THE way we plunge from one controversy into another, as if we are a people determined to scatter can be baffling sometimes! Some more optimistic persons insist that Nigeria will never break up, no matter what, but many more believe rightly too, that we must not take things for granted, for as long as we have deliberate inequality and unfairness in our handling of very crucial national issues, one of which is corruption.
It is a form of corruption for any to think that all the resolutions of the National Conference should be thrown into the waste basket of history. When any group of persons organise to elevate their interest above that of the collective best interest of the nation, and try to shove it down the throat of others, they become corrupted by their selfish drive for money and power.
Some of our leaders do not seem to care about how they over heat the polity, or what happens to others provided their nests are feathered by the Nigerian system. They are the ones who find peace by spoiling for war.High government office is for them an opportunity to gloat about their superiority, while leaving no stone unturned in destroying others.
They are the ones who fanned the embers of bitterness, fear, and war during the last presidential campaigns. They created the impression that they would set the country ablaze, if their wish did not come to pass. APC rode on the crest of these fears during campaigns and forced a change of baton in Aso Rock.
They drove Nigerians into fighting for the peace of the country, which drove some of our former presidents and peace lovers to create many forms of peace committees, that oscillated between Joanathan and Buhari, until the former shocked the world by accepting the INEC verdict, and we all inhaled fresh air of calmness.
But we seem to have forgotten all that too soon, and we are running back to tension, and confusion, with the shouts of probes as if probing the last administration will provide any answer, apart from satisfying those who in their drive for power will not care who they destroyed. Those who really love the peace of this country, will be more circumspect in how they reel out plans that could over heat the polity.
The fact that President Muhammadu Buhari, PMB, did not hit the ground running shows that there was really no plan to take us to the lofty heights, they promised during campaigns.The plan must have been to take the power first, and then consider what to do with it, thereafter. Now APC has taken power, all we get is “ give us time”, You can’t do much in two months”, “We met an empty treasury”, “They stole us blind”, We can’t let them go scot free”, etc, all far from our expectations.
Nigerians are a very patient people. After all, we were once reputed as the happiest people in the world, but the world has changed, and Nigeria is also changing with the world. We now have kidnapping for money, as a thriving business in the South of Nigeria. Nigerian youths now list into Boko Haram that reign terror on their fellow citizens, in the North East, while the so called Fulani herds men, continue to ravage parts of the Middle Belt zones.
These terrorists are scheming to spread their evil wares of fear and destruction to the South and South East in particular, but our leaders are not really interested. They are more committed to hanging onto power, building estates, buying businesses locally and overseas, some even do it with the recent bailout funds released by PMB.
Nigeria has changed; we have become more daring, more wicked, more callous, more divided along ethnic lines, and more dexterous in the game of stealing and covering tracks. It will therefore be a big mistake for this government, to continue to assume that nothing can happen to Nigeria. We have Niger Delta creek boys, who may appear silent and disjointed for now; we have the Biafrans, whom we have majorly treated with great hatred, and a fusion of these two can become a huge challenge. Boko Haram is relentless, ably assisted by the armed Fulani herdsmen, we may therefore be playing with fire by adding a probe of the Jonathan government to the kitty of the palavers of Nigeria.
No sane person will allow the type of stealing and impunity that we saw in the last sixteen years. Our leaders and politicians stole, and enriched themselves, irrespective their political parties. We have both former and serving governors, who have become stupendously wealthy since 1999.
We have former presidents since 1983, who have amassed so much wealth, that they may be richer than many African nations put together. A probe that singles out just the last government is therefore plain vendetta, bad blood, and witch-hunting. Nigeria’s history of probes has not yielded any desirable profits for the nation so far, we need not follow that path now.
We have institutions that must be strengthened and empowered to investigate our numerous thieves. We hear that President Buhari wants America to help recover over $150 Billion stolen money.There may be much more in Asia, Europe and South America. Nigerian politicians are said to own numerous huge investments and sprawling estates in the Middle East, namely Dubai and Egypt, some in South and Central Africa, while others took their stolen monies to Ghana and other West African Countries.
APC should avoid sensation and propaganda with issues like probe of the past government and set about investigating all suspected thieves among our leaders, and politicians as they are very many with hundreds of recoverable billions of Dollars stashed away. The big questions include what do we have on ground to fight corruption and stealing from government? Can the solution come by the enactment of Laws that will make governance unattractive to thieves, and can APC do and implement it?
Corruption cannot be fought only on newspapers, with television talks, just as corruption cannot probe corruption without creating confusion. Let’s move to stop the stealing instead.
Udegbe is public affairs commentator