Time to take the anti-corruption war more seriously

All is not well in our country at the moment. Terrorists are on a killing spree. Armed robbers are on the prowl. Kidnappers are mercilessly dealing with our people. Rapists are unchained. Life in Nigeria is gradually degenerating to the Hobbesian state of nature and there seems to be no solution in sight. Our prayers seem not be hitting the right cord. Coupled with the deadly effects of COVID-19, it’s like we are finished.

But, how do we tell the ordinary folks that our leaders are seriously tackling this monster? How do we defend continued menacing attacks from people occupying commanding heights at the nation’s political leadership? Unfortunately, Nigeria has not been blessed with leaders that listen to constructive or alternative view points. It is either you join them, or you keep the space.

Would it be appropriate to just remain arms-akimbo, watching, like the proverbial elder, while the goat deliver tied to the tatters? Which sector provides cheery news: healthcare, education, security, energy, works and housing, social services, employment, industries, marine services, customs? All sectors of the economy are in state of asphyxiation; each can experience sudden loss of oxygen and die instantly.

Unfortunately, our political leaders appear unperturbed. Why not, one may ask? CORRUPTION! This ten letter word has made a mince-meat of Nigeria. It has turned our political processes upside-down, to the extent that our university professors, no longer know how to do simple arithmetic calculation. They would demand for light, extra-light; ruler, additional ruler; water, another bottle of water. They would be sweating, unable to sum up simple arithmetic, numbers that are just in the millionth edigit or even a little more. Yet, most of them were Vice-Chancellors!

Corruption has degraded our security system, deconstructing them to mere moron, compared with their counterparts in nearby countries. Their headship will never succumb to such sweeping generalizations, but, the ease with which bandits, terrorists, criminals put paid to their efforts, raises serious questions if they are the same Armed Forces and Police that restored normalcy in Liberia, Sierra Leone and which garner laurels at international peacekeeping assignments. They have become an antithesis in homeland security!

Our educational system have been rendered senile. Even the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) have steadily been back-sliding in terms of standard. This year, failed students (30 marks across four subjects) are qualified for admission to our higher institutions. A shame! Although The AUTHORITY engaged JAMB’s headship on this annual downgrading of cut-off marks, their responses remain infantile and less than satisfactory. The recourse to satisfy negative integrated quota system is a priority to improved academic standards. And so, a candidate who no doubt failed in JAMB examination must be offered admission, even against candidates with higher scores.

The recent expose from the Presidential Panel of Inquiry on the operations of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); the probe of the Nigeria Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and submissions of the Auditor-General of the Federation to the National Assembly on oversight of federal ministries and parastatals, oozes strong stench of perfidy. Else, how could one describe the humongous amount of money said to have been embezzled by our public office holders? Could it be that people at the center of the mind-boggling sleaze are suffering from some form of schizophrenia or the like? How can one person carry out such nefarious acts, even with the anti-corruption agencies claiming to be at work? Where were the auditors in such institutions? How can issues of rights violation or unbridled stealing become so fragrantly the norm in our institutions that we merely pooh-pooh over such acts and still believe we are a country? And on issues where the hunter becomes the hunted, we pass such off as mere “corruption fighting back”?

The AUTHORITY believes very strongly that these are happening because we succeeded only in creating strong personalities, and deprived our institutions of strength. We created monsters in our value systems and continually decimated our faculties of decency and shame. We believe that might is always right and that nothing wrong could come out of a king, even a king that sprinkled his chieftaincy regalia with feces. As far as we are concerned, “His Excellency” said so and therefore, it must be correct.

Otherwise, how can our lawmakers so stupefy the electorate that we now have near paranoia legislature in places? We created and nurtured rubber-stamp legislature and so, unwittingly denied our political system of the time honoured democratic principle of separation of power. With our tacit support, the legislative arm of government arguably chose to look the other way while the country is gradually being basterdised and set aflame. Even the strict legislative functions of over sight are warped in inanities, and all we do is shadow-chasing.

With the expositions being made at the investigations currently on-going at the National Assembly particularly on the NDDC, the probe of financial activities in some ministries and parastatals, coupled with the eye-popping revelations from the Presidential Panel on EFCC headed by Justice Ayo Salami, should we say those were not self-inflicted injuries? Had our institutions followed the rules, certainly, we would not have popped-up such nauseating stench from those inquisitions.

From what had been exposed so far, it has become obvious that the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal, which had unwittingly disemboweled itself on the former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen’s matter; the EFCC and ICPC, two principal agencies charged with fighting corrupt practices in the country; the Officer of the Auditor-General of the Federation (OAuGF), and the internal audit of our ministries and parastatals, it appears the country has since handed itself over to be led by the devil. All these agencies have woefully failed to carry out their statutory responsibilities. The AUTHORITY condemns their lack or refusal to perform responsibility and advises them to sit up in the interest of posterity and the future of our nation.

There can be no buck passing in this regard. All agencies of government which fail to perform should accept blame and sit up. Not doing so means that we are not yet ready to come out of the woods and we should stop the buck passing and face the obvious. The effect is worsening rating by international community and lack of confidence among the folks, which is dangerous. No time is more appropriate to do the needful than now.

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