the banking sector and the petroleum industry. That is why most of our bank executives have done horrendous violence to the system. We have over-deregulated the downstream sector, yet the economic carpenters we have are crying for deregulation as if they want the masses to donate blood to the capitalists hawks and vampires. Given the docility of the Nigerian intelligentsia and the naivety of the populace, nobody will throw a pebble at any member of the NASS. Indeed nobody will march on Aso Rock the way the socialist-minded Cubans marched on Moncada and the corrupt Batista’s regime. However, one thing is clear, the political atmosphere is getting murkier by the day as the clouds gather at an unimaginable speed to indicate that a Revolution is looming in this Landscape.

Idumange John, is a University Lecturer and Activist


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